About 7,500 people have already expressed an interest in volunteering during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, the chief of the local host committee said today.What a surprise.
"We've had 7,500 people who've sent their names to us," said Mike Dino. "The next step is to get (more) information and see who's serious."
An estimated 10,000 volunteers will be needed in the time preceding -- and during -- the convention, which will take place Aug. 25-28, 2008, at the Pepsi Center.
Dino gave an overview of convention planning to 40 people gathered at Skyline Park in downtown Denver. Many of the attendees were from an American-government class at Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Volunteer opportunities [sic] will range from staffing events and hospitality suites to doing office work and preparing materials for delegates and media. An estimated 35,000 people will be in town for the convention.Please don't go to any trouble, Mr. Dino (Aw-rar-rar-rar-rah!). Doing office work and preparing materials for delegates and media is honor enough for us!
Volunteers, however, are unlikely to get access to the Pepsi Center during the convention.
"Unfortunately, most of the people getting credentials will be from out of town," said Dino. "It's tough enough to get into the convention hall for folks who are staff for the VIPs."
Dino said a number of ideas have been proposed to involve locals in the convention.NIMBY.
"We're trying to find events to take advantage of the parks and plaza network," said Dino, mentioning Fillmore Plaza in Cherry Creek as an example. "Maybe use big screens that (display TV feeds of convention events into) their neighborhoods."
Dino said that the host committee recruited 100 potential volunteers during the recent Denver PrideFest and would be recruiting at this weekend's Denver Black Arts Festival in City Park and at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival later this month.Now why don't Republicans do things like that? Oh, yeah.
In other convention news:
City Council members said Wednesday they support First Amendment rights for protesters at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, despite killing a proclamation last month that detailed rights for demonstrators.Said? Sounds like the whine of a 6-year-old. Guess who's picking on her:
"Just because there is not a proclamation out there doesn't mean we don't support free speech," Councilwoman Jeanne Robb said.
Glenn Spagnuolo, a co-founder of the activist group Re-create 68, said lack of a written document affirming that commitment is a concern.New York? Glenn himself has said that convention was "Guantanamo on the Hudson."
"I think it is an embarrassment that they won't do it," said Spagnulo, who wrote the proclamation in question. Outgoing Councilwoman Kathleen MacKenzie sponsored it.
He said similar documents have been passed by New York - which hosted the 2004 Republican National Convention - and the city that will host Republicans next year, St. Paul, Minn.
Tom Cincotta, a National Lawyers Guild official who was speaking for Re-create 68 and other groups, said Mayor John Hickenlooper's office and the Police Department have set a cooperative "tone" in previous discussions.Oh, a "cooperative 'tone'" has been set, has it?
"There is a true spirit of openness that I think the City Council should rise to," he said.Bet they'll display more openness than Recreate68! has about its allegedly peaceful intentions.
Update: Slapstick Politics has more, and better.
But City Councilman Charlie Brown, a vocal opponent of the proclamation, said some protesters planning to come to Denver are not planning on cooperation.
He read from a website of one group planning to "continue beyond the protest to shut down the city."
Deputy Police Chief Michael Battista would not talk about police tactics at the open meeting because it would be a "safety issue for my officers."
But he said with the event being held at the Pepsi Center, its relative distance from downtown and transportation arteries will likely allow protesters to be closer than at previous conventions.
Update II: Aunt Severance of DearDenver says Brown, who's been very vocal against Recreate68!, is right but should shut his chutney hole:
No doubt Brown has basked in attaboys from those who see Recreate 68 as inseparable from Ward Churchill and Denver's bitter Columbus Day protests. But Brown's grandstanding is doing a disservice to the city's genuine efforts to work with protest groups to keep the peace at next year's convention.No, he should keep talking. There may be protest groups who want a peaceful convention, but Recreate68 clearly isn't one of them. That should be emphasized every time (Churchill pal) Spagnuolo opens his yap.
Cork it, Councilman