TODAY’s SBH Conference.  
There is still time to join us TODAY, Wednesday, for the 36th annual SBH Business Conference, the first major business and economic conference of the New Year (8 am-2 pm). Hear Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley, demographics expert Wendell Cox, American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Jonathan Williams, computer guru Peter Kay and leading Hawaii business owners: Matt Longfellow, Valpak of Hawaii; Marissa Capelouto, Oahu Express and Tyler Roukema of Outback Steak House (Hawaii Kai). Also speaking, is Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. FOX TV and The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund keynotes the annual SBH conference See you at the Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom; register there.

Flyin’ Hawaiian.  
Hawaiian Airlines reported nearly a 3% increase in total passengers carried for 2011. HAL counted 8.6 million passengers for the year.

No New Taxes?  
The 2012 State Legislature opens next Wednesday, January 18. The Governor previously announced no new taxes this year. But wait. The reduced Council of Revenues estimates mean red ink and while the Administration is still saying no taxes THIS year, 2013 is in jeopardy. But Democrat lawmakers won’t wait that long for tax increase proposals.

Diploma Discrimination?
The National Center for Public Policy Research is criticizing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance letter warning employers who require a high school diploma as a condition of employment that they may be guilty of illegal discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.The informal federal guidance suggests the requirement of a high school diploma may be discrimination because it could screen out an applicant who dropped out of school due to a disability. Therefore, under this guidance, an employer needs to show that a diploma requirement meets a “business necessity.”

However, even if an employer meets this business necessity threshold, the EEOC letter warns: “the employer may still have to determine whether a particular applicant whose learning disability prevents him from meeting it can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation.”While the informal guidance does not carry the weight of law, it does signal how the EEOC will likely interpret the Americans with Disabilities Act in the future.The National Center has had a watchful eye on the EEOC for years. In August 2010, the National Center was similarly critical of a wayward EEOC guidance that warned employers against conducting background checks on potential employees because a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics have criminal records. For 2012, the EEOC requested a budget of $385,520,000 – an $18 million increase over its 2011 budget.

Lingle Endorsed.
The national organization and local chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), one of the nation’s largest construction trade organizations, announced its endorsement of former Governor Linda Lingle for U.S. Senate in 2012.

“As Governor of Hawai’i, Linda Lingle consistently dedicated herself to creating jobs and contracting opportunities for the people of Hawai’i, and we are proud to endorse and support her campaign for the United States Senate,” said Jonathan Young, President of ABC’s Hawai’i Chapter.

ABC also based its endorsement of Governor Lingle on her accomplishments in providing tax relief to Hawai’i businesses and working families, implementing education and training programs to support the construction and building trades, and attracting federal funding.

SHOPO for Lingle.  
The police union, SHOPO, also came out with an endorsement for former Governor Lingle this week.

Bankoh Remodeling Panel.  
Bank of Hawaii will hold a panel on remodeling and financing on Thursday, February 2, 6-7:30 pm at Bankoh’s Waialae Kahala Branch. Panelists include:

*Phil Camp, AIA, LEED A.P. & Principal, Hawaii Architecture
*Chad Taniguchi, General Contractor & Owner, Dream Home Builders
*Dean Masai, CGP, Energy Analyst, State of Hawaii, DBEDT
*Iris Yafuso, Construction Loan Manager, Bank of Hawaii

This seminar is free and open to anyone to attend.  For more information call Iris Yafuso  at 808-694-1423.

Mayor Ben?
SBH readers reacted positively at last week’s SBH news that former Governor Benjamin Cayetano is considering running for Mayor of Honolulu this year. Ben would face Mayor Peter Carlisle and former Acting Mayor, Kirk Caldwell, but would be the only candidate opposed to the tax-sucking, heavy, steel-on-steel, elevated rail. Even Republicans, opposed to rail, are enthusiastic about the former Democrat Governor. A decision is expected soon. Ben is one of 7 plaintiffs-including the SBH Foundation-opposing the rail.

City Still Spending.  
The Carlisle Administration continues to spend your tax money on the rail; the latest action Monday is a $38.8 million design contract to AECOM Technical Services. In addition to the rail suit, it looks like the City taxpayers need Ben Cayetano to stop the hemorrhaging of tax money.

Natural Disasters.  
Natural disasters exacted a significant financial toll on the United States in 2011.  The Insurance Information Institute reports that insured losses from a series of disasters – which included devastating spring tornadoes in the Midwest, floods in the southeast, wildfires in the southwest, and Hurricane Irene – totaled $35.9 billion.

Small businesses were hit particularly hard as many were forced to close during these disasters, causing economic injury to many that were already struggling. The factors that cause financial losses after a disaster, however, can be offset by having a recovery plan in place.

On Tuesday, January 17, (2-3 pm EST), Agility Recovery Solutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a free webinar that looks at how natural disasters in 2011 caused business interruptions, with a focus on business continuity lessons learned.  Agility President and CEO Bob Boyd will also discuss new trends and technology that affect disaster preparedness.  The webinar will also offer practical strategies to protect your company closing its doors for good after a disaster.

SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies via its “PrepareMyBusiness” website.  Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to access past webinars and get additional preparedness tips.  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.

KIKU-TV Bankrupt.  
The company that owns KIKU-TV in Honolulu has filed for bankruptcy protection. International Media Group Inc., a multilingual television broadcaster, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware.The company listed both assets and debt of $100 million to $500 million in Chapter 11 documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington. Asian Media Group LLC and five other affiliates also sought protection.

International Media Group provides multilingual television programming services. The company produces and broadcasts various Asian- and English-language paid, syndicated and local programming. International Media serves communities in California and Hawaii. It also owns KSCI-TV in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles-based company hired Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. as financial advisers, court papers show.

Democracy Discussion.
“Democracy Under the Influence” is a monthly discussion series, free and open to the public, exploring the links between money, connections, and politics in Hawaii; how it affects all citizens; and what can be done about it.

The Democracy Under the Influence series is co-sponsored by Common Cause Hawaii, Kanu Hawaii and League of Women Voters of Hawaii.  The series is held on the second Wednesday of each month, 5:30 p.m. at the YWCA of Oahu, Laniakea Location, 1040 Richards Street, 3rd Floor. The series can also be viewed online via livestream at www.kanuhawaii.org.

The next discussion will be tonight, January 11, 5:30 p.m., titled “Ethics, Gifts & Fancy Dinners.”  The session will explore the ethics of gifts received by elected officials, and the dinners and receptions hosted by lobbying interests. Les Kondo, executive director for the Hawaii State Ethics Commission is a featured speaker.
RSVPs are requested; please email democracyundertheinfluence@gmail.com or call 275-6275.

2011 Home Sales.
The final results for home sales in Hawaii for 2011 are good and bad. Sales were down for both single family and condos statewide as were median sales prices.

Roy at EOBC
Roy Yamaguchi, successful entrepreneur and restauranteur of 31 Roy’s Restaurants worldwide, was a great breakfast speaker at the January10 East Oahu Breakfast Club meeting. He is very modest about his sensational accomplishments and he has a wonderful story to share.

HA! Breath of Life
When is the last time you, your family and visitors went to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie? PCC has extended their special Kama’aina rate of $25 for a full buffet and the elaborate production, “HA! Breath of Life.”
It is great. Take the family and friends and support local attractions.

And at The Willows...
The Willows Restaurant, a kama’aina tradition, announces an expanded live entertainment schedule for 2012.    “We did not have live entertainment for a while, but The Willows just didn’t seem alive,” said Garret Kamei, General Manager.  “Historically, The Willows was a place for parties and lu’au with live music being played all the time, and it’s great that we can bring that back home, again.”    Kale Hannahs and Matt Sproat of the Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning group Waipuna are happy to have another venue to perform live.   The schedule for January is as follows, with live performances from 6:30~8:30 p.m.

Jan 11      Herb Ohta Jr. & Jon Yamasato
Jan 12      Pakele Live! featuring Jason Poole with Andy Wang
Jan 13      Maunalua
Jan 18      Herb Ohta Jr. & Jon Yamasato
Jan 19      Pakele Live! featuring Rev. Dennis Kamakahi & Stephen Inglis  Jan 20      Kahua
Jan 25      Ramon Camarillo
Jan 26      Pakele Live! featuring Shar Carillo
Jan 27      Noah Juan

Get Motivated!  
There is a lot of advertising for a really affordable Get Motivated event, Tuesday, January 31 at the Convention Center. Top notch speakers coming including: General Colin Powell, Steve Forbes (who will also do a fundraiser that day for Linda Lingle), Joe Montana, Laura Bush and others.

New Jobs.  
Good news: both WalMart and Target in Hawaii have announced they will be hiring about 300 new employees each. WalMart’s new Kapolei store will open soon as will the Target Kailua store.

Eminent Domain Film.
Saw the film, “Battle for Brooklyn,” last week at the Doris Duke Theatre in the Academy of Arts. It was great and should be seen widely.The film is an indictment of present government abuse of eminent domain to destroy private property and small business. Pacific Legal Foundation’s Honolulu attorney, Robert Thomas was on hand for commentary.

SMEI Forum.  
Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI), Honolulu Chapter, presents Dan Seidman, author of #1 business best-seller, Sales Autopsy and one of America’s top speakers, coaches and trainers on influence, Tuesday January 17, 2012 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at The Kahala Hotel & Resort.  Seidman will present, The Secret Language of Influence.

As language training is the most neglected area of any management, leadership, or business development program, recent research from the world of psychology can help increase the potency of conversations.  Join SMEI to learn more about how people are motivated to buy in two distinct ways, how to identify each type, and learn language that eliminates the worst, most toxic form of resistance that buyers offer.  Seidman will also share the skills that are useful for leading, managing, motivating and most critically, selling ideas.  Each attendee will receive a 32-page booklet on The Secret Language of Influence!

Seidman has been named “One of the Top 12 Sales Coaches in America” and has developed, with the American Society for Training and Development, a diagnostic tool to analyze sales training.  He has also produced the Sales Comic Book and a video game, Revenge of the Reps.

To learn more about SMEI’s dinner meeting or to make a reservation, please visit www.smeihonolulu.com or contact Naomi Kanna by phone at 594-7391 or by email at  Naomi@SMEIHonolulu.com  Please RSVP by Friday January 13th, 2012.

HawaiiReporter Reporting.  
Malia Zimmerman owns and edits the award winning Hawaii Reporter.com, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper. Hawaii Reporter still is free to all readers. Malia reports daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show, KHVH radio on 830 AM at, 7:40 am.

Want more local business information? Please visit the several SBH websites at: www.smartbusinesshawaii.com, www.educate808.com and www.sbhfoundation.org.

Aloha,

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Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai-Diamond Head, is an entrepreneur, small business owner and consulting economist (SMS Consultants); President of Smart Business Hawaii (SBH) and the SBH Entrepreneurial Education Foundation. He graduated from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Reach him at sbh@lava.net