Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Decision delayed until January

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The DNC announced they would delay their decision on a site for the 2008 Democratic National Convention until January:

“Because of the holiday week and at the request of both cities, we will announce the convention city in early January,” spokeswoman Stacie Paxton said.

The delay is actually giving a little relief to Denver’s advocates, as a quicker DNC decision might have boded better for New York City. That is because Denver has been buffeted of late with public comments casting some doubts about the city’s viability as a convention contender.

After weeks of bouyantly promoting Denver as the front-runner to host the 2008 Democratic convention, that city’s boosters have hit a snag with organized labor — one that has depressed their hopes that Colorado’s capital will be able to outbid New York City as the convention site. Debbie Willhite, executive director of the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, told the Denver Post that the city’s efforts to attract the convention had been dealt a blow when Jim Taylor, the head of the local stagehands union, declined to sign a “no strike” agreement with the national Democratic Party.

Taylor took issue with the convention’s main location, the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver. Taylor said his union regards the arena, home to the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, as a non-unionized venue.

But Willhite was quoted as saying the union’s resistance to the no-strike pledge is “probably a deal breaker” for the DNC, the organization that will choose the site for the Aug.25-28, 2008 convention site. Though the party is closely allied with the organized labor movement, Democratic officials have less than fond memories of a labor dispute between Boston officials and the local police union that complicated preparations for the party’s 2004 convention in that city. Union officials did not drop their threat to picket the Democratic convention site until that June, when prospective nominee John Kerry refused to cross a police picket line to attend a Boston meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

And although the Times surprisingly doesn't mention it, New York's bid also has it's problems:

Party officials have been negotiating for months with host committees for New York and Denver, but a series of problems with Denver's bid — and a significant cooling of interest from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — led Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean to seek more time to make a decision.

While New York's host committee has pledged to raise the money necessary to hold the convention, Bloomberg said Tuesday that the fundraising would be significantly more difficult than he once believed.

"The city can't go on the hook for a convention unless they're reasonably sure they can raise the money," he said, noting that New York had financed the 2004 convention entirely through private fundraising."We'd like conventions to come here and spend money and be a net positive for this city, so while it was in the last case because we financed it all privately, I'm not sure we could do that again," he said.

If Bloomberg has been a Democrat, I wonder if he would be so concerned about raising money for the Democratic Convention.