Restrictive Behavior

Maui Time | January 22, 2009

by Jacob Shafer

I was unable to attend the most recent Liquor Commission meeting, but I got an interesting report from attorney Lance Collins about an exchange that took place.

Collins came before the commission representing the West Maui Preservation Association (WMPA). In an effort to protect a stretch of shoreline for public use, WMPA is trying to impose conditions on the Honua Kai resort.

In an e-mail, Collins wrote that the conditions were tacked onto the hotel’s liquor license to provide “an easy mechanism for the public to enforce these protections.” Collins also says the conditions are in keeping with terms the hotel agreed to when it obtained permits from the Planning Commission in 2005.

Apparently all this didn’t sit too well with Commissioner Ron McOmber. Despite his reputation as someone who is tough and outspoken when it comes to punishing and placing restrictions on liquor licensees, McOmber, according to Collins, “couldn’t restrain himself from finding no jurisdiction for the liquor commission to impose any conditions whatsoever [on the Honua Kai resort].”

Furthermore, Collins says that McOmber wouldn’t even address him directly but aimed his questions at Director Frank Silva and the licensee’s attorney, who then had to ask Collins.

Collins, for those new to this column, is a former Adjudication Board member whose relatively short stint on the board ended contentiously. He has also helped the group Maui Dance Advocates bring a First Amendment challenge against the LC’s restrictive dancing rules, which have been a frequent target of ridicule in this space.

Put another way: I don’t think Collins (or Maui Time for that matter) is going to make the LC’s Christmas card list anytime soon.