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Open Government

March 21, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
The top manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum refused to answer questions Wednesday after his lawyer objected to the presence of Los Angeles Times reporters at a deposition in an open-government lawsuit against the stadium's overseers. Interim General Manager John Sandbrook walked out of the deposition in the suit brought by The Times and a 1st Amendment group. The Times would not agree to exclude the two reporters or prohibit them from publishing Sandbrook's sworn answers before they are introduced as evidence in a trial.
October 22, 2004 | Jessica Garrison, Times Staff Writer
Gossip about the mayor and council members. Top 10 lists of the "hottest" men and women in City Hall. A blistering missive from an irritated councilman. And, amid the froth, the occasional in-depth discussion of municipal issues. In less than two months, the mysterious "4th Floor Blog" became a must-read among the ambitious, well-dressed folks who prowl the fourth floor of City Hall setting policy for Los Angeles and worrying about their place in its power structure.
September 13, 2011 | By Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times
Readers who type "Central Basin Municipal Water District" into Google News get a series of upbeat articles. One story hails the benefits of Central Basin's new recycled water system. Another piece praises the agency's legal battle over groundwater rights. Others catalog the successes of its conservation programs. What the average reader doesn't know is that Central Basin is paying nearly $200,000 in taxpayer money for the glowing coverage. In a highly unusual move, the water district hired a consultant to produce promotional stories "written in the image of real news," according to agreements reviewed by The Times . The articles appear on a professional-looking news website called News Hawks Review . The site is indexed on Google News, carries its own advertisements and boasts an "experienced and highly knowledgeable" staff of editors and reporters.
July 28, 1995 | From Times Wire Services
Foreign companies have been nearly shut out of Japan's construction market, despite an agreement that was to open up government contracts to outside bidders, a U.S. official said Thursday. Of the 410 government construction projects awarded in Japan last year, only four contracts were awarded to foreign companies, according to the U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
December 27, 2002
Everyone cheered last year when state officials offered to buy two large but ratty tracts of land downtown and make them parks. In a city with far too little green space, especially in its urban core, the 32-acre Cornfield next to Chinatown and the 30-acre Taylor Yard in Cypress Park will make a big difference. Community leaders and environmental activists had pried these properties away from commercial developers in a David-and-Goliath struggle and then leaned on Gov. Gray Davis to buy them.
County leaders vowed Friday to keep local courts operating even as they gear up to fight an anticipated court order to provide as much as $13.9 million that judges said is needed to avert a shutdown of some courtroom operations. New budget numbers released by the county Friday indicate that only one of Orange County's six courthouses has enough money in its salary and benefits fund to pay employees through the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
When she was sworn into office 100 days ago, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina made a symbolic gesture, ordering the removal of metal detectors from the entrance to the board's chambers. "If they could lock up the front doors, if we could do everything in closed session, I think there is a majority on this board that would like it that way," Molina said in an interview last week.
July 21, 2009 | Tom Hamburger and Peter Nicholas
As the watchdog of the government's massive bailout of the financial sector, Neil M. Barofsky had a simple question: What had the nation's banks done with all their bailout money? Can't be answered, said the Treasury Department, because of the way banks move money internally. The department declined to put the question to the banks.
May 9, 2013 | By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
A judge ruled on Thursday that The Times could not be stopped from reporting on testimony from the top manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a deposition for an open-government lawsuit. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin said that in asking the court to deny Times reporters access to the testimony and a prohibition against articles about it, the commission sought “essentially a gag order.” “This is a public matter,” Lavin said of the lawsuit brought against the commission by The Times and a 1st Amendment group, Californians Aware.
May 26, 2011 | By Butch Bracknell
I recently returned from a week in Iraq, where I trained an elite security force unit on human rights and the law of combat operations. Discussions regarding the responsibility of commanders for the acts of their forces migrated to the issue of the United Nations' International Criminal Court. One Iraqi officer asked me, "If the United States believes in accountability over impunity, why are you not a party to the International Criminal Court?" I did not have a satisfactory answer. The answer for public consumption is that U.S. accession to the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court, is not an imminent issue because U.S. processes for achieving accountability function well: The military and civilian courts are open, the government already is bringing cases to court where the evidence warrants, and convictions are occurring on a sufficiently regular basis.
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