Smart Business Hawaii News and Views: More on Financial ‘Reform’, Unemployment Benefits and Hawaii’s Star Business Owners

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BY SAM SLOM – Smart Business Hawaii (SBH) bids aloha to former Congress Member Ed Case who served on the SBH Board of Directors for the past three years and welcomes Jack Schneider of JS Services back to the Board. Board members are non-paid volunteers who contribute their time and service to the small business community.

The so-called historic Financial Reform bill signed into law today by President Obama will NOT be beneficial to most small businesses, taxpayers or consumers. In its 2,300 pages, the new law contains more than 530 new regulations, fees and restrictions on the market including the new right of government to dissolve a business deemed “a threat to the economy.’  Hold on: there’s more coming from this socialist regime.


The cost for more Unemployment benefits to the unemployed (now coming off of 99 weeks of extended benefits): $34 billion and even higher personal income tax rates beginning in the 2011 tax year. More JOBS are still the answer, not more unemployment benefits.

SBH member J. Arthur Rath III has a new book out, “Slices of Life in Hawaii” (Volume 1), which includes 65 stories and poems about Hawaii people and their adventures in Rath’s inimitable writing style. The book is available on line in both print and Kindle formats at or at your local bookseller. Proceeds to assist Hawaii’s homeless.

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

SBH member, humorist and author, Charley Memminger, was honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists recently and took third place nationally for humor columns in the 100,000 and OVER circulation category for the first time.  Previously he garnered two first places in the 100,000 and under category.  His columns ran in the former Honolulu Star Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser,  and he was competing against the largest papers-  New York Times, LA Times-so that makes Memminger officially the third funniest humor columnist in the country!  Interesting, because Memminger now can’t get a column published in Hawaii’s only daily newspaper, the Star Advertiser. The new monopoly paper, purchased by the former Honolulu Star Bulletin, didn’t pick up his column when they shut down the Advertiser.
Here’s the link to the NSNC website with the information.

The local federal court proceedings involving agriculture bigwigs, Alec and Mike Sou, owners of Aloun Farms on O’ahu, is more than interesting. The two pled guilty in January to conspiracy to force into labor 44 workers from Thailand. They had been charged with additional counts. The criminal case is being prosecuted by the US Department of Justice Human Trafficking Division.  The workers were allegedly threatened with deportation, underpaid, and mistreated while in Hawaii. The Sou brothers are facing 5 years in prison but their sentencing scheduled two days ago in U.S. District Court was post-poned until September 9 by judge Susan Oki Mollway who said she was “confused” when the brothers sounded like they wanted to back out of their plea deal. Several heavy hitter big business and political leaders came forward in strong support of  the Sou brothers, including bankers and former Governors Waihee and Cayetano. The Sous are big time contributors to Democrat politicians and have done considerable business with local banks. We’ll see how this plays out. Read more in – they broke the story in 2007 and continue to cover the story today.

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:  (I spread totals over “2-child family units”.  Spreading them over children who don’t pay taxes seemed 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 (September 18 Primary) election was yesterday at 4:30 pm (except for two Senate Seats, Bunda and Hooser, who resigned Monday; the filing deadline for those 2 seats  is next Friday, the 30th).  The deadline ended speculation as to who is in and who is not in many statewide and local races. Mayor Mufi Hannemann as expected, abandoned his office to run for Governor (two years remain on his term) and put Kirk Caldwell (Managing Director) of the City & County of Honolulu in charge. There is a record number of candidates. Be sure you are registered to vote. I am also up for re-election in the Hawaii State Senate and have an opponent in the general election in November.

The Senate Ways & Means Committee investigation of state transportation contracts concluded on July 19. Taxpayers got a less than favorable deal on several of the contracts in question. If you use hindsight and Monday-morning quarter-backing. Now if Senator Kim would only investigate the $2.7 billion DOE with the same passion.

Please visit our new and improved website: for upcoming events and to register too.

sam slom
Sam Slom is a state senator representing Hawaii Kai to Diamond Head, President of Smart Business Hawaii and head of SBH Entrepreneurial Education Foundation