SBH news and views official logoBY SAM SLOM – Angry Aloha. Angry Aloha. Monday, I attended the U.S. Department of Interior’s first of 15 scheduled public hearings on a rule proposal to decide whether the Federal Government should negotiate for a government to government relationship with Native Hawaiians. The Feds already have enacted more than 150 laws benefiting Hawaiians.

The visiting, suited, DOI panel members, got an earful for nearly 3.5 hours in the Capitol auditorium. More than 100 people testified. There was plenty of passion, anger, shouting, chanting, cursing, laughter and even a song (“Red Ribbons”). Several told the visitors to go home-and take “their” homeless with them. The visitors were threatened with violation of UN genocide treaties. Many speakers declared they were not Americans. Opposition to the federal government was nearly universal-except for OHA (a state agency) and a few Hawaiian civic organizations.

There was anger by those who argue the Hawaiian Kingdom never ended, even after the 1893 overthrow, and never negotiated a treaty with the U.S. They urged nation to nation negotiations instead. They wanted the Secretary of State, not Interior. Some didn’t like to be called “Natives.”

Most speakers wanted to end the “American occupation,” and several simply wanted more money from the federal government. This event-an expensive vacation for more government officials and staff- underlies several points:

(1) it is an Obama political move to skirt the Congress on this issue;

(2) there still is no unified Hawaiian position,

(3) this is evidence of more unraveling of our vaunted “melting pot,”

(4) most Hawaiians, and others (including SBH), reject the phony government concept of making Hawaiians into a “tribe” for political purposes, and

(5) there is no Aloha for more deliberations and delays with the federal government. This is a far cry from the 94% vote in favor of Statehood in 1959. And the pride in being an American that followed. Just in time for Statehood (Admissions) Day in August, a paid holiday not observed here anymore.

Corporate Income Tax Adoption – Hawaii #1: A weekly chart by the Tax Foundation, Inc. shows when each of the states adopted a corporate income tax. Guess what? Hawaii is #1; according to TFH, Hawaii adopted a corporate income tax before Statehood, in 1901!  Wisconsin was next in 1911. Most states added this tax in the 1930s. Michigan enacted it in 1967, repealed in 1976 and re-enacted it in 2012. Ohio enacted it in 1971 and repealed it in 2010. Best states? Texas, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, and Nevada; they have no corporate income tax. Hawaii should follow suit.

Restaurant Association’s New Directors. The Hawaii Restaurant Association is the professional association of the restaurant and food service industry in Hawaii. The board of directors of the Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) has announced results of its 2014 board of directors’ election as well as new officers for the upcoming year.  As announced at its annual meeting held on May 7, 2014, the following officers have been named to serve from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015:

  • Chair-Dirk Koeppenkastrop, Ph.D., Founder, Il Gelato Hawaii
    Chair Elect-Eron Read, Director – Restaurant Development, Kona Brewing Company
    Vice Chair-Pat Kashani, President, Auntie Pasto’s, Tropics Tap House
    Treasurer- Allen Farinas, President/CEO, GRYLT
    Secretary- Tushar Dubey, President, Hokulani Bake Shop
    Immediate Past Chair -Bryan Andaya, CEO, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Six new directors have been elected to the HRA board of directors, representing both restaurant members and allied members.  The new directors include Michael Miller (Tiki’s Grill and Bar), Allen Farinas (GRYLT), Thomas Metzger (Cici’s Pizza), Thomas Frigge (TOBE Co. Food Safety), Biff Graper (Colliers International), and Conrad Nonaka (Culinary Institute of the Pacific).

HRA Says.”Don’t Take Our Plate Lunch;” Will Fight Styrofoam Ban. The Hawaii Restaurant Association is opposing the proposed Honolulu City Council Bill 40, which bans Styrofoam food containers. “Don’t Take Our Plate Lunch!”, a new web site, also opposes the measure, which was proposed by Councilmembers Stanley Chang and Ann Kobayashi.  The measure was deferred Wednesday.

The group argues (and Smart Business Hawaii agrees) bans are likely to hurt locally owned businesses because they limit choice and increase costs. When the City of Malibu in California enacted a polystyrene ban, a local yogurt shop was forced to raise prices to counter the higher cost of paper cups – an annual cost increase of over $30,000.

In reality, bans are really just a hidden tax on shop owners, who must pass the cost on to their customers. It is believed that any restriction – be it a ban or tax – ignores the real concern, which is litter. Some alternatives like compostable bio-based packaging may not perform as well when holding certain products at hot temperatures, may not be available in large quantities now, and is likely two to three times the cost of traditional plastics. The group supports promoting recycling, not onerous bans on individual products. They note many communities are collecting food service and non-food service polystyrene packaging for recycling purposes.

For example, the City of Los Angeles accepts clean polystyrene foam cups in their curbside recycling program. For a list of cities that offer curbside recycling of packaging and clean food service polystyrene, please visit this website>

Blue, Blue Lights. You may have noticed that Honolulu Police Department officers are now keeping their car blue lights on all the time during the day. There are some exemptions: notably if they are trying to catch speeders. That policy actually went into effect last month. In July, a new policy dictates that officers with tattoos cover them up. Nothing said about piercings. Yet.

Realtors® New Site. The Honolulu Board of REALTORS® launched its redesigned website, www.hicentral.com , which is now faster, more user-friendly and accessible to the public.  The new website allows users to find listings by specific neighborhoods on every island statewide, and get information about open houses in an easy-to-navigate layout on their computer, tablet or smartphone. Hicentral.com also provides potential homebuyers and sellers with useful information about Hawaii’s real estate market.

Ammerman Joins Graham. Graham Builders, announced that Christy Ammerman has joined the firm as Architectural Designer. She will be responsible for overseeing the company’s designing/planning of new homes and renovation projects, and production of construction documents.

SBA to Offer “Top 5 Risks to Business” On-Line. Two major challenges small business owners face after disasters are sales losses and a diminished customer base.  In a survey of 7,500 small and medium-sized businesses by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), 62% said losing profits and clients was their biggest post-disaster challenge.  Whether it’s a fire, flood or tornado, small businesses face an uphill trek when it comes to rebuilding in the aftermath of a disaster.  That’s why it’s important to have a recovery plan in place. Join Agility Recovery and the U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday, July 8, 2-3 pm (EDT) 8-9 am (HST), for an online discussion on how to protect your business before a disaster strikes.   Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to download disaster planning tip sheets and to view archived webinars. The SBA provides disaster recovery assistance in the form of low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, private nonprofits and businesses of all sizes. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.

Hawaii Business Leadership Conference. On July 15, Hawaii Business Magazine will host the first annual Leadership Development Conference dedicated to the advancement of emerging leaders and young professionals. SBH is a co-partner for the event.   They aim to cultivate a community rich in innovation and success by focusing on the development of Hawaii’s ambitious and up-and-coming leaders. The event will be held in the ballrooms at the Sheraton Waikiki from 10 am – 5:30 pm on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.   The keynote speaker is Dusty Baker. There will be eight skill-building and leadership development workshops featuring prominent local leaders. Hosted Lunch. All day Expo for networking and sponsor/partner display tables. Contact Hawaii Business for registration details.

Pacific Edge Awards Coming. Pacific Edge Magazine (PEM) announced it has moved the Fourth Annual Pacific Edge Magazine Business Achievement Awards to September 25, 2014. Element Media, Inc., Hawaii’s premier custom publishing firm, will host the exclusive red-carpet soiree to recognize the state’s most influential business leaders, organizations and non-profits while celebrating the company’s eighth anniversary. Local business and community leaders are encouraged to submit nominations for the Fourth Annual Pacific Edge Magazine Business Achievement Awards by August 14, 2014 at www.pacificedgeawards.com. Self-nominations are encouraged.

Nomination categories include:

·         Lifetime Achievement Award
·         Young Professional of the Year
·         Business Executive of the Year
·         Educator of the Year
·         Commitment to Green Award
·         Corporate Social Responsibility Award
·         Best New Business
·         Best Family-Run Business
·         Best Social Media Campaign

Detailed information about the gala and award nomination submissions are available at www.pacificedgeawards.com .

O’ahu Luxury Home Market Surges. Oahu home and condominium sales saw a significant spike in the luxury market in May, with the strongest movement in the $1 to $2 million range, according to Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties (CBP), Hawaii’s leading residential real estate firm and a specialist in high-end real estate sales.  The figures are based on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data of all single-family homes and condominiums sold for more than $1 million in May 2014 on Oahu. Oahu saw 84 luxury sales close last month. Oahu’s housing market is on an upward trend compared to the average number of homes sold in January through April 2014 (56 homes sales per month) and 62 home sales in May 2013.

Other key findings based on MLS data:

  • The $1 million to $2 million price range was the strongest market segment, with 61 sales compared to 52 sales in May 2013, a 15% increase.
  • With 11 sales in the $3 million to $6 million price point, Hawaii continues to see expansive interest from non-Hawaii buyers in this segment.
  • More than half the buyers are from the U.S. Mainland, three from Asia with only two from Hawaii.
  • These sales are significantly higher than May 2013, which only saw 2 transactions in the $3 million to $6 million range.
  • The most expensive sale recorded during May 2014 was a 7,765-square-foot home in Kailua with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms on a nearly 25,000-square-foot lot, which sold for $5.1 million in 89 days.

Millennials Go Global. A new poll conducted by Zogby Analytics in late May/early June reveals that Millennials are truly developing their global citizenship. About half (51%) of the 1,019 18-34 year old smart phone owners told us that they are likely “to live and work in a foreign country at some point in” their lives. That includes 68% of those 18-24 and 47% of the 25-34 year old group. The same percentage (51%) say that they “would like” to do just that – again more of the younger than older group of Millennials (64% to 47%) Read more here>

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

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