Let’s open up the LC Watch mailbag, and field a question from Alan (no last name given, and the reason will become obvious in a moment), who wonders: “Does the LC [conduct] minor decoy stings at hostess bars?”
Hostess bars, for those unfamiliar, are the joints in Central Maui (there are about a dozen in Wailuku and at least one in Kahului) where you can go in, buy a drink and get a girl on the side instead of mixed nuts. (For a first-person account of what goes on in these places, see Maui Time’s July 2005 feature “What it’s like to work in Wailuku’s hostess bars.” (http://www.mauitime.com/Articles-i-2005-07-14-171721.112113_What_its_like_to_work_in_Wailukus_hostess_bars.html) Or see for yourself, provided you’re of legal drinking age and don’t have a jealous spouse waiting at home.)
The bars are given class 5, category D licenses and are defined in the LC’s rules as “premises in which employees or entertainers are compensated to sit with patrons.” Those employees have to be registered with the department.
Anyway, “Alan,” to answer your question: Yes, the LC does indeed conduct minor decoy stings at hostess bars. The most recent bust noted in this space was in July 2008, when Saigon Palace was slapped with a $2,000 fine (half suspended pending good behavior, if that’s the right word), after one of its employees asked a 19-year-old kid if he wanted to buy a drink.
The LC started dispatching decoys to hostess bars in 2007, and even boasted about it in the “accomplishments” section of its annual budget report. Ah yes, sending underage kids into seedy neon dives to get propositioned by, ahem, “hostesses.” Truly something to be proud of. MauiTime, Jacob Shafer