Don’t shy from word ‘lobbyist’

By From page A6 | October 03, 2012

In an otherwise well-written article Sunday, school board candidate Alan Fernandes’ current occupation is described as working in Sacramento, “representing the county of Los Angeles in matters pertaining to state government.” It strikes me that the phrasing is a carefully crafted way of avoiding the word “lobbyist” and all the connotations that the word carries with it.

Fernandes is a paid lobbyist and has registered as such with the state of California for many years. Why not say it flatly? Over the years, I’ve known many lobbyists. I’ve found some to be┬ádisreputable and others to be highly principled. A lot of them like to be known as “legislative advocates,” a euphemism that they find easier bear than that dreaded word that has such a spotted history in American politics.

But, like it or not, they are lobbyists and ought to be referred to in print as such when their occupation is relevant, as it is when discussing candidates for public office.

Fernandes may make a wonderful school board member. I might even vote for him; I haven’t decided. But it troubles me that The Davis Enterprise won’t state plainly what he does for living. He’s a lobbyist, and Enterprise readers are, I’d hope, sophisticated enough not to hold it against him.

Paul Jacobs


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