In the some-holds-still-barred blame game that is the Maui County Liquor Commission hearings on the troubles at Kihei Kalama Village (KKV), one fact has recently become crystal clear. They may not come out and say so in explicit terms, but the Maui Police Department’s Kihei contingent blames the LC for all the service calls they have to make to the area.
Patrol Sergeant Mervin Ching said it himself during the Sept. 12 Commission hearing. There are, Ching told the commissioners, “too many bars” in KKV, which leads to a dangerous concentration of “intoxicated individuals.”
Whether Ching is right depends on your definition of “too many” (there are nine there right now), but there’s no denying a succession of Liquor Commissions put those bars in KKV. They approved every license, knowing full well where they were going and how many other licenses of the same class and kind already existed within a 500-foot radius.
Of course, the Department of Liquor Control staff isn’t taking police criticism lying down. While not exactly blurting out that the cops aren’t being cooperative with LCinvestigators, they’re doing a really good job implying as much.
For instance, during the Sept. 12 hearing Bill Pacheco, the LC’s chief enforcement officer, testified that he sat down with the cops months ago at a meeting that included the KKV owners and some of the licensees. Pacheco told the commissioners that Sergeant Ching contacted him and asked him to come to the Kihei station and talk to the police officers about what the LC inspectors are looking for and how best both agencies can go about their jobs.
Though Pacheco says he told Ching that he’s all set to go and even has a PowerPoint presentation he can show (you know how bureaucrats LOVE PowerPoint), he says he’s still “waiting for them Ching or any other Maui police officer to call.”