‘Bust A Move,’ ‘The Show Goes On’ for DNC

Criticism of DNC officials’ move of Labor Day festival spreads quickly; two community events taking place today
Credit: demconvention.com
Convention staffers forge ahead with their commitment of 2,012 hours of volunteering.

Here are two hip hop songs I recommend Democratic National Convention officials place on their musical playlists, a little Hump Day motivation, if you will: “Bust A Move,” by Young MC for the old-schoolers, and “The Show Goes On,” by Lupe Fiasco (a few explicit lyrics) for the new-schoolers.

Bust A Move
Convention officials, including the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee, have taken a beating in the press and blogosphere after Monday night’s surprising announcement that they would be moving CarolinaFest 2012, the planned Labor Day festival, from Charlotte Motor Speedway to uptown. Bloomberg hit them hardest, citing two anonymous sources who say the Host Committee is $27 million short of its $36.6 million fundraising goal, the amount it estimates it will need to put on the September convention. The Democrats have banned corporate donations from the Host Committee's fundraising, whereas the Republican National Convention in Tampa has no such restrictions on their $55 million goal.

Bloomberg has cited anonymous sources before in regards to the convention’s fundraising, when neither the Host Committee or DNCC has ever stated anything other than “we’re right on track.” The Dems should find out who these moles are, meanwhile Dan Murrey, executive director of the Host Committee, reiterated in a press conference yesterday that the decision to relocate CarolinaFest to the streets of uptown was about logistics and not money (and that the Bloomberg reports are inaccurate). Susan Stabley, of Charlotte Business Journal, has a great breakdown of the impact of the decision.

Making late-in-the-game venue changes is nothing new for the Democratic National Convention, however. For the 2008 convention in Denver, officials decided that then-candidate Barack Obama would give his acceptance speech at Invesco Field (the Denver Broncos football stadium) in place of the originally planned location of the Pepsi Center. The announcement came that first week in July, about seven weeks before the convention was scheduled to begin.

“The move, rumored for days and announced by the Obama campaign on Monday, set off a round of complaints from news executives, who for more than a year have been drawing up elaborate plans for a convention that was to culminate in the main hall, at the Pepsi Center in Denver. But Mr. Obama’s aides were clearly willing to pay the price of some carping among the news media in the dog days of July in return for being able to take advantage of the candidate’s ability to draw stadium-level crowds when millions will be tuning in toward the end of August,” The New York Times wrote at the time.

This week’s move by convention officials comes nine weeks ahead of the event and one would argue that a Labor Day festival isn’t of the same magnitude of the president’s acceptance speech, which the DNCC announced in January will take place at Bank of America Stadium, mirroring the objectives of the 2008 acceptance speech. But the 2008 move, while initially met with criticism because of the logistical changes planners had to make, was ultimately viewed as an ambitious decision, one that would allow four times as many people to see Obama's speech in person because of the greater seating capacity of the football stadium. It will take a lot of convincing by convention organizers, however, for people not to view the Labor Day festival move as a step back, especially after they touted the decision to hold it at the speedway with such optimism when they announced it five months ago.

The Show Goes On
Today, convention officials forge ahead with two planned events.

This morning, more than 75 volunteers from the staffs of the DNCC, Host Committee, National Journal Group, and local credit unions are rolling up their sleeves to assist in the ongoing Rooftop Playground Renewal Project at Levine Children’s Hospital. Volunteers will decorate and assemble a permanent art installation that will be displayed outside the 12th Floor Rooftop Garden, and will work with patients of the hospital to decorate garden-themed arts and crafts projects, according to a press release. This effort is part of the DNCC’s 2,012 hours of service commitment.

This evening, the Host Committee will hold the second installment of its Access to America Dialogue Series, “Strengthening Neighborhoods and Making Affordable Housing Possible.” The event will feature the Honorable Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and will be facilitated by Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree. The event is in conjunction with Mayor Anthony Foxx’s convention legacy program of Building a Broader, More Inclusive Economy. This evening’s event begins at 6:30 p.m. (registration at 6 p.m.) at McKnight Lecture Hall, Cone University Center, at UNC Charlotte. The event is free and open to the public. Visit accesstoamericajune27.eventbrite.com to register, or charlottein2012.com for more details.

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