Maui Businesses Probe Lt. Gov. at Invite-Only Breakfast
By David Kvasnicka
Lieutenant-Governor Brian Schatz met with a select group of around 20 Maui business people and officials today at an invite-only breakfast in Wailuku. Schatz flew into Maui specifically for the meeting and flew back to Oahu soon afterwards.
The 8-10 a.m. breakfast was held at Cafe O’Lei, which is ordinarily closed during those hours. The meeting was an opportunity for attendees to raise concerns with the Abercrombie administration. Questions were not provided ahead of time, and Schatz delivered answers ad-lib.
Topics covered during the Q&A session included:
-A request from Surfing Goat Dairy owner Thomas Kafsack for a subsidy on mainland shipping, due in part to the high rates charged by local shipping companies. Schatz said the chances of this were slim.
-A request from Aroma Stone Massage Therapy owner Gail McLary for a subsidy to include massage therapy in medical benefits/insurance. Schatz said the idea would be looked into.
-The upcoming APEC meeting would attract a lot of attention for Hawaii, which beat out San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas to be host. 21 heads of state would be in Honolulu simultaneously, and around $100 million would be brought into the state economy. Hawaii’s hospitality industry will have an opportunity to make a significant impression, to attract future visitors.
-Regarding a call from the Abercrombie administration to kindle Hawaii’s film industry, 300 professional and certified videographers/filmmakers responded to offer assistance.
-Hawaii should follow a Swiss example for renewable energy. The Swiss had an excess of energy derived from solar cells during the day, so they developed a system to pump water into an elevated reservoir using the energy, and then release it into a hydro power plant to produce renewable energy at night.
-A question from Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce Director Ron Vaught, asking if Governor Abercrombie would recant his decision to drop the Pro Bowl. Shatz said they were looking at ways to keep the Pro Bowl.
-A question from Vaught regarding the Super Ferry, and whether it could be brought back to help local small businesses once again. Schatz said it was unfortunate that the Super Ferry wasn’t implemented properly, which left it vulnerable to being shut down.
Some of the attendees at the breakfast included:
- Greg Cabanting – Representative for Anheuser-Busch
- Gail McLary – Owner, Aroma Stone Massage Therapy
- Pamela Zemrus – Owner, Paper Garden
- Jon Viloria – Filmmaker
- Napua Makua – Singer/Performer, winner of 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards
- Wesley Lo – CEO of Maui Memorial Medical Center, and Kula Hospital and recent appointee to the Board of Education
- Ron Vaught – Director, Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce
- Thomas Kafsack – Owner, Surfing Goat Dairy
- Wailani Artates – Owner, Artistry
- Anthony Takatani – Attorney and former State House of Representatives member
- Dale Hahn – Legal advisor to Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz
- Deidre Teagarden – Maui representative to Gov. Neil Abercrombie
- Carry Kapoi – Maui representative to Lt. Gov. Schatz
- Brian Schatz – Lt. Gov. of Hawaii