How do you properly honor a year’s worth of accomplishments by the County of Maui Department of Liquor Control? With useless, meaningless awards, that’s how! So here’s to 2007, and hopes that 2008 will be just as exciting:
LICENSEE OF THE YEAR
The year was just four days old when Longhi came in to accept his prize—a $2,000 fine for over-service ($1,000 suspended)—from the LC Adjudication Board in person. “Hope you don’t hold this against me because I really enjoy your food,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Hanano told Longhi during a break in the festivities.
JUDGE OF THE YEAR
Not even counting the tortured Superferry hearings, Judge Cardoza had a really busy year in 2007. First, in February, he threw out Casanova’s appeal of two Adjudication Board rulings of over-service. Then in November, he tossed the Maui Dance Advocates appeal of the Liquor Commission’s refusal to amend its ancient, Footloose-like rules governing dancing.
TRAGEDY OF THE YEAR
How the popular Lahaina nightclub could go from clean record to three over-service convictions and a revoked license in the span of just six months will be remarkable for a long time. Then again, the real tragedy comes from the fact that two of the three over-service cases involved people who died in drunk driving accidents.
LIQUOR COMMISSIONER OF THE YEAR
Arsene “Blackie” Gadarian
Really, Blackie is a good guy. Always good for a quote—he was so proud of his Dec. 12 quip “Starting a business on Maui is like winning the war in Iraq” he called me the next day to remind me of it—Gadarian was a little too quote-worthy during the agonizing April hearing on dancing: “If you feel you’re being persecuted,” Gadarian told one dance enthusiast during the hearing, “find another island.”
ENDLESS DISCUSSION OF THE YEAR
Kihei Kalama Villages
Some day, I keep telling myself, the Liquor Commission is going to decide to do something about the thick collection of bars in South Maui known as Kihei Kalama Villages. The cops—who get a lot of service calls from the area—have been after the LC for months to force all the bars there to shut down at midnight. But the LC has so far refused to do that—or anything else, for that matter.