It’s Official: Mayor Ben | Legislature Opens | Harry’s Music Store on the Move | Sotomayor coming to HI | Ohana Pacific Bank CFO

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BY SEN. SAM SLOM – Hold Onto Your Wallet Or Purse.

Yesterday the 26th State Legislature opened and started its 60 working day (until May 5) session. Taxes, gambling and assisted suicide will be back on the agenda with very little to help business or our residents. This year, as in 2010, no food, flowers or entertainment, so the lawmakers can show you they are serious. Right.


Last Week’s SBH Conference.

Last Wednesday the 36th annual SBH Business Conference, the first major business and economic conference of the New Year was held at the Ala Moana Hotel. There was a lot to hear and learn from Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley, demographics expert Wendell Cox, American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Jonathan Williams, computer guruPeter Kay and leading Hawaii business owners: Matt Longfellow, Valpak of Hawaii; Marissa Capelouto, Oahu Express and Tyler Roukema of Outback Steak House (Hawaii Kai).

Also speaking, was Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. FOX TV and The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund keynoted the annual SBH conference. He spoke plainly about this year’s 2012 Presidential contest and its political impact on Hawaii.

Vets Fair.

There is a job fair for Veterans at the Blaisdell from 10 am to 3 pm. Vets have been hit harder than most in the jobs downturn here.

Harry’s Tune.

The iconic Harry’s Music store, around for more than 65 years, is closing its present location and selling out old and historic song sheets, instruments and supplies. Not to worry; Harry’s will reopen a new store next to Zippy’s Waialae next month.

Taco No More.

Just Tacos, opened for less than six months in Koko Marina Shopping Center, closed last month. A new bar and grill opens this week in that location.

Up, Up and Away.

With fewer people using snail mail, and closures and service curtailment planned, the USPS does what government always does: raise its rate once again. This Friday is the day.

Refining Our Energy. 

A few weeks ago, our largest petroleum refiner announced it would shut down and sell its refining capacity, distribution and retail outlets. It is hoped that a new buyer will be found without major labor lost. But is this unexpected? For more than a decade, this state has made big oil, a public enemy. We added taxes, more regulations, investigations and bans on new facilities. In our love affair with “clean” energy alternatives, we have not told our citizens the truth about the real cost of transitioning to wind, solar, OTEC, Geothermal and biomass. We led the community to believe these sources are “free.” We need a new, deregulated, voluntary energy policy.

“Mr. Big Coin”

Do you watch “The Good Wife” lawyer drama on Sunday on CBS? Last Sunday they had an episode about a “Mr. Big Coin” who was prosecuted by the U.S. Treasury Department for inventing a new “currency.” The story line was very similar to the actual events of former Hawaii resident, owner of the Royal Hawaiian Mint, and money, barter and commodity expert, Bernard Von Naut Haus who invented the “Hawaii Dallah” as a trade and barter instrument, not money. Nonetheless, he was prosecuted by Treasury, convicted and is appealing that conviction.

Miss America.

Congrats to Miss Hawaii Lauren Cheape who garnered several top awards and scholarships during last weekend’s Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas. Hawaii.

UI Tax Increase Coming.

Wary of undermining economic recovery, state House lawmakers want to forestall a scheduled increase this year in the unemployment insurance tax rate that would force businesses to pay $180 to $650 more for every employee.     

Seo CFO.  

Dianne Y. Seo has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer of Ohana Pacific Bank. Seo’s appointment by the Ohana Pacific Bank’ board of directors was approved by banking regulators, President and CEO James C. Hong said in a statement.

“Ms. Seo will provide us with business, accounting, and management to help us service our Korean-American businesses and residents in the state of Hawaii,” Hong said. “She possesses a proven record of developing and implementing financial and operational controls that improve efficiency, comply with regulatory requirements and competitively position a commercial bank.”

Seo, who was born and raised in Korea and has more than 20 years of experience in bank accounting and management, has been a CFO at Pacific Union Bank and U.S. Metro Bank in Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, and an MBA from the Schiller International University in London.

Honolulu-based Ohana Pacific Bank, which was formed June 1, 2006, focuses primarily on the Korean market, and is the state’s smallest bank in terms of assets.

Sotomayor Coming to Town.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor will spend a week in Hawai’i from Jan. 29 – Feb. 3 as part of the Jurist-in-Residence program at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. There are few Justices more anti-business and less experienced than Justice Sotomayor.

It’s Official: Mayor Ben.

Today there will be a positive announcement by former GovernorBenjamin Cayetano who IS running for Mayor of Honolulu this year. Ben will face Mayor Peter Carlisle and former Acting Mayor, Kirk Caldwell, but would be the only candidate opposed to the tax-sucking, heavy, steel-on-steel, elevated rail. Even Republicans, opposed to rail, are enthusiastic about the former Democrat Governor. Ben is one of 7 plaintiffs-including the SBH Foundation-opposing the rail.

Speakers Coming! 

There is a lot of advertising for a really affordable Get Motivated event, Tuesday, January 31 at the Convention Center. Top notch speakers coming including: General Colin Powell, Steve Forbes (who will also do a fundraiser that day for Linda Lingle), Joe Montana, Laura Bush and others.

HawaiiReporter Reporting.  

Malia Zimmerman owns and edits the award winning Hawaii, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper. Hawaii Reporter still is free to all readers. Malia reports daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show, KHVH radio on 830 AM at, 7:40 am.

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