Friday, September 29, 2006

Denver gets a union hotel - update

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Great news for Denver's bid for the 2008 Democratic Convention: A key hotel, the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, is being unionized:

Workers at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center have formed a union, organizers reported today. The city-bonded Hyatt has been the focus of union and political attention since organized labor voted earlier this year to oppose Denver's bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention unless the hotel was unionized.

Labor groups have formally pulled their opposition to Denver's bid, but today's announcement only bolsters the city's bid for the convention. Katie Gerken, the spokeswoman for Unite Here which led the effort to organize the hotel, said the Hyatt formally recognized the new union this morning.

Not only is this a big plus for Denver's bid, the convention bid may very well have helped this to happen.

Update: Oh, and by the way, this is not just any hotel, this is the Convention Headquarters Hotel. From DemNotes:
This is obviously HUGE news for the bid to bring the Democratic National Convention to Denver in 2008. From the DNC’s perspective, the biggest problem with Denver has always been the lack of a unionized hotel. The Hyatt Regency has always been proposed to be the Convention headquarters hotel if the Convention comes to Denver. This news means that the Convention headquarters hotel will, in fact, be a union hotel. We are now one more step closer to bringing the Nation to Denver in August of 2008!

Hurricanes hurt Tampa's GOP bid

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I've argued here and here that it's just not fair to rule out coastal cities as hosts of political conventions because of hurricanes. Five conventions have been held in hurricane prone cities in recent years: Houston - 1992, New Orleans - 1988, Miami Beach: 1968 (Rep) and 1972 (both Dem and Rep). Add Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Charlotte, and even Philadelphia, New York and Boston, and you've got a lot of potential cities that could be hit by a hurricane. Well unfortunately for Tampa, Tropical Storm Ernesto was headed toward Florida in late August, and it looks like the GOP did not want to take a chance:

Tampa bid organizers said [Ken] Mehlman, [chairman of the Republican National Committee] told them the threat of hurricanes cost them the convention.

How short-sited of the GOP. Are they also going to avoid West Coast cities also because of the potential for earthquakes? Actually that's fine. Hopefully the Democrats can make a big statement in 2012 by having the convention in Miami, Charlotte, or, of course, New Orleans.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wasn't Denver our first choice anyway?

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There is a lot of whining in the blogosphere today about how the Democrats got beat by Republicans to St. Paul, and why did the Democrats move so slow. Enough.

Denver, Minnepolis/St. Paul and New Orleans have been the three favorites to host the convention all year long, and for many of us, Denver has been the most attractive choice. St. Paul is out, and New Orleans decided not to bid. I think we all agree that Denver will make a fantastic host for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and hopefully Dean and the DNC will choose Denver to host the convention.

Did the GOP play fair?

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Now we don't expect the GOP to really ever play fair, but I argued in the comments below that I thought the GOP decision to pre-emptively choose St. Paul was smart, not dirty politics. But a Minnesota Democrat says otherwise:

Rick Stafford, a member of the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee from Minneapolis, said negotiations set for next week "would have pretty much cemented the deal." He said the GOP's decision showed that Republicans "cannot keep their honor in the site-selection process." He said as the non-incumbent party, Democrats should have been able to choose their site first in keeping with tradition.

"It just follows their whole scorched-earth ... philosophy that's running true to form this year," said Stafford, adding that "all the signals" indicated that Republicans were going to allow Democrats to choose their site first. He speculated that word got out that Democrats wanted the Twin Cities and that pressure was applied on the RNC by local Republicans to act quickly if they wanted to nail down the Twin Cities.

Republicans rejected Stafford's arguments, noting that they picked first when they took their convention to New York in 2004.

Well, the Republicans lied about 2004. The Democrats chose Boston in November, 2002, while the GOP chose New York in January, 2003. (Source: New York Times articles).

Update: The Star-Tribune corrected the article (at least on their web site) saying:
A story on Page A1 Thursday incorrectly described which political party picked its convention site first in 2004. The Democrats announced their site first.
But while I've verified the tradition of the incumbent party having the later convention, this is the first I've seen of a tradition of allowing the non-incumbent party of picking first. In fact, it's been reported in numerous places that for Minneapolis/St. Paul and New York, whichever party announced their pick first would get the city for their 2008 convention. So I'm not sure if the GOP went over the line here. But it does confirm what I wrote below, that the Democrats were getting ready to pick St. Paul, and the GOP just beat them to it.

Democrats were close to deciding?!?! - updated

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They always put the good stuff at the bottom of the article:

By Wednesday, the race had come down to the wire. National Democrats were to meet on Friday in New York to make their pick. National Republicans had already closed in on the Twin Cities.

Around noon, Sen. Coleman put in an urgent call to Rybak. Smith pulled Rybak out of an open house meeting with constituents to give him the news: The RNC had chosen Minneapolis/St. Paul.

At 1:15 p.m. Ryak called Dean. "He told me to please hold off," Rybak said. "I told him I could wait maybe an hour, but I reminded him we had promised it to whoever came in first."

By 2 p.m., Dean called back. "He said, 'We're not ready to make a decision,' " Rybak said.

More from the AP:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a Democrat, were still trading phone calls at lunchtime Wednesday, just before news broke that the Republicans picked the Twin Cities for their 2008 convention.

The official word came around 3 p.m. local time, prompting a bipartisan crowd at Xcel Energy Center to erupt into cheers. The GOP was coming; the Democrats would have to look elsewhere.

"We were in very aggressive conversations with them up to and including about three hours ago," Rybak said of the Democrats at a news conference.

He added: "I spoke with Governor Dean twice today. They were planning to make a decision I believe very, very shortly. The Republicans moved first."

I take three things from this. First, the Democrats may have wanted to pick St. Paul as their site for the 2008 convention, but they couldn't make a decision in 45 minutes, and, even if they did, the GOP did announce first.

Second, were the Democrats going to meet on Friday and pick St. Paul? Seems pretty clear the decision leaked, and the GOP then decided to announce first and get first dibs on St. Paul. If so, the GOP won this battle.

And finally, are the Democrats still meeting on Friday to make a decision? Probably not, as there is no time pressure now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hotline says Denver back in play

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I normally try not to show a full article, but the latest from the Hotline on the 2008 Democratic National Convention has nothing that can be skipped:

The city of Denver, which as recently as early September stood a small chance of securing the Democratic National Convention in '08, is a contender once again.

If anything, city leaders can thank the Republicans. Set side-by-side, New York's bid is stronger. But the political argument for Denver is far more compelling, thanks to its geographical location, the blue hue of growing parts of the state, its Latino population, and its Mountain West political culture.

Party sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Denver's third revision of its bid sufficiently addressed a number of technical concerns that originally caused some on the site selection committee to dismiss it entirely.

Some donors are pushing heavily for New York, which turned in superlative a bid and is heavily lobbying the DNC. But some of Howard Dean's closest advisers are warming to Denver.

Many on the site selection committee had high hopes for Denver and found themsleves taken aback by Denver's first official submission. It had been written by the city's convention and visitors bureau, which seemed to have mistaken a national party for a very large, but very ordinary, sports event. One official said that the first Denver bid seemed to be an appended version the city's attempt to land an NBA All-Star game.

And aside its patchwork quality, there was a major, seemingly intractible problem: the city had no union hotels and labor had little chance of organizing one before the convention. Denver's locals are on board, but many national labor leaders, already feeling underappreciated by the party, are withholding their approval.

But Denver's bid now highlights several strengths : the convention would be held in the Pepsi Center , which is surrounded by acres of open parking lots. That's perfect for the media, which sets up tent cities and builds newsrooms, and for security planners, who have plenty of space to set up barriers and control the flow of people and traffic. The Pepsi Center is attached to Denver's convention center,

well, no it isn't...
and the city's light rail line directly skirts major delegate and campaign hotels.

In the months since it first turned in its bid, Denver tightened some its hinges and hired Debbie Wilhite, a veteran convention organizer, to reorganize its effort. Meanwhile, the site selection committee turned its gaze to the Twin Cities. It had transporation problems but plenty of union hotels. By metrics alone, New York City's bid towered above other cities, and some on the committee argued internally that the security needs in a post-9/11 era couldn't really be met by any other muncipality.

Today: the GOP threw a wrench into the Democrats' calculations. The RNC site selection committee wasn't supposed to choose its city until -- at the earliest -- December. But Republicans said the strength of the Twin Cities' courtship, combined with a desire to prevent the Democrats from choosing a blue-trending battleground state, necessitated the surgical action. Cleveland, another finalist, simply couldn't provide the RNC with assurance that it had enough hotel rooms. Tampa had hurricanes. And a well-timed convention announcement might help Gov. Tim Pawlenty survive a tough re-election challenge this cycle.

Some Democrats speculate that the RNC wanted to avenge an embarassment; last year, the DNC surprised the Republicans by choosing their 2008 convention dates much earlier than anticipated.

Another plus for Denver: Republicans could choose New York in 2004 because of its 9/11 symbolism; the Democrats wouldn't be able to choose New York without explaining why they passed over two culturally distinct states in the interior of the country.

And Dean is an insurgent as much as he is a party leader. If donors and the party elite urge him to hold the convention in New York, he just might be inclined to throw his weight behind another city.
And just like that, and then there were two, and either city could win this thing.

Update: The New York Times adds this:
With Minneapolis out of contention, Democrats are now weighing whether Denver — an appealing Western spot in an increasingly volatile state — has enough union-run hotels to play host to their convention, which is sometimes larger than that of the Republicans. New York City has cleared the logistical bar for having the convention, officials said, but as a widely Democratic state, New York holds less political appeal than Colorado. And a potential Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton represents New York.
Back in the spring I wrote that there have been 4 "home state" conventions in recent years in the last 60 years:
Stevenson: '52, '56 - Chicago
Bush: '92 - Houston
Kerry: '04 - Boston
I don't know Stevenson's status in his 2 years, but Houston in '92 was clearly done for Bush's home state. Boston in '04 is certainly arguable - while Kerry was in the first tier of candidates in 2002, his nomination was certainly not guranteed. And anyway, I wonder if Bill isn't telling Hillary, you'll do better giving your speech in Denver. If she gets the nomination, it would not suprise me if one of her focuses is on her mid-western (Illinois, Arkansas) roots. If her people push for Denver, that would have a lot of sway.

Could St. Paul have gone for the Democrats today?

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Jeremy Hanson, a spokesman for Democratic Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, said the cities were in a “flurry” of final negotiations with both parties Wednesday, and Republicans moved to seal the deal first.

Hanson wouldn’t elaborate on negotiations, citing they were part of private contracts. But he said that most facets of what it takes to host a convention, including details of hotel packages, transportation and security, were still under discussion earlier on Wednesday. “There was no one thing,” he said.

Why were the Democrats also in a flurry of final negotiations today? Reading between the lines, it certainly sounds like the Democrats knew this was about to happen - could they have made a bid for St. Paul today also? My guess is the Democrats probably weren't ready to pull the trigger, and the GOP was. But I hope we hear more about what went on in the final hours.

Denver Dem expects a mid-November decision

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The Denver Business Journal reports:

Denver attorney Steve Farber, a partner at Brownstein Hyatt & Farber and a chair of the [Denver 2008] host committee [said] "They'll probably negotiate two contracts and pick one. I think we'll hear [from the Democratic National Committee] in mid-November."
Now I have no reason to doubt this quote or article, but I would note that the article starts off saying:
Denver is out of the running for the 2008 Republican presidential convention....
Other markets competing for the convention besides Denver included New York City, Cleveland and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
Can these reporters just do a little research, please? Denver did not bid for the Republican convention, and was therefore out of the running a long time ago.

Dems still have the better date

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Over at Daily Kos, various commenters are asking that the Democrats change their 2008 convention date to go after the GOP. Again, here's why the Democrats have the better date, and why they shouldn't change:

  1. The GOP is starting their convention on Labor Day - bad for viewership
  2. The GOP is going right after the Democrats, causing all the media to have to do back-to-back conventions, and losing their Labor Day weekend. Can you say "cranky media"
  3. Ending the convention on the Thursday before Labor Day leads into a great weekend of campaigning
  4. Doing the convention the following week runs into the start of the new TV season, giving the networks more reasons to reduce their coverage
  5. Doing the convention the following week causes the acceptance speech to occur on 9/11/08, which can only distract from the focus of the day.
  6. Doing the convention the following week could cause problems for all the teachers who are delegates, and teachers make up a large proportion of delegates at the Democratic Convention.
  7. There are some state-specific laws having to do with ballot access that pretty much prevent us from holding it much later than the GOP in 2008. (Thanks to Dan Slater's comment at Daily Kos)
The Democrats picked the better week.

GOP selects St. Paul/Minneapolis

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While the Democrats moved first in picking convention dates and visiting cities, the GOP, realizing they needed to move fast to get their first choice, announced today that they have chosen St. Paul/Minneapolis as the site of their 2008 convention. New York, Cleveland and Tampa/St. Petersburg were also in the running. The convention will be held at St. Paul's Xcel Center, just as the Democrats were going to do. This leaves the Democrats with Denver and New York as their final two choices.

CQ notes:

Acting earlier than expected, the Republican National Committee has named Minneapolis-St. Paul as its venue for the 2008 Republican convention, the Associated Press reports. The RNC had not been expected to name its venue until January.
And no, the Democrats can't go to St. Paul/Minneapolis also:
Minneapolis and New York are also bidding for the Democratic National Convention for 2008. The Democrats require exclusivity, which would eliminate either from GOP consideration if selected by the Democrats first.
The DNC responds:
"We want to congratulate the Twin Cities. The DNC was thrilled to have three great American cities submit strong bids for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. We are looking forward to working with Denver and New York as we make our final decision. The Twin Cities is a great community and this announcement is good news for the cities," said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton.
Denver responds:
This is probably good news for Denver, as it narrows the DNC’s choices to Denver and New York City. The DNC has a rule that cities may not host the Republican Convention in the same city, so the choice of Minneapolis takes them out of the competition. Governor Dean has already said he wants to get the Convention off of the coasts in 2008, which also speaks well of Denver’s bid. We’re still working to deal with various issues, but this is GOOD NEWS for the Denver 2008 bid
And was Cleveland the second choice?
The chairwoman of the nine-member site selection committee, Jo Ann Davidson, contacted Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett on Wednesday to tell him about the decision to chose Minneapolis-St. Paul before any public announcement. He said she told him the race was tight

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Final two cities to be announced this week?

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I noted last month that the DNC had indicated to the bid committees that it would announce in September the final two candidate cities to host the 2008 Democratic National Comvention. I haven't seen any confirmation since then, and September is slipping away, so we'll have to see if this announcement really happens. Two sets of conventional wisdom on which two cities will make the cut: In August, I was fairly confident that the two cities would be Denver and St. Paul/Minneapolis, given that New York didn't seem like a choice Dean would make. However, in September, I noted the Hotline reports that the front-runners were St. Paul/Minneapolis and New York due to problems with Denver's bid. Which means, I think, that at least St. Paul/Minneapolis should make it through to the final two.

Monday, September 25, 2006

New Orleans Superdome re-opens

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Through much of the spring, I followed New Orlean's progress towards recovery and its ability to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. A lot of people were disappointed when New Orleans decided not to bid for the convention, citing higher priorities. While I think that was the right decision, as I write this, there are over 70,000 people in the Superdome getting ready to watch the Saints play a football game, and that's way more than would ever be inside the Superdome for a political convention. While I understand that the logistical requirements of the convention are far greater than for a regular-season NFL game, it makes you wonder whether New Orleans made the decision not to bid for the 2008 Democratic Convention a bit prematurely.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Denver still in the race

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The Denver 2008 Host Committee executive director claims things are not as bad as they've been made out to be. From the Rocky Mountain News:

Debbie Willhite, the Denver 2008 Host Committee executive director, said the city’s proposal was characterized as "extremely thorough" by a member of the site selection committee just this week. Still, Willhite said, the report Wednesday in the Hotline On Call, a blog of the National Journal, casts Denver in an unfavorable light.

"It does not reflect well on our bid, and it does not reflect well on our city," she said. "But I would say also, unequivocally, it does not reflect the DNC’s current thinking about where Denver stands in this process. I was reassured of that profusely by the executive director of the Democratic National Committee," Willhite said.

The report, published Thursday in the National Journal, stated that New York City and Minneapolis-St. Paul are "right outside the winner’s circle." It also stated that an unidentified Democrat briefed about Denver’s offerings called them a disaster and that the city’s lack of a union hotel "remains an obstacle" even though organized labor in Denver suspended its opposition to the bid.

A DNC spokesman declined to comment about the blog posting.

Marc Ambinder, the blog reporter, said he stood by his story. "To be honest, there were some initially who were dismayed by the quality of the bid," he said. "The technical aspects were not up to the expectations that they had for (Denver), and that disappointed them."

Ambinder said Denver’s subsequent submissions under Willhite "have gotten progressively better" and that many of the technical concerns have been answered. "The question (now) is whether the DNC will be willing to give Denver a shot to sort of prove their bona fides and really go into the nitty gritty of these bids," said Ambinder, who has covered national politics for five years.

"I think by the end of this month we will know whether they’ve narrowed it down to (New York and Minneapolis-St. Paul) or whether they’re still keeping Denver in mind," he said.

Willhite, a national convention organizer for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns, is confident Denver will be the winner. She called the report in the blog "unfortunate." "We’d love them to retract it, but the fact of the matter is that someone at the DNC with some sort of title gave the reporter this luscious little quote," Willhite said. "Obviously, it was somebody who doesn’t want to come to Denver."

I think the Hotline is paritally to blame for this. Their original posting said:
Others confirmed that the general impression among site selection members of Denver was not positive.
But the revised posting, which is only readable from the main blog, says:
Others confirmed that the general impression among site selection members of Denver was not positive, although a third iteration of Denver's bid, submitted last week, has been better received.
That's a huge difference, because the bid should hopefully be judged on its latest version. I'm not sure why the Hotline has not updated the posting at the original link, but neither the article at Daily Kos nor the column in the Denver Post referenced the updated entry, and therefore they made things sound worse then they might be. And since the source of the comment is unknown, one can not assume it is unbiased. For now, I will assume Willhite's characterization of the DNC Executive Director's comments are true, and that Denver is still in this thing.

Just one word

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It's only one word, but that use of "disastrous" to describe Denver's presentation for their bid to host the 2008 Democratc National Convention has drawn attention. Kos writes:

Get the frackin' convention out of the coasts. I know many Democrats forget that there's a whole lot of country in between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but that's no reason for the site selection committee to make that same mistake.

Big money New York Democrats, especially, are some of the worst. They back people like Lieberman and Bloomberg and think the universe revolves around NYC.

The networks will scale back coverage of the convention whether it's in Minneapolis, Denver, or NYC. The parties have killed conventions by scripting them to death. There is no drama, no compelling storylines. So the networks take a pass. I can't blame them.

So go somewhere where the local coverage will actually, you know, help. Colorado is a purple state moving our direction. Minneapolis is a blue state threatening to go purple. We get nothing out of having it in indigo-Blue New York.

And Dan Haley of the Denver Post notes:
Denver’s host committee has pulled out all stops in hopes of luring the convention here, and the West — with its many moderate Democratic governors and Colorado’s decidedly purple tones — would seem to make the perfect backdrop for the party’s presidential nominating convention. I’d be surprised if their bid was “disastrous.” But who knows? It would be quite a shame if the unions upended Denver’s bid. Some Democrats have said they won’t stay in a non-union hotel. See that story here. That’s fine, but it sure doesn’t give the appearance of the new, more moderate party that Dem leaders want to project. Instead, it looks like they’re willing to be held hostage by labor unions.
Everyone is wondering what the problem with Denver's presentation/bid, but the labor union issues would not cause the presentation to be descibed that way. It has to be something logisitical or financial, not political.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hotline says New York just ahead of St. Paul

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In what will certainly be a suprise to readers of this blog, the Hotline says the two frontrunners for the convention are New York, and just behind, St. Paul/Minneapolis:

Could the Democratic National Convention return to New York City in 2008?

According to party sources and other Democrats who have consulted with members of the party's selection committee, NYC and Minneapolis-St. Paul are right outside the winners’ circle. NYC is said to have an edge -- at least for now.

The site selection committee had high hopes for Denver, located in a blinking-blue Mountain West state with a growing Hispanic population. But one Democrat briefed on the city's presentation and bid called it "disastrous." Others confirmed that the general impression among site selection members of Denver was not positive. The city also lacks a union hotel, and even though the city’s labor leaders voted to table its outrage, it remains an obstacle.

We've certainly heard about the labor issues, but I'd love to know what about the bid presentation was "disastrous"? Maybe money?

The Twin Cities' bid meets the party’s nominal requirements, but several Democrats involved in the process worry about extended commutes from delegate hotels to events.

Democratic donors, irate at the Republican Party’s 2004 fete in their city, have urged the party to choose New York. And that city’s bid has been the most impressive. One part of its presentation to the DNC consisted of a “lessons learned” discussion about the 2004 convention.

One unanticipated concern: the resolve of television networks to scale down their convention coverage. Holding the show in New York City would dramatically reduce the costs.

Some Democrats worry about the symbolism of choosing New York City over Minnesota and question whether the party will acquiesce to the cultural elitism of its donors. Others suggest that Sen. Hillary Clinton wouldn’t want to hold her nominating convention in her home state. But that concern is not widely shared among Democrats close to Sen. Clinton.

I think there will be a lot of dissapointed people in the netroots if Dean picks New York, but it looks like the 'donors' and their money are talking.

Update: Hotline updated the article, (only linkable from the main page), and added the following:
Others confirmed that the general impression among site selection members of Denver was not positive, although a third iteration of Denver's bid, submitted last week, has been better received.
That certainly makes it a bit better for Denver, but Denver's bid clearly has problems of an unknown nature.

Also added:
Democrats also worry that Republicans have their designs on using the city [St. Paul] for its convention.
Well that's only a problem if the GOP picks their city first...

Monday, September 11, 2006

All quiet

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Not sure why, but it's been very quiet on the convention front the last week. Haven't heard any updates on the final bids which were due on September 5th, and nothing new on if and when the DNC will announce a final two, supposedly to happen sometime this month. As soon as some news breaks, I'll have it here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Unofficial Denver site

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There's now an unofficial site supporting Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Dan Slater has been promising an official site. We'll have it here as soon as it's available.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Denver labor leaders won't oppose bid - updated

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In a sign that there may be a path to a compromise, Denver union leaders will not oppose Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

Labor issues in the city have focused on hotels, and particularly the new, city-bonded Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. None of Denver’s hotels are union, and some Democratic delegations say they must stay in union hotels.
Still, officials with Denver’s host committee now can say that labor is not formally opposing the bid as they make their case to national Democrats. Denver Area Labor Federation president Leslie Moody confirmed Thursday that the group voted unanimously to “lay over” a previous resolution opposing the bid.

While that is better than before, it may not be the kind of support delegations are looking for. What is more, Moody said, the resolution could be reinstated at any monthly meeting. “People were uncomfortable rescinding it completely,” Moody said, citing concerns about how the actual convention would be staffed. But she said, “There is a big difference between opposition and neutrality.”

Sounds like it was a lively meeting.

Host committee officials said last week that landing the 2008 convention would be unlikely unless the city had at least one hotel with organized labor. The labor federation passed a resolution this year opposing Denver’s bid unless the convention center Hyatt was organized.

Moody said workers at the Hyatt are working toward a union but they have been slowed because of high turnover. Still, she praised Denver host committee executive director Debbie Willhite and Mayor John Hickenlooper for working with labor groups.

A meeting with Willhite on Tuesday was positive and productive, Moody said. “We are doing out part to resolve whatever issues were keeping labor from supporting this,” Moody said.

Willhite said labor’s vote is “a step in the right direction.” “I think it’s very encouraging,” she said.

I think the key thing is that Hickenlooper and Willhite are meeting with the labor groups to dicuss their concerns, rather than criticize them through the media, which has happened in the past. But the issue of whether the convention can be held in a city with no union hotels remains to be seen. Some have brought up Atlanta in 1988 as an example of a city with no union hotels, but NY Times accounts at the time indicate there were a few union hotels, and so I don't think the comparison is valid.

Update: More comments from Wilhite:
"We’re in a period of working together to clarify different parts of the bid that some members had questions about," she said. "We’re working carefully together to see if we can reach some cooperation so that they can support our bid."

Willhite said there are sections of the bid that "needed clarification and some amending," though she declined to go into specifics. "You don’t negotiate in public," she said. "This isn’t a Texas hold’em."

Denver, which hosted its only national political convention in 1908, is the only city vying for the party convention without a union hotel. "Is it possible for us to get the convention without labor support? It’s possible," Willhite said. "Everything’s possible, but it would not be ideal," she said. "It’s not the way we want to go forward in this process, and it certainly makes our proposal weaker without their support."