STOP DA RAIL! | Microsoft buys Skype ($8 billion!) | Hu Honua and the Sugar Mill

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BY SAM SLOM The best business commercial now running on TV? The Verizon commercial featuring “Susie” and her lemonade stand that grows into a major business. It is a teriffic small business story completed in 30 seconds. Check it out.

STOP DA RAIL! The lawsuit to stop Honolulu’s $6 BILLION-plus elevated train to nowhere, is expected to be filed momentarily. Plaintiffs include, Cliff Slater, Honolulu, former Governor Benjamin Cayetano, and yours truly, representing Smart Business Hawaii. Attorney for the plaintiffs is nationally known environmental attorney and legal expert, Nicholas Yost.


Want to donate to the suit? Donations are accepted by the non-profit SBH Foundation, 6600 Kalanianaole, Suite 212, Honolulu, HI 96825.

Speaking of our office, SBH is looking for new digs. After nearly 18 years in the Hawaii Corporate Plaza in the Hawaii Towne Center, SBH, a non-profit, can no longer meet the exhorbitant rent and cam demands of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate. Like many other businesses we will be forced to move and further downsize.Our lease expires August 31. Got space? Looking for 500-900 square feet with parking. Call me at 808-396-1724.

Remember to listen to Malia Zimmerman of Hawaii, daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show, KHVH radio on 830 AM at 7:20 am. She will report the business and financial news behind the news for you.

SBH member Hanni Hartmann of Paragon Metals International, urges business to testify or send testimony via email to the Honolulu City Council TODAY in opposition to Bill 36 & 37 which will be heard at 2 pm.  Both bills will be in front of the full council.

To reiterate, Schnitzer Recycling of Hawaii is currently receiving $2 million in subsidy fees every year.  At the same time, they are generating over $12 million per year in local operating profits. They have also reported a total operating profit of $848 million nationwide for the last 5 1/2 years.  They are a highly profitable company, and yet they continue to take much needed funds from Oahu Taxpayers.

The purpose of Bills 36 and 37 is to dilute the possible reduction of unearned discounts.  It is possible that they may be successful in passing these bills. Your immediate support and action are necessary to prevent this from happening.

Microsoft is spending $8.5 billion to purchase Skype. Skype hasn’t made any money but is wildly popular for free video messaging. Will that end now with the Microsoft buyout? They have to make money from the deal. Fed regulators still have to approve it.

Element Media is hosting Pacific Edge Magazine’s First Annual Business Achievement Awards, May 12, at the Aloha Tower Marketplace from 5:30 – 9 pm. Both Governor Abercrombie and Mayor Carlisle will be present and speak. Eight business awards will be given. Pacific Edge was launched five years ago.

Join the “Maunalua Bay Heritage Festival” this Saturday, My 14 from 10 am to 2pm on the field at Kalani High School. It is a free public family event featuring food, entertainment and fun.

Reminder that the Sales and Marketing Executives International Honolulu Affiliate announces its 51st Annual Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award Program, Thursday May 19, at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, from 11:30am – 1:30pm.

Hawaii Third Circuit Court Judge Greg K. Nakamura has removed Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by certain area residents against Continental Pacific, LLC and Hank Correa Realty.

The judge ruled that Hu Honua had produced sufficient evidence to show that no other defendant had legal claim to bring an injunction against Hu Honua to block using the Pepe’ekeo site as a power plant.

The judge’s ruling was one of two milestones for Hu Honua. The County’s Windward Planning Commission ruled 4-0 last week to grant an amendment to the plant’s Special Management Area permit that allows it to convert the old coal plant to more sustainable biomass.

Attorney Gary Grimmer, who represented Hu Honua in the Dow vs Continental case, said that Hu Honua was pleased with Judge Nakamura’s ruling because Hu Honua is not affiliated with Continental Pacific and had nothing to do with the plaintiffs’ purchase of their Pepe’ekeo land.

Hu Honua plans a 24-megawatt, biomass-fueled power facility at the old sugar mill power station. The operation will provide baseload electric power, that is, a stable source of generation as opposed to other, more fluctuating alternate sources. It can provide about 10 percent of the island’s electrical needs.

Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC is converting the former Hilo Coast Power Company plant at Pepe’ekeo into a modern biomass energy facility. After sugar operations ceased, the facility operated for some years as a coal-fired power plant. Hu Honua will use only biomass. The goal is for the facility to be operational by late 2012. The 24-megawatt (MW) facility will produce a net of a little more than 21 MW of power, about 10 percent of the island’s electrical needs and about enough for 14,000 homes.

The facility expects to employ about 100 construction workers for up to a year for plant refurbishment and then 30 fulltime workers for site operations.

The 2011 Legislative Session adjourned its regular session last Thursday but likely will be in a Special Session by early June. The budget is still not balanced and several last minute bills were either messed up or left on the table. Open rifts have developed between House and Senate Democrats, and Senators and the Governor.  Also, there is dissention among union ranks and a strike is possible since collective bargaining agreements were not funded.

The Governor vetoed two bills on May 5: HB 382, relating to powers of the Auditor and SB 1416, relating to new car safety inspections. Doubtful that the Democrat Legislature will override these or future vetoes.

One business that apparently is flourishing in Hawaii is prostitution. The more legislation that is passed the more the oldest profession (prostitution, not legislators) seems to thrive. And, the pros are looking at the November APEC meeting here with 21 world leaders to further expand their  business. YIKES!

It is becoming painfully clearer that the General Excise Tax exemptions the Legislature took away from airlines, shipping, contractors, sub contractors and sub lessees, as well as personal income tax exemption suspension, will have a devastating impact on Hawaii residents. Costs will rise and layoffs will increase. Several businesses have already announced hiring freezes, and possible layoffs because of the legislative action. As previously announced, several non-profits are harder hit and several are cutting personnel and operations and may cease operations.

The Legislature is awaiting the next State Council on Revenues estimates. The Council  next meets on Thursday, May 26.

Honolulu Waldorf School celebrates its third annual Bike (& Walk) to School Day, next Tuesday, May 17, from approximately 7:15 a.m. – 8 a.m. arrival at the school.
Feel free to share with others the following:
·    May 17 Bike to School Day
·    May 18 Ride of Silence
·    May 19 Bike to Work Day
·    May 22, Bike to the Zoo Day (tentative date).

The Hawaii National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) chapter is hosting a small business forum Wednesday, May 25, 7 – 9 am at Sam Choy’s. Speakers will include tax and labor attorneys Nelson Befitel, Ron Heller, John Knorek, Barbara Krieg, as well as Patrick Parsons of Hawaii Business magazine. Registration is $20. Call Eliza at 397-4026 for info.

The next SBH Sunrise Networking Breakfast will be held, Thursday, May 26, in the Pineapple Room, Macy’s, Ala Moana Center, 7 – 8:30 am.  In addition to networking and marketing for your business, our special business speaker is, Speaker is Bob Sigall, Best Selling Author (“The Companies We Keep”) and marketing expert (Creative-1). Call Darlyn at SBH 396-1724 for reservations.

On Friday, September 16, the Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation will hold its annual small business awards banquet at the newly renovated Waialae Country Club. You can nominate your business or another for an award by emailing

Categories include: Lex Brodie Small Business of the Year, Jean Fukuda Civic Leadership, SBH Young Entrepreneur, SBH Business Booster, Business All Stars and several media awards. You can call Darlyn for further information at 808-396-1724.

What? Not receiving your copy? Send PR, additional requests and email address to or call Darlyn at 396-1724.

Let SBH 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.