Committee shelves naming park after Obama


POSTED: Friday, January 15, 2010

Magic Island will still be called Magic Island for now.

More correctly, the popular park on the man-made peninsula is known as the “;Aina Moana Section of Ala Moana Beach Park.”;

Regardless, the name is not expected to change in the near future, after a City Council committee shelved a proposal from Mayor Mufi Hannemann that would have allowed the park to be renamed in honor of President Barack Obama.

The Public Safety and Services Committee deferred the measure but welcomed continued discussion on the matter, most notably on whether a policy change is needed.

Hannemann has proposed renaming the park to honor the Hawaii-born Obama and recognize his achievement of becoming president, but to do so would require a change in law, which states public facilities may only be named after someone if that person is dead.

The proposal in Bill 09-79 specifically states that an exception be made if the person being honored “;is the president of the United States born in Hawaii.”;

;[Preview]  Magic Island Possibly Renamed After Obama

Honolulu Council members today rejected a proposal rename Magic Island after President Obama.

Watch ]


City Parks Director Lester Chang and Bob Sumitomo, deputy director of planning and permitting, testified that the Hannemann administration supports the proposal because of the historic nature of having a president born in Hawaii.

“;In this particular case, we had such a significant happening happen—a local boy being voted in as president of the United States,”; Sumitomo said.

Council members debated whether to expand the law, enabling the city to honor others who have contributed significantly to the state, living or dead.

“;I can give you a list of people within Hawaiian culture who have done very significant things for the state,”; said Council Chairman Todd Apo.

Several Council members expressed a desire to wait until Obama is out of office before honoring him, while others discussed whether the city should consider other public facilities for renaming.

Councilman Romy Cachola urged the administration to seek input from the Hawaiian community on its feelings about the potential “;erasing”; of the name Aina Moana.