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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Cayetano to cooperate in Felix consent inquiry

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Capitol Bureau Chief

Gov. Ben Cayetano said yesterday his administration will cooperate fully with an investigation by state lawmakers into the spiraling costs of the Felix consent decree, but warned lawmakers to "tread softly."

"We want them to find out the answers to some of the questions that are there, but what we don't want is for them to engage in an investigation which will become political and which will convince (federal court) Judge (David) Ezra that the objectives are not really to determine what the true facts are, but to look at this issue in a political way."

The first meeting of the legislative committee will be today. The joint Senate-House investigative panel was authorized this session amid growing concerns over millions of dollars being funneled into special education. The Felix consent decree requires the state to provide services to special education children with mental disabilities.

Cayetano said he is confident that under the leadership of state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Kalaeloa-Makaha) and Rep. Scott Saiki, D-20th (Kapahulu-Mo'ili'ili), the joint committee will probe the right areas.

He also said the administration has some questions of its own.

"We have heard anecdotes about kinds of treatments that have been proposed, which on its face seem rather unreasonable. I'm not going to say specifically what they are right now."