Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Orlando Update

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

The Orlando Sentinel has a some interesting notes on Orlando's bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. As I've noted, Orlando is trying to go after both conventions:

As Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty readies his pitch to bring the Republican National Convention to Orlando, he is also readying the GOP heavy hitters who will help him sell our locale.
But remember, the Orange County Convention Center isn't going after just one national convention in 2008. It wants both. That means Democratic Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando will have to get his team ready as well.

Dyer said last week that he was hoping he and Crotty would first announce a nonpartisan team that would handle the mechanics of both deals -- convention-center execs, hoteliers and the like -- and get to the partisan aspects later. I think it's in our better interests to have a joint community effort," Dyer said.

"He's right," Crotty said. "And I'm right," he added, explaining that his side stressed a need for the partisan team's involvement earlier on.

So, if it all works out, the two men will be united in their efforts to bring both conventions to town -- so that each side can spend a week bashing the tar out of the other.
A couple of notes: The DNC has made it very clear that they don't want to have the their convention in the same city as the GOP. And logistically, it would be a real mess. Since each party would want the hall designed to their specifications, you would have to have a number of weeks between the two conventions, and that's not feasible given the late August dates of the Democrats. Now there's certainly no problem with a city trying to go after both conventions since its not guaranteed to get either one, but at some point Orlando might have to make a choice.

Second, if Orlando is offering the Orange County Convention Center as the venue, they're going to have a problem with the Democratic bid. The DNC has clearly stated that they require a "bowl arena with seating for 25,000". The Democrats haven't been in a "convention hall" setting since San Francisco in 1984, and they don't want to go back. There's less seating, bad sightlines for any far-away seats, and no existing skyboxes to entertain the VIPs.

Another potential option is to host it at the Orlando Arena, but a discussion last week implied that the Orlando Arena would need some improvements:
they would have to renovate or build an new arena since the Orena doesn't have 100 sky suites.
both Dyer and Crotty have to step up their time table and seriously commit to renovating or building a new arena or they will be needlessly spending tax dollars to make their respective bids. Because of that, I would think we are currently at a serious disadvantage to cities like Denver and Atlanta, but because of Florida's (particularly the I-4 corridor) huge role in deciding the past elections, both parties would find it highly desirable to have their conventions here
It will be interesting to find out what venue Orlando really thinks they're holding this convention in.


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