Friday, January 4, 2002

What the Gov has
up his sleeve

The governor has some sort of business up his sleeve; but is keeping it close to the vest.

When this last term ends he might go back to practicing law, "at a different level," he said, than he did in the 1980s when he joined David Schutter's high-profile Honolulu law firm.

However during a meeting between Gov. Ben Cayetano and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial board yesterday he appeared to be leaning toward -- dare it be said -- entrepreneurship when his term is pau.

He's met many people and has been exposed to many ideas over the years, he said, adding, "there's a whole new world for me." He didn't go into detail.

The privatization bill was a step toward running the state more like a business but not all state functions can be run that way, he said.

However, the state could benefit were the government given more flexibility to "reward employees who perform and weed out those who don't," he said. "I can't fire anybody," he chuckled.

Cayetano did downsize the governor's office staff from 226 full-time equivalent employees in 1994 to 62 at the end of the last fiscal year; six fewer than he had as Lt. Gov. in 1994. "The guy who was here before me had a lot of staff," he laughed.

What would a regular person -- given his job for a day -- be shocked to learn? That person "would find that the governor is not so powerful after all," Cayetano said, but quickly added, "This is the greatest political job in Hawaii. I'm pretty grateful for the privilege."

New joint media venture

Two newspaper companies have formed a joint venture to operate and expand, a travel and entertainment Web site.

The announcement was made yesterday by Virginia-based media conglomerate Gannett Co. Inc. and Las Vegas-based Donrey Media Group. Gannett publishes some 99 daily newspapers including the Honolulu Advertiser and a few small classified advertising publications in Hawaii. Donrey operates news bureaus, an Internet division and publishes 20 newspapers in eight states including the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, West Hawaii Today and two smaller Big Island publications.

" has the potential to become the definitive Hawaii tourism site, and we're thrilled to be able to join with Donrey in making it so," said Gannett Pacific President Mike Fisch, in a statement.

Management of the operation "will come under Gannett's side," but "our staff has been retained," said General Manager and Director of Sales Sheri Rolf.

The "deeper and more robust" site will be relaunched in the late spring or early summer, she said.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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