Residents Alerted to Obamas’ Hawaiian Holiday Plans
BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – KAILUA, OAHU
Residents living near the beachfront homes where President Barack Obama and First Family vacation with their friends every year since 2008 were alerted on Monday to some specifics ofthe Obamas’ holiday vacation plans.
The report delivered to residents living along the ocean and canal that surrounds the multi-million dollar homes at Kailuana Place where the President stays, informed them of restrictions that will be implemented for 20 days beginning December 17 and running through January 6.
In a matter of weeks, Kailua residents will see the familiar street barricades fronted by U.S. Secret Service agents and Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in canal and ocean waters.
The President, who spent some of his childhood years in Hawaii, brings his wife, two daughters, Sasha and Malia, with dog Bo in tow, each holiday season. They settle into the small town community known for its spectacular sparkling beaches, warm turquoise ocean, rolling surf, country shops and restaurants and friendly people.
The homes where they stay are just a two-minute drive from Kaneohe Bay and the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where the Obamas and friends can access private white sand beaches and military workout facilities.
While many residents welcome the First Family, others are disheartened by the restrictions put on air, water and road travel while the President and family are in town, especially because it is the holiday season and many families on vacation want to use their boats or surf and paddle in the welcoming ocean waves fronting the Kailua homes. In addition, the President’s caravan of at least 22 vehicles including an ambulance can easily overwhelm the community that typically has single lane streets.
Adding to the controversy surrounding the President’s visit is the cost of the trip.
With the staff, special forces, local police presence and equipment, the President’s visit adds up annually to at least a $4 million vacation courtesy of the Hawaii and federal taxpayers.
While the President and his friends pay for their own rental homes, taxpayers pick up the cost of security and waterfront housing for the Secret Service, Navy Seals and Coast Guard as well as staff accommodations at a plush beachfront Waikiki hotel.
A Congressional Research Service report released in May 2012 said the plane typically used by the President, a Boeing 747, costs $179,750 per hour to operate. The U.S. Air Force has listed the cost of travel as high as $181,757 per flight hour.
Travel time for Air Force One direct from Washington D.C. to Hawaii is about 9 hours or as high as $1,635,813 each way for a total of $3,271,622 for the round trip to Hawaii and back.
The cost for USAF C-17 cargo aircraft that transports the Presidential limos, helicopters and other support equipment to Hawaii has never been disclosed in the years the President has traveled to Hawaii. However, the flight time between Andrews Air Force Base and Hawaii is at about 21.5 hours roundtrip, with estimated operating cost of $12,000 per hour. (Source: GAO report, updated by C-17 crew member). The United States Marine Corps provides a presidential helicopter, along with pilots and support crews for the test flights, which travel on another C-17 flight. That is $258,000, not including costs for the 4 to 6 member crew’s per diem and hotel.
The rentals are fronted by the ocean and backed by a canal. So, the taxpayers must cover the costs for housing U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes around where the President stays.
Last year, that added up to about $200 per bedroom per day, or $21,600 per average home for a nearly three week period, with special forces renting at least 7 homes. Security arrives ahead of the President costing taxpayers about $176,400 for the length of the visit.
The President’s staff and White House Press Corps typically stay at one of Hawaii’s oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider. Besides its stunningly beautiful view of Waikiki, and its traditional Hawaiian architecture and decor, it is one of the most pricey hotels in the state and government rates are not available during the holiday season. Rooms start at around $270 but can cost as much as $370 a night for an ocean view before Christmas, and climb much higher around the new year.
A conservative estimate with rooms at $270 (excluding a 9.25 percent Transient Accommodation Tax and a 4.712 percent General Excise Tax on each bill, meals, internet charges and other charges) means the taxpayers are covering more than $129,600 in hotel bills for some two dozen staff.
LOCAL TAXPAYER COSTS: $260,000
Local police are paid over time for the President’s visit, which has historically cost Oahu taxpayers $250,000.
The city ambulance the accompanies the President 24 hours a day through his entire visit is about $10,000 to city taxpayers.
There are several costs the White House annually refuses to release, citing security.
- For example, the President’s security usually rents an entire floor of an office building in Kailua on the canal during the president’s stay.
- There are security upgrades and additional phone lines to several private homes where Obama and friends are staying. That includes bullet proof glass installed, home security systems disabled, new security measures put into place and additional phone lines added.
- There is the cost for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at a Waikiki Hotel.
- And there are additional travel costs Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President.
Hawaii Reporter annually has requested details on the cost of the President’s trip, but the White House will not release any figures, citing security concerns. A spokesperson has maintained the costs are “in line” with other presidential vacations.
Hawaii Reporter has sought to determine the cost of vacations for the current president and last two presidents but the Government Accountability Office referred Hawaii Reporter back to the White House spokesperson.
A volcano on Hawaii’s largest island is spilling lava into the ocean creating a rare and spectacular fusion of steam and waves that officials say could attract thrill-seeking visitors if it continues.
Lava from a vent in Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii began flowing into the ocean 7 miles away on Saturday.
The volcano has been erupting continuously from its Pu’u O’o vent since 1983.
Scroll down for video
Lava from a vent in Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii flows into the ocean creating a rare and spectacular fusion of steam and waves
Lava from the volcano, which has been erupting continuously from its Pu’u O’o vent since 1983, reached the ocean at the weekend
The flow was the first from the volcano to reach the ocean since December, said Janet Babb, spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Even as Hawaii tourism officials awaited an increase in visitors drawn by the explosive natural show, officials warned of potentially deadly risks and urged visitors to stay a safe distance away and respect barriers placed around the lava flow.
‘Ocean entries can be quite beautiful but also quite dangerous,’ Babb said.
When the lava reaches the ocean, it cools, darkens and hardens into a lava delta amid an outpouring of steam. The lava delta is newly created land that is unstable and can collapse without warning.
Waves crash over lava as it flows into the ocean. The hardening lava forms a delta which is unstable and can collapse without warning
Officials have warned any thrill-seekers of the potentially deadly risks if they try to get too close to the area because the hardened lava can break off hurling hot water in their direction
When it collapses, even visitors standing 100 yards (meters) away can be hurt because large chunks of lava and hot water are hurled their direction by the collapse, Babb said.
‘The molten lava meeting the ocean creates steam which may look innocuous, but can be quite hazardous,’ she said.
‘It’s acidic and contains tiny particles of volcanic glass. And waves crashing with the lava can send out scalding water.’
It was not clear how long the lava would continue flowing into the ocean.
Experts say it was not clear how long the lava would continue flowing into the ocean
A plume of smoke rises from Kilauea crater in Volcanoes National Park in Volcano, Hawaii
George Applegate, director of the Big Island Visitors Bureau, said he expected an increase in tourists due to the latest occurrence of the phenomenon.
‘We always do,’ Applegate said. ‘A lot of people want to see a live lava flow.’
Tourism officials declined to estimate how many more visitors they might see on the Big Island because of the lava flow. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses Kilauea, welcomed more than 1.3million visitors last year, according to park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane.
Security workers were keeping people beyond the barriers during approved viewing hours, said Barry Periatt, plans and operations officer for Hawaii County’s Civil Defense Agency.
No communities around the volcano are threatened by the lava flow, Periatt said. The nearest town is Kalapana Gardens, which is more than half a mile away. It suffered major damage from a 1986 volcano flow.
Attribution: Simon Tomlinson, Daily Mail
Hawaii, like many states, has seen a marked increase in the number of gun sales and registrations in the past twelve years. Ever since Barack Obama moved into the White House, the state has seen record sales and registrations.
In 2011, 36,804 guns were registered in the state of Hawaii. This was a 17.2% increase over 2010 which was also a record year. The state also saw a 20% increase in firearm permit applications over the 2010 which was also a record year. Nearly 95% of 15,375 applications were approved. Interestingly of the 4.5% that were not approved, 88.7% were for rifles or shotguns, not handguns.
According to the same report, firearm permit applications for Hawaii have increased a total of 136% since 2000. There was a 170% increase in the number of firearms registered during the same period and a record 148% of all the firearms sold and registered since 2000 have been imported from outside the state.
That’s a lot of guns for such a small state (area and population). But the trend seen in Hawaii is not unique. The sales of firearms are setting record levels in many US states and most of the gun dealers attribute it to President Obama and the threat of the government collapsing under his leadership.
A close friend of mine is a gun dealer and he said that many people are buying guns because they believe the Republican candidates (now Mitt Romney) are not strong enough to defeat Obama in the November election.
They are all saying that if Obama gets re-elected that he will force the economic collapse of the nation and throw the country into anarchy under martial law and they want to be well armed to protect themselves for lawless marauders and pro-Obama groups. It is just so ironic that the one man who hates guns and wants to get them out of the hands of citizens is the very reason gun sales are spiking off the charts.
Attribution: Godfather Politics
This is a 4 part series on what is likely in America unless enough of us wake up.
As Rudy Gulliani says, the further we get from 9-11, 2001, the safer we think we are. This is a false sense of security. These Islamic radicals are a very patient bunch. Whereas we Americans may think in terms of weeks or months, they will plan things for years. This isn’t an episode of Hawaii Five-O, where they solve the murder and catch the bad guy in an hours time.