Surfing At Obama Beach? Proposed Name Change Angers Hawaiians
A video of a body-surfing President Obama at a beach in Oahu has inspired two Honolulu City Council members to propose renaming that beach after the president. They say the move would show pride in a Hawaiian-born President, and would attract tourism dollars.
According to KHOU, the beach’s current name would simply have President Obama’s name appended to the beginning: “Sandy Beach Park” would become “President Barack Obama Sandy Beach Park.”
When that publication asked beachgoers their opinions, though, many responded negatively, saying the change wouldn’t benefit the area.
On Twitter, the sentiment was widely echoed.
why tf would you change the name of Sandys to “President Barack Obama Sandy Beach Park” uh NO
— haven mizutani (@havveeen) October 5, 2014
Oh really Hawaii, Obama Beach? I think not. Sandy Beach will live on.
— William Monte (@wmonte) October 5, 2014
Changing Sandy’s into Obama beach is a disgrace
— Bronson Burr (@__burrrrr) October 5, 2014
According to Hawaii News Now, if the proposal by Council members Stanley Chang and Ernest Martin goes through, it will be the first time anything in Hawaii is named after President Obama.
However, the measure, which would also include half a million dollars in additional funding for improvement to the beach and parking area, appears to be so widely unpopular that it is perhaps extremely unlikely.
A circulating petition is garnering not only signatures, but comments about the reasons many are opposed to changing the name of the popular beach to honor President Obama.
“There are buildings and tunnels and such that can be named for Obama. But a beach? We lost our independence to the US, now they want to eradicate our place names?”
“Place names in Hawai’i should reflect our culture and heritage.”
Previous suggestions or decisions to name locations after Obama have also raised negative responses from a vocal portion of the population, such as when a community center in New Jersey, formerly called “Kennedy Center” was renamed by township council vote to “President Obama Center.”
However, while there are schools named for the president in 10 states, and streets in three, it’s true that none of those locations is in President Obama’s own state of birth, Hawaii.
There is currently no word on when the City Council will vote on the President Obama beach name change, but judging from widespread reactions in opposition to the idea, this might be one proposal that finds itself dead in the water.
[Photo: Pete Souza]