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Gecko looking forward to basketball, politics

By Staff | Nov 20, 2014

LAHAINA – Kapano Gecko, the fictional character who sometimes writes for this column from the new computers at the Lahaina Library, is declaring island fever – the desire of some to get away from Maui because it is boring. Dead as, shall we say, a squashed gecko.

In an event-filled two weeks, he managed to keep cool under the ice sculptures at the international ice carving event, watch the reunion of Willie K and Amy Hanaialii at the MACC (it took him a week to hitchhike there), hear Keali’i Reichel at the “I Love Lahaina” benefit at Lahaina Cannery Mall, and sit under the statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, father of modern China who grew up on Maui, for a Wo Hing Museum celebration.

Despite the frantic pace that tired the little guy, he will be off again next week cowering and dodging basketball giants as they criss-cross the court at Lahaina Civic Center for the annual Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament.

Gecko likes to see the hundreds and hundreds in colorful garb and vie for limited press section seats available courtside. Occasionally, he likes to duck inside the media room to watch games on TV and get his three squares at the food table (this year offered up by Paradise Grill). The EA Sports people have the uncanny ability to pick hot teams, scheduling them several years in advance and then inevitably finding a number are nationally ranked.

An avid reader of Maui News, Gecko is looking forward to watching our new spectator sport: politics. Politics for years have been fairly placid, but there could be more fireworks in 2015.

Vocal disagreements between Mike White and re-elected Mayor Alan Arakawa may be a warm-up for what’s to come, with the newspaper copy-catting Gladys Baisa’s comments and calling White’s surprise takeover of the chairmanship of the County Council “a coup.”

Earlier this month, Gecko watched our councilwoman, Elle Cochran, get a big boost from the powerful SHAKA (no GMOs) Movement. She was losing to the congenial Ka’ala Buenconsejo for three-quarters of election night (when many walk-in and absentee ballots were counted) but pulled ahead, just as the ban GMO forces did the last third of the night.

Next year, we also get to watch – unless you are already tired of it – the second phase of the battle over GMOs. How active will Monsanto be in overturning the vote on legal grounds, and what will the county be doing both to defend itself in court as well as try to implement the new law?

It appears the SHAKA Movement is continuing its e-mail blitz. Maui may have never seen such sophisticated electioneering on both sides. Monsanto spent more than $7 million to fight the ban in little Maui. SHAKA rose from nothing to become a major political force. The question here is, what will SHAKA do with all the power of the people fueled? Will it now take on other issues?

In the good news department, he is looking forward to seeing energetic Sara Gadarian, known for her blue shirts just as her late husband, Blackie, had his orange, coordinate a jazz concert on Dec. 12 at the Royal Lahaina Resort.

This revives the series begun by Blackie a year or two ago. The event will feature the same musicians who played years ago at the opening of Blackie’s Boatyard Bar, known in these parts for its shipwreck wall dcor and Blackie yelling at people if they sat and didn’t always have a drink in their hand.

Gecko claims – like quite a few others – that he was thrown out of the bar one Sunday night, but if Blackie were still here, he would inevitable deny it.