BY SAM SLOM – Ballot Blahs. Formal complaints have been filed with the state office of Elections and the Civil Rights Commission for the abysmal performance by the Elections Officer in delaying and denying ballots to Hawaii voters in last week’s General Election. The Governor made noise the night of the election but since has indicated an apology is acceptable. Not so. Action needs to be taken; changes must be made.
No Volunteering in NYC. As New York and New Jersey continue to try and dig out, rebuild and move on from Hurricane Sandy and the Northeast storm that followed, it is just coming to light that: (1) some volunteer construction workers from the South were barred from helping out in NJ and NY because they were NON-UNION; (2) NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned volunteers from giving food to the homeless in NYC because HE did not have enough inspectors to see if the food, for the homeless and those impacted by the storms, met HIS standards for salt and fat content (it’s true), (3) Some unions reportedly control the distribution of water to the desperate, and(4) Con Edison, the major electric power provider in the NY, NJ area, is filing for a rate increase because of all the revenues it lost for not providing power. Only in America, folks.
Railroaded. The shocking $3 million personal attack on Ben Cayetano as Honolulu’s Mayor, sanctioned by the Pacific Resources Partnership, John White, big businesses and others, shows that in the end, money and lies were able to defeat the public’s good sense and desire to end this corruption. Shame on those businesses that contributed to the PRP effort!Cayetano will be a principal speaker at the 37th Annual SBH Business & Investment Conference, Wednesday, January 9, 2013, Ala Moana Hotel, 8 am – 1:30 pm.
Solar Blues. The Governor and the Tax Director released their administrative rules relating to commercial and residential solar tax credits and they have created a lot of concern. As expected, credits will be cut sharply for many people. Basically, the credit amounts would be reduced in most cases resulting in burdens on solar businesses who have expanded their business and the number of employees, and on consumers relying on the credits to make the numbers work. The problem is the credits were too generous from the outset and there have been abuses. However, this has been one of the few successful state programs and the success is the problem: the state is paying out too much in credits; far more than was originally estimated. Don’t like it? Waiting for your solar contract? Write or email your state legislators and the tax department and let them know the impact on you. The 2013 State Legislature will have the final say.
Two-Faced Gas. The Aloha gasoline station in Hawaii Kai at Hahaione, reduced its price on Monday. On one side of the tall price marker it says, “4.129” and on the other side of the same sign it reads, “4.119.” Take your pick. Regular was $3.949 at Costco Iwilei.
Hawaiian at 83. Hawaiian Airlines celebrated its 83rd anniversary last weekend. It is Hawaii’s premiere air carrier and continues to expand and add more jobs. It also continues to enjoy the best on time schedule in the U.S.
Meet Hawaii. This week the Meet Hawaii sales team, joined by 19 travel industry partners statewide, is in Los Angeles to seek new corporate meetings and incentive business at the 2012 Financial Insurance Conference Planners (FICP) Annual Conference. Along with generating leads for future group bookings, the Meet Hawaii team will also begin building anticipation among attendees for Hawaii Island’s hosting of the 2014 FICP Annual Conference at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. “The meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) market is one of the most valuable and lucrative visitor markets for Hawaii’s tourism economy,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “In 2011, the North America MCI market contributed just under, 300,000 in visitor arrivals and $743 million in total expenditures. We appreciate our Meet Hawaii sales team and their efforts in continuing to grow the market and welcome MCI travelers to our Hawaiian Islands.”
Eat Out. This is Restaurant Week in Hawaii (November 12-18) and the Hawaii Restaurant Association invites you and your family to eat out.
Matsumoto Rules Lanai. Lāna’i Resorts, LLC, yesterday announced the appointment of Hawai’i resort industry veteran Kurt Matsumoto as chief operating officer. Matsumoto was born and raised on Lāna’i and, as vice president of resorts and administration for Lāna’i Co. Inc. from 1991 to 2000, was in charge of The Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay Hotel, as well as the island’s two signature golf courses.
Matsumoto will be leaving his position as general manager of The Club at Kukui’ula on Kaua’i, where he has been for the past five years, to assume the Lāna’i Resorts, LLC, position on December 1.
Larry Ellison purchased 97 percent of Lāna’i from Castle & Cooke in June. Lāna’i is often called the largest privately owned island in the United States, although individual homeowners, Maui County and the state government own approximately 3 percent of the land. Nearly 3,000 people live on the island. Since Ellison bought Lāna’i, the island has already seen economic growth, with more than 100 new jobs created. The number of visitors to Lāna’i has also risen in recent months, with more than 8,400 visitors so far this year.
Puff on That. District IV Honolulu Councilmember Stanley Chang introduced Bill 72 to ban smoking at beaches and parks in Waikiki, Ala Moana and Sandy Beach Park. Current Honolulu ordinances prohibit smoking at the Zoo, Hanauma Bay, Koko Crater Botanical Garden and the Waikiki Shell. An earlier survey by a local anti-tobacco lobbying group claimed that more than 70% of respondents favored such a ban.
No to PLDC. Yesterday, at a public hearing, testimony was overwhelmingly against proposed rules by the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC). This will be a hot topic at the Legislature as the battle for repeal of PLDC, created in 2011, heats up.
FBI Comes Through on UH Scam. The Honolulu FBI came through in catching the primary crooks on the Mainland (North Carolina, Florida) who scammed the UH-and the taxpayers-out of more than $200,000 for the Wonder Blunder, Stevie Wonder concert that never was. None of the money will be returned; it’s long since been spent. No one at UH has been punished or reprimanded for their roles in the sad affair.
Senate to Make Recommendations. The State Senate special committee on accountability will present its findings of the UH investigation next Monday, November 19, 1:30 pm in CR # 211 (also on O’leo tv). Chair Donna Mercado Kim will summarize the findings of the two extended public hearings, recommendations to UH and proposals for legislative changes during the 2013 legislative session. The public is welcome.
NRA Prez Here. National Rifle Association President David Keene spoke at the Hawaii NRA Annual Dinner, Sunday, November 11 at KMCAS. About 300 attended the event. Keene also spoke in Kona on Monday, November 12, and in Hilo for the Conservative Forum for Hawaii before a crowd of 200. Mr. Keene, the son of Wisconsin labor organizers, is former chairman of the American Conservative Union, sponsor of the annual national CPAC conference. He is an attorney, columnist, political activist and lobbyist who has worked in the White House and Congress and has been involved in nearly every congressional battle over gun rights since the early 1970s.The Second Amendment is alive and well in Hawaii despite the politics.
SBH can help you with YOUR business. Just starting a business? Call me personally for help at 396-1724 or email: SBH@lava.net. Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we’re here to help you.