It’s hard to believe, but it’s come time to pick a new Liquor Control Adjudication Board chairperson and vice chairperson. More than a mere housekeeper, the chairperson directs hearings, rules on objections during not guilty “trials” and generally sets the tone of the nine-member panel that decides the guilt or innocence of establishments accused of violating the liquor rules.
For instance, Tami Nascimento—the outgoing chairperson, who’s term on the Adjudication Board ends at the upcoming March 1, 2007 hearing—set a far more relaxed, pleasant tone than her predecessor, Shigeto “Mustard” Murayama, who presided as chairperson for two years and seemed to spend nearly as much time arguing with Board Member Lance Collins as he did guiding the hearings. Murayama also never hesitated to hope out loud that liquor licensees would simply plead no contest to the charges against them so the hearings would go by faster—a view that, if Nascimento shares, she has mercifully kept to herself.
But Nascimento’s term is now up, as is that of Mary-Doreen Alborano, who refused the chairperson’s job last year. Current Vice Chairperson Marilyn Chapman still has a year to go in her term, so unless she doesn’t want the job, the rest of the board will in all likelihood vote her into the top chair.
But who for the vice chair spot—the all-important runner-up job that takes over in the event the chairperson can’t perform his or her duties (or just calls in sick)?
Bill Ghean, husband of former local Republican Party official Kay Ghean, is more than capable—he pays attention, often asks questions and I once saw him lecture the rest of the board on what was and wasn’t kosher according to Robert’s Rules of Order—but he’s an older guy and he sometimes leaves meetings early.
John Urauchi and Darren Lopez are nice enough, but still have a few years left in their terms. Joe Tanaka and Donald Fujii are both veterans of the Liquor Commission, but are just beginning their Adjudication Board terms.
That leaves banker Glenn Kunitake as the wild card choice. Barely in his first term, Kunitake is prickly, but fair. He’ll raise his voice and throw down a stern lecture. If nothing else, he certainly makes for good copy.