Ask the Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: A friend and I (both in our 60s) were having dinner at a sparsely attended outdoor restaurant recently. While we were enjoying our pre-dinner drinks, we pulled out a cribbage board to play a game. (In case anyone might not know, cribbage requires a board and cards.) The restaurant’s manager told us there was a law that says we cannot play cards where liquor is served because we “might be betting,” and that he could be fined $10,000 if he allowed us to continue. We have played cribbage at many restaurants, and this was the first time we’d heard of that law. Is it really a law, or was this manager misinformed? By the way, if it is a law, I assume no bars are allowed to show sports on their televisions either, as people might be betting. Thank you for your answer.

A: The manager probably was erring on the side of caution, and indeed he was in error as the game of cribbage you were playing would most likely not be considered “entertainment” but personal use. The Enforcement Division of the Department of Liquor Control says that currently, a deck of cards is not considered as a game device. Customers sitting at a bar playing solitaire or doing a few magic tricks for laughs with friends are not considered official “entertainment.” However, if a person is doing magic tricks with the intent of entertaining guests/patrons at a venue where alcohol is served, that would be considered “entertainment,” which would trigger the venue’s need for a permit. The permit would be required regardless of whether the entertainer is being compensated or not; it is based on the intent of the use of the cards at the establishment.

Q: What’s the purpose of having people stay at the parks department sign-in office every day until the day you want to rent the hall? What happened to first-come, first-served for the day you want the hall? Who made up this stupid rule? Not every family has people to stand in line for weeks, eight hours a day, just to rent a hall one year in advance.

A: The parks permit office would like to reassure you that the only hall that seems to cause such a long wait is the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku and the current policy is still first-come, first-served. The difference is that it has eliminated the practice of literally camping out for days in advance, when folks used to actually pitch tents outside the office at War Memorial and live there for weeks. This was not only an eyesore, it was a liability for the county in that people were on-site during hours when all facilities were closed. The current policy allows people to sign in each day when the office opens, in a first-come, first-served manner, and to sign out when the office closes for the day. They can repeat the process to hold their position “in line” for the date if someone is there to relieve them, until the day comes for them to request the permit. Parks staff members say the current policy will remain in place until an alternative and equally fair method can be implemented.

Q: My relatives need to renew their Philippine passports soon. I saw the news article about the Philippine Consulate mobile outreach taking place on Maui on Nov. 18-19, but the announcement didn’t give the location. Where will the event be held?

A: The location was not listed because a preliminary visit to one of the county’s Immigrant Services offices is required before an appointment for the mobile outreach can be made. This is to ensure that people who attend the outreach have all the documentation, identification, etc., needed to complete their services efficiently. The location of the mobile outreach will be provided at your initial appointment, which must be made in person at one of the following offices: One Main Plaza, 2200 Main St., Suite 547, Wailuku; Lahaina Satellite Office, West Maui Senior Center, 778 Pauoa Place, Lahaina (open Thursdays only, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.); Molokai Office, 2 Kamoi St., Kaunakakai; or the Lanai Office, Lanai Senior Center, 309 7th St., Lanai City. To reserve an appointment for the mobile outreach, the following items will be required: Completed application, Philippine passport, permanent resident card and $6.65 priority stamp. If the current passport does not have an electronically readable chip, additional documents will be required. The mobile outreach will provide on-island services for Philippine passport renewal, dual citizenship, authentication and other consular services; priority will be given to expired passports or passports expiring within the next six months, disability or aged applicants and emergency travel. For more information, contact the County of Maui Immigrant Services Division at 270-7791. For general information about the Immigrant Services Division, visit

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County-related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email