Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Orlando makes it official - they're out

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

I noted two weeks ago that Orlando seemed like they were dropping out. It's now official. From the Orlando Sentinel:

Scared off by the cost, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer have notified party leaders that they won't bid for the Democratic National Convention or the Republican National Convention.

"We have a lot of other things on our plate," Dyer said. "To try to justify putting $100 million toward one event didn't make a lot of sense."

Dyer, a Democrat, and Crotty, a Republican, liked the idea of turning the international media spotlight on Orlando by bringing the party faithful to town. They began exploring the idea in January.

But they found the price tag for hosting a political convention is astronomical. Security for 35,000 candidates, politicians, party delegates and reporters could top $50 million. It would cost another $15 million to build a temporary 15,000-seat stadium inside the Orange County Convention Center, then tear it down after the event.


Because of lengthy setup and tear-down periods, hosting either political convention would tie up the convention center for at least three months. Industry conventions and trade shows that have already been booked would have to be canceled or rescheduled, Crotty said, causing an economic loss of about $200 million.

The cost of a political convention would be paid primarily through private donations and, potentially, money from the tourist tax.

At the same time, the city and county are pushing other projects -- including a new performing-arts center, Orlando Magic arena and renovated Citrus Bowl -- that depend on both those sources of cash. Crotty and Dyer worried that the well of philanthropy might run dry.

As I said, and then there were 8.

(The National AP wire also has a brief writeup).