Stadium's alcohol hearing Dec. 21
Many UH students will be on break when the ban on alcohol at games is discussed
THE ALOHA STADIUM Authority's public hearing on an alcohol ban for tailgaters is scheduled for Dec. 21 during the University of Hawaii's winter break, prompting one student leader to complain that state officials don't care about student opinions on the proposal.
The hearing -- at 6 p.m. in the stadium hospitality room -- is set for the night before the authority's monthly meeting, where the matter is likely to be debated and could be voted on, authority board Chairman Kevin Chong Kee said yesterday.
The authority is considering whether to ban alcohol in the parking lot during tailgating at regular-season UH and high school games. The ban would not apply to alcohol sales inside the stadium. It also would not affect the post-season Hawaii Bowl or the Pro Bowl.
Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa President Grant Teichman said he believes the authority is moving too fast in holding a hearing during the holiday season when UH students are on break.
"It's not surprising. It makes sense to hold this meeting when the only opposition is on break," Teichman said. "I don't think they have any interest in hearing any input from anyone but the lieutenant governor and (UH) President (David) McClain."
But Chong Kee said the date was selected because it falls about 30 days after the publication of the hearing notice in a local newspaper.
The governor approved the public hearing Thursday.
"We just followed our schedule," Chong Kee said. "We're not going to prolong anything. If we say we're going to do it, we're going to do it and have it finished."
Russ Saito, comptroller of the state Department of Accounting and General Services, said the decision on the alcohol ban should be made as soon as possible to allow UH to plan its marketing for next season and to allow people to make decisions about ticket purchases next fall.
"In all fairness, people should know what it (the policy) is at a reasonable amount of time," Saito said. "We should do it quickly, do it expeditiously and see where the chips fall."
Chong Kee and Saito emphasized that the outcome of the hearing is not pre-determined.
"At this point, we (the board) are together on what we're supporting now," Chong Kee said. "But I think there's still a lot of public testimony ... There's a lot of good and bads about it so we have to hear everything."
If the proposal is approved on Dec. 22, the tailgating alcohol ban could take effect the first week in January.
However, Chong Kee and Saito said if new issues are raised during the public hearing, the board may put off a vote until its next meeting.
The board will also consider two other less controversial proposed rule changes on Dec. 21. One proposal would reduce the rent for UH football games. The other would impose a $1 a person fee for events that do not charge admission at the stadium.
UPCOMING HEARING ON TAILGATE ALCOHOL BAN
» Time limits may be set on testimony during the Aloha Stadium Authority public hearing on the partial alcohol ban during University of Hawaii's football season.
» The hearing will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 21 in the Aloha Stadium hospitality room near the main ticket office at the south end zone.
» Testimony can be submitted in writing by mail to:
Aloha Stadium Authority
P.O. Box 30666
Honolulu, HI 96820-0666
Or faxed to: (808) 486-9520