The Liquor Control Board of Adjudication is one step closer to getting a table for their hearing room that doesn’t make it seem to licensees responding to charges against them that the LC staff and prosecutor are part of the actual nine-member panel that will render judgment. Who knows if they’ll actually get that table, but they are one step closer.
Spurred by now-ex-Board Member Lance Collins, the table matter came up during the Feb. 9, 2006 Liquor Commission hearing. The issue before the five commissioners who bothered to show up that day was whether to accept Collins’ request for an official rule change and ask for a public hearing on the issue or reject the whole thing outright.
The hearing minutes show that, at first, Commissioners Blake Takayama and Manuel Moniz, Jr. seemed to have no idea what Collins wanted. After Collins methodically explained to them that the Adjudication Board weighs all evidence presented to it and not merely LC staff reports—and that he wasn’t asking the LC staff to leave the room but just sit away from the board—they seemed to figure it out. But they still weren’t convinced.
“To me is if [sic] the respondent did his homework with his attorney and his investigation, and he has a solid case, so to speak, to me, it shouldn’t be no fear [sic],” Takayama said, according the minutes. “It shouldn’t be no fear [sic] who sits there… You know, so, I do see your point, but I kinda don’t agree with the Department not being involved, which I think they should be, because, you know, we are basing a lot of stuff from their reports and their investigators.”
Having no idea what to do with Collins’ requested rule chance—which the commission actually failed to address within 30 days of receipt, as required by its rules—it toyed with simply rejecting the whole thing. Then LC Director Franklyn Silva suggested they agree to hold a hearing on the issue at the same time they’re going to address other proposed liquor rule changes—whenever that will be. The commissioners happily and immediately agreed.
“You know, in this case I think it’s a good recommendation,” Silva told the commissioners. “[O]ur main concern is being fair to the licensees, being fair to whoever comes before either the Commission or the Board.”