County can do its own lobbying, Jacobsen says
State Senator Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden, said he thinks county commissioners’ approval Thursday to appropriate up to $50,000 for hiring a lobbyist to represent Douglas County at the Legislature is a waste of money.
He said in a telephone interview Friday that for the size of Douglas County, the commissioners should be doing the lobbying themselves.
“Those are the best people to be lobbyist – those who are directly involved,” he said. “It’s their responsibility.
“It would be easy for me to pass the buck, too, but I realize it is one of the responsibilities of the job.”
He said the lobbyist would also infringe on some of his duties.
“I don’t interfere with any of (the commissioner’s) processes,” he said. “Whoever they hire will have to relate with me.”
The commissioners approved the lobbyist based on issues they felt needed representation at the state level with the proposed spilt of the county by the Tahoe Citizens Committee in the forefront.
The TCC has Harvey Wittemore, Alfredo Alonso, Morgan Baumgartner and Mike Jabara listed as lobbyists with the Legislature.
“That is four against one,” Commissioner Jacques Etchegoy-hen said Thursday in defense of the hiring of a lobbyist for Douglas County.
Jacobsen said of the proposed split that nobody has requested a bill of him.
He said the deadline for individual legislators to submit bills has passed and that any new bill submittals would have to be from either Government Affairs Committees from the Assembly or the Senate.
Other issues the commission outlined as needing representation are:
n Securing money from the state for flood damage.
n Attracting a regional juvenile detention center to Douglas County.
n Supporting bills submitting by Douglas officials including handicap parking enforcement and Jacobsen’s bill for the the expansion of China Spring Youth Camp.
n Proposed room tax raise by 1 percent.
n School infrastructure issues.
Etchegoyhen said the lobbyist expenditure would be well worth it.
A county split would be a bad precedent for Nevada, he said.
“This preecdent will tear up our beautiful state,” he said.
Commissioner Kelly Kite said the lobbyist is “absolutely vital” to secure money for flood damages and to prevent the spilt of of the county.
Sandy Cable, executive director of the Business Council of Douglas County, supported hiring a lobbyist and said the lack of representation in past Legislatures has not been good for the county.
Jacobsen, who has served in the Legislature for 33 years, said he recalled a couple of incidents where Douglas County was represented by lobbyists.