BY SAM SLOM – Go, Go, GONE! GO! Airlines is throwing in the towel and ending its Hawaii interisland service. The upstart airline, owned by Mesa, made a big splash several years ago when it challenged Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines with low fares. Go! succeeded in knocking Aloha Airlines out of business to the chagrin of many local residents, then raised its fares. The combination of poor scheduling and lousy service led to unhappy customers and the airlines never increased its market share. Aloha customers embraced Hawaiian. Pacific Business News reports billionaire Larry Ellison is the one who actually “pulled the plug on GO!” Hawaiian continues to increase its muscle in local and other air routes. In fact, the new airline service, Ohana by Hawaiian, began twice daily regular service to Lanai, using 48-seat ATR-42 aircraft.

SUNRISE Networking. The next monthly SBH Sunrise Networking Breakfast will be held next Thursday, March 27, 7 – 8:30 am in the Pineapple Room of Macy’s Ala Moana Center. Networking strategies will be discussed-and practiced. Bob Sigall, Creative-1 and author of the best-selling, “The Companies We Keep,” book series, will lead the discussion. Public invited. Reservations required. Full breakfast and free parking. Call SBH for reservations at 396-1724.

Jones Act Video Press Conference. Last week, live from the State Capitol, there was the first ever, joint Jones Act video press conference, featuring bi-partisan elected representatives from Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

Lawmakers said the U.S. ship build requirement of the Jones Act is a major contributor to the high cost of living in their locations (adding 49% cost in Hawaii) and they want U.S. Congress to remove this burden by giving them an exemption to the Jones Act.

Participants included: Sen. Sam Slom (R); Rep. Gene Ward (R); and Rep. Cindy Evans (D) from Hawaii; Sen. Minority Leader V. Anthony “Tony” Ada (R) and Sen. Majority Leader Rory J. Respicio (D) from Territory of Guam.  Senator Fred Dyson (R) and Sen. Majority Leader John Coghill (R) of Alaska; and Sen. Majority Whip of Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Rossana Lopez Leon. Other speakers included Michael Hansen, president of the Hawaii Shippers Council, and Cliff Slater, an independent transportation expert. Legislators vowed to work closer together to lobby Congress and the President for Jones Act relief and reform.

Economy Goes South. The Hawaii economy continues to nosedive. Last week the State Council on Revenues reduced its overall forecast in revenue growth for FY 2014 from 3.3% to 0% growth and dropped predictions for FY 2015 as well. This resulted in a $180 million loss, wiping out the “fake” $184 million surplus announced by Gov. Abercrombie at the beginning of the legislative session in January. Then, days ago, we learned the federal government will give Hawaii, at best, half of the $450 million it expected for military operations. The state’s potential deficit stands at an estimated $1 billion and has state lawmakers wrestling with the supplemental budget.

High Winds Hit Carnival. Mother Nature and high winds over the weekend, and not neighborhood protest, downed the Hawaii Kai carnival last weekend. Rep. Gene Ward held a townhall meeting where neighbors expressed opposition and support for the Carnival on the Great Lawn across from Maunalua Bay. But the Ferris wheel and other EK Fernandez rides return this weekend, Friday through Sunday. The event is a fundraiser for Kaiser High football coach Rich Miano’s non-profit (Hawaii Speed and Quickness). Fernandez secured the necessary permits back in September 2013. Because it is a private event, on private land (owned by Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate) no one had to meet with or discuss the event with the community, but organizers will appear at the next Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board on March 25 as a condition of the permits. Residents were concerned about traffic, noise, and a lack of parking.

Real Kaiser High Fundraiser. Kaiser High School PTSA’s annual Springfest fundraiser is scheduled for March 29 on campus and has been scheduled for months. The event includes a keiki fair from 3-6 p.m. with over 20 booths manned by Kaiser students, food trucks from 4-8 p.m. and ends with a concert on the lawn of Cougar Stadium by Natural Vibrations, Hawaii’s premiere reggae band.

The unfortunate timing of the carnival means that parents who are watching their budgets will now have to choose whether they go to the EK Fernandez Carnival or Kaiser’s Springfest on March 29.

This is where it will hurt the local schools. Kaiser’s PTSA funds many programs for Kaiser students, as well as the school and its teachers and staff.  Every dollar is put to good use.  They don’t have seed money to bring in EK Fernandez.

You’ve Got the Power. A new half hour television show, You’ve Got the Power, produced by Malia Zimmerman, Irma Baptiste and Shaunna Touchi of Luminescent Productions, will air on Saturday, April 12 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 19 at 6 p.m. on Hawaii News Now stations. 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 and Hawaii Homestay.

Servco Names Shiroma. Servco Pacific hired Mary-Jean Shiroma as Benefits Consultant to work closely with clients to guide them through emerging trends in employee benefits, the annual renewal process and recommend additional options that complement or enhance their current benefit offerings.

Shiroma joins Servco after two decades in the insurance industry, working with many different employer clients focusing on medical, life, disability, and wellness programs.  Most recently she worked as an account relationship consultant with HMSA.

Dis-Connected Connector. At an informational briefing before the Senate on Monday, Hawaii Health Connector interim director Tom Matsuda had plenty of slides, but few answers to financial questions about the failed bureaucratic connector standing between you and your health insurance. He kept saying how “complex” this Obama abomination really is. The Connector received $204 million from the federal government, and has spent or obligated more than half of the money.

How was the money spent-other than $53 million for the dysfunctional CGI website-there was little detail. The Connector’s pleas to the federal government for more money will not be realized, and that means state taxpayers will likely be forced to step in. A total of about 5,100 people have “registered,” far from the original forecast of 100,000. Open individual enrollment ends March 31. Big business and unions have received waivers and can sign up later, but not small business or individuals. Personnel totals, advertising expenditures (which are huge) and other details were not disclosed. It is a fiscal black hole yet the State wants to take over the failed Connector adding to the burden of Hawaii taxpayers. I will be calling for a federal investigation of where your money went.

Five-O Filming. Hawaii Five-O, a CBS success series, has been actively filming on O’ahu this week as the popular program has been renewed for a 5th season. Many locals are getting parts in the production.

Supreme Court Justice Wilson Confirmed. Circuit Court Judge Michael Wilson, who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee twice (including 6 hours last Saturday) after being nominated for a seat on the State Supreme Court bench by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, was confirmed by a vote of 23-1 on Monday. Maui’s Roz Baker was the lone “no” vote, though Sens. Laura Thielen and Michelle Kidani voted “with reservations.” The “unqualified” rating by the Hawaii State Bar Association was debated again with incoming president Greg Markham declaring that Wilson was denied due process (“it wasn’t applicable”) “because that’s only for criminal cases.” What? Previously, the Bar rated Wilson “highly qualified on the Circuit Court,” then “qualified” after dropping the “highly” rating. The hearings were filled with bizarre allegations, innuendo and secrecy from the Bar Association, which refused to provide any specific evidence or explanation. Associate Justice Wilson will be sworn in to the 5-member State Supreme Court shortly.

38th SBH Business Conference May 13. Don’t forget to reserve for the SBH 38th Annual Business Conference, Tuesday, May 13 at the Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom.

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.

AG Press Conference Today. At 11 a.m. today, state Attorney General David Louie and private attorney Rick Fried will hold a press conference to announce a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of ” a widely prescribed medication.”  The complaint alleges these manufacturers and distributors engaged in unfair and deceptive acts in marketing, promotion, labeling, sale and distribution of a widely prescribed medication.

Geothermal Kala to Hawaiians. Attorney General David Louie announced yesterday that he has issued a formal opinion concluding that 100% of the royalties derived from geothermal resources development on Hawaiian home lands must be used for the benefit of native Hawaiians.

Saiki Heads GOP. Tonight, the Hawaii Republican Party State Central Committee will confirm former Congresswoman (and former State Legislator) Patricia Saiki as new Chair of the GOP following the sudden resignation last week of David Chang. Saiki, 83, is bucking the much vaunted “youth movement” of the local GOP. She brings experience instead and wants to find candidates and win elections rather than debate ideological differences and issues within the Party. A sticking point is a refusal to have a Platform Session prior to this year’s State Convention in May.

New Facebook Link. The Hawaii Senate Minority has a new Facebook and a new look. Check it out here>
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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 (November) monthly SB NEWS by PDF attachment or link. More expanded news and views for the Hawaii business community. A limited number of printed copies are available for mailing if you call SBH (396-1724).

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