BY SAM SLOM – Whew! Two Hurricanes Blew By Us. Hawaii was REALLY lucky missing the brunt of two Hurricanes/Tropical Storms last weekend. We were prepared but it could have been deadly. EVERYTHING was closed Friday- even Ala Moana Center. Tremendous economic loss. Hawaii was all over the national news. We can thank Madam Pele and the twin volcanic peaks (Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa) on the Island of Hawaii for taking a direct hit by Iselle and dispersing much of the energy. Hawaii suffered more damage than initially thought. Hurricane Julio then turned Northward and away from us. That didn’t stop residents, as they usually do, from hoarding bottled water, toilet paper, rice and Spam.
Non-Statehood Day. Friday marks another Statehood (Admissions) Day, 55th, and another non-celebration. It is an official State holiday but no one really publicly celebrates or acknowledges the event any longer for fear of angering anti-American, Native Hawaiian, and other special interest activists. And they are angry. I remember how proud we were in 1959 to become the 50th State; to be American. Now there is fear in public celebration. It’s a shame. I suggested getting rid of the day as an official paid holiday, but of course, people still want a paid holiday regardless of the significance of the event.
Don Clothier Passes. Longtime Hawaii entrepreneur, business leader and SBH member Don Clothier passed away earlier this week. We will all remember Don’s smile, good humor, positive outlook and his fighting spirit. A Celebration of Life and scattering of ashes off Waikiki will be determined at a later date and time. Our sincerest sympathy to Chris, his wife, who like Don, was an outstanding community leader.
Primary Election Shocker. Gov. Neil Abercrombie got drubbed badly by State Senator David Ige in the Democrat Primary last Saturday. Abercrombie is still in office till December but remains the only incumbent Governor to ever lose a primary. Outspent 10-1 ($5 million to $500,000), Ige connected with the public, and garnered more than 62% of the vote. The margin, not the victory, is the talk of the town. The unions, environmentalists and special interests who swept Abercrombie into power four years ago, turned on Abercrombie, a 40-year veteran of the State House, State Senate, City Council and a 20-year US Congressman. Many Republicans also took a Democrat ballot to oust Abercrombie.
Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui easily dispatched a challenge by high profile State Senator Clayton Hee, who lost his senate seat in addition to the race for higher office. Ige/Tsutsui will face Republican former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona and Elwin Ahu; two former judges, and Independent candidate Mufi Hannemann and Les Chang. Two AJA Democrats vs. two part-Native Hawaiian Republicans. Rep. Mark Takai upset Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, who had been highly favored until 2-3 weeks prior to the election, for the US House seat. Kim remains in office but will most likely give up the senate presidency. Takai will face former Congressman Charles Djou, a Republican, in a battle of Army veterans. Former Hawaii Island Mayor, Lorraine Inouye, ousted State Senator Malama Solomon in the Primary.
Primary Election Friday for Puna. The closest race, still undecided, is for Democrat nominee for U.S. Senate between appointed incumbent Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. The winner faces Republican Cam Cavasso. At one point, the margin was only 11 votes. Now, Schatz leads by 1,600 votes. Two Hurricane damaged precincts on the Island of Hawaii did not get to vote Saturday.
The Office of Elections has confirmed that the Primary Election for the two precincts in Puna will be held this Friday. Schatz’s vote lead may be insurmountable by Hanabusa.
A State House race involving controversial Rep. Faye Hanohano, and a local county council race, also will be decided Friday. There may be a chance the election would not go forward if Hanabusa sues to stop the special election, as the media is reporting she may. Many people on Hawaii Island don’t believe a Friday election is fair because more than 8,000 people are still without power and won’t be notified of the election. 6,800 votes are at stake.
Abercrombie to UH? A cruel rumor is that former Gov. Neil Abercrombie may be appointed UH Manoa Chancellor. A UH graduate student and former UH West O’ahu lecturer, Abercrombie is not expected to quietly disappear into the shadows.
Your Vote DOES Count. Several close races indicated again, every vote is important to a candidate and to Hawaii’s future. Sadly, Hawaii, worst in the nation (from first 50 years ago) in voter turnout, slipped to under 40 percent. You can still register and vote on November 4.
Djou HQ Across OCCC. Charles Djou’s Congressional campaign HQ opens this Sunday in Kalihi across from the Oahu Community Correction Center-the prison. Staffers better include lighting, handrails and other safety features so that when the regular OCCC escapees leave they don’t get hurt passing the HQ.
SBH “Virtual ” in 2 Weeks. Joining a growing number of business and NPO operations, Smart Business Hawaii (SBH), as previously announced, will go “virtual” and will be vacating its Hawaii Kai office in the Hawaii Kai Towne Center of 22 years, August 31. The phone number (808-396-1724) remains. As SBH cleans out, you, or someone you know, may be interested in desks, a conference table, file cabinets, chairs, and other office furnishings. Call (808) 396-1724 for details.
Kalanianaole Meeting Tomorrow. East Honolulu elected officials will be meeting with the Director and Staff of the State Department of Transportation tomorrow. The meeting is an update on the progress and any changes involving the Kalanaianaole Highway renovation project now ongoing until February 2016. The officials will take resident concerns and suggestions to the DOT.
No Say Can You See? Mike Palcic reports: “In a case involving the long and continuing series of challenges to the residency of Representative Calvin Say, Circuit Court Judge Karen T. Nakasone Monday denied a plaintiff motion to disqualify the State Attorney General from acting as legal counsel for the House of Representatives. The judge set a date of August 27 for the next round of legal wrangling.
Say, who, was not present to hear the judge’s ruling, has long lived with his family in a home near downtown instead of in the vacant house he owns in Palolo. None of Say’s family are registered to vote in Palolo, but he maintains voter registration there in order to meet the qualification to hold office.
Say won an appeal by one vote at the Board of Voter Registration eight years ago in a challenge to his residency. Now, the House of Representatives wants to claim that it has sole authority to determine this question, not the board that adjudicated the claim in 2006, not the Circuit Court and not even the Supreme Court.
The representative has long acknowledged that he and his family have lived downtown; his kids were raised there and went to school there. But because he owns the Palolo home, receives mail there, gets billed for the manini utilities consumed there, and that one day he intends to return to live there, he can claim it as his official residence. As has been the case with other legislators, Say has been given much leeway in enforcement of the law. At this juncture it would be a great embarrassment to the state to have its former house speaker ruled ineligible to serve. The Attorney General’s office has stepped in to protect this privilege.”
Kona Coffee Festival in Top 10. USA Today released its listing of Top 10 Food Festivals on the U.S. Among the 10 is the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. The award-winning Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is recognized as the oldest and one of the most successful food festivals in Hawaii. The 2014 Festival includes 10 days of events that promote Hawaii’s unique culture and diversity and supports the Festival’s mission to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique coffee heritage.
The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is supported as a ‘Major Festival’ by Hawaii Tourism Authority and is made possible through the support of UCC Ueshima Coffee Co., Ltd., Kamehameha Schools, Alaska Airlines, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Kawakami Family of Captain Cook Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation and numerous other corporate and community donors.
4-1-1 Errors. During the past several weeks, SBH has averaged 2-3 erroneous and mis-directed calls every day, referred by the 4-1-1 operator to a completely non-related company or service.
Hawaii #1 for Homelessness? Hawaii has been recognized as #2 in homelessness nationwide but now a new group boosts us to #1!
States with high and low homeless rates are all over the country.
The highest rates of homelessness among states are in Hawaii (465 per 100,000), followed by New York (399) and California (367). New York City is at 768 per 100,000, a lower rate than D.C., but nearly 10 times the homeless population. The lowest homeless counts per capita come in Mississippi (81 per 100,000), Indiana (94) and Kansas (94).
HPU Struggling? Stories have resurfaced that Hawaii Pacific University, Hawaii’s largest private university, continues to undergo serious financial problems. There have been staff layoffs, program cuts and tuition increases in recent months. Some people criticize the costly 2013 purchase and development plans for the Aloha Tower Market Place.
Robin Williams. Famed innovative comic, Robin Williams, was found dead Monday, at 63, of suicide. Williams, another star overcome by drug abuse and depression, represents a real loss of talent. The four-time Oscar nominee, brought laughter to millions. TV’s innovative sit-com, “Mork & Mindy,” a movie favorite of mine, “Good Will Hunting,” as well as “Good Morning, Vietnam”, ” Mrs. Doubtfire,” and my special favorites “Dead Poets Society” and “The World According to Garp,” are all among his achievements. He was once scheduled to play Hawaii’s Father Damien but that movie never got made. A partisan liberal and virally anti-George Bush, Williams nonetheless was supportive of our military and volunteered for USO and overseas tours to entertain the troops. Fame and fortune apparently is not enough these days. Substance abuse and resulting depression seem to rule.
Sadly, more Americans pay more attention to celebrity than to economics and politics. Williams’ hanging pushed Gaza, Islamic terrorists in Iraq, the Ukraine, Ebola, Obamacare and the IRS scandal off the front pages and neatly changed our focus and attention. And it shows.
Go Greek! The Annual Hawaii Greek Festival, postponed last year because of renovation of McCoy Pavilion in Ala Moana Park, will be back bigger and better than ever next weekend, August 23-24 at McCoy. Ooopa!
No SBH SUNRISES Till 2015. There will be no more monthly SBH Sunrises (last Thursday of each month) at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s, Ala Moana Center, until January of 2015. However, special luncheon and Pau Hana programs are in the works during the next few months.
SB News Monthly Finale? After 39 years, the monthly SB News will go into hiatus after this month. The special July/August edition of the online and printed SB News features highlights of the past for the organization. This weekly E Blast continues and special more comprehensive editions of SB News may appear quarterly in the future. This edition will appears right here in next week’s SBH E Blast.
Remington Graduation Re-scheduled. I am honored to still be the speaker at the re-scheduled (due to the Hurricane warnings last Friday) commencement of Remington College at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday, September 19 at 6:30 pm.
Hawaii Theatre Awards. The Hawai’i State Theatre Council announced the recipients of this year’s Stars’ Night Out Theatre Celebration and 2013-14 Po’okela Awards held on Monday. This year’s celebration included a cocktail hour featuring local SBH favorite Don Conover, who relocated his famous Hawaiʻi Yacht Club Vintage Piano Bar from Waikiki to the Poʻokela Awards cocktail hour. Keoki Kerr and Jodi Leong hosted the dinner and awards ceremony featuring live performances by some of Hawai’i’s favorite theatre groups.
Participating theatres included All The World’s A Stage, Diamond Head Theatre, Hawaii Pacific University, Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, Kumu Kahua Theatre, Manoa Valley Theatre, ‘Ohi’a Productions, Paliku Theatre, PlayBuilders of Hawai’i Theatre Company, The Actors Group and the University of Hawaii – Manoa.
Panos on Fridays Now. Tune in to Dr. Panos Prevedouros, SBH Director and UH Engineering Professor, a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s morning radio show now every FRIDAY, 7:05 a.m. to 8 am.
HAL Appointment. Hawaiian Airlines has appointed Theo Panagiotoulias to the position of senior vice president – global sales and alliances. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing Hawaiian Airlines’ global sales strategy, including partnerships with corporate, leisure, community and travel trade clients and key distributors in all of its markets worldwide, and also the company’s strategic alliances with other airline partners.
Wine & Dine With Honolulu Mag. The fourth annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (HFWF), held from August 29 through September 7, 2014, will feature 80 world-renowned chefs and 30 of the greatest wine and spirit makers from around the world. HONOLULU Magazine and HFWF are treating one reader to two tickets to one of the Festival’s signature events, Hawaiian Airlines Presents Corks and Forks, on Saturday, September 6, 2014.
View “A Better Day on Vietnam. A Better Day with Senator Sam Slom in Aug 2014 features the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.
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, 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.