Dear City Council,
Before you proceed with this amendment I think you need a written opinion from the city attorney in regards to whether or not this violates state law concerning volunteers and volunteer organizations.
I often wonder what our city staff is thinking when they meet with the lobbyists regarding changes to rules that regulate them but then do not meet with the neighborhood organizations they intend to impose these rules upon. Does this not imply unfair and improper treatment?
As I have pointed out in the past in an Item 14 statement my organization cannot even include the hours that I frequently spend here as part of the matching funds from the city grant. It is patently absurd that I should have to register as a lobbyist when neither my organization nor I get paid in any way, shape, or form to perform these functions. (In fact, we are not allowed to use the grant funds for anything other than increasing our membership.) And if you move forward with this regulation of my organization can we then pay the lobbying fees with the city grant funds?
And why, specifically, are unions exempted from this regulation? All of their leaders who have spoken out on items before you are definitely paid to do so by their union. I am a firm supporter of unions but they must register their lobbyists as well. Obviously this should not include their rank and file members who come to express their concerns.
I wish I could be there tonight to listen to your deliberations regarding this matter but unfortunately our organization's monthly open board meeting for membership is being held tonight. I sincerely hope that you do not need the wisdom of Solomon to realize that these changes are not an improvement to the existing regulation.
SMMCN Board Vice President & Govt Affairs Officer
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