NEWS + VIEWS: Ag Land Increases, Drought, King of Pork, Ad Hikes, Elections and more

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By Sam Slom
President, Smart Business Hawaii and SBH Entrepreneurial Education Foundation

Another point of view: Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate wants to destroy small business farmers in Kamilonui Valley, Hawaii Kai. Their lease re-negotiation came up last week with a figure of nearly 25 times current lease amounts! KSBE says they want the farmers to stay and are only asking for “fair” rent which has not been raised since 1973. The farmers are old and not capable of paying those rents. Is ag zoned land worth that increase? If KSBE wants to help, let them really help. However, as an KSBE commercial tenant, SBH can tell you that the Estate is more interested in big bucks revenues and development than preservation of small businesses. Just an opinion.


Foreclosures are “down” slightly in Hawaii but still remain high for the year and for those that lost their homes already.

The extreme drought on all islands continues and on the Island of Hawaii has hit diversified crops-especially madacamia nuts-very hard.

Back to school jam-especially U of H coming next week. Prepare! Meanwhile, major road and sewer projects slowing traffic and raising business costs island-wide on O’ahu.

Have you seen the full page ads in top national magazines including Forbes for Senator Daniel Inouye? Local big businessmen extol the virtues of the “King of Pork” and all the things he brings to Hawaii. But there is a cost for all of that. Meanwhile, SBH member “Crazy” Cam Cavasso is challenging 86-year-old Senator Inouye.

Businesses really grumbling about the increase in ad rates at O’ahu’s monopoly daily StarAdvertiser newspaper and rightly so. SBH warned you previously. Some advertisers also had their prior contracts nullified. More competition definitely needed.

Speaking of rates, have you flown inter-island recently? One way to Kauai was as much as $135 last week! Again, there is no substitute for competition.

Governor Linda Lingle announced Hawai’i is joining a nationwide effort started by California First Lady Maria Shriver in 2005 to connect residents with money-saving resources and opportunities. Participating in the WE Connect campaign is part of Governor Lingle’s push for statewide economic recovery. The WE Connect campaign aims to bring various resources to the attention of those seeking opportunities, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working families and individuals.

For example, the EITC allows qualifying families of four to earn up to $5,028 in credits. In 2008, Hawai’i recipients of the EITC reached 88,000 and received more than $155 million in credit.

The WE Connect campaign is multi-faceted, with the primary push being, a website with links to resources, locations, and contact information for helpful organizations and offices. The WEbConnector tool is designed to help people determine whether they qualify for any assistance programs: EITC, Child Tax Credit, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Infant, and Children’s Program (WIC), or Child Care Credit. The Hawai’i site features links to public and private local resources, such as food pantry locations, free tax locations, job postings, career fairs, internship and volunteer opportunities, and free legal help locations. Contact information for public community schools and social service offices are also listed on the website.The Hawai’i WE Connect site also provides small business resources, including links to online business registration though the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and advice for new business owners. Visit:

150 Organizations, Including SBH, Oppose FCC Internet Regulation. On August 11, 153 national and state-level think tanks, advocacy groups, state legislators, bloggers, and talk show hosts sent two letters to the Federal Communications Commission in opposition to regulating broadband Internet. Between the two letters, signers include Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, SBH, and Citizens Against Government Waste. In addition, 36 state lawmakers and a number of state-level think tanks and advocacy groups joined the coalition letters. To quote from one of the two letters: “Despite universal acknowledgement that Americans enjoy a free, open, and vibrant Internet, the FCC is relentlessly pursuing a massive regulatory regime that would stifle broadband expansion, create congestion, slow Internet speeds, jeopardize job retention and growth, and lead to higher prices for consumers.”

“The FCC is on a reckless mission to regulate the Internet, overlooking the costs and the vast bipartisan opposition from elected officials and Americans. These coalition letters show a large number of policy-focused non-profits, state lawmakers, activists, and bloggers strongly object to the FCC’s actions. Despite rhetoric from radical left-wing groups, the Internet is already open and free, just as it’s always been. Only the FCC’s regulatory ambitions would change that,” said Kelly William Cobb, Executive Director, Digital Liberty Project.

Americans for Tax Reform is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayersand taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases. For more information please contact John Kartch at (202) 785-0266 or by email at

Hawaii Reporter (HR) filed a FOIA with the city to get copies of all of the complaints filed with the complaint office over the last 5 years. The city responded that they have 200,000 complaints not counting complaints for potholes (and we have a lot of potholes) and that they would charge $1.25 for a copy of each complaint, which is over $200,000. HR told the City they did not need copies, but would just come into view the complaints.The City said no because of privacy issues. HR offered to sign a confidentiality statement and not contact or reveal the person in the complaint, and the City said no. Then the City sent a letter telling HR they’d give them a 50 percent discount on copies. They billed HR for $109,000 plus. Stay tuned.

By the way, Hawaii Reporter is gearing up for its gala 9th anniversary celebration, Friday, October 15 (save the date!) at Waialae Country Club, 5:30 – 8:30 pm. Contact Linda O’Grady: for further info.

The HEMIC spokes creature toad finally hit the road. Too many lizards, fowl and others representing companies. Not fair to humans. HEMIC is a good workers compensation local firm with few warts.

Have you seen any of those Mayoral debates to date? Really shows Honolulu needs an engineer like Panos as the next Mayor, September 18. What a contrast to two lawyer politicians and an ethically challenged councilmember.

The Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board is holding a Mayoral and City Council District 4 Candidates Forum during its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 31, at Hahaione Elementary School, 595 Pepeekeo Street. The mayoral forum will run from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., followed by the City Council candidates from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Candidates and the public are invited to arrive at 6:30 p.m. and stay until 10:00 p.m. to meet and talk before and after the meeting. The Board has invited the eight candidates running in the Honolulu Mayor special election and the seven candidates running in the Honolulu City Council District 4 primary election. Both elections will be on September 18. Beth-Ann Kozlovich, host and producer of Hawaii Public Radio’s “Town Square,” will serve as moderator. The Board is asking the public to submit questions for the candidates in advance. Questions may be sent to by August 27.

Temple Emanuel is also hosting a series of debates this month. It seems there are more debates-and chances for business to compare candidates-than ever before. And that’s a good thing.

Major Democratic Candidates for Governor, Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann, renew their hate-hate relationship of 16 years ago as they go against each other each debate. At least they are debating and giving voters and business people a choice for September 18.

A reminder that several current 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)
Joe (Joe Builder) Pandolfe / Senate (25th – Kailua/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 in the Primary, September 18.

The debate heats up between an APPOINTED or ELECTED Board of Education for Hawaii. Voters will decide in November. However, the Department of Education (DOE) costs taxpayers $2.7 BILLION for Hawaii’s failing public education system. Time for major CHANGE(S)? Visit our new transparency website shining the light on Hawaii’s education issues –

Are you registered to vote? The deadline is August 19. The Hawaii Primary election is Saturday, September 18 and the General election is Tuesday, November 2.

Governor Lingle has nominated Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Mark Recktenwald as Chief Justice. Business members remember when the Governor first appointed Recktenwald to head the troubled DCCA. He did a teriffic job turning the business agency around. Then he went to the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the State Supreme Court. Recktenwald should be easily and swiftly confirmed by the State Senate.

Still time to join us with our next monthly SBH SUNRISE, and our special guest speaker, Congressman Charles Djou, Thursday, August 26, 7-8:30 am at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s Ala Moana. Call Darlyn for reservations: 396-1724.

And reserve now for the Grassroot Institute / HPU / SBH Foundation Education Forum, “Is Hawaii Broken?” Wednesday, September 1, 11:30 am Pacific Club Speakers: Former Governor Ben Cayetano, Randy Roth (“Broken Trust”) and Cliff Slater (Honolulu