Archive for June, 2006

Governor May Veto 68 oz. Bottle Tax Bill

Governor Linda Lingle may veto SB 3181 which would apply the 6¢ bottle tax to 68oz. containers. The beverage container tax program which was started in late 2004 puts a surcharge of 6¢ on every beverage container under 68 oz. That means canned sodas, juices, bottled water and more are taxed an extra 6¢ on top of the 4.16% general excise tax paid on all goods sold in Hawaii. Consumers get 5¢ of the 6¢ back if they return each container. Consumers lose a penny per container after they redeem them. The penny is applied cover “administrative expenses” due to the state for running the recycling program.

When the tax was implemented it forced me to change my purchasing habits. I like many others simply stopped buying beverages that came in smaller containers.

Fortunately, if the Governor holds true to her stated intentions, by July 11 the threat of the bottle tax being applied to 68oz. containers will have passed for this year.

Rail: Expensive & Ugly!

The city revealed its plans for the proposed rail transit system. Critics are already calling it “ugly” and “expensive.” From today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

“There’s no hiding of a concrete structure in the middle of the road,” said Toru Hamayasu, the city’s chief transportation planner.

“Why does it have to be so ugly?” asked Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, who represents Moiliili and Manoa and was shown a computer simulation of a 60-foot-tall rail transit structure that is being proposed to run along University Avenue to the university.

“That’s one of the last photos they showed me before they ran out of my office,” Kobayashi chuckled. “I was just shocked when I saw it.”

Yes, more concrete in the middle of your neighborhood. The computer renderings revealed in today’s paper are mostly seen from afar. Up close I have to assume the structures will loom even larger. One thing they forgot to include: The potential of taggers getting to this structure and making your neighborhood even more ugly by spraying and painting graffiti on them. It is bound to happen.


Snippets from the SBH Mid-Year Conference


Small Business Hawaii held their Mid-Year Conference yesterday (June 22) at the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki. The conference featured speakers from the government sector including heads of the Department of Labor, Commerce & Consumer Affairs and the State Tax Department. Several political candidates made 2 minute speeches stating why the small business community should support them. Business speakers spoke on the recently suspended gas cap law and the restaurant services industry. The keynote speaker was State Attorney General Mark Bennett, who spoke on tough crime measures that were passed this year as well as a bad constitutional amendment question that voters will have to consider this fall.

State Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi touched upon the upcoming general excise tax issue stating that neighbor island customers may not have to pay the extra .5% of the Oahu county surcharge to the G.E.T. under certain conditions. This was news to me.

Barnaby Robinson, owner of Kahala & Nimitz Chevron reminded conference goers that Hawaii consumers are presently enjoying a break from having to pay General Excise Tax on a gallon of gasoline. That break will come to an end at the beginning of 2007 when the GET will be reinstated to gasoline purchases at the higher rate of 4.5% for Oahu consumers given the fact that the county surcharge to pay for fixed rail will also kick in at the same time. This will increase the cost per gallon by at least 15 cents he says. OUCH! Rail sucks.

Two 2nd congressional district candidates showed up at the SBH conference. State Senator Colleen Hanabusa currently representing the Leeward Coast of Oahu is making a bid for the 2nd congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Representative Ed Case, who is going head to head this year against U.S. Senator Dan Akaka. She along with State Senator Bob Hogue from Kaneohe, are two candidates running in this race who actually live in the 2nd Congressional district. The crowded field of candidates include several who do not reside in the 2nd district but still making a run for the seat because the law says they can. We’ll see what happens this fall.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett touched upon the judicial triumphs this past legislation session that included the passage of tougher laws that punish criminals including the “three strikes” statute that mandates a 30-year prison sentence for repeat offenders, a stronger wiretap law and increased emphasis on prosecuting sexual predators, especially those who use computers to entice and commit a crime. He also warned conferees about the judicial mandatory retirement age repeal law that is being proposed as a constitutional amendment this fall. This amendment is a Democrat party proposal to stave off mandatory retirement of certain judges that were appointed before Governor Lingle took office in 2002.

Link: Small Business Hawaii
Photo: State Attorney General Mark Bennett speaks at SBH conference.

Small Business Hawaii’s Mid Year Conference

One of the organizations that I am active in is Small Business Hawaii. The 30 year old business advocacy organization will be holding its 2nd annual Mid-Year conference this coming Thursday, June 22 at the Ilikai hotel. Here is their press release announcement:

The second annual Small Business Hawaii (SBH) Mid-Year Business Conference, “The 2006 Legislative Impact on Small Business-and Opportunities in the 2006 Elections” will be held this Thursday, June 22 at the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki, Pacific Ballroom, 9 am to 1:30 pm. Rick Hamada of KHVH radio will be the program M.C.

The conference will include a review of the past legislative session-including the gas cap, taxes and labor issues- by top state officials who deal with business and tax issues, and State Senators Colleen Hanabusa and Sam Slom.



Last week, the multi-purpose building of the University of Hawaii Laboratory School caught on fire and was completely destroyed. Although there really wasn’t any other explanation, it was confirmed today that the cause of the fire was arson. My sister attended the UH Lab school for a couple of years. It was an interesting place. It has only 350 students and exists as a testing ground for the UH education department’s Curriculum Research & Development Group.

I never attended Lab school myself, but I used to walk down there a lot after school to visit my sister before she went home. My high school, Mid-Pacific Institute was located one block away. Later, when I went to college, I ended up living directly across the street from the school at the notorious KEO house. I’ve always been scared that place was going to burn down. In fact, someone I know almost did, accidently. o_O But that someone did this on purpose is beyond sick. There’s actually a web slide show that shows what happened in graphic detail.

It was mentioned in the paper today that the building also housed the offices of the UH Department of Education. Part of me wonders if that was the intended target. I probably shouldn’t speculate, but I wonder if this was about someone with a grudge against the department? Makes you wonder who got fired last week. In any case, the school needs to be rebuilt, and tons of cool kids are going to have to struggle with the loss of a major part of their school this fall.

If anyone would like to contribute to the UH Laboratory School Fire Recovery Fund, there are 3 ways to do it:

1. Call (808) 956-8849

2. Visit the University of Hawaii Foundation website and make a donation.

3. Mail your donation directy to:
University of Hawai’i Foundation
P.O. Box 11270
Honolulu, HI 96828-0270

Thanks, everyone.

Are You GO! for $39?


The big news for the traveling public in Hawaii is Go!, a new interisland air carrier that started flying paying passengers on June 9 with their fleet of 3 CRJ 200 50 passenger mini-jets. Go! is owned and operated by Mesa Airlines which does business on the mainland under a number of monickers for other airlines.

Go! made their announcement with a big splash in March when they unveiled a $39 one-way fare for travel to any island on their schedule. Both Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines quickly matched the $39 fare with Island Air not too far behind into the fray.

Days before Go!’s launch, they again upped the ante in the “fare war” when they introduced a $19 promotional fare, which was quickly matched by Hawaiian Airlines only. A day before Go! started flying paying passengers, and after they had supposedly sold all their $19 seats, Aloha Airlines dropped “da bomb” by giving away 1,000 free ticket vouchers to customers who waited in line at Honolulu, Lihue, Kahului, Kona and Hilo airports on the morning of Go!’s launch.

Needless to say Aloha Airlines won the P-R battle that morning as the local TV newscasts gave live coverage to all of the people standing in line at Honolulu International Airport eclipsing Go!’s debut.

You gotta love capitalism. Hawaii residents haven’t seen this kind of interisland fare pricing in years. Surely it will be tough for all of the interisland airlines to maintain the low fares while trying to pay the bills and stay profitable. Seriously, Go! is probably here to kill off one of their competitors. Time will tell what will happen.

In the meantime the public and myself gets to enjoy the ride!

Links to Hawaii’s interisland airlines:

Graphic above: Go!’s website advertising their current low fare.

KGMB News Tops Channel 2 in 10:PM Timeslot

Joe Moore has been toppled at 10. In the fierce race for bragging rights of being #1, KGMB TV‘s Channel 9 News with Kim Gennaula and Keahi Tucker edged out the dominant KHON TV newscast at the 10pm slot for the May Nielsen ratings period. KHON TV still dominates the 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 pm news time slots, which are anchored by Joe Moore at 5:30 and 6 and Leslie Wilcox at 5. Their morning news gets 50 to 80 percent of the audience.

The top local network shows are “American Idol” on Fox/KHON TV, “CSI” on CBS/KGMB, “Desparate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC/KITV. ABC’s “Lost” has been beaten in the Wednesday night time slot by Fox’s “American Idol,” though it still remains a top 10 show.


Honolulu’s Kamehameha Day Parade

Honolulu's Kamehameha Day Parade

Honolulu’s Kamehameha Day Parade, originally uploaded by macprohawaii.

I shot more than 100 photos at yesterday’s 90th Annual King Kamehameha Day Parade which started in Downtown Honolulu and proceeded its way through the Kakaako, Ala Moana and Waikiki areas before ending at Kapiolani Park. More details on the parade is covered in today’s Honolulu Advertiser. A few more photos that I shot are posted below. If you click on any of the photos here, you will see larger versions at my Flickr photo website.

Honolulu's Kamehameha Day Parade

What’s a parade without a beauty queen? This is Mrs. Hawaii… sorry I don’t know her name.

Honolulu's Kamehameha Day Parade

There weren’t many floats in the parade. This entry from Hawaiian Airlines was one of the nicest.

Honolulu's Kamehameha Day Parade

KITV’s Paula Akana was this year’s Pa’u Queen.

You can view more photos by going to my Flickr photo website.

Hawaii Radio & Television Guide Newslinks

One of the websites that I publish is the Hawaii Radio & Television Guide. It is a site that has been on the internet for more than 10 years now and is mainly a listings and links site to various radio and TV stations throughout Hawaii. I also offer news link headlines and an archive section.

After a long period of inactivity and maybe even negligence, I finally got around to bringing some of the news items up to date. I’ll probably start posting these news items from time to time here at Hawaii Metroblog too.

Here is the latest with links going to their news sources, websites and our message board.

  • PAUL UDELL LEAVES KITV CHANNEL 4: In what appears to be a bombshell announcement, Paul Udell veteran news anchor and reporter for Honolulu ABC affiliate KITV announced his resignation and retirement from the station effective at the end of his vacation period. More details: | Discussion Topic
  • FORMER ISLAND DJ FOUND DEAD: Steven B. Williams, a former island disc jockey and voice talent was recently found dead in the waters off a California Beach last month. Police detectives have ruled his cause of death to be a murder. Details on the killing are still under investigation with no suspect found. Williams was 59. While in Hawaii he was on radio stations KKUA, KIKI, KAHU, KULA, KQMQ and KDEO. More Details at the following links: Denver Post | | Discussion Topic


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