BY SAM SLOM – Trick or No-Treat! Tomorrow is Halloween and the Legislature is still in “Special” Session. That is not a good sign. Beware of political tricks with no treats tomorrow—and all year long.
“Let the People Decide” The largest rally in years at the State Capitol Monday brought in more than 6,000 people during a 4-7 pm demonstration on and around the Capitol grounds. The issue was the same sex marriage bill—those present were against—but it showed the frustration of voters in one-party Blue Hawaii. People were denied the right to testify during a nearly 12-hour Senate marathon hearing, and the taxpayers learned that Hawaii is the only state with no statewide Initiative, Referendum or Recall of term limits.
Every year, during the regular Legislative Session that begins the 3rd Wednesday in January, I introduce all of these measures, but usually, can’t even secure a public hearing because of the 24-1 Democrat stranglehold. Maybe 2014 will be different and, We, The People, will become more engaged in this important election year.
Abercrombie Pulls OEQC Nominee. Governor Neil Abercrombie selected Genevieve Salmonson as his next Director of the State Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) and she served in an interim capacity. Previously, she served that role under Governors Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle. She was scheduled for a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, but feeling pressure from the Sierra Club and others, Abercrombie pulled her nomination. Another appointee, Shawn Smith, for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, may also be in trouble of confirmation.
Session Extension? The well scripted and controlled Special Session, which began Monday, was scheduled for 5 days but might go longer because of amendments and additional bills introduced. Two of the bills would give even more money to state public unions, while another would provide an “emergency” appropriation (every year is an emergency) to the Hawaii State Hospital association. Today, at 11:30, the full Senate will vote and pass the same sex marriage bill and send it to the House for final action.
Still Time to Join SBH Young Entrepreneurs. The newly reorganized Smart Business Hawaii (SBH) Young Entrepreneurs is now up and running. The very capable and energetic Noelani Bonifacio, is heading up the group and she wants you to join other young professionals. Annual dues are only $75 for those under 35. The YE kickoff will be Thursday, November 7; that’s the Young Entrepreneurs “Table Topics” 5:30-7 pm at the LS Success Center. Details? Contact SBH, or go online (www.smartbusinesshawaii.com).
What’s With Kaiser’s Sosa? Kaiser High School’s award winning Principal John Sosa has been under an investigative cloud since at least September 21. The cause of the investigation by the state Department of Education (DOE) is undisclosed. A great deal of disruption in East O’ahu schools has resulted. State Senator Laura Thielen (D-25) and I sent a letter to DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi on Tuesday, and discussed the matter at the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board last night. Our intent is not to interfere or influence any investigation, but to help stop rumors and reassure the community by a prompt and more transparent investigation. Sosa was honored by SBH as “Educator of the Year,” September 20, and is the winner of national awards. Justin Mew, principal of Niu Valley who also won an SBH principal award (in 2012), was transferred temporarily to cover for Sosa and Brendan Burns of Aina Haina Elementary temporarily took Mew’s position at Nui Valley. This multiple move has been difficult on teachers, students, parents and the community. Hopefully, the DOE will take action soon.
Teipel Got the Goods. “Surfer Joe” and Auctioneer extraordinaire Joe Teipel has the job of auctioning off the eclectic Genshiro Kawamoto statues in mid-November. Kawamoto sold his 31 properties in Kahala to Alexander & Baldwin for $98 million. The estate auction includes all the art seen along Kahala Avenue AND many more pieces that were stored. Look for details soon.
Hawaii Hunters on the History Channel. Relativity Media, in association with TIJAT and RUSTYBOAR.COM, will premier “American Jungle” on the History Channel. This action-packed hunting reality show will feature local hunters from the Big Island of Hawaii in eight episodes filmed there.
T’Jaye Forsythe, CEO of RUSTYBOAR.COM decided to pitch the idea of a Hawaii hunting reality show that would showcase some of the greatest local hunters on the Big Island.
The concept began with his website, RUSTYBOAR.COM, which he created to give hunters an online venue to show their hunting pictures and tell the stories of their hunts. As the website gained popularity, hunters began to upload their videos and pictures.
Seeing the demand for hunting videos, Forsythe began filming local hunters on their hunting expeditions. It was at this point that Forsythe decided to find a way to showcase these hunters to the world.
Check out the season premiere of “American Jungle” on the History Channel, Sunday, November 10, 2013. For more information about the show go to http://www.history.com/shows/american-jungle .
Gold on Post Offices. Steve Gold of School Kine Cookies is alarmed at recent news concerning the sale of U.S. Post Offices across the nation because he learned the government entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings at an estimated value of about $19 billion.
A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the exclusive listing for handling the sales. That company is CRI and it belongs to a man named Richard Blum.
Blum is the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein. Senator Feinstein and her husband stand to make a between $950 million and $1.1 billion from these transactions. That is the meaning of government service, doing well by doing good? Personally, I prefer Steve’s cookies.
HART Eats Up Your GET. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) has been informed by the state tax department that it will receive more than $63.7 million in General Excise and Use Tax (GET) surcharge revenue this quarter.
The $63,791,074 collected for the project from July through September marks the highest quarterly total received by HART to date.
The half-percent GET surcharge for Oahu, which by law can only be used for Honolulu’s rail system, began in January 2007 and is set to expire at the end of 2022.
The surcharge is estimated to fund nearly 70 percent of the project’s cost, with the remaining balance to be paid for using federal funds. IF the train to nowhere is actually built.
Panos Prevedouros, PHD, SBH board member and a professor of engineering at the University of Hawaii, said couple of good quarters of GET tax revenue are nowhere near enough to cover the low collections in 2009 and 2010.
Dr. Prevedouros said the high quarter that just ended was generated by visitors’ purchases, when tourism it at an all time high.
He warned the city’s happy times will end during the next economic low, likely to be brought on by dysfunction in DC, slowing growth in China and perennial stagnation in Europe.
Sigall to Speak at EOBC. Award winning author (“The Companies We Keep,” 1-3), marketer, educator and entrepreneur, and SBH Director, Bob Sigall, will be the guest speaker at the monthly East Oahu Breakfast Club (EOBC), Tuesday, November 12, 7-8 am, at the Hawaii Kai Retirement Center on Kawaihae Street. A full breakfast is served and networking conducted. Contact Kevin Nitta for reservations at 394-5492.
Read McDonald’s. Starting Friday, November 1, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii will continue to improve its products to the keiki by providing books to read along with Happy Meals.
UH Search Committee Still Searching. The University of Hawaii Board of Regents Presidential Selection Committee decided yesterday to invite three finalist executive search firms to make in-person presentations to the committee before they make a final selection in the search for a new university president. The committee has narrowed the field to three candidate firms. The finalist firms will not be publicly identified, nor will their names be disclosed to the other finalists. The UH committee will make public the selected firm’s name and fee for services after an agreement has been reached.
New Kaiser Clinic. Kaiser Permanente Hawaii opened its new Koolau Medical Office to the public on October 24. It provides family, pediatric, and specialty care as well as diagnostic imaging, laboratory and pharmacy services, expanding access for Windward Oahu members.
HCBS Conference Coming. Healthcare transformation…sequester and other budget cuts…the newly formed Administration on Community Living…Quest Integration…Aging and Disability Resource Centers. Our aging and disability networks are experiencing tremendous change in the way that we plan for and deliver long-term supports and services in home and community based settings. Business, operational and service delivery models that have worked for us in the past are now being challenged, and these models may no longer be relevant in light of the new federal and state policy directions.
For Hawaii’s aging and disability networks, there will be a unique opportunity to hear from an esteemed panel of national experts about trends and innovations in aging and disability programs at the 2013 Hawaii HCBS Conference on December 3-5, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Hotel!
Train With Egan. Honolulu’s Egan’s Training Center in Manoa is moving to a new, larger space in Moliili on November 4 located at 2700 King Street, Bldg A, in Honolulu.
Egan’s Training Center hosts a family Grand Opening weekend, November 16 and 17. On Saturday, November 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. activities will include mini bootcamp sessions, keiki bootcamps, fitness challenges, jiu jitsu seminars, face painting, airbrush tattoos, raffles and healthy refreshments. Membership specials will be offered.
Owners, Egan and Marcia Inoue have seen their business increase by 700 percent over the past three years. Being a professional athlete, Egan has won world championships in jiu-jitsu, mixed martial arts, and racquetball. He holds multiple black belts in half a dozen different martial arts disciplines. Egan’s uses his athletic background to help the community get in shape by using his unique set of experiences as a former professional athlete in three sports. He holds world championship titles in racquetball, Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts.
Egan is not only known for his athletic record, but he is also known for his work training the stars of the new Hawaii Five-0, such as Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. He has even played the role of Ha’i’ole, the bodyguard to Wo Fat, in a 2011 episode and still continues to train and consult for show.
Winners’ Camp Scores Needed Mower. An ecstatic Delorese Gregoire, founder of Winners Camp, had been searching for a new lawn mower to maintain the camp’s beautiful mountain property. She announced, “Jim and Karla Myers (Kari’s parents) really stepped up to the plate and bought Winners Camp a Sears Craftsman monster mower. It is amazing and works wonders up at our site!”
Obamacare Forum Yesterday. Business owners got more information on the Hawaii Health Connector, health costs and options under Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, yesterday. HMAA and SBH sponsored an ACA (Obamacare) healthcare reform luncheon update, our second, at the Outback Steakhouse in Hawaii Kai. Reg Baker, SBH Director and EVP of HMAA, provided an alternative perspective. Wellness was also covered.
Hawaii Reporter.com, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper launched in 2002, continues to report 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 7:10 am. Malia is also the Hawaii Bureau Chief for Watchdog.org, and new Hawaii stringer for People Magazine and nationally for FOX News. Exciting movie/tv news coming soon from Malia!
Tune in to Panos Prevedouros. SBH Director and UH Engineering Professor Dr. Panos Prevedouros is a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s morning radio show every Tuesday, 7:10 a.m. to 8 am.
Read SB NEWS. Don’t forget to read your current (October) monthly SB NEWS by PDF attachment or link. More expanded news and views for the Hawaii business community. A limited number of printed copies are available for mailing if you call Susan at SBH (396-1724).
Want More Business? JOIN SBH! Is YOUR business a member of SBH? No? Lots of benefits. Strong networking organization. Call 396-1724 or go online to www.smartbusinesshawaii.com.