On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to require the registration of individuals who engage in lobbying activities before the County of Orange. Specifically “lobbying activities” means any oral, written, or electronic communication to a County Supervisor, made directly or indirectly, for the purpose of persuading or influencing official actions or decisions of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
This is a good start for something that Supervisor Moorlach has indicated he feels is unnecessary. The registration of lobbyists is, to a certain extent, a weak panacea to the influence that lobbyists hold over the Board of Supervisors and their decisions. What is missing however, is the disclosure of who and what these individuals are lobbying for. Absent this information the registration is nothing more than a simple list of registered lobbyists. The public has no way to know how frequently these registered lobbyists are visiting the Supervisors or their staff.
The ordinance, which should clear the second reading next week, will take effect on March 15, 2011.