It’s hard to find a more interesting and thought-provoking county document than the Maui County Department of Liquor Control 2005 Annual Report. From its bright red front cover emblazoned with the LC investigator’s badge to the completely blank white back cover that’s suitable to use as a placemat, the Annual Report gives true insight into the world of county liquor inspectors and liquor law enforcement.
In fiscal year 2005, the LC’s Adjudication Board saw 34 complaint and accusation cases totaling 106 charges. That was one fewer complaint and accusation from last year, but also way, way up over last year’s paltry 65 charges.
Of this year’s 106 charges, exactly zero were found “not guilty”—just like last year—though seven somehow wound up dismissed. Of the remaining 99, 95 ended in fines, three resulted in license suspension and there was one license revoked—that would be Idini’s in Wailuku.
LC investigators also looked into two-dozen noise complaints. “The Liquor Control Officers are certified in the use of instruments required to measure sound,” states the report. “The enforcement staff investigated complaints on noise emanating from licensed premises and administrative actions were taken against the licensees who were found to be in violation…”
This always confuses people, because “noise” is obviously not “liquor.” But—and this is a true story—the LC charter says one of the department’s jobs is to make sure liquor licensees aren’t too noisy. What noise—or obscenities, for that matter, which is another LC responsibility—have to do with the regulation of the sale and distribution of alcohol isn’t exactly clear from the report, but until residents and establishments start agitating to keep the Liquor Control department confined to liquor, this is the way things are.
But the report isn’t all dry tables and statistics. It’s got colorful photographs, too, of all the department staff, investigators, board members and commissioners. Well, not all the commissioners: Lanai’s Edwin Vila has a “No Photo Available” note next to his name. That’s because he hasn’t really showed up yet, even though his term of office began back in April.