Example #73 of how the Maui County Liquor Commissioners don’t pay attention:
More than half of the July 11, 2007 Liquor Commission hearing dealt with the crime situation at Kihei Kalama Village (KKV), and commissioners heard testimony from a police officer, LC officials, the property owner and various people who hold liquor licenses in that area. It was a lot to take in, but not nearly overwhelming.
At one point, Commissioner Ron McOmber asked LC Director Franklyn Silva if new liquor license applications for KKV—or another area densely packed with licenses—gets routed to the Maui Police Department. Silva said no, and then for the first time in a long time, I could actually see that the wheels were turning in McOmber’s head.
So that’s why you always give us the number of already existing liquor licenses within 500 feet of an applicant’s location, McOmber said to Silva, registering perhaps for the first time why LC Officer Mike Kawagishi always mentioned exactly how many other licenses already existed close by when reporting on the latest liquor license applicant.
And the implication—that KKV is densely packed with liquor licenses because past Liquor Commissions allowed it to become so—wasn’t lost on McOmber, either.
“If it starts here, maybe we should be more vigilant,” he told his colleagues on the panel.
Whether McOmber’s colleagues understood what he was saying is debatable. Following up on McOmber’s suggestion, Commissioner Merlyn Winters—who also spent five years on the Liquor Commission in the late 1990s—asked Silva if he could put a “red flag” on applications destined for areas already packed with bars.
“It can be part of the report,” he said, before adding that LC officials already do that. “We tell you how many licensees are in that area,” he said, as though his exchange with McOmber just moments before hadn’t actually taken place.