Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Convention names producers

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

The show-runners of the 2008 Democratic Convention have been named:

An Emmy-winning producer and a longtime political strategist and media consultant will stage the Democrats' 2008 convention in Denver. The pairing, announced Monday, is meant to match production and political experience for the Aug. 25-28 political extravaganza.

Ricky Kirshner has produced every Democratic national convention since 1996. Most recently, he produced the 2007 Super Bowl halftime. Mark Squier has worked with Democratic candidates for more than 25 years and has produced ads for more than 20 U.S. senators.
In telephone interviews, both producers expressed a desire to showcase the Intermountain West and recent political successes Democrats have enjoyed here. "We have a success story in the West. That's a story that really needs to be told," Squier said, citing Democratic victories in governors' offices in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming.

Remember, its a television show first. The smoke-filled room are long gone.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Restaurants filling up fast for convention

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

Want your state delegation in the hottest restaurant? Better make that reservation quickly:

Denver restaurateurs are stocking the bubbly for the bonanza that the 2008 Democratic National Convention is expected to provide. Venues are booking up fast. Real fast. By only its third day of operation this week, LoDo's new Osteria Marco restaurant - operated by the well-known owners of Mizuna and Luca D'Italia - already had booked two parties for convention week.

LoDo's Tamayo, with its terrace view of the Pepsi Center, where the Democrats are holding the convention, was booked solid months ago when a single Denver law firm bought out the restaurant from the Saturday the delegates arrive to the following Saturday. "Because we had such a huge role in bringing the convention to Denver, I wanted to play a role of being able to host functions," said Willie Shepherd, a partner at Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert and a key member of the Denver committee responsible for hosting the convention. "It's going to be something else."
The much-celebrated Restaurant Kevin Taylor already has booked one complete sellout and five smaller parties during the convention. Companion venue Prima Ristorante also has booked one full-restaurant party, and the restaurants' shared wine cellar is nearly booked solid for the first three nights.
"The logistics of this thing are just so enormous," said John Imbergamo, who handles marketing for some of Denver's best-known eateries, such as Dixons, Racines, Goodfriends, Panzano and the two Morton's steakhouses. "The big question in everybody's mind is 'Do I do private events or stay open for walk-ups?"'

Because it remains unclear to many owners, especially in light of disappointing sales during the recent NBA All-Star Game, Imbergamo is encouraging clients to book as many clients as early as possible.
A bonus of the Mountain time zone is that the convention will be held two hours earlier to accommodate prime- time TV coverage for the East Coast. The Mile High City schedule - late afternoon to 9 p.m. - leaves Denver's dinner hour wide open. But with demand so great for brunch, lunch, and pre- and post-convention parties, many restaurants may be too busy for the traditional walk-up.
That is one key advantage. With an east coast convention that ends at 11 it's mostly informal drinks afterwards. But with an 9:00 finish, and trust me, the convention will end at 9 each evening, there will be lots of dinners eaten every night. The top restaurants should do fine.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Homeowners looking for quick rent money

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

Where there is demand, supply is sure to follow:

The Democratic National Committee has blocked out 17,000 Denver-area hotel rooms for a week, but won't allow any of the 35,000 people expected to reserve them until January. A $1 million donation will land a company on the DNC's priority housing list. A $250,000 donation will secure at least one room.

So, companies are looking for alternatives to hotels and some Denver residents are looking to cash in on providing lodging during the convention, scheduled Aug. 25-28. Rick Mirsky is planning a vacation with his fiancee during the convention and renting his loft in lower downtown to a Washington law firm for $2,000 a night while he's gone. "It's an opportunity that rarely happens, to be able to make $5,000 to $10,000 in a matter of four days," Mirsky said. The law firm is still looking for another 41 rooms.
Developer Mark Falcone, chief executive of Continuum Partners, said he's getting inquiries for units downtown and in Lakewood. Continuum is asking a minimum of three months' rent to lease a place for August. Falcone said that will cost $12,000 to $13,000 for one of the Denver units. "There are people who really do need things for a whole month," Falcone said. "Three hotel rooms would have the same cost and value for the same duration."
If you've got the space, why not make a little, or not so little, money out of it. And if you're a Republican, and want to get out of town anyway, even better.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Still no Hyatt contract

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

A year ago it was huge: Workers at the Denver Hyatt Regency, the convention headquarters hotel, formed a union. Well a year later, the workers still don't have a contract:

More than a year has passed since employees at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Denver became unionized, and workers still don't have a contract negotiating wages or health benefits.

The hotel, located at the Convention Center downtown, was touted as a boon to Denver's bid for the 2008 Democratic Convention when it was announced in late September last year that workers had successfully organized a union, appearing to show that the Mile High City would at least have one unionized hotel for delegates to stay at.

But that may not be the case, if the Hyatt cannot come to an agreement with the labor union representing the hotel employees. A staffer with UNITE HERE, the labor group representing the Hyatt workers, has confirmed that there is still no contract enforcing workplace issues like wages, health benefits, and vacation time.
If there's no contract by next summer, it will be embarrassing for the Democrats to have their convention headquarters at essentially a non-union hotel.