Friday, March 8, 2013

Ex-legislators Turned Lobbyist

Some ex-legislators, like Freddie Hill, after serving out their time in office, turn to lobbying. Some do very well financially. Since leaving office, from 2009 through 2013, Freddie has pulled in almost $1.8 million playing the role of the hired gun. Most of his money comes from city governments where they are using taxpayer dollars to lobby for what is in the best interest of the city officials, not what is in the best interest of the citizens and taxpayers. Adding insult to injury, the tax payers are paying for guys like Freddie to lobby against them.

Freddie - Hard at Work in Austin

Freddie started out his first year of lobbying and raked in about $440,000. Each year that amount has declined with the exception of 2013. According to the state required filings, this is what he is pulling in lobbying against the taxpayers, at a minimum:

2009 - $440,000

2010 - $385,000

2011 - $310,000

2012 - $300,000

2013 - $360,000

This year he picked up a new client, Tax-Assessors-Collector Association of Texas . Exactly what the association desires to do is kind of a mystery. There was not a lot of information on their website that describes what they want to do or why they would need a lobbyist.

It appears he lost one contract that had been with him from the start, Texas Association of Counties. There is less doubt what this organization is about. From the about page it is clear they are there to support local governments: “TAC is the representative voice for all Texas counties and county officials and, through TAC, counties communicate the county perspective to state officials and the general public.”

Cities and counties using tax dollars to try and work against the taxpayers is something that seems to be against the best interest of the citizens and taxpayers. The DMN had a story   on the legislators turn lobbyist today. For a breakdown of whom and how much Freddie is raking in, click on the following link:

Maybe there is a better use for the $250,000 Richardson leadership has paid Freddie over the past 5 years, like maybe the kind of stuff the city should really be focused on like roads and parks.


  1. I would disagree. The lobbyists are promoting legislation that is in the best interests of the city. If this legislative agenda is counter to any individual's preferences that does't make it counter to the city interests. The lobbyist is not representing the interests of city officials as individuals.

  2. The problem with your assessment is the citizens do not get a say in what is lobbied for in the first place. We are told after the fact.

    If there were a process to define objectives in some manner like the council agendas every term then there might be a cooperative place of agreement. As it stands right now, the people are left out of the loop so who is it to say it is in the best interest of the City.

    Frankly, I am tired of the label "THE CITY". It is a non-definitive label for no one. You do not know for whose benefit it represents.

    If the discussion is on pay grade levels mandated by statute, or maybe retirements, then of course the staff will have Fred Hill lobby for the staff, individually. That way the excuse is given it is out of their control, blah, blah, blah.

    It the discussion is on roadways , highways, ect, then of course it is for the people.

    Those are made up topics, but you get my point.

    If you do not know the lobbyist agenda, you have no idea who reaps the benefit. In the recent past the City Manager met with Fred Hill with the Mayor is a private meeting never disclosed to the public.

    Except when a couple of us found out abut it. At that time Slagel said they were going to have to find a new place to meet. Ask Mitchell. He met with him as Mayor in the secret local hotel restaurant. ha!!

  3. Let's see. What's on that legislative agenda? And who came up with it?

    Right. It wasn't the citizens of Richardson. We were specifically excluded from the process. All we got to do was watch public servants abuse the authority of public offices.

    Go through each item on that agenda and let's have an adult discussion about what's best for who.

  4. Somebody needs to ask Townsend is he has met with Fred Hill in private?

  5. Regarding the Rental Registration Program, the mayor said "The City Council provided numerous opportunities for public input throughout the program's development."

    They never invited one landlord before the 2011 update although they have 2,500 names and addresses from the rental registration rolls.

    I'm shocked to find they didn't even seek input from realtors.

  6. Why is it when having a discussion on the perspectives of a topic you always get one snarky, like 4:47pm, who is insulting and yet says nothing. Welcome to the world of the Colonition. When you can comment like an adult, we can converse like adults.

  7. Where did the Rental Registration Program idea come from in the first place? If you look on the internet it is being placed into effect all over the country. Did the Council ever say why they thought this was a good idea?

  8. uh, March 10, 2013 at 8:59 PM, we're talking about the City of Richardson, not the Land of de-Nile. Well, I must admit, there are lots of similarities, especially when the public servants at city hall get involved. Little straight language there.

  9. Anon @ March 10, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Not all rental registration programs are created equal. We have no problem with Garland's version, which became acceptable to landlords and tenants after it was revised, partly due to a lawsuit.

    Richardson's Rental Registration Program was conceived in 2003, primarily due to complaints about on-street parking and occupancy levels on Dearborn St,

    -some HOA and resident objections;
    -then councilman Townsend's strong objection based on more code violations coming from owner-occupied homes than rentals;
    -then councilman Shepherd's warning that this would be litigated;
    -then city manager's admission that 95% of the issues could be handled with the existing code.

    The city didn't enforce inspections and charge the registration fee until 2009 and became aggressive about inspections in 2012, after the ordinance was updated with the addition of a "warrant" provision so the ordinance wouldn't bluntly violate the tenants' 4th Amendment rights.

    If the city follows the ordinance, probably it's debatably constitutional. Landlords schedule an inspection, and if tenants object to it, then the city can get a warrant if it wants to pursue it further. Instead of executing a warrant, however, the city is prosecuting landlords. The city is coercing both landlords and tenants.

    And we really don't know what they're achieving by that because rentals in the "problem" areas obviously pass the inspections!