Friday, March 23, 2007

Hotline on AFL-CIO Convention Threat

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Hotline On Call is a great blog, but they're strangely 2 weeks late in reporting on the AFL-CIO's threat to ask to move the convention away from Denver. But they do advance the story:

Privately, senior labor officials have re-assured Denver's host committee that it shouldn't read too much into the AFL-CIO's collective expression of disappointment.
Not that the convention was going anywhere even if the AFL-CIO did ask it to be moved.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Boston: Denver planning "incredibly advanced"

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Denver is hoping to learn from the past:

Organizers of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver discussed transportation, the homeless, communications and other issues Monday with organizers of the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston. Denver is "incredibly advanced" in its planning, Steve Kerrigan of the Boston committee said afterward.

About 150 people met with Kerrigan and four other Boston representatives who helped plan the 2004 convention, said Katherine Archuleta, senior policy adviser to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Traffic was one of the Boston event's major issues. While organizers had to shut down a highway and relocate commuter train service for their convention, Denver's Pepsi Center -- surrounded by parking lots -- will not face the same issues, Kerrigan said. "We're jealous," Kerrigan said.
Denver just has to worry about an amusement park. Not a bad tradeoff.

Update: From the Colorado Democratic Party's new blog, Voices of the Colorado Dems:
Committee chairs met last Friday. A larger meeting took place yesterday. It started with a welcome by Mike Dino, CEO. Then Katherine Archuleta discussed the values that are being placed on the convention planning and execution. 1) They want it to be a “wow” experience; 2) Inclusiveness is really important - delegates will be taken care of, others want to be involved; 3) It will be a “green” convention; 4) It is possible that the nominee for President or Vice-President will be a woman, an African-American or a Hispanic and this provides for great educational opportunities.

There was a presentation on having a green and sustainable convention with a guest speaker who is working on the Olympics to do the same. Beth Conover introduced this section. She is working on sustainability in Mayor Hickenlooper’s office. (She is also married to my former assistant, Ken Snyder).
After the breakout sessions, my committee on organizational outreach met. Co-chairing this commitee are Ramona Martinez and myself. Our major goal is “to communicate with all national, state and local organizational stakeholders to seek input into the 2008 convention planning.” We will be taking information to the upcoming Association for State Democratic Chairs meeting and the Western Regional Caucus. I am also contacting other state chairs for input. In addition, we will begin putting out regular information to county chairs so that we can get volunteers involved locally until the convention is ready for them. There is much work to be done.
What I find most interesting is that all this organizing is being done by the Host Committee, and not by the Democratic National Committee, who is actually in charge of the official convention activities. I haven't even seen a mention of whether any representatives of the DNC are even attending these meetings.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

CBS station to show report on convention

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CBS's affiliate in Denver, KCNC, is planning to show a special tonight at 8:00 called: "The Road to Denver: The 2008 Democratic Convention". From the program listing:

The factors that lead to Denver's selection as host city for the 2008 Democratic National Convention are explored. Also: examining the city's preparations for the convention.
If any readers see it, please tell us about in the comments. Assuming, of course, that it doesn't get bumped for NCAA coverage.

Update: Well, it's 8:27 in Denver, and the games are still going on, so the convention special has gotten bumped. I'll keep on eye on the TV listings to see if it gets scheduled again.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Denver requests $50 million for security

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These things just cost a huge amount of money:

Rep. Diana DeGette has asked the House Appropriations Committee to set aside up to $50 million for security costs for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. The request still must go through a lengthy approval process, and is being made in conjunction with an identical request for Minneapolis, host of the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The $50 million per city figure is twice as much as congressional leaders originally requested for the convention host cities of Boston and New York City in 2004. Boston eventually spent $35 million on security for that year’s Democratic National Convention and New York city spent $50 million for the Republican National Convention, DeGette spokesman Brandon MacGillis said.

DeGette said she requested the higher amount because, "What I don't want to be doing is coming back in a controversial supplemental (spending) bill and trying to get this money after the fact." The money would not be given to the cities' host committees directly, but instead would create a pool to reimburse local agencies for security costs.
For those who question why holding a political convention is any different than holding a large trade show, this gives you some idea.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dems legally obligated to stay in Denver

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The contract signed by the DNC requires the convention to be in Denver, regardless of threats to ask to move it:

Two hard facts have emerged that suggest last week's move by the AFL- CIO to win support for pro-labor legislation by threatening Democrats' 2008 national convention is destined to raise tensions, if nothing else.

The Democratic National Committee says it is legally bound to hold the convention in Denver.

The sponsor of the pro-labor bill at the center of the big labor threat says he won't carry it again because he fears another veto by Gov. Bill Ritter.
The Democratic Party says it's too late to change track.

"We're contractually obligated, period," said Stacy Paxton, DNC spokeswoman, adding the party would be liable to city and Pepsi Center officials if it decided to move.

A copy of the contract reviewed by The Denver Post supports her position.

The convention is not going anywhere.

Friday, March 09, 2007

AFL-CIO Threatens To Ask To Pull Convention

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While I followed the specific labor issues concerning the 2008 Democratic Convention, Colorado is having other labor issues, and today it spilled back on the convention:

Stung by Gov. Bill Ritter's veto of a bill that would make it easier for unions to organize, the AFL-CIO threatened to recommend the Democratic Party move its 2008 convention from Denver.

In an unsigned letter Thursday, the AFL-CIO's executive council said it planned to seek reintroduction of a bill that would make it easier to set up all-union workplaces and seek a commitment from Ritter that he would sign it.

"Union members and working people will make up more than a quarter of the delegates to the Denver convention," a statement from the union said. "Unless we can be assured that the governor will support our values and priorities, we will strongly urge the Democratic Party to relocate the convention."
Denver's bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, nearly collapsed because the leader of the stagehands union balked at signing a pledge not to strike if the convention were held at the nonunion Pepsi Center. A compromise was negotiated to staff the Pepsi Center entirely with union labor for the duration of the convention.
For more on the specific labor issues involved, has good coverage. I understand labor has concerns, but the reality is that no other city could take the convention at this point, so the DNC is not moving the convention anywhere. The Denver Post agrees:
The union could have a hard time getting the convention moved, however. Denver was chosen after the Democrats ruled out other cities, and New York City, which also made the short list, said it was unable to raise the money needed for the event.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said Democrats aren't going to be eager to move the convention. It would make the party look too beholden to labor. But he said labor has enough influence to force the issue.
Governor Ritter responds:
Gov. Bill Ritter is confident that the Democratic National Convention will be held in Denver in 2008 despite threats from labor leaders to get the convention moved unless Ritter backs a pro-union bill in the Colorado legislature.

"I don't have any reason to believe it's going to move,'' Ritter said today of the national convention slated for Denver in August of 2008.
This is what can happen when the convention goes to a "purple" city. From CQ:
The wrangling between Ritter and labor is the kind of headache the Democratic National Committee had been hoping to avoid. Party officials have interacted with city, state and labor officials in an effort to deter a dispute that might threaten to take the shine off their Aug. 25-28, 2008 convention — such as the one between Boston officials and the police union during the run-up to the 2004 Democratic convention in that city.

The contract the Democrats signed with Denver officials includes labor negotiations, and DNC press secretary Stacie Paxton stressed that the convention’s main venue, the Pepsi Center, “will be staffed by union labor during the convention.
By the time next summer comes around, it will be clear Denver was the right choice for the convention. But there will be some pain along the way.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Host Committee names CFO

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Continuing its focus on raising money, the 2008 Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee named Melissa Koenigsberg as chief financial officer and finance director:

Currently serving as finance director for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley... in her role as CFO, Koenigsberg will implement and manage a plan to raise $40 million in cash necessary to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

"Fundraising is our number one priority and Melissa's qualifications make her the ideal candidate to lead the Host Committee in our efforts to raise the funds necessary to host a great Convention," [Committee member Steve] Farber stated. "I couldn't be more pleased that Melissa has agreed to join our team for this exciting endeavor."

Previous to working for Gov. O’Malley, Koenigsberg served as finance director for Sen. Salazar and as southeast regional finance director for Sen. John Edwards' 2004 presidential bid.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Volunteer update

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The 2008 Democratic Convention will need 10,000 volunteers:

The newly installed top officer of Denver's host committee stressed Thursday that he wants to organize quickly enough to manage the thousands of volunteers asking to help. "It's a big task," said Mike Dino, who was formally announced as the host committee's chief executive at a news conference Thursday. "Everybody knows this is the biggest thing to come to town in a heck of a long time."

The Denver native and longtime Democratic strategist said he wanted the expected 10,000 volunteers to find a place. "We don't want to lose sight of the fact that we want to elect a Democratic candidate for president," Dino said. But when it's time to take down the bunting and sweep out the confetti, Dino said he hopes volunteers "feel like it was very worthwhile."
Volunteering at a convention is extremely rewarding, no matter what your role is.