Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Politics

Miami in hunt for the 2016 Democratic convention

Miami announced on Friday it would pursue the Democratic National Convention in 2016, an event expected to require double the organizing costs of what the region expected to raise to put on the Super Bowl.

Organizers are pushing downtown's AmericanAirlines Arena for a gathering widely expected to put Hillary Clinton atop the Democratic ticket. Initial estimates put the cost as $50 million, about what Tampa paid to host the 2012 Republican convention.

Though both Richard Nixon and George McGovern were nominated at the Miami Beach Convention Center in 1972, the region has since been out of the convention game. Miami pursued the 2000 Democratic convention, but tourism officials have pointed to costs in recent years when explaining why the region wasn't in the hunt for the events that generally draw about 50,000 people for a week of speeches, parties and media events.

"There is truly no better place in the United States to host an event of this nature than Miami-Dade County," reads a letter sent out Friday on county Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez's letterhead and signed by Miami Mayor Tomás P. Regalado, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and county tourism chief William D. Talbert III. "Our airport is one of the biggest and most modern in the country and our hotel inventory is among the most exquisite in the world."

The letter went to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Broward Democrat who serves as head of the Democratic National Committee.

Though the mayors wrote they are "serious about their pursuit of this convention,'' organizers say costs still could scuttle the bid. The Democratic Party has yet to send out specifications for what it requires of host cities, and those details will determine how much money Miami-Dade must raise for the event from a mix of private and public sources.

"It's just an expression of interest," Gimenez said Friday evening. "We'll ferret out (the details) later. If we can't do it because of costs, so be it."

The convention pursuit sets up another debate over the economic impact of holding costly events in one of the country's most popular tourism destinations. Unlike the Super Bowl, conventions take place during the summer, a weaker time for hotel rates in South Florida.

Organizers of the Tampa convention cited a $400 million economic impact, but some academics rejected the claim as boosterism. A 2008 study on conventions by College of Holy Cross researchers Robert Baade and Victor Matheson concluded "these events have a negligible impact on local economies."

Freddy Balsera, a Coral Gables political consultant and public-relations executive, is heading up the organizing committee. Balsera was an early Obama supporter, helped manage the 2008 campaign's Hispanic media operation, and is awaiting Senate approval to serve on a foreign-policy promotion panel appointed by the president.

Balsera said Friday that he's confident the community can raise the money needed to put on the event, and that the payback will justify the investment.

"From an economic-benefit standpoint, it's totally worth it. That's why you see cities competing for it every four years,'' Balsera said. "In addition, I think there's enormous value in the prestige and exposure that the community is going to have all over the world. Especially when you're talking about something that is beyond just a sporting event."

Comments

Sean Hannity, a Trump defender, under scrutiny for real estate deals

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)ATLANTA — On his Fox News program last summer, Sean Hannity effused praise for his guest, U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson. "I know you have done a good job," Hannity said. "You are a good man."Carson’s presence gav...
Published: 04/23/18
Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

With the third largest Cuban American population, Cuba’s culture is celebrated throughout the Tampa Bay area and in a diversity of ways.Flags hang in homes, fashion is worn, music performed, food served.But be wary of honoring that heritage by puttin...
Published: 04/23/18
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott’s first policy idea as a U.S. Senate candidate won’t happen and most of his fellow Republicans don’t support it.But it’s a surefire applause line at political rallies.Scott wants term limits for members of Congress: 12 ye...
Published: 04/23/18
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18