The Maui County Liquor Commission‘s decision back in March to legalize liquor sales at retail stores and hotels 24 hours a day is one of those bizarre actions that seems to characterize the LC. Were grocery stores really clamoring to sell beer at 4am? Was the LC give enough notice to the public ahead of time about their proposed rule changes? And did the commission really think that changing this rule, rather than, say, the lame one that prohibits a person at a club from dancing outside of a specially designated dancing zone, was the best use of their time?
In any case, Mahina Martin, a representative of the group calling itself the Coalition to Repeal 24 Hour Alcohol Sales, has succeeded in getting the commission to address a petition they’ve circulated that calls for the end of the new rule. On Tuesday, May 9, the Liquor Commission will discuss that petition during a special meeting (their regular monthly meeting, set for Wednesday, May 10, also includes discussion of the petition). While the agenda makes clear that “No action by the Commission is anticipated” on this petition, the special meeting will include public testimony, which given the controversy generated by these rule changes, should be something to see.
Speaking of controversy, you know who really doesn’t care for these new rules? That would be Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu. During the April 7, 2017 Maui County County Budget and Finance Committee hearing, Councilmember Elle Cochran asked Faaumu what he thought of the new rules. Here’s what he said, taken directly from the meeting minutes:
Thank you, Mr. Chair. My comments will be based on the notification that I receive from the districts that are dealing with some of the activities in the early morning hours that related to liquor. I know that the concern that we have and as a former commander of the South Maui District, I get complaint[s] from coaches and parents about some individuals that really have a lot of time in their hands and they like to have a few cold ones throughout the day. And by the time our children and the families get to the park to either soccer practice or tennis practice, these folks, their behavior and their demeanor is unruly and we need to address those. But that was during those blackout hours. Now we’ll… it’s available now 24 hours so right now I don’t have anything to gauge it on, but I only can gauge my comments based on the couple hours of blackout and the issues we are dealing with. So you can use your imagination now that it’s available 24 hours, will there be an increase? Thirty-two years of being a police officer, I believe that it will be, and I can comment on some of the facilities or the establishment out on the South Maui or even on the West Side. When they cut you off, when you have enough and they says okay, now you can go home, you have enough liquor in your system, well, it’s usually they’ll go home or they’ll go sleep somewhere. But now the liquor is readily available so if the establishment kick them out they’ll go down to the Foodland or the other places and buy some and continue on, you know. But again, it’s an assumption on my part just using my experience as a police officer. Thank you, Chair.
The special Liquor Commission meeting will take place at 9am on Tuesday, May 9 in the Department of Liquor Control Conference Room (2145 Kaohu St., Wailuku), which is also known as Room 108 of the David K. Trask Jr. Building.
Photo of MPD Chief Tivoli Faaumu courtesy County of Maui