State Tax Revenues Down, Grocery Prices Up, New Restaurants Open and More Smart Business Hawaii News

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BY SAM SLOM – What an extraordinary opportunity for this month’s Talk Radio-Talk Story, TONIGHT, Wednesday, November 17, 5:30 – 8 pm at Sam Choy’s BLC, Nimitz Hwy. Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow of the prestigious CATO Institute in Washington, DC will talk story about F. A. Hayek, “The Road to Serfdom” and his famous essay ” The Intellectuals and Society” and why his messages are so very important today-and tomorrow. Please remember this is an event that welcomes families, young people and provides time for interaction and lots of discussion. Mr Bandow is here to address our UH Law School.  Co-sponsors: Aloha 4 All, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii,, Hawaiian Values, SBH Foundation, & The Federalist Foundation. Call Darlyn at SBH, 396-1724 to reserve a spot.

For the first 4 months of Fiscal Year 2011 (July-October), state tax revenues are down 6%.


More than 2,500 people have applied for jobs with the incoming (December 6) Abercrombie Administration. Hawaii needs jobs; private sector jobs. Not more government patronage employment.

Restaurant Week Hawaii continues through the end of this week. Support your favorite local restaurants and take your business associates, employees and your  family out to eat. Every week is restaurant week with me!

Quizno’s in Hawaii Kai closed down; Koa Pancake house ready to open. Also, new restaurants in Ala Moana Center.

And, in the grocery stores, food prices continue to spiral upward while net weight of contents declines. Worst of all possible worlds.

Exciting news: Best selling author and popular radio talk-show host, Michael Medved is confirmed as a major speaker during the 35th annual SBH Business and Investment Conference, Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 7 am – 2 pm at the Ala Moana Hotel. More details soon. Save the date.

It is costing $232.40 round trip, economy, no bags, no 1st class, on Hawaiian Airlines to make a quick trip to Hilo this Sunday. YIKES!  I  speak to the Conservative Forum of Hawaii at the Naniloa Hotel on the topic: “The Election 2010: Bomb Damage Assessment/After Action Report”  Remember those $25 Mahalo Airlines fares?

Have you been fully naked scanned at the airport yet? How ’bout an invasive “pat down?” Passengers up in arms (quite literally) about this invasion of privacy by the TSA. Security yes, continual erosion of personal rights, no.

Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) spoke out on behalf of keeping the Kamilonui Valley farmers on their agriculture lots leased from Bishop Estate – Kamehameha Schools, and is calling upon the community to support the farmers. The farmers’ leases expired and the farmers went to great length and expense to hire expert Agriculture Economist, Professor Chaudrey Shehata (UH-Hilo Campus) only to be told by the Estate’s lawyers that such a study is irrelevant and means nothing and refused to meet with the farmers and the professor.  This is the same “income based” rather than “commercial land value based” type of study that Dr. Shehata had done for 220 Kona coffee farmers just over a year ago to negotiate their new lease rents with the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.  They accepted Dr. Shehata’s Kona coffee study as relevant. Arbitration between KSBE and the farmer-lessees is slated for Friday.

All Rotary Clubs and individuals who wish to partner or contribute to a special Afghanistan project are welcome. The results of this effort help to end the war and bring lasting benefits to the people of Iraq. Rotary is  supplying the mountain region schools with supplies, in the mining districts. They get no outside aid otherwise.

Each year, Rotary provides them with the school supplies they need, paper, pencils, maps, rulers, chalk boards, chalk etc. The Afghan girls schools are particularly important, as they advance the status of women and these girls go home and teach their mothers and sisters, reading, writing and mathematics.  It is a life changing experience.

The amazing man behind this effort is Gary Bowersox, with the aid of the Rotary Club of Kabul, he transports these supplies to these mountain village schools. (Gary has been traveling twice a year to Afghanistan for the last 39 years, and he is well known in that part of the world.)  It is Gary’s love of these people, and his willingness to risk his life to help them, that is the magic that makes this project work.

Island Pacific Energy, Hawai’i’s largest operator of solar energy facilities, has moved its office to Foreign Trade Zone 9. The new location offers Island Pacific Energy a larger operating space, increased warehouse storage, and Foreign Trade Zone benefits including duty deferral and tariff schedule advantages. Island Pacific Energy moved from the Manoa Innovation Center where it has operated for two years. Its new office is located at 521 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 211, Honolulu, HI 96813. Joseph Saturnia is President of Island Pacific Energy.

Hawaii Business magazine is looking for 20 people whose talents, past accomplishments and potential set them apart as emerging leaders of Hawaii over the next two decades. You can nominate them through their web site- click here.These people to watch can come from any field: business, public service, innovation, education, politics or elsewhere. Age is not a factor. The key is energy, intelligence, charisma and daring. They might be unifiers, innovators or iconoclasts. They could be unknowns, or already have a growing reputation and impact that appears destined to grow much greater.

Here’s what HB wants to know: – Facts about the nominees, including name and key roles in the community; – Their accomplishments at work and elsewhere, and what makes them special;- Why you think they are destined for even greater things in Hawaii; – Your name, contact information and association with the nominee. The more (and better) information you provide, the easier it will be for HB to pick your candidate. Self-nominations are welcome. The deadline for nominations is December 15, 2010. The Hawaii Business editorial staff will pick 20 from the list. Honorees will be invited to an event in March and will be featured in the March 2011 issue of Hawaii Business magazine.

Smart Business Hawaii’s (SBH) monthly Sunrise Networking Breakfast meeting, the final of 2010, is being held tomorrow,  Thursday, November 18, in the Pineapple Room at Macy’s, Ala Moana from 7 to 8:30 am. Usually held the last Thursday of the month, SBH’s November meeting is moved up one week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

November’s SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast speaker is the successful woman owner of Bella Pietra
, and SBH member, Layla Dedrick, who will speak on “Women in Male Dominated Industries -Can’t Live Without Them.”  Learn how women are leading small and large businesses in many industries. For information and reservations, Call Darlyn at SBH at 396-1724 to reserve, or fill out the RSVP form on our website. SBH thanks you for your continued support of SBH the Sunrise Breakfast series.

An alliance of Waialua High and Waiakea High Schools won the 2nd Annual American School in Japan VEX Robotics Tournament last week in Tokyo, hosted by the American School in Japan. Two teams of students and coaches from Waialua, Oahu, three teams from Waiakea and one team from Kohala, Big Island, competed against teams from Tokyo, Yokohama, Taiwan and Thailand. Waialua High School also won the Best Build award. VEX Robotics competitions are being held in many different cities, states and countries, including eight tournaments hosted in Hawai’i as well as the Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships, scheduled for December 3-5, 2010 at the Hawai’i Convention Center. VEX Robotics is one of six major educational robotics programs in Hawai’i.

Recognizing the importance of promoting robotics at an early age and sustaining students’ interest in STEM education throughout their schooling, Hawai’i’s six robotics programs (FIRST Robotics, Botball, Underwater ROV, VEX Robotics, Micro Robotics, FIRST LEGO League) have joined together to form the Hawai’i Robotics Organizing Committee (ROC). As a critical component of the Hawai’i Innovation Initiative, robotics engages students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and provides them with the teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to compete in the 21st century workplace. To learn more about robotics education in Hawai’i and for a complete schedule of robotics competitions occurring across the state, visit their website.

Attorney General Mark Bennett announced last week that the State of Hawai`i has filed a complaint against McKesson Corporation and First DataBank, Inc., as part of an ongoing effort to recover for what the State believes were prescription drug overcharges to the State.  The State’s previous related lawsuit recovered (in total) more than $82 million from prescription drug manufacturers. Defendant McKesson Corporation is a wholesaler of pharmaceutical products.  Defendant First DataBank, Inc., compiles and publishes pricing information regarding pharmaceutical products.  This information is used by Hawai`i’s Medicaid program, among others. The State alleges that the defendants violated various statutes and common law in connection with the reporting and publication of average whole prices (AWPs) for certain brand-name pharmaceutical products.  Specifically, the State alleges that the defendants entered into a scheme to inflate, and in fact inflated, the AWPs published by First DataBank for certain brand-name pharmaceutical products, despite there being no increase in the actual prices retail providers paid to acquire them.  The State alleges that as an intended consequence of the scheme, the State overpaid Medicaid providers when reimbursing them based on these inflated AWPs.

This will be the first-ever performance tour in Hawaii by internationally renowned musician Donna Stoering ( All of the concerts will be free to the public but donations will be collected to benefit specific causes in Hawaii. The beneficiary organizations were selected by Ms. Stoering through her Notes for Nourishment series, a project of the global non-profit Listen for Life ( On Saturday November 20th, she will give a concert,  6-8pm at Central Union Church in Honolulu.

Go UH Warriors! Beat UNLV this Saturday, November 20, 5:30 pm at Aloha Stadium.

In these perilous economic times, do you need help with YOUR business?  Just starting a business?  Call me personally for help at 808-396-1724 or . Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we’re here to help you.