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City Council To Approve Advocate Funding

High Speed Rail Council subcommittee recommends approving $50,000 in fees for 2012.

Menlo Park’s City Council will discuss renewing a contract with the lobbying firm Capitol Advocates for the amount of $5,000 a month plus expenses during a public meeting Tuesday.

“High Speed Rail is a complex and highly politicized policy area, with many key meetings held outside of the City," writes Starla Jerome-Robinson, interim city manager, in the staff report prepared for the meeting. 

"It is not feasible for individual Council members or staff to be available to represent the City at each of these legislative and/or technical meetings,” she said. 

The City Council’s High Speed rail subcommittee is comprised of Council Members Richard Cline and Kelly Fergusson.

Capitol Advocates has been working for the Menlo Park since Spring of 2010, improving the city's visibiltiy during meetings about High Speed Rail.

Last year, city staff decided to explore the option of working with another company and issued a request for proposals to five agencies, according to public records. Two responded with a proposal, Capitol Advocates and Gonsalves and Sons. Council Members interviewed these agencies on January 23rd of this year.

“Capitol Advocates has a high degree of expertise in High Speed Rail matters, which the Council subcommittee thought would better serve the City,” said Jerome-Roberts. 

“Also, the Council subcommittee thought that by using Capitol Advocates the City’s position would be better represented than by a firm that had dozens of other clients.”

The agency would update the council at meetings once a month and represent the city broadly at technical and legislative meetings. 

City Council will meet to discuss this at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on Tuesday Feb 28th.  The meeting is open to the public.

For the full agenda, click on this link.

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