In the Daily News today, op-ed columnist Mariel Garza vows to take the PR giant Fleishman-Hillard out of her Rolodex. She's not protesting Fleishman's pervasive influence in local government, just saving money.
I was planning on calling Doug Dowie, head of Fleishman-Hillard's Los Angeles office, to ask him to clarify some of the PR activities his firm does on behalf of the [L.A. Community College District]. But Dowie bills his clients $425 an hour for his services. It would cost the district as much as $200 for even a brief interview.
The LACCD spends taxpayer money. I am a taxpayer. Therefore, in a sense, I would be paying from my own pocket for the privilege of an interview. I don't get paid enough to do that.
One invoice item in particular helped me solidify my vow not to call the PR firm. In November, Fleishman-Hillard billed the district $1,295 to meet with Daily News higher-education reporter Lisa Sodders, as well as discuss an article idea with Southern Sierran magazine. Ouch!
Before going to Fleishman, Dowie used to run the Daily News newsroom -- he was the boss of current managing editor Ron Kaye. Perhaps that should have been mentioned. (Here's my disclosure: I wrote about Dowie in this month's Los Angeles magazine).