CALIFORNIA: Obama meets with ASEAN leaders, Palm Springs road closures

With a major political storm brewing over a vacant Supreme Court seat, President Barack Obama began his day in the Coachella Valley at a golf club’s gymnasium, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016.

The death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia roiled the nation’s political waters this weekend. Other than the standard somber and polite statement from the White House, the president did not address the court, now split between red and blue 4-4.

The president at 7:30 a.m. was driven from Larry Ellison’s Porcupine Creek Country Club to the nearby Thunderbird Country Club, where he worked out on gym equipment for nearly two hours.

Then came more golf with Honolulu boyhood friends and frequent golf partners — Greg Orme, Mike Ramos and Bobby Titcomb — back at Ellison’s private, 19-hole course at his 249-acre Rancho Mirage estate.

The four men had also played Friday and Saturday at the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, which recently hosted the CareerBuilder Challenge.

It was sunny and 79 degrees at tee time.

On Monday comes a two-day summit of Asian leaders at Sunnylands resort.

Air Force One landed just after 11:30 a.m. Friday at Palm Springs International Airport, after being diverted briefly to fly over mountainous terrain that the president newly designated as national monuments.

On hand to meet Obama were Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon and Rancho Mirage Mayor Dana Hobart.

The motorcade left the airport and encountered crowds of onlookers. At least one person held up a sign that read “the ACA is not Affordable,” a reference to the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

The motorcade took Obama to Porcupine Creek Golf Club in Rancho Mirage, a property owned by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
Obama will be joined by Secretary of State John Kerry at Sunnylands for the gathering on Monday and Tuesday of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The summit is aimed at strengthening the new U.S.- ASEAN strategic partnership, forged last November during a presidential trip to Malaysia.

“This unprecedented gathering — the first hosted by the United States with the ASEAN leaders — builds on the deeper partnership that the United States has forged with ASEAN since 2009 and will further advance the Administration’s rebalance to Asia and the Pacific,” according to a White House statement.

Road closures scheduled through 4 p.m. Tuesday include:
— Kirk Douglas Way, between Ramon and El Cielo roads,
— Airport Center Drive at Kirk Douglas Way.
The public can access Palm Springs International Airport via the main entrance at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon Way and El Cielo Road.
Other road closures went into effect today at 10 a.m. surrounding the Sunnylands Estate and were scheduled through 3 p.m. Tuesday.
These include:
–Gerald Ford Drive at Bob Hope Drive,
–Bob Hope Drive at Frank Sinatra Drive,
–Frank Sinatra Drive from Morningside Drive to Bob Hope Drive.

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