“The decision to enforce checking IDs for everyone is absolute horseshit,” Kula resident Kent Noonan emailed me recently. “Now I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore. This is really a waste of everybody’s time and an exercise in authoritarian control.”
Now the LC does many things that piss people off—like requiring all dancing at nightclubs take place within carefully taped-off zones or prohibiting cursing on stage—but the Card Everyone rule has really struck a nerve. Even the Maui County Department of Liquor Control now understands that Noonan speaks for many people. In fact, they’ve scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 13 to discuss eliminating the long-established LC rule of requiring all bars, restaurants and stores to card every man and woman, regardless of apparent age, who wants to buy booze.
Of course, there’s no guarantee the Liquor Commission—which approves all the county’s liquor rules—will agree to change the policy, regardless of how many Kent Noonans show up at the hearing. Being an insular body that’s part of an insular, self-funded county agency, it’s hard to predict how they’ll react to public criticism.
Then again, I realized as I chewed over Noonan’s email, the fact that the LC is a county agency is actually an advantage to those who want to change the carding rule. Sure, they do as they please, but they’re also beholden to the Mayor’s office, which appoints both the LC’s director and the various members of the Liquor Commission.
The mayor. Alan Arakawa—guy who’s running for reelection this year. You know, now that I think about it, the LC’s rule requiring all establishments to card everyone would make one hell of an issue in the mayoral campaign.
Imagine if you will, the spectacle of all 10 mayoral candidates sitting together at a candidate forum trying to explain to anxious voters how they’d want the LC to behave during their administration. All someone has to do is ask, and the rest should take care of itself.