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EDITORIAL: Saying no to lobbyist

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By The Staff

The Las Vegas City Council made the right decision last week when it rejected a proposal to include lobbying duties in the grant writer’s job description.

Councilman Morris Madrid said the skills required of a lobbyist are far different from that of a grant writer. A grant writer for the city has to have considerable knowledge about the mechanics of government and the ability to research. A lobbyist, meanwhile, has to know how to work the political scene.

Madrid made another good point: The mayor and council members themselves can serve as lobbyists.

The proposal for the grant writer’s job description came after state Rep. Richard Vigil’s recommendation last month to hire a lobbyist to track bills at the Legislature.

At the time, we disagreed with Vigil’s suggestion. We believe our elected lawmakers can well represent our interests without Las Vegas’ hiring what amounts to a glorified beggar.

Our legislators are guaranteed a slice of the money for capital projects — casually known as pork. So we ask them to represent our interests when they are drafting bills during legislative sessions. Indeed, Las Vegas’ population makes up a huge share of the both Vigil’s and Sen. Pete Campos’ districts, so our community shouldn’t be a second thought.

We don’t need to be spending thousands of dollars on a person hired to schmooze with Santa Fe politicians. The money is best spent on direct services to residents.