The Liquor Commission has two jobs: approving the rules that govern the manufacture, distribution and sale in Maui County and granting licenses to sell alcohol. Mostly, they do the latter, which is why it’s disappointing to watch the commissioners act more or less clueless when new prospective licensees come before them to get approval.
Case in point occurred during the June 13, 2007 meeting. About halfway through the agenda came the first of two public hearings for Blackie’s Pit Stop IV, a liquor store currently under construction in North Kihei, a little over 500 feet from the Kihei Charter School. But before the owners of Blackie’s could even take their seats at the witness table, commission chairwoman Frances Meshulam stopped the hearing.
“Should one of the commissioners be excusing himself?” she asked, apparently referring to Commissioner Arsene “Blackie” Gadarian.
The panelists looked at each other. Gadarian said nothing.
“Is there any interest?” Corporation Counsel Tracy Fujita Villarosa asked after a few awkward moments. “I think it’s just the name.”
Gadarian still said nothing, the commissioners looked at each other some more and the hearing continued. When it came time for the commissioners to ask questions, Gadarian leaned forward to his microphone.
“As a commissioner, I’ve got to dispel questions that have arisen about the name ‘Blackie,’” he said, apparently oblivious to the fact that commissioners had wondered about that very fact five minutes earlier. Then he explained that a few years ago a local businessman had asked him if he could call his liquor store “Blackie’s.”
“The remuneration I’d get was the big sum of $10 a year,” Gadarian said. “I agreed… My ex-wife’s named all of her dogs ‘Blackie.’ I don’t mind that, though I don’t know about the dogs.”
After that line, the commission’s preliminary approval was anti-climactic.