Los Angeles City Council president Eric Garcetti apologized to representatives of the press Monday after they complained that new rules limiting movement in the council chambers would effectively muzzle them and prevent them from doing their jobs.
“I'll apologize … for anything that [you] saw this as an impediment to the job you are supposed to do,” Garcetti said. He vowed to work on changes to the rules and run them by members of the press, according to KNX 1070 Newsradio reporter Claudia Peschiutta, who was present at Monday's meeting with Garcetti, Councilwoman Jan Perry and Councilman Dennis Zine.
Members of the City Hall press corps complained after rules requiring reporters to request interviews through aides rather than asking council people questions face-to-face were enacted. Other limitations restricted where reporters could be in the public building.
Some members of the press noted that the rules have come at a time when the council was getting tough love from the press for its previous inaction on the city budget deficit.
Garcetti insisted that the new rules were designed to curb noise and disorder and were aimed mostly at City Hall's own denizens, admitting that “over the years, there's been a culture of not getting work done.”
“We've been complicit in that too,” he said. “So it's mostly rules for ourselves.”
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