A new petition gaining ground on the White House website calls on President Obama to cancel his estimated $4 million vacation and devote the money instead to helping victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The petition, which was created just two days ago, had 872 signatures as of 8:45 am ET this morning and is potentially be on its way to garnering the 25,000 signatures in 30 days required to elicit a response from the White House.
According to the news site delmarvanow.com, the petition was filed by John Phoebus, the organizer of a volunteer hurricane recovery group in Somerset County, Maryland. Phoebus was angered that the storm-ravaged county was denied direct funding from FEMA.
The petition states that for about the cost to the government of sending Obama on an expected three-week Hawaii vacation, Somerset could be rebuilt.
The petition reads:
On December 3, 2012, President Obama denied the request of Governor O’Malley and the entire Maryland congressional delegation to award Individual Assistance to Somerset County, Maryland to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Somerset County is Maryland’s poorest county. The towns of Crisfield, Fairmount, and Deal Island were devastated by the hurricane, with flood waters causing widespread damage. These poor, working waterfront communities were already fragile from the decline of the seafood industry. Super Storm Sandy left them with no where to turn except FEMA for assistance.
For the $4 million it will cost taxpayers for the President to vacation in Hawaii, we could rebuild Somerset County. The President should stay home and send our tax money to Somerset County to rebuild.
The $4 million price tag for Obama’s vacation was calculated by the Hawaii Reporter and includes $250,000 in local costs.
But the actual expense to the federal government alone is likely even higher than $4 million, since the cost of just the transportation – roundtrip flights for Air Force One and an accompanying cargo plane – amounts to about $3,530,000, according to the Reporter.
UPDATE: As of 8:45 am ET Saturday morning, 24 hours after the above post was written, the petition had 3,855 signatures, a gain of about 3,000 in just 24 hours.