The hearing room for the May 14, 2008 Maui County Liquor Commission meeting was unusually sparse. The agenda listed just two preliminary hearings, two public hearings and two “other licensing matters,” but it was even emptier than that.
Recently resigned Commissioner James Viela wasn’t there, of course, but neither were commissioners Blackie Gadarian or Ron McOmber. That meant the commission barely had a quorum. Liquor Control Director Frank Silva was also absent, so Deputy Director Wayne Pagan sat in his place.
Gadarian was always good for a quote or two, but the absence of McOmber was different. He never missed a chance to needle license applicants and always asked at least one question (usually, some variation of “Do you anticipate any construction delays?”). I wondered how his not being here would affect the meeting.
Chairman Robert Tanaka started the meeting at 9 a.m. At no time during the hearing did any commissioner ask any question of any of the six licensees or prospective licensees who came before them. The commissioners also never discussed any of the pending applications. Nor was there any public testimony on any agenda item, all of which were approved.
Pagan himself didn’t speak until the end, when he told the commissioners about an upcoming liquor rules workshop. Tanaka then adjourned the meeting.
I looked up at the clock. It was now 9:17 a.m.
“Short meeting,” one commissioner noted approvingly.
“We need to tell Ron about this,” another commissioner joked.