Stadium may ban tailgate alcohol
Board members OK a task force proposal to prohibit drinking before sporting events
The Stadium Authority voted yesterday to recommend an alcohol ban at tailgate parties for University of Hawaii football games and other college and high school sporting events at Aloha Stadium.
Authority members moved forward the recommendation of a three-member task force -- made up of three board members who say the ban would protect fans from fights and other misbehavior caused by drunken spectators.
The task force recommended a ban of alcohol consumption at tailgate parties in the stadium's parking lot before, during and after "any high school event and at any regular season intercollegiate sporting event." Violators would be removed from the stadium property.
The task force shied away from an overall alcohol ban because of the contract with the concessionaire to sell liquor in the stadium. Centerplate, the stadium's concessionaire, has a contract with the state that expires in 2011.
"In the stadium we can control the selling of the beer and make sure everybody is of age, but out in the parking place, there is no control," said task force member Gilbert Kimura.
"When they walk in, they are already drunk. That's why we have to ban drinking in the parking lot," Kimura said. "These kinds of rules are made to protect the majority."
The recommendation still must undergo a lengthy review and public hearing process before it goes back to the Stadium Authority and then the governor for approval.
The recommendation will take at least 50 days before possibly going into effect, but officials believe it will take longer.
"It's not going to be that quick," said spokesman Patrick Leonard.
Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, interviewed while on Maui yesterday, said he was pleased with the recommendation and would like to see an alcohol ban in the stadium as well during UH games.
"I'm excited and delighted they took that big step," Aiona said.
While some state leaders supported the ban, some University of Hawaii student leaders oppose it.
"Right now, as I see it, we're moving toward the fastest solution and not the best one that involve all the students and fans alike," said Grant Teichman, president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, who attended yesterday's meeting.
ASUH earlier passed a resolution opposing a stadium alcohol ban.
"All the problems I've seen have been in the stadium. All the problems I've heard have been in the stadium," Teichman said.
"A very small percentage of the population is responsible for these misconducts," he added. "As of right now, the majority is going to suffer for that."
Stadium Authority member Nelson Oyadomari said the task force investigated security reports, consulted with security and talked to many game attendees.
Task force members recently observed the UH football team's home opener against the University of Southern California. One person was evicted from the stadium during that game for having an open alcohol container, said Herb Naone, head of stadium security.
Board Chairman Kevin Chong Kee said the task force will be working with stadium security to create an enforcement plan for the parking lot. "It's going to take time yet," he said.
"We're going to hear a lot of people say that you can't control this, you can't do this. But you know what, by showing that we will be proceeding with this, we'll tackle that, too," Chong Kee said.
"We think the drinking in the parking lot is the crux of everything because you have 3 1/2 hours to drink in the parking lot, and once they come in the stadium, they're pretty intoxicated," Chong Kee added, noting that they are mainly focusing on the safety of fans.
Star-Bulletin reporter Gary Kubota contributed to this report.