When the Maui County Liquor Commission meets on April 11, one third of its membership will be brand new. Well, kind of new. It almost goes without saying that all three of its new members are retirees—young people rarely apply for county boards and commissions, and the Liquor Commission, which grants new liquor licenses, isn’t exactly a stepping stone to high office—but two of the three “new” members are actually Liquor Commission veterans.
Merlyn Winters of Makawao spent five years on the commission from 1996 to 2000. “[I] thoroughly enjoyed the experience,” Winters, who’s worked as an office manager, drug store cashier and department store manager, wrote on her commission application. “Having been off for the past six years, I wish to serve again.”
But that’s nothing. Robert Tanaka of Wailuku has already spent two full terms on the Liquor Commission. Tanaka, a retired engineer and past president of the Maui Contractors Association, also served five years on the Maui County Police Commission.
“I’m retired and would like to serve the community and the County of Maui,” Tanaka wrote on his application. “With my experience, I think I can make a little difference in the quality of life for the people of Maui County.”
The wild card rookie is Henry Kauka of Molokai, who’s taking over the remainder of Zachary Helm’s term (which ends Mar. 31, 2008). Kauka retired from the county’s Department of Finance in December 2006 after working there 22 years as a vehicle registration clerk and driver’s license examiner.
He’s never served on a county board, but his application states that he’s owned a laundromat, tended bar on Molokai, worked as a food and beverage manager in Southern California and spent six years in a U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team.
A guy with actual liquor industry experience who’s also blown up stuff underwater? It’s going to be an interesting year.