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Thursday, January 28, 2010
Hanauma Dec 29: Did Mufi threaten retaliation against Obama?
By Andrew Walden @ 8:40 PM :: 18367 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

A disturbing story is emerging which suggests that Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann threatened to remove city workers from Hanauma Nature Preserve when the Secret Service told him he could not join the Obama family snorkeling there during the Obamas’ vacation December 29. 

It is one thing for Mufi to stalk Obama at public events—that’s just politics as usual.  But it is another to threaten retaliation against the President and threaten non-cooperation with the President’s security detail. 

What has been publicly revealed to date?

HawaiiReporter Jan 27:

Christopher Lum Lee, an elected Pearl City neighborhood board member, asked a simple question last night at his neighborhood board meeting – but it was a question that outraged a state representative and may get Lee sanctioned by fellow board members.

Lee asked the mayor’s representative about the accusation documented nationally in Politico and locally in Hawaii Reporter that Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann tried to see President Obama when the president was at Hanauma Bay with his family. Hannemann was turned away by secret service, leading Hannemann to reportedly threatened to pull city workers from the park in retaliation.

Spokesperson for the mayor, Bill Brennan, did not respond to two inquiries from Hawaii Reporter about this accusation after government workers relayed the incident to both city council members and Hawaii Reporter.

Volcanic Ash Jan 26:

Stories have been circulating locally about an allegedly unsuccessful attempt by Hannemann to crash Obama's family outing at Hanauma Bay during the first family's recent vacation here.

Hannemann, who wangled some face time with the prez last year during his tour of the Honolulu Zoo, was said to be agitated when the Secret Service wouldn't let him down to the beach at Hanauma.

Politico Jan 25:

When Hannemann showed up at Hanauma Bay, the city park where Obama was snorkeling during his recent holiday vacation, no one was surprised. The mayor also appeared at the Honolulu Zoo shortly after the Obama family arrived, anointed himself their tour guide and made it into all their photographs.

Hannemann explained that he rushed over to Hanauma Bay after Obama got there only so he could get his parks manager down to the shore, not himself.

“All I was there for was to make sure — I never even wanted to go down — my guy was told he couldn’t go down, he’s the head of the bay, so I had to straighten out the White House staff and say, ‘He goes down; this is our city,’” Hannemann said defensively.

President Barack Obama's motorcade arrives at Hanauma Bay, a popular snorkeling spot.  The park is closed to the public on Tuesdays, allowing the President and his family a private visit.  They also visited the park in August 2008.  ZIMBIO: Photos from Obama visit to Hanauma Dec 29  (Wonder what they’re all staring at?)

SB Weds Dec 30, 2009: Obama and family have Hanauma to themselves

President Barack Obama picked the perfect day to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.  The popular tourist attraction is closed Tuesdays to allow the fragile ecosystem to recover from a busy week of visitors.

That means the president and his family had the bay all to themselves yesterday, and no one was inconvenienced by Secret Service members doing their jobs.

Even the White House press pool was not allowed into the bay while the first family was there. 

Obama arrived at the bay at about 12:20 p.m. after his motorcade traveled through Waimanalo and along the scenic Ka Iwi coastline.

He met his family there, as they had gone separately. Media were told the president and his family were going to picnic and snorkel.

They were joined by family friends who are traveling with them.

Nothing there about Mufi showing up and “straightening out the White House staff”—as he later admitted to Politico--but clearly Hanauma was closed off in its entirety for the Presidential visit as it is on any Tuesday.   

If Mayor Hannemann would threaten retaliation against the President of the United States, who would he NOT threaten retaliation against?


RELATED: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can


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