It says so right in the Maui County rules that the “Liquor control commission shall consist of nine members…” Who knows why—odd number to prevent ties, there are nine Supreme Court Justices, a cat’s got nine lives—but it says there have to be nine, so there are nine.
Except for the last six months, there haven’t been nine Liquor Commissioners—there have been just eight. The ninth, Lanai resident Edwin Vila, was appointed on March 31, 2005 to a five-year term but he hasn’t yet appeared at a hearing.
Appointed by Mayor Alan Arakawa at the last minute without a proper application—the County Council had rejected his earlier Lanai nominee—Vila was to make his first appearance at the April 13, 2005 commission hearing.
I looked all over the dais, but he wasn’t there.
Nor did he show up at the May 11 hearing. In fact, just five commissioners, barely a quorum, bothered to shop up to that meeting. Guess they heard he wasn’t going to reveal himself, and stayed at home.
I was thrilled when I walked into the June 15 hearing, because Vila’s official nametag was perched on the dais in front of a chair. This was the day I was finally going to meet the mysterious new member! But then a few minutes into the hearing Chairman Donald Fuji announced that Vila couldn’t arrange a flight over from Lanai, and was excused.
Vila also didn’t show at the next hearing, on July 13. Near the end, Fuji said Vila wasn’t there because there had been a death in his family.
I was beginning to think I was never going to see Vila. The public access TV station Akaku sent a broadcast crew to the Aug. 10 hearing, but Vila blew his big chance to get on television by not showing.
Ditto the Sept. 7 hearing. His nametag was there, but he wasn’t. This time, no one at the LC mentioned his name. Guess they’ve forgotten all about him.