By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
KAILUA (Hawaii NewsNow) – President Obama's Christmas vacation in Hawaii will cost tax payers more than $1.5 million, but most of the people questioned by Hawaii News Now about the expense believe it is reasonable.
The round trip flight on Air Force One from Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington D.C. to Honolulu is estimated at more than $1 million.
The Honolulu Police Department paid $228,000 in overtime to officers assigned to the president's detail when he visited for Christmas last year. It cost at least $150,000 to house secret service, White House staff, and other personnel during the president's 2010 Christmas visit. Those expenses are likely to be similar this year.
First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia arrived on a private jet to begin their 2010 Hawaiian holiday. According to a White House dossier that flight cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of $63,000. The first lady is expected to arrive on a private jet again this year.
Those expenses alone (2 flights, HPD overtime, and lodging for security and staff) total more than $1.5 million.
There are many more costs including vehicle rentals, cargo transport of security and communications equipment, and the expense incurred by security personnel preparing for the president's visit.
"He's president of the United States. I think he should have the benefit of the type of travel he gets. I mean, I'd want it," said Bill Boyle, a longtime Kailua resident.
"I like the fact that the president is among his people and not sitting in his pedestal or golden tower. He needs to go on vacation and it that's how much it costs to protect him that's how much it costs," added Tammy Royce, a taxpayer visiting Hawaii from Denver.
The president and friends pay out of pocket for the homes they rent near Kailua beach.