A client for Cruz?

Build the rooftops and the lobbyist may come.

Build a mile-long, illegal 42-inch pipeline to your sewer plant on County land without a County permit, maybe you need the former state Assembly Speaker and Lt. Governor as your lobbyist.

But can Livingston, not the wealthiest community in Merced County, afford Bustamante? It leads the public to consider whether it is the people behind the sewer line and the development it could induce who are paying for the long-time state elected official. If the Merced County fix is no longer as secure as it was when former Bill Lockyer was state Attorney General, who knows, people could be asking questions.

Another question is Livingston's alleged motive for hiring a lobbyist -- more better Highway 99 improvements around Livingston. Perhaps the one thing Livingston actually has is the best stretch of 99 in the county. So, the public can safely discount this as the reason for hiring a lobbyist and consider other regional transportation plans as the more likely target, like the Big Beltway that will exit Highway 99 between Livingston and Atwater, run through prime farmland to UC Merced, then down the Campus Parkway to the WalMart distribution center. Other plans for expanding roads from the Livingston area toward Stevinson, fitting in with development plans of the Kelley and Mike Gallo families are also likely topics of conversation between the former Lt. governor and the new generation of legislators.

Livingston may need Bustamante, not the worse politician from the Valley to have served in the state Legislature and Executive. But why would Bustamante want to launch his new lobbyist career representing Livingston?

To get closer to money, the mother's milk, Cheerios and New York steak of politics.

Badlands Journal editorial staff

Merced Sun-Star
Livingston may hire lobbyist Bustamante...Scott Jason
After more than 30 years in politics, former Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante remained guarded last month about his career after leaving office. But the Sacramento insider is returning to the political arena, this time on the other side of the table. The Livingston City Council will consider hiring Bustamante, 54, tonight to lobby Sacramento leaders with hopes that their multimillion-dollar highway construction plans will be fast-tracked. Livingston could be the second Merced County city to hire a lobbyist this month to maintain a presence in Sacramento. Merced's City Council awarded a $65,000 one-year contract to Townsend Public Affairs, an Irvine-based lobbying firm, Monday night. Two contract options with Bustamante will come before the City Council. One is for six months at $10,000 a month. The second is a two-year contract with the first six months at $10,000 a month, which decreases to $7,500 for the remaining 18 months.