Tampa Organizers show official bid for 2008 GOP Convention By Mitch E. Perry

06/06/06

Yesterday afternoon, organizers attempting to bring the 2008 Republican National Convention to Tampa unveiled their official bid to the media.

The cost? About $124 million dollars – with close to 2/3rds of it coming from the taxpayers.

Organizers say the convention would bring in $150 million dollars in direct spending, and perhaps $300 to $400 million dollars in indirect spending.

3 other cities – New York, Cleveland, and Minneapolis are also in the final 4 four who are still in the competition.

Tampa’s bid is more expensive than Cleveland’s is reported to be. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports their bid at around $75 million dollars.

Karen Brand is the Vice President of Communications for the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau . She says the reason for the discrepancy is Tampa’s bid includes security costs that the Federal Government would actually pick up(roll tape#1 o.q.� budget figures�)

Some fear that because Ohio supplanted Florida as THE battleground state in 2004, Cleveland may be Tampa’s top competitor. But maybe not. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that the city may have trouble fulfilling the minimum 20,000 hotel rooms required by the RNC.

Also, the RNC requires at least 5,500 floor seats at the Convention. The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland offers only 2,340 for delegates and alternates.

Organizers also downplay concerns about protestors. Last month officials predicted as many as 500,000 demonstrators. Now they say about 20,000, tops.

Karen Brand from the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau. Says that half million figure came from the City of Tampa (roll tape#2 o.q.�appropriately�)

Will Bunch is a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, and a blogger who writes at Attytood.Com. He covered the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia for the Daily News, and says that these days, he believes that the 20,000 estimated by Convention organizers sounds about right (roll tape#1 o.q.�the times we live in�)

Bunch says that Philadelphia probably only had a couple of thousand protestors at most – but the heavy handed arrests of some of them made headlines across the country. The Philadelphia Police force was led then by John Timoney, who was accused of leading an aggressive police force that falsely imprisoned people during the FTAA demonstrations in Miami in late 2003. (roll tape#2 o.q.�some people sued�)

Hany Jhalil is organizing coordinator for the group United for Peace and Justice based in NYC. His group coordinated a protest that contained 500,000 in New York City in August of 2004, and says if the war is still on going in Iraq, his group will lead the way at the next GOP Convention – including if it’s in Tampa (roll tape#3 o.q.�right wing building agenda�)

That 500,000 plus protest in New York City was fueled by activists who roamed from across the world to the Big Apple in the summer of 2004, as well as an indigenous population that in large measures did NOT vote for George W. Bush in either presidential election. By Hany Jhalil from United for Peace and Justice says the opposition to the Republicans continues to grow, and wouldn’t downgrade the strength of dissent in Tampa (roll tape#4 o.q.� continues to decline�)

The Republican National Committee is expected to make their cut down of the 4 remaining cities early next month.

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