The words caught me by surprise. Even now, looking back over my notes, I’m taken aback by them.
“We’re pretty much working our way out of a job,” Liquor Control Director Franklyn Silva told the Maui County Liquor Commission during its July 11, 2007 hearing. “The Adjudication Board is going to be dormant for a while.”
Silva had been talking to the commission about minor decoy sting operations. It’s summer, and the LC has been running a lot of them. Silva said that when his department first starting sending undercover minors into the county’s bars and restaurants, a mere 47 percent properly carded the minor and then refused to sell. Today, Silva boasted that the compliance percentage tops 89 percent.
This actually poses a problem. For nearly every week since March 2004, this column has chronicled the deeds—and apparent misdeeds—of the LC. But now, through no fault of our own, this column is in danger of becoming obsolete.
See, Silva wasn’t exaggerating about the Adjudication Board, which sanctions license-holders for liquor license violations, has pretty much stopped hearing cases. Since the beginning of this year, the board has passed judgment on a grand total of eight licensees (the same period in 2006 saw 25 licensees hauled before the board on various alleged violations).
The July 5, 2007 hearing agenda had no new cases. Ditto the upcoming Aug. 2 agenda. There was no Adjudication Board hearing at all in June (or in February, for that matter), and the May meeting saw just one case.
If this continues, the Adjudication Board won’t be the only one out of a job.