The Jacksonville, Fla., alt-weekly first requested a document related to the city's NFL team, the Jaguars, in March 2004. The city initially told Folio that it did not possess the document the paper was requesting, a claim it made repeatedly over the next three years in regards to other football-related documents. Only after the paper spent more than $9,000 on an attorney and threatened legal action did the city finally admit it actually did have the requested documents. Turns out Jacksonville had 25 boxes worth of documents related to the football stadium renovations and the city's bid to host the Super Bowl. "Our quest to obtain the records ended with a small victory -- the city provided many documents and repaid $5,000 of our legal fees," writes Folio's Marvin Edwards. "But it also highlighted the city's contempt for public records laws, and its utter lack of accountability."
Bill Lueders (pictured) wrote the lyrics based on his own troubles with records requests, then convinced Wisconsin musician Peter Leidy to write music and record the song in time for Sunshine Week, a national observance of the public's right to information about its government. "It's a topic with contemporary resonance," says Lueders, who is also the president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. Isthmus won two open records lawsuits against the Madison Police Department, in 1996 and 1998. "The Open Records Blues" can be downloaded here and is free for broadcast.
Competition from behemoth discounters like Wal-Mart and free downloading of music from the Internet had the giant record retailer singing a sad song in court Monday. The 93-store chain based in West Sacramento, Calif., intends to keep operating its stores as it reorganizes, its chief executive tells Reuters.