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    News / In Depth

    LB City Hall's DC Lobbyist -- Who Simultaneously Represents Port of LB -- Slated To Give Council His Version Of Fed'l Energy Bill's LNG Provisions

    Read What City Hall's Contract With DC Lobbying Firm Requires

    (April 18, 2005) -- With a federal energy bill hurtling toward House passage containing provisions that would preempt state decisionmaking and undermine local review regarding an 80+ million gallon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal proposed barely two miles from downtown LB, has learned that City Hall's Washington, DC lobbyist, E. Del Smith -- who is separately paid by the Port of LB to advocate Port interests in DC -- has been invited to present his views on the legislative developments to the City Council on April 19. posts below salient portions of City Hall's contract with the DC lobbying firm that has for many years provided legislative advocacy services for LB City Hall.

    Under a separate contract with the Port of LB, Mr. Smith's firm simultaneously advocates positions of the Port of LB. The Port itself arguably spawned the federal issue by processing and enabling the LNG application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) without requiring the applicant to seek approval from the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

    In 2003, the Port of LB entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the LNG applicant that didn't require the applicant to comply with CPUC's requirements. Port staff is currently working with the applicant and FERC to produce an EIR/EIS for the project.

    In a November 23, 2004 memo seeking Council approval for renewal of the firm's contract, City Manager Jerry Miller wrote, "Based on E. Del Smith and Company, Inc.’s unique access and influence in Washington, D.C., and its extensive understanding of the City of Long Beach and related agencies, the approval of this proposed annual contract is recommended."

    The contract, renewed without competitive public bidding, recites that "by reason of extensive experience in dealing with governmental agencies and officials, Consultant is particularly and peculiarly qualified to serve City in establishing and maintaining liaison for City and representing City with other governmental entities and officials."

    Taxpayer costs under City Hall's contract were supposed to be $22,580 per month from Oct. 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004 (not to exceed $180,640) and $9,480 per month from June 1, 2004 to Sept. 30, 2004 (not to exceed $37,920) for a total of $228,560

    However, an amendment to the contract, authorized by a consent calendar Council item on July 6, 2004, ballooned the amount to a staggering $270,960 ($22,580 per month until Sept. 30, 2004. (The Council vote actually authorized $275,760; 8-0, moved by Lowenthal, seconded by Baker. Yes: Lowenthal; Baker; Colonna; Carroll; Kell; Richardson; Reyes Uranga; Lerch).

    In explaining the additional costs, City Manager Jerry Miller wrote in a November 23, 2004 agendizing memo:

    The previous contract with E. Del Smith and Company, Inc., was temporarily augmented for the provision of enhanced advocacy services related to the federal Transportation Equity Act - Legacy for Users (TEA-LU) at a monthly rate of $22,580. Thanks to the collective hard work of our advocacy team and our City’s elected officials over the last year, approximately $6 billion will now be included in the TEA-LU for projects of national significance, with an anticipated $765 million of those funds to be allocated for the I-710 Gerald Desmond Bridge project.

    It is recommended that the City return to the historical funding amount of $9,480 per month. The enhanced retainer for advocacy services was a temporary agreement which the City cannot continue to fund due to current financial circumstances. The historical amount of $9,480 per month should be sufficient to appropriately represent the City of Long Beach’s interests as it pursues its FY 2005 federal advocacy agenda.

    ...The annual cost for this service is $113,760, based on a monthly retainer of $9,480. Funds to support this activity are budgeted in the General Fund (GP) in the City Manager's Office (CM).


    Authorize the City Manager to execute the contract for federal legislative advocacy services with E. Del Smith and Company, Inc., in the amount of $113,760 for a period of one year...

    The Oct. 1, 2003-Sept. 30, 2004 contract is quoted below. It was extended by City Manager Miller using purchase order authority from October 1, 2004 until the Council's November 23, 2004 vote.

    [begin salient text]

    ...WHEREAS, it is essential that City establish and maintain effective liaison with agencies and officials of federal, state and local governments and other bodies, commissions, committees and organizations; and

    WHEREAS, City desires to present pertinent information, ,facts and data to said agencies and officials relating to matters involving and affecting City and its interests; and

    WHEREAS, City requires information and data from agencies and officials of the federal and state governments and other entities in order to facilitate the operation of the government of City; and

    WHEREAS, representation of City's interests and liaison between City and other officials, agencies, bodies, commissions, committees and organizations require the assistance of personnel experienced in such matters; and

    WHEREAS, Consultant has previously performed such services for City in affective, efficient and satisfactory manner; and

    WHEREAS, by reason of extensive experience in dealing with governmental agencies and officials, Consultant is particularly and peculiarly qualified to serve City in establishing and maintaining liaison for City and representing City with other governmental entities and officials; and

    WHEREAS, City desires to contract with Consultant so that Consultant's services will be available to the appropriate City officers when said services are required;

    NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the terms and conditions contained herein, the parties agree as follows:

    1. Consultant, at its cost, shall

    (i) contact and communicate with agencies and officers of federal governmental entities as requested and directed by the City Manager of City or his designee;

    (ii) establish and maintain liaison with said agencies and officers;

    (iii) present and disseminate pertinent information and data relating to matters concerning the interests of the City;

    (iv) obtain information and data from said agencies and officers pertaining to matters of interest of concern to the City and transmit same to the appropriate officers and employees of the City;

    (v) monitor federal legislation and rulemaking processes by federal agencies (whether pending or introduced or initiated during the term of this Contract) which impact the operations of the City either as determined by Consultant or as directed by the City Manager;

    (vi) provide the City's officials and employees in a timely manner but not less frequently than once each month with status reports of legislation and rule-making processes being monitored, including with limitation legislative histories, schedules of hearings on proposed legislation and rules, and copies of proposed legislation and rules and all amendments or proposed amendments thereto;

    (vii) identify funding that will assist in the creation of new City programs, projects or services or the augmentation of existing City programs, projects or services;

    (viii) arrange meetings with legislative representatives for City staff and elected officials, when necessary, and be prepared to participate as requested; and

    (ix) conduct monthly conference calls with City Manager, Assistant City Manager, Manager of Public/Government Affairs to discuss progress of federal advocacy efforts.

    [compensation described in text above]

    ...5. Not later than the tenth (10th) day of each month during the term of this Contract commencing November 1, 2003, Consultant shall submit to the City Manager, in a form acceptable to him, a reasonably detailed and itemized statement of Consultant's activities on behalf of the City during the preceding month. Upon receipt of said statements, City will pay Consultant in due course of payments.

    6. Either party hereto may terminate this Contract for any reason at any giving the other party ten (10) days prior notice of termination. In the event of termination pursuant to this Section 6, City shall pay Consultant for services performed up to the effective date of termination for which Consultant has not previously been paid and for which Consultant submits the statement required in Section 5.

    ...8. Consultant certifies, and shall obtain similar certifications from its officers, employees and associates that, at the time this Contract is executed and while it is in effect, Consultant does not and will not represent or perform any services for any other client which would create a conflict, whether monetary or otherwise, as between the interests of the City and the interests of any other such client.

    ...20. In order to facilitate and expedite Consultant's services on behalf of the City, City shall cooperate in a timely manner with Consultant to inform Consultant as to City's needs relating to legislative advocacy. Specifically, City shall review and analyze all bills transmitted by Consultant and inform Consultant of City's positions, if any, in a timely manner, and provide timely briefings and information to Consultant on all issues of interest to City that require Consultant's services.

    If Energy bill as currently written clears the House (as expected), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., CA) has indicated she will try to amend it in the Senate...but since Republicans hold a Senate majority, the outcome is uncertain.

    In 2002, the firm of "E. Del Smith & Co." became "Smith, Esposito & Lyerly." Its web site indicates the firm provides DC legislative services for (among other entities) the CA Association of Port Authorities, the Gateway Cities Council of Governments and the CA Independent Petroleum Association.

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