SBH news and views official logoBY SAM SLOM – Conference Committees Herald Legislature’s Final Days. The Hawaii Legislature began meeting in Conference Committees yesterday to negotiate the final versions of bills with different House and Senate language. This signals the coming May 1 adjournment of the 27th Legislature. Many more bills were agreed to before Conference this year, and there were fewer controversial bills, probably because this is an election year. No money bills can pass before the two-year $24 billion supplemental budget is adopted. Most contentious bills seem to be the minimum wage increase bill and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Kaka’ako development proposal.
 
Bill to Restrict HCDA to Governor. The state House of Representatives passed an omnibus bill that seeks to improve management, legislative oversight and public participation of the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA). HB1866 HD2 SD2 is one of a number of bills that originated in the House, was amended by the Senate, and now goes to the Governor for his review. The Governor has the option of signing the bills into law, vetoing them, or allowing them to become law without his signature.

“HB1866 will allow us to ‘reboot’ HCDA and allow it to refocus on its mission, provide greater transparency in its operation and decision making, and allow the public to have greater input in its deliberations,” said Rep. Scott Saiki (Kakaako, McCully, Kaheka, Downtown), who introduced the bill.

“Capitol Idol II” Held. Yesterday, the State Senate, House and Executive branches dueled it out with a talent showcase. The more flamboyant Executive Branch outscored the Senate by a wide margin but it was all for a good cause: The Hawaii Food Bank. Competitors included Senators Galuteria, Gabbard, Ruderman, Soloman, Baker, Chun Oakland, Kidani and Espero; House members included Lauren Cheape Matsumoto and Ken Ito, and Executive Branch’s Blake Oshiro and his “Cabinettes.” The public should have been more in attendance; taxpayers pay for all the fun at the Capitol.

Linda Smith Named. The Angel Capital Association, the North American trade association of accredited investors that invest in high-growth early-stage ventures, has elected Kevin Laws, chief operating officer of AngelList (San Francisco), and Linda Lorraine Smith, member of Sierra Angels (Incline Village, Nev.), to its Board of Directors. Both were elected at ACA’s Annual Member Meeting on March 26, 2014, during the 2014 ACA Summit in Washington, D.C.

Smith has had a distinguished public and private career as well as being an active angel investor and advocate. Her public career included serving three U.S. presidents, two congressmen, one mayor, and a governor (Linda Lingle). In Hawaii, Smith was the director of finance for the city and county of Honolulu, responsible for a budget exceeding $900 million. She was also a senior policy advisor to the governor of Hawaii, where she was involved in tax policies that encourage angel investing. She has made investments through the Hawaii Angels and has been an active member of the Sierra Angels since moving to Lake Tahoe, Nev., with her husband Paul in 2011.

Aston Names Rafter President. Vacation Holdings Hawaii has named Benjamin Rafter president of Aston Hotels & Resorts. Rafter also serves as president and CEO of Aqua Hospitality and Aqua Hotels and Resorts in Hawaii. He will continue to report to Kelvin Bloom, president of VHH. Aston and Aqua are subsidiaries of Honolulu-based VHH, which acquired Aqua in late 2013.

HHL Taps Uchida. Honolulu HomeLoans, one of Hawaii’s leading mortgage bankers, is welcoming Brian Uchida to the team as Assistant Vice President. In his new role, Uchida will specialize in residential mortgage loan origination.

Don’t Be A Habitual Dumper! Firms and individuals that engage in illegal dumping will face fines of up to $10,000 per day, criminal prosecution and be forced to restore land to its natural condition under three new bills introduced today at the Honolulu City Council meeting by District 1 Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine. According to Bills 35, 36, and 37, violators of the City’s grading and stockpiling ordinances, which regulate illegal dumping, will see a 500% increase in maximum civil fines which now increase from $1,000 per day to $5,000 per day for the most egregious violations. Additionally, for the most egregious violations, including those committed by the same firm or person at the same site in a 12-month period (‘repeat violators’), the City will pursue criminal prosecution and double the daily fines, subjecting a violator to a potential penalty of $10,000 a day while the violation exists, and order the violator to return the land to its natural state.

Pro Bowl Goes East. The NFL Pro Bowl will not be held in Honolulu next year but will return in 2016. There had been talk previously of either yanking the bowl completely or moving it from Honolulu. This year’s Pro Bowl was a hit and favorite of fans, but is still being moved despite the wide approval by the players.

Napier Heads PBN. Veteran Honolulu journalist A. Kam Napier is the new editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News. Napier formerly headed up Honolulu Magazine and worked with Becker Communications.

First LNG in Hawaii. PBN reported “Hawaii Gas has recently begun shipping in liquefied natural gas to its Pier 38 facility off Nimitz Highway in Honolulu, making it the first company in the state to import this type of fuel, which has the potential to cut costs and amount to major savings for ratepayers.

“Hawaii Gas, which sees LNG as an important step in achieving lower energy costs, took in its first shipment of the fuel last week in a 40-foot container that was transported on a conventional container ship from the West Coast. The fuel is then regasified using a mobile vaporizer and injected into its synthetic natural gas distribution pipeline system.”

Abercrombie Puts Boot in Mouth. In an article Monday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie told visiting L.A. Times political writer Mark Z. Barabak, “I received that (death bed) letter ostensibly coming from Sen. Inouye, himself, a half an hour before he died in Washington D.C. literally… Whether or not this could be construed as Sen. Inouye’s dying wish – let me put it this way is problematic. I think it was kind of created.”

That statement created a firestorm here, and outraged the Colleen Hanabusa Senate campaign and Inouye’s family.
Monday afternoon KITV4 caught up with Abercrombie who said, “I really don’t have anything to say about the letter. It came. It was marked personal. I read it and I absorbed it and those who put it together I think have to answer about the letter,” said Abercrombie.

Then later Monday evening, the governor issued an apology: “I regret that my comments were interpreted as hurtful and disrespectful. Sen. Inouye was, without a doubt, one of the finest leaders in Hawaii’s history and a mentor to me.”

Wilson to be Sworn In. The Honorable Michael D. Wilson will be sworn in as an associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday, April 17, at 4 p.m. in the Supreme Court courtroom, 417 South King Street.

HAL Fined $500,000. Hawaiian Airlines which is used to getting positive national recognition, was fined a half million by the Feds on Monday for allegedly using an aircraft not properly certified or a period of years. HAL had no immediate comment.

UH “Wreck” Center Opens. After a 16-month construction delay and millions in change orders, the beautiful new University of Hawaii Recreation Center opened in Manoa last Friday. However, like too many other recent UH projects, there were avoidable glitches. Hawaii News Now reports that after telling alumni they could enjoy the facility for 2 weeks prior to paying an annual $300 use fee, they turned alumni away saying they had no way to verify their status. Additionally, the Center had no web site and gave out non-working telephone numbers. Hopefully, they will solve these problems, later rather than sooner.

American Mattress Sold. The American Mattress stores in Hawaii have been bought by a Sacramento bedding firm.

Fool me Once, Shame on Me; Fool Me Twice, Shame on…Macy’s. Last Wednesday I went to Macy’s Ala Moana to buy a Queen mattress set that appeared in a Star-Advertiser ad the previous Sunday. I took the ad with me. The set was “lowest price ever: $297.” The salesman said, “Oh, that’s a Mainland ad.” It was in the Advertiser. I asked if it was available on line and he said, “Yes, but they don’t ship to Hawaii.” While he didn’t have any $297 sets Macy’s had plenty of $797 sets in stock. Has this happened to you?

Good Bye Longs? CVS, which purchased the Longs Drug Stores in Hawaii several years ago, has quietly transformed the stores to a more CVS model. They wisely kept the Longs name, a Hawaii staple (even though the company had been founded in California), but have been adding more CVS brand products and changing the interior of the stores. Last week, after a prior announcement, customers could only get the advertised sales prices if they had a CVS reward card. Meanwhile, the newest Longs Drugs opens on South King across from McKinley High.

2014 Candidates Emerging. This week, several new political candidates have emerged: Republicans Richard Fale for the State Senate, Cam Cavasso for the U.S. Senate and Charles Djou for Congress. Cavasso running on the theme of “A Steersman for Hawaii” (he is an avid canoe paddler) brought an outrigger canoe to the Capitol lawn Tuesday to launch his campaign. Many more have pulled papers and will be filing soon for the August 9 Primary.

You’ve Got the Power. If you missed the new half hour television show, You’ve Got the Power, produced by Malia Zimmerman, Irma Baptiste and Shaunna Touchi of Luminescent Productions, last Saturday, it will air again this Saturday, April 19 at 6 p.m. on KHLN (Channel 8 on Oahu). The show, which focuses on people who have overcome great odds to be successful and then help many other people, features Skylar Soares, Delorese Gregoire and Mo Maurer in the first episode.

Soares, 12, is the SBH Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013. She founded with the help of Make a Wish Foundation and HPU, the HiSky retail business. Gregoire is the founder of Winners Camp and has helped 15,000 teenagers discover their leadership skills and talents. And Maurer, a Maui resident, founded Assistance Dogs of Hawaii and has helped thousands of people in need find they joy and independence they deserve. Sponsors include HMAA, King Windward Nissan, InControl Diabetes Center, Pharmacare, Hawaii Homestay, Revolusun and Ted Hong-Attorney at Law.

If you know someone who has overcome tremendous challenges to be successful and then help many others, nominate them to be on the show at showyourpower.com

SUNRISE Networking Breakfast. CPA and City Council candidate, Natalie Iwasa, will be the keynote speaker at the next monthly SBH Sunrise Networking Breakfast speaker, next Thursday, April 24, 7 – 8:30 am in the Pineapple Room of Macy’s Ala Moana Center. Public is invited. Reservations required. Full breakfast and free parking. Call SBH for reservations at 396-1724.

Aina Haina Library Sale. The Friends of Aina Haina Public Library will hold their annual book sale fundraiser,
Friday, May 2nd and Saturday, May 3rd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located in the Aina Haina Shopping Center at 5246 Kalanianaole Hwy. A wide assortment of books, CDs, DVDs will be available for modest prices.

All proceeds will benefit Aina Haina Public Library for programs, library materials and office supplies.
Come early for the best selection! For more information call 377-2456 or check out the library website at: ainahainalibrary.org . Help your neighborhood library.

SBH Business & Investment Conference, May 13. The SBH 38th Annual Business Conference is set for Tuesday, May 13 at the Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom. Principal sponsors are HMAA and McDonald’s of Hawaii.

Featured speakers include: Mike McCartney, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Tom Yamashita, Tax Foundation of Hawaii, Retail Merchants of Hawaii, Associated Builders & Contractors, Verizon Hawaii, Dale Evans, Charley’s Taxi, Bob Sigall, “The Companies We Keep,” Mark Storfer, Hilo Hattie, Naomi Hazelton-Giambrone, Pacific Edge Magazine, and others. You will be informed and entertained.

Best-selling author and motivational business success speaker, Patrick Snow, will be the SBH’s Keynote Luncheon Speaker. Current issue topics, networking, business exhibits and more will be included. Make reservations now by calling SBH at 808-396-1724.

New Facebook Link. The Hawaii Senate Minority has a new Facebook and a new look. Check it out here>
Please like us and invite your friends to like the group as well. If not, you are still able to view the page without creating an account.

Want More Business? JOIN SBH! Is YOUR business a member of SBH?  No? Lots of benefits. Strong networking organization. Call 396-1724 or go online to  smartbusinesshawaii.com.

Hawaii Reporter.com, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper launched in 2002, has all the breaking news and unlike other publications in town, is still free. Award winning Hawaii Reporter and Malia Zimmerman report daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show heard on KHVH radio on 830 AM at 7:05 am. Malia will share the news behind the news.

Tune in to Panos Prevedouros. SBH Director and UH Engineering Professor Dr. Panos Prevedouros is a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s morning radio show every Tuesday from 7:05 a.m. to 8 am. Tune in!

Read SB NEWS. Don’t forget to read your current monthly SB NEWS by PDF attachment or link. More expanded news and views for the Hawaii business community.

Want more local business information? Please visit the several SBH websites at www.smartbusinesshawaii.com, www.educate808.com and www.sbhfoundation.org

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