Gecko is mad as heck
LAHAINA – Kapono Gecko, who lives in the Lahaina Library, is mad as heck (shall we say) and cannot take it anymore. He is tired of the practice that if it makes sense on Maui, we do the opposite. Gecko wants to be dictator for as long as it takes to institute positive change.
Here is what he would do:
Hire a professional county manager from the 48 states who is an expert in running a municipality and will bring sound, informed thinking on improving Maui. The manager will have two assistant managers, and one will be sure whatever he/she does will be respectful to the culture. The other will be assistant manager for Lahaina with an office in town, so he or she can become acquainted with needs and opportunities. The manager would have the county take over the job of keeping Front Street clean and beautiful. Today, it’s up to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation and other groups to do this job, when they are supposed to be focusing on preserving history and other worthwhile things.
By the way, how often does Mayor Arakawa travel Lahainaluna Road? If he did, he would notice the large, ugly lot next to the 76 Station where he could build an esthetically pleasing parking garage. The land would be expensive, but the economic benefit to merchants would be huge. Part of the money would be generated by cutting the $100,000-plus salaries of many in the Arakawa Administration.
Anyway, here are Gecko’s dictates.
1) Hire a professional county manager from the continent who knows how to run a government. Name an assistant adviser to be sure the manager respects the culture. Hire an assistant for Lahaina to tend to things the county should be doing but does not.
2) Abolish the Police Commission and have the police report to the county manager or mayor. (Mayor Arakawa has no control now over the police.)
3) Abolish the Liquor Commission and its 22-year-old policies, and allow people to dance in restaurants. (Visitors are astounded that they cannot do this when hot music is being played.)
4) Get the white elephant Lahaina Bypass used. Increase speed limits to a sensible level (and not less, as today, than Honoapiilani in spots). Erect big signs that tout the bypass as the most scenic route on the way to Kaanapali, so that visitors can get a beautiful overview of the town instead of passing by garish gas stations and old buildings. Change the traffic signals so that you do not have to wait five minutes for the light to change entering or exiting the bypass at both ends.
5) Make Kaanapali Beach safer by taking it over as a municipal beach and erecting a lifeguard stand near Pu’u Keka’a (so-called Black Rock) to reduce drownings, which are increasing there.
6) Require new general managers to take an extensive course in Hawaiian culture, so they do not put up garish signs and call restaurants and spas by improper Hawaiian names.
7) Follow the advice of the late Ed Lindsey, who said Maui should not be a Disneyland. Cancel the ice rink around Christmas, which has no place in a warm climate. After all, we have an ocean to have fun in and beauty to behold.
8) Draw a green line at the bypass all the way to Kapalua and prohibit development above it, so that we do not become another Honolulu.
9) Stop using injection wells that eventually allow wastewater to seep throughout porous volcanic rock and into the ocean, destroying coral. Stop spending excess money on lawsuits against the federal government about following environmental standards.
10) Turn Moku’ula into a grassy field like the one at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua to respect this historic site. Avoid spending millions and waiting decades for completion. Spend some money to build an air-conditioned cultural museum to tell the Moku’ula story.
11) Create an affordable housing residential park with apartments and not unaffordable free-standing houses.
12) Abolish the Public Utilities Commission, which seems to favor the industry over consumers. Kill the recent law that favors Maui Electric, because it reduces the economic viability of solar (more on this later).
13) Enforce the GMO law passed by the voters, because this is a Democracy in which government is responsible to the people. (Even though Gecko is a dictator, he can at times decide to follow Democratic principles.)
14) Finally, and most important of all, ban the tendency of small boys to collect geckos in jars and decorate them with greenery that they cannot eat. We geckos make a big contribution to the island, and we need more of us, not fewer.
Columnist’s Notebook: The fame of Gecko is spreading. He was recently praised on a Chicago station in an interview with his friend, the columnist, by a radio host. Gecko invites readers to e-mail ideas on fixing Maui to email@example.com.