January 18, 2010
Honolulu mayor Mayor Mufi Hannemann (running for governor) wanted to rename ‘Āina Moana Beach Park aka Magic Island (pictured below), President Barack Obama Beach Park.
City law says a park may be named for a person who has achieved significant recognition on a national or international level. Certainly, that describes our native son, President Barack Obama. His election was historic. He’s been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He’s announced that when the United States hosts the international APEC Summit in 2011, it will be held in Honolulu. It is fitting and appropriate that his hometown name a city park in his honor.
But on January 14, the city council nixed the idea.
A bill would have had to been passed to override the existing statute that only allows parks and facilities to be named after deceased folks.
Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, a barry supporter, asked “several times”:
Why do we have to do this this year?
I think everyone appreciates the important connection between our current president and our state. But people have raised the point that someone like Senator [Daniel] Inouye has done a huge amount for our state over his extensive term in office, yet there’s no exception for him. So where do you draw the line?
Normally, we do that for someone when we want to commend them for what they’ve done. If he leads this nation into economic decline, I don’t think we should give him that kind of honor.
There will come a time, and there should come a time when the City and County of Honolulu and the people of Hawai’i appropriately recognize the president.
Councilman Romy Cachola said Native Hawaiian organizations should be consulted before changing the name.
The tourist board was all for it but the public consensus was it was a matter of political expedience.
AOL TRAVEL took the safe route in mentioning barry’s alleged birthplace:
President Obama was born in an Oahu hospital in 1961, and went on to attend Honolulu’s Noelani Grade School. Obama then graduated from Punahou High School in 1979.