Hawaii Smart Business News and Views – July 28, 2010

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BY SAM SLOM – Hawaii which currently boasts the nation’s 6th best unemployment rate at 6.3%, actually has a “broad jobless rate” of 15.8%, according to a report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week. This definition includes the unemployed, those who’ve stopped looking for work, and those compelled to take only part-time jobs, according to the report. Hawaii ranks 23rd in this measurement.

Long time SBH member, Mike Rosenberg, president and CEO of KITV-TV, announced his retirement as of the end of this year after more than four decades of broadcast leadership. President of the Hawaii Broadcasters Association, Mike has been a trendsetter in the local industry and active in our community. Aloha, Mike.


Also announcing his retirement is Bank of Hawaii CEO, Alan Landon. Bankoh just posted record quarterly profits. Al has been active in the community and we wish him well.

A judge handed down a ruling today (as expected) finding several key provisions of the new Arizona immigration law unenforceable. The law was due to become effective tomorrow. More court action and a trial to follow. It is shameful that the Federal Government is doing nothing about costly, unfair, illegal immigration.

The daily blah continues to herald,Akaka Bill Nears Passage!” How many times during the past 12 years have you heard that? The truth is, Congress has several other key issues on the front burner-such as economic recovery- and it would be most surprising if the race-based Akaka Bill were to actually pass at this time despite the huge Democrat majority.

Member David Nickle of East O’ahu Realty recently attended a State House briefing on homelessness hosted by  Representative Rida Cabanilla and others.
Here are his comments: “I was at this hearing today.  Please, in a nutshell, tell me exactly what was accomplished?

For two hours all  heard was, yes, we have a problem. I do not need a psychiatrist to tell me we have a problem. All I have to do is to try to go to the bathroom at Queens Surf beach in Waikiki having to step over people to get there. Rep. Tom Brower is working on solutions and yet he had no chance to offer them, because you had all these people telling us that we have a problem. Even the budget guy, Russ Saito, took 20 min. to tell us we have no money & I might add, hardly anyone could hear him.  We need Solutions. Now! A lot of people are willing to help with tents, food, medical, & other necessities. All we need is a place. The State owns the perfect place for a temporary tent city, and that place is  SAND ISLAND State Park. It’s out of the way, has a beach and ocean, and restrooms, which I’m sure need fixing. Porta potties would work too. Your thoughts please. PS- It cost me $ 7.50 for parking.”

Local investment group, Castle Resorts & Hotels, purchased the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel for $17.3 million, ending two decades of Mainland ownership. The new owners also include RAM Corporation, parent of Allied Builders System and attorney Rick Fried.

Disney Hawaii begins accepting room reservations next Monday (August 2) for its 359-room Aulani at Ko Olina Hotel, which is to open August 29, 2011. The special initial rates begin at $399 per night. Construction began on the property in March of 2009. Several weeks ago, Disney began selling its 481 time-share units in the 21-acre Ko Olina property.

Check out our new transparency web site shining the light on Hawaii’s education issues – www.educate808.com – More on this new web site and how you can use in our next newsletter.

Rub-Dub-Dub In Your Tub: Bath & Bodyworks announced it will open its first Hawaii store in Ala Moana next March. The firm has almost a  cult-like following of loyal customers who bring the products here from Mainland trips. Bed, Bath & Beyond opens in Pearlridge Center soon.

The State Senate goes into Special Session next week to consider more Lingle Judicial appointees. The Judiciary Committee holds hearings at the Capitol on Supreme Court, Circuit and District Court nominees, next Monday and Tuesday, then the full Senate meets Thursday and Friday in the Auditorium-the Senate Chamber has been taken over by the Office of Elections until December. Attorney Eric Seitz has made the nomination of Appeals Court Judge Kathryn Leonard for Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court an issue. There really is no issue, barring a negative recommendation from the Hawaii Bar Association. Leonard, the first woman CJ appointee, and the first graduate of the UH Richardson School of Law, was admittedly a surprise choice by the Governor (Supreme Court Associate Justice Mark Recktenwald was the odds-on favorite), but is eminently qualified. She should be confirmed.

The Governor also appointed Gordon Ito as insurance commissioner for the Hawai`i State Insurance Division. As head of the Insurance Division, Ito will oversee the insurance industry in the State of Hawai`i, which writes $4.5 billion in premiums, and includes 1,000 insurance companies and 40,000 insurance agents. Ito has been with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for more than 17 years, and is highly experienced in all areas of insurance. Ito has served as chief deputy insurance commissioner since 2000.  Prior to that, he worked as the supervising staff attorney of the Insurance Division from 1993 – 2000.

SBH member George Berish, commenting on last week’s story that Hawaii leads the Nation in per capita consumer debt wrote, “…. the media aggressively ignores all the other debt laid on the backs of Hawaii’s families by our politicians as illustrated by this (partial) list:

Note: I spread totals over “2-child family units.” Spreading them over children who don’t pay taxes seems misleading:

  • Hawaii’s 2009 general obligation bond debt:  $27,000.
  • Hawaii’s 2009 Retirement System Underfunding:  $29,000. ($0 in 2000!)
  • Honolulu County’s 2009 Debt: $1,200.
  • Honolulu’s proposed Rail Borrowing:  $16,000.
  • Recent Sewer Consent Decree: $4,000.
  • 2009 Federal general obligation debt: $160,000.
  • 2009 Social Security underfunding: $200,000. (Medicare is more).
  • Add $12,500 for each Trillion of “stimulus” authorized since 2009.

“So unless you are willing to don a slave’s chains, we voters need to terminate politicians who borrow money in our names – that we don’t have -to buy votes they need to stay elected.  Else the amount they will have to take from our pay, just to pay interest to debtors like China, will only leave us with a slave’s wage.”

The filing deadline for all candidates for this Fall’s election was July 20. Several members of SBH are running for office and they include:

Cam Cavasso / US Senate
John Carroll / Governor
Adrienne King / Lt. Governor
Sam Slom / Senate (8th – Hawaii Kai)
Gene Ward*  / House (17th – Hawaii Kai)
Barbara Marumoto-Coons* / House of Rep. (19th -Kahala)
Julia Allen / House (20th – Palolo)
Marissa Capelouto / House( 40th – Kapolei)
Lawrence Bud Ebel / House (45th – Waialae)
Cynthia Thielen*  / House (51st – Kailua)

* Have no opponent; will automatically be re-elected September 18.

The Hawaii Primary Election is Saturday, September 18 and the General Election is Tuesday, November 2. Please consider giving these members your support.

Still time to join us with our monthly SBH SUNRISE, tomorrow, Thursday, 7-8:30 am at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s Ala Moana. Speaker: Lt. Governor Duke Aiona. Call Darlyn for reservations: 396-1724.

Sam Slom is the President of Smart Business Hawaii and SBH Entrepreneurial Education Foundation and a Hawaii State Senator





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