Thursday, August 31, 2006

St. Paul is confident

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

St. Paul thinks it and New York will be the final two cities in the running to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention due to Denver's union issues:

When Minnesota DFLers went to Boston for the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 2004, they stayed at the Radisson Cambridge, a union hotel. "The labor movement has been a close partner with the Democratic Party since the New Deal and we should do everything we can to honor that," said John Stiles, a St. Paul DFLer who made the trip.

As it seeks to land the 2008 Democratic convention, the city of Denver is learning that history the hard way: Officials there now acknowledge the city's bid will fail unless Denver gets a union hotel, which might leave the Twin Cities and New York as the best bets to win the prize. "We feel like we're one step closer to securing a bid. When you narrow the field, our chances just went from 33 percent to 50 percent," Erin Dady, St. Paul's marketing director, said Tuesday. Andrew O'Leary, executive director of the Minnesota DFL Party, said: "Obviously, Minneapolis and St. Paul are great union towns."

Of the three finalists, Denver had been considered a frontrunner by many observers, largely because of Colorado's growing political importance in national politics. But Denver officials are now going public with criticisms that many national Democrats have murmured about since the bidding process began.
The issue became contentious earlier this year when the Denver Area Labor Federation distributed a resolution fighting the city's bid unless it got a union hotel. The dispute revolves around a lobbying effort to organize the new Hyatt Regency Denver.

O'Leary said Minnesota DFLers have been promoting the Twin Cities as a great place for a national convention because of its people, atmosphere, geography and status as a political swing state. In addition, he said the region's media market hits five states, including two other swing states: Wisconsin and Iowa.

He said the state DFL makes it a practice to do its business with unions: "It's not just union hotels. We try to use union resources in everything we do."
The Twin Cities unions are also optimistic:
The head of the Twin Cities hospitality workers union says she thinks labor issues raised by union leaders in Denver can’t be resolved in time to win a bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. “I think they’re not going to go there,” says Jaye Rykunyk, state director for UNITE HERE, the union that represents local hotel staff, waiters and other hospitality workers.
Anyway, Rykunyk says she’s been following developments in Colorado, albeit from a distance. Other than some Sky Chef workers at the airport, she said, her organization doesn’t have any real presence in Denver -- the problem that the Denver Area Labor Federation is reportedly making a stand on.

(Leslie Moody, the federation president, has not responded to any recent inquiries about a May letter regarding the union issue there. There was, however, reportedly a meeting that touched on the issue on Tuesday.)

But the union grapevine, Rykunyk told the Scoop today, has it that there have even been threats to picket the Democratic National Convention if it shows up uninvited by organized labor in Denver. And that would make for some extremely bad television, not to mention the, um, interesting debate regarding whether or not Democrats would cross a picket line on their way to endorse a presidential candidate.

“The people who say, ‘We’ve got two years to straighten this out,’ are dreaming,” Rykunyk told the Scoop this afternoon. “These events are planned years in advance. There’s so much setup, you have to jockey all this stuff around and you have 10 days or two weeks that are basically just taken off the books… You can’t risk that kind of business on a maybe.”

Rykunyk said that unions in the Twin Cities, including workers at 20 hotels, are ready and willing to play ball. “They are guaranteed there won’t be any labor problems,” she said of the Democrats. “And all the work they need can be done by union workers. We’ve got stage hands, carpenters, painters, electricians, you name it.
Remember, all these opinions are from Minnesota, and are therefore all biased. It's also interesting that Leslie Moody, president of the Denver Area Labor Federation, has been relatively quiet on the subject since she was last quoted in May. In May, she said:
"This is not, 'Don't even bother, throw Denver out the window. We want to see this convention encourage the city to take the wages and benefits of our lowest-paid workers more seriously."
She did issue a statement last week, saying:
"It is our hope that Denver will have more than one union hotel by the summer of 2008 when the convention is due to be held."
Given the hint above that there was a meeting on the subject earlier this week, I don't think we should assume that this issue can't be worked out to everone's satisfaction.


Anonymous said...

maybe if denver wasnt so arrogant about being the 'frontrunner' throughout the process, they wouldnt be in the position they are in now...

Anonymous said...

Matt -

FYI, Leslie Moody is a woman.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great article! Here's to a 2008 Democratic National Convention in MN!!!

Anonymous said...

Don't count Denver out folks, that would be a HUGE Mistake.

Anonymous said...

Either way, I wouldn't be bothered if the convention were held in Denver or St.Paul, both are good places to hold it. BUT, lets not just say that the "opinions are clearly biased towards Minnesota". Who writes the blogs? I'm pretty sure there's a slight bias towards Denver. Do I believe MSP deserves the convention over Denver, yes, it does. I don't buy the regional bid laid out by Denver. Minneapolis-St.Paul affects three battle ground states. Even with the turning tide of Democrats in the Colorado legislature, I don't see it garnering widespread regional support.

BTW, the article saying Minnesota has a lot of misquitos is a bit wrong. Unless your up in the iron range, misquitos are hardly a problem. We do spray.

Anonymous said...

Matt- Great blog. But I have to say, it seams like you've been leaning more towards Minn. lately! Come on, people. We as a party need to be secure in our startegy and we need to be unified in winning 2008. WE NEED DENVER!!!

Matt said...

While I do have a preference, I try to not let it bias what I write here. It's the press articles that have leaned towards St. Paul recently, not my personal preference. Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

Why not reward a good, loyal BLUE state like MN with the convention?!?!

DenverDan said...

There's some faulty logic in saying "let's reward a loyal blue state like minnestoa." just because a state shows up blue or red on an electoral map doesn't reflect the fact that a large portion of the population there voted the other way. are you saying the votes of democrats in western states don't matter? what about the fact that ken salazar being elected to the senate from colorado, along with his brother, picking up a house seat, were some of the ONLY democratic highlights from the last election cycle. Furthermore, Minnesota might not be so loyal blue in 2008.

Anonymous said...

There are Republicans in Minnesota, but few states can compete with the Democratic culture of Minnesota and the battleground states of Wisconsin and Iowa are right next door. Plus the Xcel Center in Saint Paul is a great facility, and you'd be amazed at all you can do in downtown Minneapolis. Go Minnesota!


Anonymous said...

While I believe that every vote counts and is important, I still have to remind everyone that electoral votes matter most in an election (learned this lesson in 2000). MN and the midwest have historically been blue so it's necessary to keep them that way. It would be nice to get some electoral votes from the western states as well but I just don't think that it's going to happen in '08. We need to be realistic, not just hopeful. In fact, that's why I'm supporting MN over my hometown of Denver.

DenverDan said...

Really no one knows what's going to happen in 2008, because a lot will depend on who the candidates are and what happens in the next two years.

A convention in Minnesota or Denver wouldnt gaurantee any electoral votes. But either might help set an appealing image to independent voters across the midwest/west.

New Mexico and Nevada followed by Colorado and Arizona are states that Dems could pick up in the west with a strong candidate. Nothing unrealistic about that. I think if the candidate were able to pick up some of these then most likely the midwest states would have been taken also.

Minnesota is the only state there in the midwest that has been "historically" blue. The rest have depended on the strength of the candidates or national mood. Minnesota has a strong Democratic heritage and I think that will appeal to those making the decision.

Personally, I'd like to see it in Denver, but I'm not opposed to Minneapolis. Denver is doing extremely well right now and would make a great showcase for Dems. I think there good arguments for both.