BY SEN. SAM SLOM – Teach Me. The contract settlement reached between the Governor and HSTA teachers union on Sunday, is a win-win for the union and a lose-lose for taxpayers. The 4-year pact calls for $100 million in new raises for the union through 2017 (four years), PLUS a 60%-40% medical premium split, PLUS, $1,500 bonuses for the highest paid teachers, PLUS a 5% retroactive pay boost because of the 5% previously cut for all (except UPW) workers. But wait, there’s more: next comes demands from the HGEA and UPW unions. The Legislature spends most of its time-and your money-paying off the unions who return the favor with votes and campaign workers. And since the Salary Commission just granted lawmakers (and the Executive and the Judiciary) plump raises of their own, who will complain? Ugly system.

 

White Smoke, Green Smoke. The world has a new Pope after the release of white smoke in Rome. In Honolulu, there is a release of green smoke from the Capitol, as taxpayers’ dollars are burned up at record rates by the State Legislature.

 

Another Big UH Salary. University of Hawaii announced it will hire a new UH Librarian at $195,000 per year PLUS automatic tenure after 3 years. No wonder student tuition keeps escalating: to pay for exorbitant UH admin salaries.

 

Medal of Honor. Today, at 2 pm, a joint House-Senate session will award the Hawaii Medal of Honor to the families of fallen armed forces personnel. It is arguably the best thing the Legislators do. Organized nearly a decade ago by Rep. K. Mark Takai (D-Aiea), there won’t be a dry eye in the Senate Chamber. Open to the public and televised by O’lelo.

 

Hear John Carpenter Tomorrow. Island Slipper’s John Carpenter is Sunrise Speaker for March. The monthly SBH Sunrise Networking Breakfast Forum continues tomorrow,Thursday, March 28, in the Pineapple Room at Macy’s Ala Moana Center (3rd Floor), from 7 – 8:30 am.

 

In addition to networking, introductions and special announcements, the Sunrise features a full buffet breakfast, program and free parking.

 

John Carpenter, owner of Island Slipper in the Ward Warehouse will speak on, “Minimum Wage: Impact on Small Business.” Carpenter has been the owner of Island Slipper since 1985 and has successfully guided the firm, founded in 1946 for the last 28 years.

 

The SBH forums are open to the public. Advance paid reservations are required. Still time to call Darlyn at SBH, 396-1724.

 

Health Forum Coming. SBH and its partner, HMAA, are sponsoring a Health Update: “How Will Obamacare (ACA) Impact YOUR Business?” on Tuesday, April 23, 11 am – 1 pm at the Hawaii Kai Outback Steakhouse. Lunch and limited seating included in reservation. Contact Darlyn at SBH, 396-1724 for details.

 

442nd Honorees. The State House congratulated the United States Army 442nd Regimental Combat Team on its Seventy-Year Anniversary on Monday.

Recognized were:

  • Colonel John Bates, USMC Retired
  • Colonel Gene Castagnetti, USMC Retired
  • Captain Jerry Coffee, US Navy Retired
  • Captain Jim Hickerson, US Navy Retired
  • Lieutenant General Hank Stackpole, USMC Retired

 

Mr. Dave Livingston, Navy League President, was also on hand for the event.

 

Dennis Muth “Outstanding. “Prudential Locations recognized the 2012 Outstanding Achievements of Dennis Muth, President’s Circle Award 2012.  Muth is in the Top 3% of Prudential Agents Nationwide. He won the Client Service Award 2012 and is recognized for demonstrating superior customer service. Muth was also the Aloha ‘Aina Nominee 2012 andnominated for the Honolulu Board of Realtors’ People’s Choice Award.

 

Social InSecurity. A new report released yesterday by the Main Street Alliance and Social Security Works, Business is (Baby) Booming, analyzes the role Social Security and Medicare play in Hawaii’s economy, both strengthening the retirement security of small business owners themselves, and fueling consumer demand on Main Street.

 

Analyzing the U.S. Census Bureau’s first-ever public use microdata sample from a nationwide survey of business owners, the report found that over one-third (41%) of Hawaii’s small business owners are over age 55, at or approaching retirement age.

 

Small business owners are significantly less likely to hold retirement assets than private sector wage and salary workers, and the recession has weakened retirement security for many small businesses, including more than half of business owners for whom a majority of their nest egg is tied to their business.

 

The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions. It creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies.

 

PIRG Criticizes Hawaii’s Fiscal Transparency. Hawaii received an “F” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

 

Officials from Hawaii and 47 other states provided the researchers with feedback on their initial evaluation of state transparency websites. The leading states with the most comprehensive transparency websites are Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Oklahoma.

 

As a result of continually rising transparency standards, Hawaii’s “C” grade from last year dropped to an “F” this year. In order for states to keep up with rising standards and maintain high scores, they must view the pursuit of greater transparency as an ongoing process. This year’s higher standards call for searchable checkbook-level information for contracts, grants, economic development tax credits, and other expenditures. Hawaii currently only meets these standards for grants and contracts.

 

The states with the most transparent spending stand out partly because they are comprehensive about the kinds of spending they include, such as data on economic development subsidies, expenditures granted through the tax code, and quasi-public agencies. At least six states have launched brand new transparency websites since last year’s report, and most made improvements that are documented in the report. The best state transparency tools are highly searchable, engage citizens, and include detailed information-allowing all the information to be put to good use.

 

Think Tech. Watch a new episode of ThinkTech on OC16 on channel 12.  “The U.S. Commercial Service Helps Us Do Business in China.” China is and will be increasingly important to Hawaii and its economy. ThinkTech Hosts Jay Fidell andDavid Day comment on the recent U.S. Commercial Service program which discussed ways to create long-term business relationships with China.  Tune in every week on OC16 on these days and times:

  • Sunday: 10:30 pm
  • Monday: 4:30 am & 4pm
  • Tuesday 9:30 am
  • Wednesday: 5 am
  • Friday: 2 pm
  • Saturday: 4:30 am & 1 pm

ThinkTech’s “Asia in Review” on Olelo Channel 54.

Tune in every week to Channel 54 and  olelo.org on these days and times:

  • Monday 11 am – Channel 54
  • Tuesday 7 pm – Channel 54

Listen to ThinkTech Radio 4-5p.m on KGU 760AM, streaming on the net at  760kgu.biz.  Raise your awareness on ThinkTech Radio. Wednesday is “Hawaii Energy Show” w/ Jay Fidell

 

NO to Strip Mall! Rep. Gene Ward’s (R – Hawai’i Kai-Kalama Valley) Townhall Meeting at Kamiloiki School last Thursday night drew 400 angry citizens who rejected Kamehameha Schools’ proposed development of a strip mall, “Ku’apa Village,” on the “Great Lawn” across from Maunalua Bay in Hawai’i Kai. Foodland would be the anchor. KSBE promised “restaurants, hiking trails, entertainment and water activity” on the site but residents weren’t biting. Councilman Stanley Chang was booed for his flip-flops (not slippers). KSBE will continue to persuade government officials to change the preservation zoning to commercial.

 

Top Proprietor. Our own SBH Director, Tyler Rokuma, owner of the popular Hawaii Kai Outback Steakhouse, was just named “Proprietor of the Year,” by Outback at the national convention at the Gaylord Hotel outside D.C.

 

You Are What You Eat. The biggest legislative hearing of the year was held last Thursday in the Senate where three committees heard a bill on GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) labeling. The hearing was loud, passionate and emotional. Monsanto- identified as the “evil empire” by anti-GMO activists- was well represented by employees and lobbyists. In the end, the Legislature did what it does best: punted, and called for a task force and more study.

 

More Guns, Less Crime. Hawaii law enforcement has confirmed that gun sales are up nearly 70% over last year and at the same time, violent crime- especially involving firearms- is down in Hawaii. Connection? You bet, and it is what authorJohn Lott has been writing about and documenting for years. Nevertheless, the Legislature is still trying to pass an even more harsh gun control bill (SB 69).

 

2014 Elections. Get ready, here comes 2014 elections. Senator Brian Schatz, who can’t seem to find anything to do in Washington, is already having a fundraiser for next year. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa is having a hard time deciding whether to run for Governor or Senate (against Schatz) next year, and Councilmember Chang has started a congressional campaign committee. There will be many more Democrats seeking higher office. Republicans?

 

No to MaryJane. There will be a rally at the Capitol today at 4 pm against the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. The Legislature- particularly the Senate- is hell-bent on decrim of marijuana this session but it has a long way to go till May 2. Law enforcement and some citizen groups still strongly oppose.

 

News Behind the News. Don’t forget that Malia Zimmerman delivers the daily Hawaii Reporter news briefing very day at 7:05 am and 9:05 a.m on KHVH News Radio’s Rick Hamada Show. Get the REAL news with Malia!

 

SBH can help you with YOUR business. Just starting a business?   Call me personally for help at 396-1724 or email: SBH@lava.net. Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we’re here to help you.

 

Aloha,

Sam

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