In an action scheduled for this Thursday’s (April 27) meeting, the Fresno City Council will vote to extend a contract with Simon & Co., a Washington, D.C. lobbying group. The group, headed by Len Simon, has successfully served Fresno in a formal capacity since 2009. To the tune of $5083 per month, the contract, if granted, will continue the City’s partnership with Simon for a three-year period, with two one-year extension options.

As a lobbying firm focusing on local government interests, Simon & Co. has represented a number of other cities and counties, including Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore., Salt Lake City and even Fresno County.

The firm specializes in assisting local governments take advantage of federal legislation, grant programs and special projects with federal funding available. Simon, in speaking to the various local groups he represents, has called himself an extension of “your staff in Washington.” In addition to lobbying in the traditional sense, the firm is also in constant communication with its clients; it provides weekly reports on the events in D.C. and distributes grant opportunity notices to clients that may be interested.

Fresno’s relationship with Simon has been fruitful in the past. Their report to the city council outlines eighteen different funding opportunities they helped Fresno secure. While some are for relatively small amounts, such as grants for promotion of the arts or expanding public works employment, they have also played a role in more significant acquisitions, namely, $6.25 billion in federal assistance for High-Speed Rail.

Simon’s report details the policy areas to which they have dedicated their efforts in the past—transportation, housing and community development, “Strong Cities, Strong Communities,” public safety and energy and environment—and recommend that they continue to maintain this direction. However, they also emphasize that they will continue to seek new opportunities, as the nature and sources of local government funding is always changing.

Contact Drew Phelps

Phone: 559-440-8321 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

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