BY SEN. SAM SLOMLeapin’ Lizards. Happy Leap Year Day. Hope you make it profitable today and if it is your birthday, enjoy this special time.

Today: Sustainable Growth: This afternoon, from 12:15 to 4 pm, there will be two panels on, “Sustainable Growth: Challenges and Solutions for the People of Hawaii.” Sponsored by the American Dream Coalition and the SBH Educational Foundation, the program is free and open to the public at the Mission Memorial Auditorium on the Honolulu Hale grounds. Expert panelists will include: Panos Prevedouros; John Charles; Wendell Cox; Randy Roth; Adrian Moore; Peter Vincent and Randall O’Toole.

Topics will include: Honolulu Rail; TODs; Urban Sprawl and Infrastructure Development.

Recess Over. Tomorrow the State Legislature gets back to work after the annual mandatory five-day recess. Actually, there is plenty of work during the recess, just no House or Senate floor sessions. Committees still met and hearings were held.

JA Awardees. The Senate will honor this year’s Junior Achivement of Hawaii Business Hall of Fame Laureates on Friday, March 9. For 2012 JA Hawaii honors four local business Laureates: Jay Kadowaki, J. Kadowaki, Inc.; Daniel B. T. Lau, Finance Factors, and Debra Ching Maiava and Ric Maiava, Ken’s House of Pancakes (Hilo). You are invited to join JA in honoring these business leaders at the induction ceremony dinner, also Friday, March 9, 5:30 – 8:30 pm at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel. Contact JA at 808-545-1777 for reservations and information.

Stella! Stella? Last week the SBH E Blast ran coverage of the annual “Stella Awards” (for dumb lawsuits). Several readers wrote in to say we had been had, that these awards were “urban legend,” and Snopes.com said they are fake. Well, maybe, but the “awards” have been announced annually for nearly 11 years and this is the first anyone has challenged them. You be the judge.

Reapportionment Clouded. The 9-member Hawaii State Reapportionment Commission, assembled after the U.S. Census every ten years, remains mired in legal challenges. New state district lines are still unclear leaving both incumbent and new candidates without clear direction. The bi-partisan Commission held hearings last year and came up with a final redistricting plan in September, 2011. However, politicians on the Island of Hawaii, desiring an additional State Senate seat (there are currently three), took the Commission to the State Supreme Court.

The Court ruled in their favor, saying that the Commission must redraw the lines, give Hawaii Island another seat, and in the process, disenfranchises nearly 100,000 military deployed here. (48 other states count all military present on April 1; Kansas has some restrictions, but only Hawaii seeks to exclude all non “permanent resident” military). Lawsuits still possible.

Celebrate This Weekend. The Honolulu Festival presents this year’s showcase of Asia-Pacific culture and its people, this weekend, March 3-4. Last year’s Honolulu Festival was interrupted by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which occurred on the eve of the Festival weekend.

Caucus for the GOP. The Hawaii Republican Party will hold its first ever Hawaii Presidential Caucus March 13. It looks like a battle between Romney and Santorum. The events take place at various local sites.

More Mayoral Endorsements. The HGEA, Hawaii’s largest govenment workers union and the UPW, both endorsed Kirk Caldwell for Mayor yesterday. The police union earlier had endorsed Caldwell. Mayor Carlisle and contender Ben Cayetano have yet to pick up endorsements, but they will come.

Sears Song. After last week’s announcement that the Ala Moana flagship Sears store will close next year (2013) many people-including me (I worked there in 1961-62)- remember the good times at this special store. (See article in Hawaii Reporter.com).

Descendents Left at Altar. The Hawaii made movie, The Descendents, written by Kaui Hemmings and starring George Clooney, did not win Best Actor or Best Picture at the Oscars last Sunday. It’s a shame. Hemmings will be honored at the State Senate tomorrow at 11:30. See the movie.

Act of Valor. A lot of good buzz about the new film, Act of Valor, which features real active duty Navy SEALS. Sad that there has been more buzz about the Hawaii photo of the uniformed Marine kissing and entangling his male significant other.

Taxed to Death. Another national survey by State Budget Solutions (SBS) ranks Hawaii state taxes as the highest and most pervasive for taxation of services.

Point-Counterpoint on KHVH. Tune in Tuesdays 7-8 am to the Rick Hamada show on KHVH radio (830 am) to hear Senate Democrat Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria and me tackle the legislative issues at the State Capitol. Call in at 521-8383.

Real News. Go to HawaiiReporter.com, for the real news. HR, founded by Malia Zimmerman, 10 years ago continues to break major investigative stories. Hearty congratulations. Tune in to KHVH every week day at 7:40 am to hear Malia’s report.

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

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