Back in April 2004, when he was under full attack for the Fleishman-Hillard deal with DWP that began under Dick Riordan, then-Mayor Jim Hahn banned PR contracts with city agencies. A week later, the L.A. Business Journal clarified that the ban didn't apply to firms that did "community outreach." That brings us to this week's City Council calendar, where the Community Redevelopment Agency has requested the OK to use $500,000 in city money to hire selected outside firms for "community relations and outreach services." On the list of approved vendors are some familiar names that did work for the DWP — Lee Andrews Groups and Consensus Planning — or firms such as Greer/Dailey/Minter that are viewed around City Hall as politically connected. Not big money; I'm just saying.
Also around City Hall: Sources say that veteran media handler (and ex-blogger) Matt Szabo will be joining the mayor's press office. He has been advising Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and previously worked for her and for mayoral candidate Bob Hertzberg, among others. Szabo referred my inquiry to the mayor's office.