Saturday, October 14, 2006

New York bid has money problems

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

As rich as New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is, apparently his friends have limited resources, and they appear to be overtapped:

New York City’s bid to land the 2008 Democratic National Convention is in jeopardy because Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is spread so thin with fund-raising commitments that he may not be able to raise the money from private donors needed to pay for it, an official said on Thursday. The fund-raising worries come as Democrats have been seriously considering bringing the convention to New York rather than to the other competing city, Denver, which offers a politically attractive location, but has logistical problems because of a scarcity of hotel rooms.
But now, administration officials are raising “grave concerns” about Mr. Bloomberg’s ability to cover the expenses. For 2004, when the city was working to show how it had recovered from the Sept. 11 attack, city officials promised Republicans $73 million for their convention and raised $85 million in a fund-raising drive headed by Mayor Bloomberg. This time around, the budget goal is for nearly $85 million, a figure administration officials say could grow to $100 million.

Given the roughly $250 million Mr. Bloomberg has promised to raise for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and for programs recommended by his poverty commission, an administration official who would speak only anonymously said there were “serious concerns” about his ability to hit that target. If Mr. Bloomberg and other host committee officials could not bring in the promised amount, the city would have to make up the difference.

It was not immediately clear whether officials would pull back from the bid or devise a new fund-raising strategy, but the financial issue is dampening what had appeared to be encouraging developments as New York pushed aggressively to serve as host to the Democrats in 2008.

From the beginning, few political analysts greeted New York’s attempt to snare the convention with much optimism, arguing that Democrats would be wiser to go to an area of the country where they stood to sway a few fence-sitting states to their side, instead of choosing a state that has long been in the Democratic camp.
Further strengthening New York’s chances was the sense among Democrats that while New York, with its large police force, transit system and other logistical advantages, can pull off a successful convention, Denver may not have enough space even to house the delegates. Denver itself has just 19,000 hotel rooms, according the New York pitch, compared with New York’s 63,200 hotel rooms.
First, that last paragraph makes no sense. There are four to five thousand delegates, maybe six thousand with alternates. I think they could somehow fit in 19,000 hotel rooms. More importanly, I can't believe that 19,000 hotel rooms would be a deal breaker at this point. The number of hotel rooms hasn't changed in a while. Tell the press they'll have to double up in some rooms.

Second, why was this information leaked by Bloomberg's people? The only thing I can think of is to put pressure on some of the donors, saying, if you don't give, you won't have any parties to go to in 2008.

Finally, I think its extremely ironic that New York's bid could fall short due to money problems. The availability of money in New York, and the problems the smaller cities might have in raising it, have been an underlying theme throughout this process. Where are all those donors that wanted the convention in New York? Actually, I wonder if the problem is that Bloomberg is not a Democrat. It would not suprise me if Democrats in New York are tired of giving to Bloomberg's causes, especially with his support of Bush in 2004, and rumors of him running as an independent himself in 2008. Bottom line, it would be sweet justice if New York didn't get the bid because New York couldn't raise enough money.

Update (10/16): ABC's The Note agrees with my thoughts on why this was leaked:
The New York Times' Cardwell wrote on Saturday of the potential fundraising obstacles Michael Bloomberg may face in trying to woo the DNC to New York for its 2008 convention.
(Perhaps the article itself will cause some of those obstacles to disappear.)