Minimum Wage Remains | Mailer to Retire | Olive Garden Coming? | Sears Small Businesses Scrambling

First Circuit Court Judge Steve Alm, founder of HOPE
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By Sam Slom – Legislature is Over; Keep One-Hand on Wallet or Purse.The 27th State Legislature ended its 60-day run last Thursday with a lot of back slapping, self congratulation and parties. Few thanked the Hawaii taxpayers who will have to foot the bill for nearly $30 billion in state spending. There will be interim work, briefings, hearings and a possible special Senate session to confirm a new circuit judge on Maui then alas, it will be January and time to start all over again. In the meantime, keep one hand on your wallet or purse at all times.

MRC to Go (But Not Far). UH President MRC Greenwood, UH head since 2009, announced on Monday she was retiring August 31 for health and family reasons. The embattled UH leader has been in one controversy after another since theStevie Wonder Blunder Concert came to light last year and there are more procurement and construction problems to come. Greenwood dissed the Legislature and declined to come to answer any questions since February. She will return to teaching at the UH Medical School, with tenure, a lucrative salary and lavish benefits. It is not fair to criticize just one person, although the CEO must be responsible for all that happens on her watch. There may be possible other resignations. The UH Board of Regents has a long way to go to repair the damage they have let occur. This time, can we please tap local talent and stop paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to head hunters to find us Mainland leaders?


Tune in Panos. SBH Director and UH Engineering Prof, Dr. Panos Prevedouros, is a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s Tuesday morning radio show every Tuesday, 7:05 – 8 am. Tune in!

No, No, Tukenjo! Kaka’ako’s Tsukenjo Lunch House closed last week after a delicious 50-year run. It was my favorite plate lunch place. Governor Cayetano too. Will miss the Nabarro family eatery.

Hatch to Speak to SBH May 30. Clark Hatch famed local business entrepreneur, will be the next speaker at the monthly SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast forum, Thursday, May 30, 7-8:30 am at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s Ala Moana. He will speak on “Doing Business in Asia.” Advance reservations available through SBH. Call Darlyn at 396-1724,

Dr. Popper Added. Hawaii Pacific DEEG welcomes Jordan Popper, M.D., as the senior neurological consultant. Dr. Popper specializes in pain management, and his techniques are widely recognized as safe and effective for his many hundreds of patients. He is also teaching his skills and sharing his experience in managing neurological pain with his new colleagues.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Popper join the team,” said Dr. Michael Russo, medical director of Hawaii Pacific DEEG. “He brings decades of incredible experience and knowledge that will further our mission of providing expert and compassionate neurological care to our islands’ kama’aina.”

In addition to his work with Hawaii Pacific DEEG, Dr. Popper has his own neurological practice. He is a fellow of many medical organizations, including the American Heart/American Stroke Association and American Academy of Neurology. He was also past president of the Hawaii Neurological Society and currently sits on the professional advisory board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii.

Hawaii Pacific DEEG is the first and only DEEG center in the Pacific region offering the most comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. To learn more about DEEG or to set up an appointment, please call Hawaii Pacific DEEG at808-294-3332 or visit

No Bayfest, No Maunalua Bay Fireworks. This past week there were two announcements involving popular recreational activities: the US Navy announced there will be no Bayfest concert and event this year due to “sequestration,” and the Independence Day at the (Maualua) Bay will not feature fireworks because not enough sponsorship money is being raised. Will Kailua have its fireworks? The community is struggling to raise another $50,000 for the annual event. Times are tough and expensive fireworks are not on the menu.

See You at EOBC Tuesday. I will give a legislative wrap up at the monthly meeting of the East Oahu Breakfast Club, next Tuesday, June 14, 7 am at the Hawaii Kai Retirement Center (where several have said I belong). The event is open to the public; $10 for members, $15 for guests.

Sears Small Businesses Scrambling. In just a few weeks, June 2, Sears Ala Moana will be gone and so too about 20 small businesses who leased from Sears under very favorable terms. The flower shop, embroidery, tuxedo rental and specialty shops have been scrambling to find new locations after mall owner, General Growth Properties shortened the closing time for Sears by about 18 months. Sears will be missed.

Laie Hotel Developer. Laie Ventures LLC has been selected as the developer to replace what used to be the Laie Inn.Construction on the new hotel, which will be adjacent to the Polynesian Cultural Center, is expected to begin later this year.

Laie Ventures LLC, is led by Dan Gifford and Brent Wood who have partnered to develop and finance the project. The team has more than 25 years of development experience in commercial, residential, hospitality and high-tech construction.

Though approved for four stories and 222 rooms, plans have been scaled back to three stories, and for the first phase of the project, 144 rooms are planned. Future phasing will depend on various factors, including market demand. Initial permits for horizontal infrastructure have been filed and site preparation work is expected to begin soon.

Redevelopment of the hotel is being facilitated through a ground lease by land manager Hawaii Reserves, Inc. (HRI).

Olive Garden Coming? Pacific Business News reported on a new major mall in Kapolei and the inclusion of Hawaii’s first Olive Garden Restaurant. But you better eat now because that won’t be for several years if OG arrives.

Foodland at 65. Foodland is celebrating 65 years in business with food, friends and good poke. We all love Foodland- but not on the Great Lawn in Hawaii Kai across Maunalua Bay on preservation land as proposed by Kamehameha Schools.

Mailer to Retire. Speaking of KS/BE, CEO Dee Jay Mailer announced she will retire from Kamehameha Schools. A search is on.

Retired COO or CEO, Like Job? A reader writes, “would you have a listing of retired COO or CEO who might be interested in working full or part time? I am a retired partner from one of the local CPA firms and a former client is in need of someone to assist the experienced members of management for a few years, President had to retired early due to health reasons.” Interested? Write ( or call me (349-5438).

Happy 50th to Castle. Kailua’s Castle Medical Center is observing its 50th birthday. Take that you belly fat!

NO Journalism Shield For You. Despite last minute maneuvering by the House, the Senate killed any hope for a renewed Journalism Shield Law, the best in the Nation according to those in the media. The law had a 5-year run and expires on June 30; it was killed by Senator Clayton Hee.

Minimum Wage Remains at $7.25. The proposed increased minimum wage (from the current $7.25 per hour) bill died in the last days of the Legislature when House & Senate conferees failed to agree on language and amounts. The successor employer bill-which mandated that a new business owner must retain all previous employees at the same salary & benefit level, died also. But a new domestic worker “bill of rights” bill did pass along with tax and many fee increases.

Champion Trees. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announces that six new Hawaiian trees have been crowned as national champions in the American Forests’ Big Tree Program.

The Big Tree Program is a nationwide competition to find the largest trees in the United States that are recognized as “champions” of their species. According to American Forests, the goal of the Big Tree Program is “to preserve and promote the iconic stature of these living monarchs and to educate people about the key role that these remarkable trees and forests play in sustaining a healthy environment.”

In 2012, Hawai’i had six champions, including a koa, two coconuts, an ‘a’ali’i, a manele, and a hau. With the six new champions, including a 112 ft coconut that knocked out the two previous coconut co-champions, Hawai’i is now home to a total of 10 nationally recognized champion trees.
Hawai’i’s six new champion trees are:

  • Coconut (Cocos nucifera) in Hawai’i Kai, O’ahu

*De-throned the two previous coconut Champions located in Moloka’i

  • Kôlea (Myrsine lessertiana) at Pu’u Wa’awa’a Forest Reserve, Hawai’i Island
  • Wiliwili (Eryrthrina sandwicensis) at Pu’u Lani Ranch, Hawai’i Island
  • Olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis) at Pu’u Wa’awa’a Forest Reserve, Hawai’i Island
  • Pâpalakçpau (Pisonia brunoniana) at Pu’u Wa’awa’a Forest Reserve, Hawai’i Island
  • Mâmane (Sophora chrysophylla) at Pu’u Wa’awa’a Forest Reserve, Hawai’i Island
News Behind the News. Don’t forget that Malia Zimmerman
delivers the daily Hawaii Reporter news briefing very day at

7:05 am on KHVH. 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: Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we’re here to help you.







  1. Unfortunately my experience wiht Olive Garden has been uneven. First, in Phoenix…very good, then in Manhattan Beach…bad, finally back in Phoenix the following year…bad. What will Kapolei bring?

  2. This is the truth. People think that throwing more money at employees makes them work harder. The excitement of getting a raise lasts about 1 day then its like it never happened. No magic knob is turned increasing their willingness to put more effort in.

  3. He was also past president of the Hawaii Neurological Society and currently sits on the professional advisory board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii.

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