News

Menlo Park seeks lobbyist, communications consultant

The city of Menlo Park is searching for two consultants: one to represent the city interests in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist and another to analyze the city's communications efforts and recommend how to improve them.

Requests for proposals for both positions closed Sept. 8.

Lobbyist

The preferred term is "legislative advocate," rather than lobbyist, said Peter Ibrahim, a management analyst for the city of Menlo Park who authored the requests for proposals.

But the purpose is the same: to establish relationships in the nation's capital so that when the city needs something, whether it's to set up a meeting with federal officials or to make a grant application or funding request, it has better connections with those in power.

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Having more influence on legislation and acquiring funds available to local governments are two priorities for the city, Mr. Ibrahim said.

Hiring a lobbyist would also jump-start a process to establish just what the city's federal agenda might be.

The selected firm would help the city develop strategies to get funding for big transportation and infrastructure projects; schedule meetings between city officials and members of Congress or federal administrators; and coordinate an agenda with other organizations, cities and companies with similar legislative goals.

The firm would draft letters and talking points on legislation, testify on behalf of the city at hearings before legislative commitees, and give at least annual briefings to the mayor and city staff.

Communications

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The city is also seeking a consultant to audit the city's communications strategies and to recommend improvements.

The city uses a number of platforms for spreading information: its website, weekly digests, NextDoor, Facebook, Nixle, Instagram, SMCAlert, Twitter, the city YouTube channel, live-streamed public meetings and special meetings.

Despite that, Mr. Ibrahim said, residents say they don't know about something going on until it's too late.

The city's last approved "community engagement" and social media policies were drafted in 2010.

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Menlo Park seeks lobbyist, communications consultant

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 1:35 pm
Updated: Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 7:34 am

The city of Menlo Park is searching for two consultants: one to represent the city interests in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist and another to analyze the city's communications efforts and recommend how to improve them.

Requests for proposals for both positions closed Sept. 8.

Lobbyist

The preferred term is "legislative advocate," rather than lobbyist, said Peter Ibrahim, a management analyst for the city of Menlo Park who authored the requests for proposals.

But the purpose is the same: to establish relationships in the nation's capital so that when the city needs something, whether it's to set up a meeting with federal officials or to make a grant application or funding request, it has better connections with those in power.

Having more influence on legislation and acquiring funds available to local governments are two priorities for the city, Mr. Ibrahim said.

Hiring a lobbyist would also jump-start a process to establish just what the city's federal agenda might be.

The selected firm would help the city develop strategies to get funding for big transportation and infrastructure projects; schedule meetings between city officials and members of Congress or federal administrators; and coordinate an agenda with other organizations, cities and companies with similar legislative goals.

The firm would draft letters and talking points on legislation, testify on behalf of the city at hearings before legislative commitees, and give at least annual briefings to the mayor and city staff.

Communications

The city is also seeking a consultant to audit the city's communications strategies and to recommend improvements.

The city uses a number of platforms for spreading information: its website, weekly digests, NextDoor, Facebook, Nixle, Instagram, SMCAlert, Twitter, the city YouTube channel, live-streamed public meetings and special meetings.

Despite that, Mr. Ibrahim said, residents say they don't know about something going on until it's too late.

The city's last approved "community engagement" and social media policies were drafted in 2010.

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Comments

Good Grief
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 21, 2017 at 9:50 pm
Good Grief, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 21, 2017 at 9:50 pm

communications strategy?
How about telling the truth? How about not telling expensive consultants exactly what the Council and Staff wants in the way of findings? How about, when conducting a study, including all the options? How about not having a strategy other than protecting the current residents who both own homes and rent houses in Menlo Park? How about discontinuing the search for more developers to build office buildings in Menlo Park?

Good Grief! Is this city administration hell bent on destroying Menlo Park and then having a strategy for how to package it? So far, we are heading in that direction. Beware of third term council candidates.


Lobbyist waste of $$
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2017 at 5:32 am
Lobbyist waste of $$, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 22, 2017 at 5:32 am

We have deteriorating streets and parking lots, highly paid city manager and staff, no real revenue plan other than buil buil buil, and budget is being allocated for a Washington lobbyist? Really? This is crazy.


Steve Taffee
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm
Steve Taffee, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm

A "legislative advocate" for Menlo Park? This may possibly be the worst proposed use of city taxpayer money I have ever encountered.

As a small city, we go directly to our state and national representatives through their local offices. Who else in DC would even want to schedule a meeting with us? And what we would talk about with them that would carry any weight? Holy mackerel! I simply can't even see any possible merit in this idea.

steve taffee


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