Somerset County Man Wants to Cancel Obama’s Vacation

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More than a year ago, the White House created an online petition system at, through which citizens can create petitions for the president. If they garner at least 25,000 signatures in a month’s time (and they address a topic that falls within the president’s purview), the White House will issue an official response.

Browsing the couple hundred open petitions, you’ll notice that there is a request to secede from nearly every state in the union — some states have lodged more than one request — and many demands to legalize marijuana in some form or another. Among these you’ll find an earnest, if unlikely, proposition from John Phoebus of Somerset County that President Obama cancel his upcoming $4 million vacation to Hawaii, and instead put the money toward disaster relief for Somerset County, Maryland.

According to USA Today, that number doesn’t come from nowhere. Phoebus “met with city officials to estimate the cost of fixing all the houses damaged by Hurricane Sandy,” and it comes out pretty close to $4 million.

Phoebus doesn’t expect Obama to actually cancel his vacation — but is using it to point out what a small amount of money this is for the federal government and what a huge difference it could make for Maryland’s poorest county.

As of this posting, the petition has a little over 5,000 signatures. It needs almost 20,000 more by January 4. View Phoebus’s petition here.





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