What do you do if you're a Democrat throwing a party for 75,000 people on Labor Day to "celebrate the Carolinas?"
Check with organized labor.
That's what Steve Kerrigan, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, did Thursday night.
Kerrigan met with around 20 Charlotte-area labor leaders to discuss plans to hold a Labor Day extravaganza at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Convention officials announced the event last week as part of a plan to shorten the official convention by a day and have President Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 6.
Details of the Labor Day event - which replaces the traditional opening day of the convention - are still being worked out. Union leaders want to make sure it includes a salute to labor.
Cindy Foster, president of the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council, met with Kerrigan and others at a union hall. She called it "a positive conversation."
"So long as they honor labor, and that seems to be their intent," she said.
According to Kerrigan, that's the plan.
"I can think of no better place to honor our friends in organized labor than on Monday of convention week at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a day that we've set aside to celebrate the local community," he said in a statement.
Foxx, Tampa mayor get straight on security money
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx visited Washington last week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He led a task force on small business, and he talked to the president's cabinet about cuts to federal community development funding. Foxx stopped by the U.S. Department of Justice, where he discussed security funding for the convention.
Foxx and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn met with Denise O'Donnell, director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, on Wednesday to discuss how the agency will distribute the $50 million each city will receive in security grants.
"If history is any guide, it will come as needed," Foxx said.
The city must provide security for 35,000 delegates and visitors.
Foxx said the city and organizers will submit periodic invoices to Justice, which would then reimburse the costs. Franco Ordonez
New arena look saves money, adds seating
The 6-foot box sat inconspicuously on the floor of Time Warner Cable Arena last week. But convention officials say what it represents will save them a lot of money.
The box represented the position of what will be the convention's stage, a made-for-TV set with a rising podium for prime-time speakers.
The end-zone configuration puts the stage at one end of the basketball floor, not at center court like past conventions. Organizers said the change will allow more seating. Kerrigan said the arrangement will save money.
"To us, it's a huge opportunity for cost savings," he said. Jim Morrill
Washington Post columnist to speak at JCSU event
Johnson C. Smith University kicks off a convention-related speakers series on Thursday with newspaper columnist Eugene Robinson.
Robinson, an author, Washington Post columnist and frequent MSNBC contributor, won the Pulitzer Prize for his columns on the 2008 presidential race. He is a native of South Carolina.
Robinson's talk kicks off a series called "Democracy 2012: The Road to Charlotte." The 7 p.m. free public lecture is in Biddle Hall at 100 Beatties Ford Road. An RSVP is required; contact Anika Pimentel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-330-1379. Celeste Smith
Commenters riff on new schedule, stadium choice
Charlotte and its upcoming convention made news last week with the announcements that 1) President Barack Obama would give his acceptance speech at 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium - thereby causing the Carolina Panthers to play their first 2012 regular season game on the road; and 2) that the convention would forgo the traditional Monday opening and instead throw a Labor Day party at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Both moves, organizers said, are meant to let many thousands of non-delegates join in the historic fun.
But some pundits, bloggers and others offered their own spin. Here's a sampling:
"Obama's appearance at a stadium named after a bank he criticized last fall for imposing fees on debit cards could provide a touch of political awkwardness." - David Nakamura, a Washington Post blogger.
"The Obama re-election team is using the Charlotte, N.C., nominating convention to target, woo and deliver NASCAR voters in key battleground states ... The speedway has a seating capacity of 140,000, which means that tens of thousands of non-convention delegates can be invited to the event, a massive organizing tool." - Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times.
"(Using the stadium) is a surprising and disappointing choice. Bank of America is the poster child for corporate greed .... The president would be better served by choosing a large public space with no corporate logo attached to it." - Mary Boyle, spokeswoman for Common Cause.
"Not only can President Obama slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet, but he apparently also has the ability to influence National Football League schedules." - The Daily Caller, a right-leaning online site co-founded by pundit Tucker Carlson.
"The Obama campaign sees the use of the large stadium venue as a chance to electrify party activists in a swing state Obama is hoping to win and to create a televised spectacular to suggest large-scale support for his re-election." - Agence France Presse, a news wire service.
"Labor Day will become a telegenic 'y'all come' festival ... aimed at wooing Southern, white and NASCAR voters." - Real Clear Politics, a political website.
"Forget the politics. Are the changes good for Charlotte, which is counting on an economic bounce from the convention? Shortening the official event by a day doesn't sound good. Delegates, media and other official visitors might shorten their stay in the Queen City, cutting revenue for hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and other attractions. On the other hand, moving the acceptance speech to BOA stadium may draw thousands more visitors to Charlotte. Many of those might stay overnight to more than make up for other losses." - Doug Clark, The (Greensboro) News & Record. Tim Funk