DEAR ABBY: The leadership of the Screen Actors Guild was highly gratified by your recent letter demanding confidentiality for private home addresses kept by government agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. We, too, believe that such information should be kept secret as a matter of both privacy and security.
The shocking and senseless murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer stunned and alarmed the entire acting community. The guild received dozens of phone calls from members urging that we take action to stop the virtually unrestricted release of home addresses and other private information by government sources.You and your concerned readers will be glad to know that the California State Legislature on Sept. 15 unanimously approved AB1779, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Roos, D-Los Angeles, which limits public access to private information. The bill was supported by the Screen Actors Guild.
Pam Dawber, who co-starred with Rebecca Schaeffer in the TV series "My Sister Sam," went to Sacramento to lobby for this vital measure. So did Rebecca's parents.
Once the bill is signed into law by the governor, all California citizens will be able to list an alternate address with the Department of Motor Vehicles, such as a post office box or business manager's address. This alternate address may also be printed on the driver's license. The private home address will then be kept strictly confidential, accessible only to law enforcement officials and authorized businesses such as auto insurance companies. Anyone else seeking information on another citizen will receive only the alternate address. In addition, there will be a 10-day delay between the request for information and the release of any data. During these 10 days, the DMV will notify the person that a request has been made for his or her personal information. The person will receive the name of the individual or company who made the request and the reason for it.
We believe that this is an important first step toward protecting the privacy and well-being of all California citizens. - MARK LOCHER, NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, SCREEN ACTORS GUILD, HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.
DEAR MARK: Congratulations. It's incredible (and regrettable) that a tragedy had to occur before this action was taken. But better late than never.
DEAR ABBY: I need your opinion on this situation. My son has requested that I call him before I come to his apartment.
I used to drop in any time and was always welcome. Now he has a roommate and things have changed. The roommate is a very nice fellow. He even offered to take care of me if I ever got sick. (My son is a flight attendant with a big airline, and he's out of town a lot.)
Abby, I don't think a mother should have to make an appointment to visit her own son. I am not a salesperson or a friend - I am his mother. I was born in Mexico, and it's an old Mexican custom that you don't have to call before visiting a relative. What do you say? - ONLY HIS MOTHER
DEAR MOTHER: Now that your son has a roommate, the roommate's privacy and convenience should be considered. Also, because flight attendants work irregular hours, your son may need to sleep some days when he's home, so his request is not unreasonable.
It will only take a minute, and you will be much more welcome if you call first. Trust me.
C) 1989 Universal Press Syndicate