Saturday, March 26, 2016
Eye on Miami: Become a Lobbyist for the Good. By Geniusofdespair
Imagine you have an issue you would like to support, like not moving the Urban Development Boundary or stopping a Walmart. Actually you have to start being a lobbyist BEFORE the issue comes up.
Find out who your County Commissioner is and who are your State Legislators (Senate and House). Make yourself known to these people. Go to their district offices even just to say hello and meet them. This won't be an easy appointment to make unless you have a lot of money. Write letters (emails are pretty much a waste - a lot of Commissioners never see them). Take the business cards of the aides so you can ask for them by name when you call. Meet the aides, shake their hands. Sometimes they are better than meeting the Commissioner, like meeting Javier Souto's Chief of Staff (Souto is such an idiot). Tell them something you like that their boss did/voted on (that might not be easy, you will have to do a little research). If you are involved with a Community Association or something in their hood with more people, be sure to mention it. They love clout.
Next cultivate a reporter. If you like a newspaper reporter's writing, email them your positive comments. Don't be a pest. They are over-worked. However, next time you have an issue you might be able to convince them it is worth a report.
Next time you meet/contact these people -- and you need some support for your issue -- you are not going in there cold. Continual contact is the key with officials until they get to know you. Perhaps they will start to invite you to meetings and events. Go to them. When you go, make sure to say hello to your Commissioner (I use the word Commissioner for any Government Official), he/she will introduce you to whomever he/she is talking to (they are never not talking to someone). That person will be impressed that you are known by the Commissioner. It might be someone you need later.
If Sierra Club or Tropical Audubon has an important issue to lobby for, you would be a good person to go along. The Commissioner always wants someone from his district not a bunch of non-voting, tree-huggers. You will be going into their office as a serious concerned citizen. If you really want to get involved, go to the County Manager's briefing of the County Commissioners' Chiefs of Staff. They are held the week before the Tuesday Commission meeting. Call up to find out when.
Now you have the tools to be a lobbyist. Devote some time to this. Don't be a dolt who just complains. Also, if you have some extra bucks fork some over to candidates. It is a good investment for our future.