In case you missed it, over the last two months the Maui County Liquor Commission has changed a lot of their rules for governing the sale of alcohol. According to two Maui News stories in the last couple of days, the LC is now allowing stores and hotels to sell booze 24 hours a day, removed the cap on the number of hostess bars in the county (it was 12) and are now allowing the home delivery of alcohol (click here and here for The Maui News stories). Of course, the LC is keeping all their ludicrous anti-dancing regulations on the books, but did you expect otherwise?
These are big deals, it’s great that the News is dedicating so many column inches to them. But it seems that LC Director Glenn Mukai is snowing them. In both stories linked above, Mukai tells reporter Chris Sugidono that he can’t talk to him. In fact, Mukai even says it’s county policy.
“Mukai, who has been accessible to the media in the past, declined an interview through intermediary, Deputy Director Mark Honda,” The Maui News reported on Mar. 23. “The deputy director said that Mukai could not speak to the media Wednesday due to county policy and referred all inquiries to county Communications Director Rod Antone.”
On Mar. 24, Sugidono writes, “Liquor department officials, including Director Glenn Mukai, said they could not speak to the media and referred all inquiries to County Communications Director Rod Antone.
This is bullshit.
First off, Mukai may have responded to The Maui News in the past, but he’s NEVER been accessible to me, never responded to my inquiries, and I like to consider myself a member of the media. By contrast, former Director Frank Silva, though I blasted his agency on a weekly basis for years, was always accessible to me. But more importantly, there is NO county policy that forbids him (or any other county manager) from speaking with reporters. I got that from Antone himself.
“What I ask all departments is that I be NOTIFIED first before they speak with the media if at all possible,” Antone told me this morning in an email. “I just like to know what’s coming down the pipe. I may have not made this clear to Director Mukai or Deputy Director Mark Honda, and for that I apologize if there’s been any confusion.”
Hey Mukai, if you don’t want to a reporter, then just say “no comment” or don’t return the call. Don’t insult our intelligence by conjuring up some nonexistent policy that’s easy to debunk.
Photo of Glenn Mukai courtesy County of Maui