Board Cuts Spending for D.C. Lobbyists

With neither of Ventura County's naval bases targeted for closure, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday cut in half the $15,000-a-month contract for high-powered lobbyists in Washington, D. C., to protect local interests.

The supervisors voted unanimously to reduce the monthly retainer to $7,500 upon the urging of the BRAC '95 Task Force, a group set up to safeguard the Point Mugu and Port Hueneme naval bases during this year's round of military base closures.

The task force, which raised the money from local government and businesses, believes it can scale back its lobbying efforts.

But task force members want to retain lobbyist Lynn Jacquez to monitor any potential threats that could surface while an independent commission reviews the Pentagon's recommendations.

"We are not out of the woods on this issue yet," Supervisor John Flynn said, urging continued vigilance. "This is the prudent thing to do."

Acting as an administrative agent for the task force, the Board of Supervisors has channeled $90,000 to lobbyists.

The supervisors also agreed to keep a $128,000 limit on what can be spent on the lobbying contract.

Two weeks ago, the Pentagon announced its recommendations of bases that military leaders believe are no long affordable under the shrinking defense budget.

But neither of the county's bases was on the list of installations recommended for shuttering within the next six years.

The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission has until July 1 to review the list, holding hearings and recommend any changes.

President Clinton and Congress must then approve or reject the list as a whole, but cannot add or remove individual bases.

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