"Freedom of Information"
In late March, 1997, the League of Women Voters was informed that there would be a meeting of the Neighborhood Boar( Commission at 10 a.m. on Thursday April 3, 1997 in the Honolulu City Council Chambers. As chair of the Neighborhood Board Committee for League, Evangeline Funk was asked to attend the meeting. The following is her report.
"I arrived at City Council Chambers at 9:45 a.m. on April 3, 1997. There were five or six people seated around a table inside the wooden banister at the diamond-head end of the Council space near the gallery talking, no one spoke to me. So I sat down in the second row of the public gallery to wait for the meeting to begin The people around the table continued to converse in an inaudible fashion. Before 10 a.m. two other observers came in. One, a man from the Manoa board, came in as a private citizen, and the other, the president of the Koolauloa Board. Ten a.m. came and went and the people at the table continued to talk, but not loud enough for either the man from Koolauloa or me to hear. Finally the man from Manoa got up and stood at the podium and offered some suggestions. The people at the table exchanged some comments with him, then he left. The Koolauloa man asked if he could speak and was told that he could stay in the room, but they did not want any input from him. He said he was the president of his board and that he had taken a day - off from work to attend because his - constituents needed some answers, d and to his neighbors, he was their - representative in government. He u was informed that this was some r sort of ad hoc committee for review of Neighborhood Commission rules and they were not taking testimony. He told them he had been sent an invitation to the meeting and he believed that he was going to be able to speak and get some answers. The people at the table told him that no invitations had been sent out, that only an announcement that the meeting was to take place had been made public. The elderly man at the table was rather curt.
At about 11a.m. I left. All in all, the experience had not been very satisfactory for at least three reasons:
- The meeting had begun before the published time.
- No one ever announced who was meeting or what the meeting was about.
- No provision was made to make the remarks of the participants audible to the public in attendance.
Isn't there a section on open meetings in our Freedom of Information! Law?"
Chair, NB Committee