Thursday, November 30, 2006

Schumer to push for New York

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Finally, a little life from the New York side. New York's Democratic politicians have been mostly quiet about New York's bid to host the 2008 Democratic Convention. Not any more:

[New York Senator] Chuck [Schumer] told the News at an editorial board meeting earlier this week that that's changing, however, and that he's prepared to do some of the heavy lifting.

"I am going to make a push" to get the convention, he said.
Schumer has never been more powerful in the Democratic party than he is today, thanks to his leadership in gaining the Senate for the Democrats. This is the kind of political power New York will need to turn around the conventional wisdom that Denver has this thing sewn up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

DNC changes tune on convention site criteria

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A few weeks ago, DNC Chairman Howard Dean made it clear what criteria was most important in choosing the site of the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

"You've got to have a successful convention," Dean said, "so the nitty-gritty - raising money, transportation, hotels - becomes more important than any political message you might get out of it."
But today, DNC spokesman Damien LaVera said Dean would make his choice
based on which city he believes would give the biggest boost to the party's nominee.
It would be hard to argue that such a switch in priority does not help Denver's bid.

Denver gets major pledges

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Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic Convention received another boost today when it announced that it had received pledges of $11.5 million in cash and in-kind contributions:

Qwest and Comcast have pledged $5 million each, and Xcel Energy $1.5 million, said attorney Steve Farber, co-chairman of Denver's host committee.
Dean has told the Denver host committee that his biggest fear about the city's bid was its ability to raise money. "We're extremely close to the $20 million, but we're not stopping," said Farber, a longtime political fundraiser. "We're going to raise as much as we can from the greater Colorado business community."
Xcel is also contributing $1.5 million to the Republican National Convention, to be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
It's pretty clear this was a check-off item for Denver. Dean: You've got to have more than $10 million in announced pledges before we can give you the convention. Denver: Check. And it's interesting that in spite of New York's supposed money problems, there hasn't been a similar announcement from New York.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Denver's Willhite: 90% chance of winning the convention

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Denver host committee Executive Director Debbie Willhite said "she believes Denver has a 90 percent chance of landing the convention." Willhite also said:

there are key meetings scheduled next week between the Democratic National Committee and the cities of Denver and New York.
I would think those are final negotiations before a decision is made. Looks like we're getting close to a winner.

Denver says they have $80 million - update

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Well, a couple of days after Chairman Dean says money is Denver's biggest obstacle to hosting the 2008 Democratic Convention, Denver says they have the money:

Key players in the bid to bring the 2008 Democratic National Convention to Denver say they're close to securing more than $80 million required to host the presidential nominating bash. "We're closing in on the necessary funds to bring the convention to Denver," said Steve Farber, an influential Denver attorney and co-chair of the 2008 Denver Host Committee, on Monday. "We're raising the necessary commitments from Colorado businesses, if the convention should commit to Denver. I'm very confident - without being overconfident."
Now, a source familiar with host committee fundraising efforts says it's ready to show Dean the money. Of the $80 million-plus needed to put on the convention, the federal government will provide roughly one-third required for security; major corporations can be counted on for another third; and the business community in Colorado and other Mountain West states hoping to highlight the region are nearly committed to provide the remaining third.
If Denver can show Dean that the money is truly there, that may be the last hurdle for Denver to cross. But Denver had better make sure its story is solid.

Update: More on where the money will be coming from:
While the goal is to raise $80 million, an estimated $25 million will be paid by the Department of Homeland Security to protect visitors, said Denver Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth, who is president of the Denver 2008 Host Committee.

Another $25 million is expected to come from multinational corporations, which traditionally support presidential conventions of both parties, said a prominent businessperson who has analyzed data on the funding of political conventions. He cited Citigroup, General Electric and Microsoft as examples.

In addition, nearby states such as New Mexico and Arizona are expected to kick in about $10 million, leaving $20 million to raise locally.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Clinton pushing for New York

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Hillary Clinton is pushing for a New York convention:

Sen. Hillary Clinton, the early front-runner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, is pushing to have her party's nominating convention held in New York City, the Daily News has learned.
Clinton's aides stressed yesterday that the senator's support for New York's bid has nothing to do with widespread speculation she may run for President, but rather her role as one of New York's top cheerleaders. "She's supportive of any effort that helps continue to bring commerce and economic growth opportunities to the city," said Jennifer Hanley, a Clinton spokeswoman.

Clinton supported the city's successful bid for the 2004 Republican National Convention, as well as the city's unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said Dean has not consulted with any of the potential '08 presidential contenders about the location of the convention. And he has no plans to do so, she said.

First, if Dean is hasn't already talked to potential contenders, that's a mistake. The main purpose of the convention is to help get the candidate elected, and potential contenders should certainly be able to provide their opinions to Dean on where the convention should be held.

More importantly, if Clinton and her staff really think this through, they won't push too hard for New York. If Clinton gets the nomination, she's going to be highlighting her mid-western roots and her Arkansas history, as opposed to her more recent New York residency. I think it''s obvious she can do that better from Denver than from New York City.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Decision expected early December?

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Denver thinks a decision will be made in early December:

Co-chair and Denver Realtor Juanita Chacon said the committee hopes to get the final word from Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean by the first week of December.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Don't take the train to Denver

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If Denver gets awarded the 2008 Democratic Convention, taking the train there will not be your best bet:

The planned $1 billion re-development of Denver's Union Station took a massive step forward last week as the Regional Transportation District and the city of Denver chose Continuum and East West Partners as lead contractors on the refurbishment of the historic depot and the surrounding 19.5 acres.
The new Union Station will still be under construction in the summer of 2008, when city officials hope to welcome the Democratic National Convention to the capital.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dean: Money is Denver's biggest obstacle

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Last month I noted that Mayor Bloomberg was very concerned about New York's ability to raise enough money to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Well, DNC Chairman Howard Dean has the same concerns about Denver, as Denver Post reporter George Merritt writes in another excellent article:

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean is touting Western political victories, but that alone will not land Denver the 2008 party convention. Fundraising remains the primary concern for the man who alone will decide whether Democrats nominate their next presidential candidate in Denver or New York City, a Denver official said.

Debbie Willhite, executive director of Denver's host committee, met with Dean in Jackson Hole this weekend during a gathering of the Association of State Democratic Chairs to talk about the decision Dean is expected to make before the end of the year. Willhite said the November elections could hardly have gone better for Denver's bid, but she said the city will need more money quickly to win the convention.

"The chairman was very straightforward," Willhite said. "He made it clear that his biggest fear as far as our ability to host the convention, is that we can't raise the money." Dean was "extremely enthusiastic" over Democratic successes in Colorado, such as Bill Ritter's victory in the race for governor, Willhite said. But the bottom line is that national Democrats do not want the distraction of raising money for a convention during the 2008 presidential campaign.

"I think in his heart of hearts, (Dean) wants to have the convention in Denver," Willhite said. "But heart of hearts don't pay the bills." That said, Willhite added she is confident the Denver host committee can raise the kind of money needed to put the Democrats at ease.

Denver officials have said for months that it would take more than $70 million to host the Democratic National Convention, with a significant portion of that coming from the federal government to pay for security.

Just how much money Denver or New York has at its disposal is a guarded secret as the cities negotiate the details of their offers. Denver has a "significant amount" of financial commitments already but will need additional pledges of $4 million to $6 million, Willhite said.

That may mean a push not only on Colorado donors, but also a renewed push among other states in the region.

I think it's fascinating that Willhite went public with the money issue, just like Bloomberg did last month. And, again, I think the reasons are the same - to put pressure on the money people, telling them, hey, if you don't come up with more money, we're going to lose this thing.

But there is good news for Denver in this article. First, obviously, the sense that Dean is leaning towards Denver, although that's actually been the sense for quite a while. But secondly, there was no mention of labor issues being an issue at this point. Now that doesn't mean that labor concerns don't exist anymore, but they may not be the overriding concern they once were.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

US News: Never mind

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As I expected, US News has revised their original article, and it now says:

In the Tucson area, a seat that borders Mexico–held for 22 years by retiring Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe–was captured by a moderate Democrat, former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords. With an eye toward the West, Democrats are considering staging their next presidential convention in Denver.
That leaves just Howard Fineman out there with his hunch.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Howard Fineman: Just a hunch

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Good thing there are people out there who have access to these folks. I diaried the Fineman report at Daily Kos, and Kos checked with Fineman, who responded:

It's a hunch
So as Dan Slater noted, lots of "unsubstantiated rumors", but nothing official yet.

Howard Fineman says convention to be in Denver

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Well I was willing to dismiss a minor article in US News on the Latino vote, but when Howard Fineman says the convention will be in Denver, it's harder to dismiss:

The westward trend is clear. For the first time, leaders of the House and Senate are from the Far West. Democrats put Nevada in a crucial early spot in the presidential-selection process, and will hold their convention in Denver.
The reason this still doesn't make sense is that it's phrased as an already known fact, as opposed to "the Democrats have just decided to hold their convention in Denver". But as the commenter who pointed me to the article (thanks), said: maybe there is someone on the committee leaking?

Update: Dan Slater from the Denver bid committee responds:
Now, there’s been an awful lot of speculation out there over the past week — which I haven’t reported, because it’s all been in unsubstantiated rumors — that the Denver decision has been made. But it seems awfully odd that there would be two separate articles that mention the same fact in two competing weekly news publications. I don’t know what to make of it, but thought some of you out there might be interested in the news…

US News: Denver has already won the convention

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This is just poor writing/editing, but it was amusing to see in this article in U.S. News on the Latino vote that Denver has already won the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

Pollsters eyeing the results say the most profound effect of the 2006 election could be shifting voting patterns in the West, where almost a third of the Hispanic population resides. Democrats picked up a governor's seat in Colorado and a Senate seat in Montana, and they solidly held on to the governorship in Arizona. In the Tucson area, a seat that borders Mexico–held for 22 years by retiring Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe–was captured by a moderate Democrat, former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords. With an eye toward the West, Democrats have decided to stage their next presidential convention in Denver.
I had to read this a few times to make sure it said what it said. But this isn't being reported anywhere else, so it's just a screw-up. It wouldn't surprise me if this gets updated at some point.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Official Denver web site up

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Denver finally has their official 2008 Democratic Convention website up and running. Go check it out.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Denver resolves another union issue

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Well no sooner do I note another potential labor roadblock for Denver's bid, then Dan Slater at DemNotes reports it seems to be resolved:

There has been some discussion recently about labor issues and the bid. I am proud to report that I received a call this afternoon informing me that the Colorado State AFL-CIO Executive Council today passed a resolution of support for the Denver 2008 bid. This is obviously very good news for our efforts, especially when combined with the news a few weeks ago that the Convention Center Hyatt workers had voted to organize.

There are some who think that a national convention should go only to cities with long-standing histories of having a strong organized labor community. If those thoughts succeed, though, it really narrows the list of cities that can host a national convention to a pretty short list. I’m of the opinion that we should use the Convention to help showcase organized labor’s strengths in communities that haven’t been as strong historically. That’s what Denver 2008 gives us the opportunity to do: to show Coloradans that our organized labor community is strong, able, and capable of great things. In other words, this is a chance to counter a lot of the anti-Labor rhetoric we hear all too often from the GOP side.

We saw again Tuesday how important Labor is to winning elections in Colorado — and we owe them gratitude. And we also thank Labor for its show of support today for our efforts to bring the Nation to Colorado in 2008!

Dan reiterates an important point that's been made in other places about convention sites: If the Democrats want to hold their conventions in non-typical (Blue state/union history) cities, like Denver, New Orleans, etc, the Democratic party and the labor movement are going to have to think in different ways about how these cities can still show the party's commitment to the labor movement.

Is Denver's union issue back?

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I think we all thought Denver had put its union issues behind them when a union was formed at the convention headquarters Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Well it turns out that some local labor leaders are still not ready to support Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

A blue oasis in the heart of the predominantly Republican Rocky Mountain West, Denver could lose its bid to lure the 2008 Democratic National Convention unless it can win the support of an important constituency -- labor unions.

The city's prospects for securing the convention were boosted in Tuesday's election by Democratic victories across Colorado -- including the pickup of the governor's office and a House seat. They showed the party's success in making inroads in normally GOP terrain. Denver also boasts a renovated convention center and a flashy new hotel.

What it does not have, at least yet, is the support of union members. Without it, Denver has no chance of beating New York City in the competition for a political plum. Denver has asked the AFL-CIO for a resolution of support. But state union officials, unhappy about what they call the city's "unfriendly" attitude in the past, are holding out for a sign of Denver's support in return.

"If they show their support for labor, labor will support the Democratic National Convention," said Steve Adams, president of the Colorado AFL-CIO.

Leslie Moody, executive director of the Denver Area Labor Federation, which represents about 80 unions, said the group wants a union contract for employees who work for the primary convention hotel, the new Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center, and a contract with the Democratic National Committee that spells out a requirement for workers in the service, hotel and entertainment industries.

One obstacle to union support for the convention was resolved in October when the city agreed that workers at the Hyatt could unionize. The city had a say in the question because its bonds helped finance the hotel. Moody said it now is up to the city to pressure hotel managers to agree to a labor contract and for the DNC to include union protections in its contract with the city.

Moody said Denver's public and private sectors have a checkered history dealing with unions. An April transit strike against the Regional Transportation District, which is largely independent of city government, left a lot of bruised feelings.
Debbie Willhite, a consultant for the host committee, said labor is crucial to Denver's bid because members of organized labor make up about 40 percent of the national convention delegates, and the national party labor support to win elections.
I would think the DNC could include union protections in the contract with the city. But can the city can pressure the hotel to agree to a labor contract, and by when? It's just hard to tell if this is just standard negotiating posturing, or something that's a more serious threat to Denver's bid.

Dean: Logistics more important than politics

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Howard Dean says logistics and money are more important than politics when deciding which city will get the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

Denver would be a better political choice than New York to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, but the decision will primarily boil down to logistics and money, Howard Dean and other national Democratic Party officials said Thursday. "There might be some political message we want to send by where we send the convention, but by far the most important thing is that the convention be run right," Dean, the party's national chairman, said at a breakfast roundtable Thursday.

"You've got to have a successful convention," Dean said, "so the nitty-gritty - raising money, transportation, hotels - becomes more important than any political message you might get out of it." Dean declined to say which city in contention, New York or Denver, would send the better political message. But New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who appeared with Dean as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said it was clearly Denver. "The natural political advantage is Denver," Richardson said. "It's not just Denver and Colorado; it's about the West."

Dean also joked that Richardson had been twisting his arm to get him to send the convention to Denver. "Did you see I only had one arm?" he said.

Sounds like Richardson has put a lot of pressure on Dean.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Denver looking for momentum from election

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More on the impact of the mid-terms on Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

The Mile High City is hoping that a rising Democratic tide in Colorado and the West will lift its chances of hosting the party's 2008 convention. Officials involved in Denver's bid for the convention say their prospects against rival New York City improved on Tuesday as Colorado voters put a decidedly Democratic stamp on the state. "I think our chances are now better," says Denver City Council member Rosemary Rodriguez, who serves on the city's convention bid committee.
Democrats in Colorado this week reclaimed the governorship after eight years of GOP rule, captured a House seat that had been Republican since 2002 and strengthened their majorities in the state House and state Senate. Colorado Democrats will hold four of seven U.S. House seats, a U.S. Senate seat and, for the first time since Dwight Eisenhower was president, control both the Legislature and governor's office.

Elsewhere in the West, Democrats picked up a Montana Senate seat, two House seats in Arizona, and re-elected governors in Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona. Five of the eight mountain West states will have Democratic governors starting in 2007; prior to the 2002 election, they had none.

"We've had a lot of success in the West, and it seems to us here in Colorado that the way to keep it up is to focus on the western U.S.," says Steve Farber, a Denver attorney who co-chairs the city's convention effort. "Democrats need to look at the Rocky Mountain West as their hope for the future," adds Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. "We're ready we have the facilities, we have the most beautiful state in the nation."

Well, New York and the whole Northeast also had a good night on Tuesday, so let's keep this all in perspective.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dean: Decision in early December

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Now that the successful mid-terms are over, Dean is now focusing on picking the host city for the 2008 Democratic Convention:

Dean said that the selection of a host city - which has now come down to New York and Denver - had "slipped" off his radar in recent weeks, as Democrats and Republicans clashed furiously for control of Congress. It will now be "my next big decision," he said. Dean said that Democatic Party aides "are in negotiations with both cities" and that he won't an announcement for several weeks. He is shooting for an announcement in early December, Dean said.

The party chairman said "we had a great night in Colorado," and expressed his happiness with picking up two congressional seats in Arizona and potentially a Senate seat in Montana. In other states, like Idaho and Nevada, the Democrats "are coming very close" to scoring significant gains, he said. "I'm very pleased with what we did in the West," said Dean.

You could read the last paragraph as a hint that Dean will be picking Denver, but the article is from a Denver paper, and the quotes could easily have been prompted by specific questions. I wouldn't read too much into it.

Update: More from Dean:
Dean said the decision "is a long and very complicated process," and that both Denver and New York are negotiating contracts. "I can't tell you which way we're leaning because I don't know," Dean said.

Midterm impacts

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Colorado Democrats won the two races they were expected to win, and lost the two races that were more difficult, which in my mind doesn't change the state of the competition to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. But as I noted below, the Boston Globe reported that some Western Democrats believe that Denver should win the competition now that Colorado elected a Democratic governor. And the Rocky Mountain News says the decision could come earlier rather than later:

Colorado's standing as a political keystone of the West could rise even higher after the election. Denver could hear this week whether it will host the 2008 Democratic political convention.
I can't imagine Dean would step on the Democrat's great news cycles this week, but there's no doubt that at this point a decision could come anytime between now and the springtime.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Briefly noted

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U.S. News has a brief item saying that New York is "back in contention" to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. This is a bit strange, since I don't think New York was ever out of contention, but here's what they wrote:

Sorry, Denver, but the Big Apple is back in contention for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Of the two finalists, pols thought that Denver offered a better chance to woo the Midwest and mountain states. But now we hear that party bigwigs are seriously sizing up New York City, probably because it offers more hotel space and transportation.
New York has always had more hotel space, and I'm not sure what "more" transportation is, and whether that is a good thing or not. Like I said, a strange report.

Meanwhile, the Denver Post notes that key elections this week could affect Denver's bid:
If the 2006 election results continue this trend of converting the Rockies to a two-party battleground there could be profound consequences for politics and policy. One immediate result of particular interest here would be to improve the chances of Denver being chosen to host the 2008 Democratic convention - an honor that could symbolize and accelerate the West's political evolution.
There are 4 races of interest in Colorado. Bill Ritter is heavily favored to win for Governor, and in CO-7, Ed Pelmutter is favored to take over the seat of Ritter's opponent, Bob Beauprez. In CO-4 and CO-5, Democrats are hoping to defeat Republican incumbents. If the Democrats just win the Governor and CO-7 races, that would probably have little effect on the convention bid. But if they also pick off CO-4 and CO-5, that would show great strength for the Colorado Democratic party, and could only help. And conversely, losing in CO-7, and, in the worst case, the Governor's race, would not be a good sign for the bid. We'll know these results in a couple of days.

Update: Well the Boston Globe thinks it comes down to the Governor's race:
Denver is a finalist to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and Western lawmakers believe the Mile-High City will win the competition if Colorado elects a Democratic governor today.
Don't forget to vote.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Edgar Springs, MO bids for convention

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For those who take this convention site selection stuff way too seriously (like me, and probably most of the readers here), Democracy in Action posted this fantastic parody of the whole site selection process, with an overview of Edgar Springs, Missouri's bid for the 2004 conventions:

Edgar Springs, Missouri, population 190, will bid to host the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. "We'll take either one or both," stated acting mayor Kim Wilson, outlining the town's innovative proposal. "Edgar Springs will provide delegates with an untraditional and unforgettable convention experience," Wilson said. "What better way for our political parties to demonstrate their commitment to middle American values than to come to a farming community in the heartland of America," Wilson said.
Acting mayor Wilson acknowledged that the town likely does not meet many, or indeed any, of the parties' requirements, but she said the town's leaders have come up with innovative and creative solutions to meet the needs of the thousands of delegates, alternates, and family members as well as some 15,000 media representatives. These include establishment of a massive tent village on one of the sheep ranches in the area and provision of a fleet of up to 12,000 bicycles to allow delegates to travel in and around the area.
Proposed Venue: The Lions Club Building. This hall is used for big meetings, public hearings, and other such events.

Host Committee: Local businesses are coordinating to develop plans to welcome delegates and media representatives. By placing collection jars in local businesses and holding bake sales, we estimate we will be able to raise $523.72 to support these activities.

Hotels: One of the central elements of our proposal is our plan to house delegates and media in a temporary tent village on one of the sheep ranches in the area. Nine thousand two-man tents will be put up. Delegates and reporters will need to bring their own sleeping bags, however. Meals will be catered by Hot Lips Cafe. For high muckety-mucks Rolla, 19 miles to the north, has numerous motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts and resorts. There are also many campgrounds in the area.

Transportation: Edgar Springs is located on old Hwy 63 between Rolla and Licking. Rolla National Airport, 20 miles to the north, is a former WWII training base with a 5,500 foot long runway capable of serving planes with wingspans of up to 79 feet. Working with towns and cities around Missouri, Edgar Springs will procure a fleet of 10-12,000 second-hand bicycles to facilitate travel between the tent city, the convention venue, and other area attractions.

Telecommunications: Media will be able to file their stories using one of the several pay phones in town.

I think it's a shame that Edgar Springs did not bid for the 2008 conventions, and I hope they do submit a bid for the 2012 conventions. The experience of submitting losing bids in 2004 should help them in the 2012 selection process.