Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Friday, October 27, 2000

State of Hawaii

State intends
to give more
info to public

Cayetano promises more
"common sense" in
releasing information

By Richard Borreca

Fearing that the state is overreacting to privacy concerns, Gov. Ben Cayetano wants state departments to get more information to the public.

Cayetano said yesterday at a state Capitol news conference that he had sent a memo to all state departments directing them to be more open in dealing with the news media and the public.

"My Cabinet members have been relying too much on the attorney general, to the point that now we have a deputy AG deciding the way we give information out," Cayetano said.

The governor was reacting to the Monday escape of Benjamin C. Andrion, a 43-year-old mental patient who stabbed his mother to death 20 years ago. Andrion turned himself in Wednesday.

"I told (health director) Bruce Anderson I thought they took too conservative an approach, given the fact that this guy murdered people," Cayetano said.

"Common sense dictates we do what is relevant to the safety of the community."

Because Health Department officials, who run the state mental hospital, were slow in releasing information about Andrion's background, Cayetano thinks the rules have to change.

"From now on when you ask for information, we will ask the attorney general for his or her opinion, but it is just an opinion," Cayetano said. "We will use common sense and err on the side of providing the information to the public."

The governor said his concerns extend beyond that one instance. He thinks the state isn't getting its message out.

One of the problems, according to Cayetano, is the Office of Information Practices, which was set up by state law to act as an arbitrator for people seeking information from the government.

"I think we have been stuck with too many legalisms, and that is going to change, even with the OIP, which is developing into a bureaucratic maze.

"If I had my way, I'd get rid of it and deal with the information the old way -- you folks (the news media) basically got what you want or you held the governor accountable," Cayetano said.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin