BY SAM SLOM
President, Smart Business Hawaii and SBH Entrepreneurial Education Foundation

So, according to the Obama Administration, the current economic recession actually ended in June, 2009. What? Really?  That certainly is news to Hawaii’s suffering small businesses. And the job seekers.

Hawaii’s Primary Election last Saturday, September 18, provided few surprises-except perhaps the margin of victory of Neil Abercrombie over Mufi Hannemann (60%-38%) for Democrat Governor candidate, but increased Hawaii’s unemployment rate with former major politicians, Hannemann, Caldwell, Tam, Sakamoto, Bunda, Berg, Karimatsu, et al out of (government) jobs. Quite a contrast: Abercrombie & Brian Schatz vs. James Duke Aiona and Lynn Finnegan. Clear contrast for business as well. Congrats to new Mayor Peter Carlisle who will be sworn in October 8. Only 43% of eligible registered voters actually voted in the Primary. Six weeks to the November 2 General.

Want to see where your candidate—or opponent—stands on a variety of issues important to local business?  Go to Hawaii Reporter.com’s Election Guide and see all the online surveys completed by the candidates.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”  Plato

Attorney General Mark Bennett and Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago announced that the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Office of Elections has reached a settlement agreement with the United States Department of Justice regarding the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (“UOCAVA”). The Department of Justice contended that Hawaii law violated UOCAVA because absentee ballots would be sent out about 35 days before the general election, rather than the 45 days set forth in UOCAVA.

The State contended UOCAVA required that Hawaii should have been granted a waiver from the 45-day provision, as the absentee ballot plan prepared by the Office of Elections provided more than enough time for overseas voters to receive and return their absentee ballots. The settlement contains no admission of fault by the State or the Office of Elections, and provides that the Department of Justice will not sue the State if the State complies with the Settlement Agreement.  The State has not entered into any “Consent Decree” and the election is not subject to the supervision of federal courts. The Agreement essentially provides that the State will expedite transmittal of absentee ballots to about 200 overseas and military voters (by either Express Mail or FedEx) and will facilitate return of ballots by the same means, at State expense.  The Settlement also provides for communications between the Office of Elections and overseas and military voters to help facilitate their timely receipt and return of absentee ballots. The Agreement also provides for reporting on compliance by the State to the Department of Justice and has certain other provisions.

Hawaii’s two newest State Senators, both Democrats appointed by Linda Lingle, Laura Figueira of Oahu’s North Shore and Kauai’s Ron Kouchi, will be sworn in today, 2 pm in the Senate President’s Conference Room.

Last year I wrote in the monthly SB NEWS that you should watch the CBS-TV Sunday night (8 pm channel 7) show, “Undercover Boss.” It is the BEST and most entertaining show about business (famous firms you’ve heard of) good employers and good employees with a good ending. The new season starts this Sunday. Watch it!

“Book ’em Danno!”  We’re all pulling for the success of the new (re-make) of “Hawaii Five-0” 42 years to the day of the original also on CBS. It has created a lot of local employment, purchases and revenues. It was a great start Monday night. Let’s get behind it.

It is a banner year for films and TV in Hawaii.  The new film, “Battleship” closed down the H-3 freeway on Monday for shooting.

Sean Hao, a top investigative reporter for the former Honolulu Advertiser, left the Star-Advertiser to take a position with the Legislative Auditor’s office. He will be missed -but not by elevated rail proponents -by those that wanted the facts behind government corruption and cost overruns.

Jack Schneider of JS Services, is the new CEO of Chip n’ Cookie. There are no longer any retail outlets (Kailua and Waikiki) and the re-invented firm is focusing on fundraisers.

Heroes of Agriculture, Food and Environment Awards Winners announced. What an awesome response to a simple widely distributed survey asking everyone whom they think is befitting of these awards. Diversity abounds!
The Ag group was looking for the behind the scene heroes and wanted to be inclusive versus exclusive. The Heroes of Agriculture, Food and Environment are given in memory of A. James “Jim” Wriston III and supported by his friends and partners:  Stephen Nimz, Alan Gottlieb and Stephen Swift.

Announcing the 2010 Heroes of Agriculture, Food and the Environment:

Hawai’i’s Oldest Commercial Farm

·      Isaac and Gladys Kanoa, Taro Growers, Maui

·      James Peterson Jr. and Alan Peterson, Petersons’ Upland Farm, Oahu

Next Generation Taking Over the Farm Operation

·      Shin Ho and Neal Ho, Ho Farms, LLC, Oahu

·      Eric Tanouye, Green Point Nursery, Hawai’i

·      Sabrina White, Ponoholo Ranch, Hawai’i

Employees that Support Farm Owners and Contribute to Farm Excellence

·      Ben Grice and Herman Calpito, Carmencita Calpito Pacific Produce Inc., Maui

·      Carolyn McNally and Shannon Gilbertson, Mountain View Anthuriums, Hawai’i

·      Cheryse Sana and Manny Miles, MA’O Organic Farms, Oahu

Farmer-Entrepreneurs doing Business with Excellence

·      Lisa Asagi, Asagi Hatchery, Oahu

·      Al Galimba, Kuahiwi Ranch, Hawai’i

·      Joel and Salvadore Gil, Coca Farm, Maui

·      Tom Greenwell, Greenwell Farms, Hawai’i

·      Richard Ha, Hamakua Springs Country Farms, Hawai’i

·      Chris Kobayashi and Dimi Rivera, Wai’oli Farms, Kauai

·      Chris and Dimi are examples of how ten years of perseverance can turn a farm around.
·      Glenn Martinez, Olomana Gardens, Oahu

·      Gerry Ross, Kupa’a Farm, Maui

·      Dick and Heather Threlfall, Hawai’i Island Goat Dairy, Hawai’i

Food Business or School Doing Business with Excellence.

·      Lloyd Fischel, Lanikai Farms, Maui

·      Ed Kenney, Town & Downtown Restaurant, Oahu

·      Donna Mitts, Paauilo Elementary and Intermediate School, Hawai’i

·      Vicki and Thomas Nelson, Puna Kamali’i Flowers, Inc., Hawai’i

Environmental Supporters doing their Work with Excellence

·      Mark Cummings, Hawaiian Earth Products, Oahu

·      Dr. Kioni Dudley, Friends of Makakilo, Oahu

·      Home Le’amohala, Onipa’a – Center for Sustainability / Optimum Living Alliance, Maui

·      Nancy Redfeather, Kawanui Farm, Hawai’i

·      Hawai’i Forest Industry Association, Hawai’i

·      Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui

Government, Non-Profit, or Individual Supporter of Agriculture, Food or the Environment

·      Chef Susan Teton Campbell, Maui

·      Stuart Funke-d’Egnuff, Tri Isle Resource Conservation and Development, Maui

·      Desiree Hikuroa, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC), Oahu

·      Dr. Kevin Hopkins, Pacific Aquaculture Resource Center at the University of Hawai’i-Hilo, Hawai’i

·      Ken Love, Executive Director Hawai’i Tropical Fruit Growers, Hawai’i

·      Vincent Mina, Maui Aloha Aina, Maui

·      Lydi Morgan, Hawai’i Farmers Union, Kokua Hawai’i Foundation and Green House of Hawai’i, Oahu

·      Norman Sakata, Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Hawai’i

·      David Santistevan, Laulima Eco-friendly Alliance of Farms, Oahu

·      Stephanie Whalen, Hawai’i Agriculture Research Center, Oahu

·      Dr. Lyle Wong, Hawai’i Department of Agriculture, Oahu

·      Kokua Hawai’i Foundation (KHF), Oahu

The 2010 Hawai’i Agriculture Conference: Celebrating Change is presented by the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai’i. 

Reminder that The Hawaii Tax Institute Foundation, Chaminade University Educational Foundation and the Hawaii Medical Assurance Association present the 7th annual one-day seminar on “Nonprofit Organizations,” this Friday, September 24 at the Pagoda Hotel. One of the speakers is Hugh Jones, Supervising Deputy Attorney General. For information and reservations phone 946-2966 (X130) or FAX 943-3140

State Department of Transportation (DOT) Director Brennon Morioka has accepted a job as executive vice president of Shioi Construction, Inc., in Pearl City.  His last day at the DOT will be tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 23.  Morioka has been with the DOT since 2005, when he served as Highways Division deputy director.  In 2007, Governor Lingle appointed him director to oversee and manage the state’s 15 airports, 10 commercial harbors and approximately 2,500 lane miles of roadway across Hawai’i.

An IRS Honolulu workshop this weekend  will focus on helping Veterans and Persons with Disabilities. The Internal Revenue Service will host a special nationwide open house on Saturday, Sept. 25 to help taxpayers — especially veterans and people with disabilities — solve tax problems and respond to IRS notices. IRS staff will be available on site or by telephone to help taxpayers work through issues and leave with solutions. One hundred offices, at least one in every state, will be open.

In Hawaii, the Honolulu Tax Assistance Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located at 300 Ala Moana Blvd. At the Sept. 25 open house, anyone who has a tax question or has received a notice can speak with an IRS employee to get an answer to their question or a clear explanation of what is necessary to satisfy the request. A taxpayer who cannot pay a balance due can find out whether an installment agreement is appropriate and, if so, fill out the paperwork then and there. Assistance with offers-in-compromise – an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s debt for less than the full amount owed – will also be available. Likewise, a taxpayer struggling to complete an IRS form or schedule can work directly with IRS staff to get the job done.

Reminder for Small Tax-Exempt Organizations: The IRS also encourages representatives of small tax-exempt charitable community organizations, many of which serve people with disabilities and veterans, to file Form 990-N before the Oct. 15 deadline. Community organizations that fail to file a Form 990-N by this date risk losing their tax exempt status. As of June 30, more than 320,000 organizations were at risk of losing their exempt status.

To learn more about where your tax dollars go for public education visit our new transparency website shining the light on Hawaii’s education issueswww.educate808.com

Governor Linda Lingle will address us at our next monthly SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast,  Thursday, September 30, 7-8:30 am at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s Ala Moana. LIMITED seating; first come first served. Call Darlyn for reservations: 396-1724.

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