FREE SPEECH -- The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that a Los Angeles city ordinance regulating the use and placement of billboards and "super graphics" covering entire building walls is constitutional, and threw out a district court order enjoining enforcement of the law, reports Sheri M.Okamoto for the Metropolitan News-Enterprise in Los Angeles.
WHISTLEBLOWERS -- "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchmen?)," probably the single most memorable line by the Second Century Roman satirist Juvenal, could not be more timely at a point where the federal whistleblower protection law is up for reform, but leaving the one category of United States employees most critical to combating terrorism—national security workers—utterly exposed to career cancer for calling attention to incompetence and worse in our homeland security and intelligence ranks. Colleen Rowley and Tom Devine explain.
OPEN COURTS -- A federal judge overseeing a lawsuit challenging California's same-sex marriage ban is considering whether to allow closing arguments to be broadcast on television or the Internet, reports the Associated Press.
FREE SPEECH -- Given the difficulty some community college boards and administrators seem to have in grasping basic free speech concepts, the relevant faculty members may wish to apply for this grant to bring First Amendment experts to campus for general enlightenment. But act soon; deadline to apply is June 1.
OPEN MEETINGS -- Decision-making bodies are reportedly ducking their open meeting obligations at two community college campuses: Laney College in Oakland and Pierce College in the Los Angeles area.
PUBLIC INFORMATION -- After settling a lawsuit with Richard McKee, the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau disclosed that its insurance company spent about $250,000 on a lawsuit against a Santa Cruz surf shop to secure the city's nickname Surf City USA, reports Annie Burris for the Orange County Register. The settlement also means that the bureau and the Huntington Beach Hotel/Motel Business Improvement District, which the bureau oversees, will now open its board meetings and documents to the public.
OPEN GOVERNMENT -- Everyone knows that the deliberative process requires secrecy in order to encourage the candid expression of views to and by decision-makers that ensures the highest quality policy development. The trouble is, what everyone knows is an assumption, not a fact, and often contrary to fact, according to a new law review article noted by government secrecy pundit Steven Aftergood:
OPEN COURTS -- "The first full military commission hearings here since Barack Obama became president and pledged to deliver transparency were no more open than the court process had been under President George W. Bush," reports Carol Rosenberg for the Miami Herald.
PUBLIC INFORMATION -- Californians Aware and 15 press organizations from around the state today filed a friend of the court brief supporting a weekly newspaper's effort to get attorney's fees paid by the city that forced it to go to court to get public information.
PUBLIC INFORMATION -- A Los Angeles garment industry trade newspaper has been rebuffed without explanation in seeking a copy of the grant application submitted by the city as part of a $6.6 million plan to purchase a parcel of land and turn it into a park, reports the Los Angeles Garment & Citizen. The report says some citizens want to know how much of the grant would go to the actual purchase, and how much would be spent on improvements.
FREE SPEECH -- Jay Gaskill, former Alameda County Public Defender and now a blogger on legal and political issues, says he is "now persuaded, subject only to a searching inquiry in which the nominee convincingly testifies to the contrary, that E. Kagan cannot be safely confirmed as our next Supreme Court Justice. Based on the latest available information about the nominee's judicial philosophy, reasonable legal minds (mine included) are persuaded that as a Supreme Court Justice, Ms. Kagan can be expected to work tirelessly to secure the votes to implement a radical change in the high court's approach to free speech cases."