RE: "Trust in state government violated again" (Feb. 2, 2007). All of the so-called "confidential" contracts (called into question in an Associated Press report on the California Department of Justice when Bill Lockyer was attorney general) complied with state laws and regulations.

All were approved by the state's procurement regulator.

None were "hidden" from the media or public.

The Department of Justice contracted with the Ferguson Group for Washington D.C. lobbying services following a competitive process. DOJ officials interviewed a number of firms, and the results prove DOJ made the right choice.

The Ferguson Group (recipients of two $489,000 contracts) helped secure for California $13.5 million in new federal funds to fight terrorism, methamphetamine trafficking, gangs and violence against children.

The department first retained the Cotkin, Collins & Ginsburg law firm

10 years before I became attorney general. Their $2 million contract complied with the law, which allows no-bid contracts for legal services. The firm represented the state in litigation to recover taxpayer expenditures to clean up the Stringfellow acid pits. So far, the state has recovered more than $121 million of the taxpayers' money.

Several contracts to provide parking for DOJ employees were exempt under state law from competitive bid requirements — for good reason.

DOJ needed to find safe, secure facilities for its employees within walking distance of its offices in Sacramento. Typically, there was only one such lot to choose from and no one else with any vacancies to "compete" for the bid.

Bill Lockyer

California State Treasurer

What we should

and shouldn't do

We need to stay out of Iraq, stop building a 104-acre U.S. embassy that would have all the amenities our invasion has denied the Iraqi people (like electricity, clean water and sewage management), and stay out of Iran. End oil subsidies, and stop destroying the middle class in our country.

Helen Cochems

Hayward

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