BY SEN. SAM SLOM – Still More Same Sex. The State Legislative “Special” Session that began October 28 and was scripted to last 5 days to debate Senate Bill 1 to legalize gay marriage, continues today. The session will go on into next week, with a final vote next Tuesday at the earliest. House members are to be commended because they spent 5 days hearing testimony from 1,032 people who testified in person (895 in opposition and 137 in support). Some 5,000 people signed up to testify.The House will send an amended bill to the Senate, but the Senate may not agree to broad religious exemptions and then this Session will have been for naught. Except that many people who have never been involved and most who don’t vote, have become engaged and energized. Maybe they will help me in 2014 pass Initiative, Referendum, Recall and Term Limits so they have more of a voice in their government.
Illinois Beats Us. Illinois yesterday became the 15th state to pass a same sex marriage law, beating Hawaii to the punch.
Best Voters, Worst Voters. NerdWallet released a study this week comparing civic engagement in each state. The study sought to determine which states have the most politically engaged voters. Hawaii came in last – as the least politically engaged state. Only 58.9 of citizens are registered to vote. Only 51.6 percent of citizens voted in the 2012 elections.Hawaii was at the bottom with Arkansas (48), Oklahoma (49) and West Virginia (50). The District of Columbia placed first for best voting record. Over 80 percent of the population is registered to vote, and DC has the highest voter turnout rate of any state or district. Almost 76 percent of citizens living in DC voted.
Snakes everywhere? We hear about snakes running rampant at the state capitol, but of course, they are of the political kind. But yesterday at around 7 a.m. in Chinatown, a pedestrian found a real snake slithering along the sidewalk. According to Hawaii News Now, the snake was 2.5 foot a non-venomous rainbow boa constrictor. Snakes of any kind are illegal in Hawaii.
Corruption in Recycling Industry? I spoke out many times against the punitive recycling program that the state implemented several years ago because it adds a 6-cent tax to each bottle and can. Not only does it add to the cost of living in Hawaii, which is already highest in the nation, but it forces consumers to wait in sometimes long lines in the hot sun to get a 5 cent return on each bottle and can (which sometimes is not the full 5 cents). No other state has such a cumbersome recycling program. In addition, the City & County of Honolulu already has its own recycling program, with pick ups from our homes every two weeks. Plus the state expanded the government by adding a new division to the Department of Health to manage the program. In addition, lawmakers continue to raid the recycling fund to balance the budget instead of returning it to the taxpayers.
A new audit by the state legislative auditor shows waste, poor management and potential fraud in the industry. Hawaii News Now reports: “One of the criticisms is that the program takes in less money than it pays out, making it financially unsustainable. …. An accrued $28 million difference in handling fees dispersed over container fees collected is an example. … The audit also states there is potential for erroneous reporting or even fraud because the redemption centers receive their funds without having to verify the amount of material or weight claimed.” See the full story here>
Outrigger Honored. Travelers have spoken. Outrigger Hotels and Resorts is proud to announce that three of its properties have earned a spot in Holidays with Kids’ 2013 Top 10 Resort Awards. Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort was voted “Best Family Resort” in Thailand; Outrigger on the Lagoon – Fiji cracked the Top 10 Family Resorts in Fiji; and the Outrigger-managed Embassy Suites-Waikiki Beach Walk also was voted one of the Top 10 Family Resorts in the United States by Holidays with Kids, a leading Australian travel and lifestyle magazine.
Chamber at Summit. A delegation from The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii including, Dennis Francis, board chairman; Bernie Coleman, board member and chair of the Chamber’s Economic Development and Innovation policy committee; Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO; and Pono Chong, vice president of business advocacy and development, are networking with representatives from more than 60 international markets to promote the benefits of investing in Hawaii at the first-ever SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit supports President Obama’s commitment to attracting foreign direct investment to Hawaii and the United States to spur economic growth and create jobs.
DLNR Names Downer. Alan S. Downer has been appointed as the new administrator of the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD), a division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Downer served 27 years as director of the Navajo Nations Historic Preservation Department (NNHPD) in Window Rock, Ariz. Downer was hired in 1986 to establish the first tribal historic preservation agency in the United States. The Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department remains one of the largest public historic preservation agencies in the United States.
Symphony Taps Parrish. The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra has named Jonathan Parrish as the new executive director. Parrish is an assistant principal horn player with Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, general manager of Chamber Music Hawaii and adjunct faculty member at the University of Hawaii.Steven Monder, who has been serving as interim HSO president, will stay on as senior advisor to Parrish and the HSO board to ensure a smooth transition.
Bethany Hamilton Continues to Shine. Island Sole and Cobian invite local fans, shoppers and the public to meet pro surfer Bethany Hamilton at the Hawaii debut of the Bethany Hamilton Limited Edition Signature Sandals by Cobian on Nov. 18 at Island Sole Ala Moana.
Hamilton, who is a role model and source of inspiration to fans all around the world, will share a sneak preview of the sandal with fans and autograph posters at the store from 5 to 6 p.m. Fans will also have a chance to pre-order the Bethany Hamilton Limited Edition Signature Sandals at the store. During the event, any purchase of a Cobian product, including pre-orders, will include a free DVD of “Heart of a Soul Surfer: The Bethany Hamilton Story.”
See “Captain Phillips’. Hope you have seen, or plan to see, the new movie, “Captain Phillips,” the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and kidnapping of Captain Richard Phillips off Somalia by pirates in 2009. Tom Hanks should win the Oscar for Best Actor next year. Great movie but begs the question: Why are our ships, and captains, not armed and better protected in pirate infested waters. Very frustrating.
Table Topics Cancelled. The “Table Topics” program hosted by the SBH Young Entrepreneurs for tomorrow night at the Nimitz Business Center (5:30-7 pm) has been cancelled and will be re-scheduled for January.
Sigall At EOBC. SBH Director, owner of Creative-1 Marketing, HPU faculty member and author of the best selling series, “The Companies We Keep,” Bob Sigall, will be the guest speaker at next Tuesday’s East Oahu Breakfast Meeting at the Hawaii Kai Retirement Center, 7-8:30 am. Contact Kevin Nitta for details.
Political Hot Water. Rep. Romy Cachola, D-Kalihi Kai, spent $30,000 from his campaign fund to acquire the Nissan Pathfinder in 2008 from New City Nissan in Honolulu. Since, he has spent campaign funds as much as three times a week for fuel, and put additional campaign funds toward car insurance, maintenance and registration. Cachola told Hawaii Reporter that the Pathfinder “is purely for campaign use.” Don’t be surprised if Cachola comes under additional scrutiny by the Campaign Spending Commission. See the story here>
UH Football Woes Continue. The 2013 University of Hawaii “Rainbow Warriors,” now 0-8, will face the Navy on Saturday but prospects for that first win of the season are not good. Also, more red ink reported by the UH Athletic Department. Coach Norm Chow’s team is struggling on defense and offense, but let’s support UH and the team. Go ‘Bows!
Francis Honored. Editor & Publisher Magazine has honored Honolulu Star-Advertiser CEO Dennis Francis as the nation’s outstanding publisher.
Chisholm, Morihara at SUNRISE. The next SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast forum, Thursday, November 21 (7 -8:30 am) will feature Erin Chisholm of Pacific Business Consultants and David Morihara or Morihara, Inc. discussing, “What is Your Company Worth in Today’s Market?” Contact Susan at SBH (396-1724) for reservations.
Hawaii Reporter.com, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper launched in 2002, has all the breaking news and unlike other publications in town, is still free. Award winning Hawaii Reporter and Malia Zimmerman report daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show heard on KHVH radio on 830 AM at 7:05 am. Malia will share the news behind the news.
Tune in to Panos Prevedouros.
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