Hannemann defends withholding feedback
Mayor Mufi Hannemann defended his administration's decision to withhold immediate access to public comment sheets that were collected during two meetings on mass transit this week.
"Given how the meeting was set up, yes, I think it was OK," Hannemann said. "I think it was the right call to make and also because I think we had strong legal standing on that."
Members of the administration denied a Star-Bulletin request to review the comments each night -- the first meeting was held at the Blaisdell Center, and a second meeting was held in Kapolei.
They acknowledged that the comment sheets are public records but contend that they do not have to release them immediately.
"I've always been one to say we should have an inclusive process open it up, whether it's to the media or the public, so I don't think this was a deliberate attempt to hide information from the public," Hannemann said. "I think in due time it will be made available to you and others."
Hannemann's press secretary, Bill Brennan, had said earlier this week that the documents would not be released until after the forms were reviewed by the administration.
The comment sheets were deposited into boxes by people attending the meeting. While a reporter was reviewing the comment sheets in an open-top box, a city official removed the boxes to another table. The next night, the single box available for the sheets was covered except for a small opening for people to deposit their sheets.
Hannemann said there would be plenty of opportunities in a series of planned future meetings, including town hall meetings, to get further public input on all options for improving transportation on Oahu.