Regarding that ad copy showing up as news stories on LATimes.com, Assistant Managing Editor Joseph M. Russin writes:
L.A. Observed certainly knows that this advertorial copy was not deliberately inserted into news columns on latimes.com. But we thank LAO for catching these errors. The ads noted on L.A. Observed were inadvertently coded improperly and then automatically placed on editorial Web pages by the computer system that transfers copy from The Times and its community papers to the Web site. We have added some new rules we hope will cause the computer system to weed out these errors.
I figured (and wrote) that it was a mistake. Glad it's fixed. I'll bet that readers will be watching to see if the fix holds.