A minority business group is asking convention organizers for a more specific count on companies receiving contracts for DNC work.
In March, Democrats pledged to spend at least one-third of convention dollars with diverse businesses. Planners insist they are “right on track” with the goal of spending money with minorities, women, veterans, gays, and people with disabilities.
But members of the Carolina Regional Minority Partnership Coalition want more details. They want the names on major contracts, but also the winners of “informal” work that hasn’t warranted media announcements -- such as providers of office supplies, for example.
The coalition sent an email to Robyn Hamilton, in charge of business relations for the convention host committee, asking for a breakdown. It asked for the amount spent by the DNC, and a listing of companies receiving all types of work.
“They haven’t been responding,” said coalition member Colette Forrest .
Travis Dredd, chief of staff for the convention committee, said “we are well on our way” to meeting diversity spending goals.
“This policy is in addition to many practices the DNCC has put in place to encourage participation by diverse businesses, including a vendor directory, regional outreach and integrated efforts towards diverse spending.”
But Stephane Berwald, chair of the regional coalition’s tracking and monitoring committee, is still hoping for more specifics from DNC organizers.
“If you’re looking for companies in certain areas, you need to let us know that you’re lacking in certain areas,” said Berwald, who is also president of the Metrolina Minority Contractors Association.
When Mike Whitehead calls, grab your checkbook
They asked. Mike Whitehead responded.
Whitehead, CEO of a small consulting firm, was among the business leaders who met this month with convention organizers in the 46th floor atrium of the Duke Energy Center. Among the DNC VIPs: Duke CEO Jim Rogers, former Mayor Harvey Gantt and Dan Murrey, executive director of the host committee.
The organizers asked for more contributions from the business community.
“I just stood up and said, ‘I’m going to call 100 people and ask them for 1,000 bucks,” Whitehead recounted. “Afterwards, it was, ‘Oh my God, do I have time to do that?’”
But Whitehead did. He asked friends to help Charlotte in putting on the convention.
“By being one of the 100,” he told them, “you will be invited by Jim Rogers and Harvey Gantt to a VIP party being held that week. If you desire, you will also be recognized as one of a select group of leaders who helped make this happen.”
His pitch raised $10,000 by mid-week. The money is presumably part of the nearly $37 million the host committee has to raise for the convention, or the reported $15 million it’s raising for related events.
Publicly, convention officials have been mum on how the fundraising is going.
“You can tell they wanted more money from the local community,” Whitehead said. “That’s the message I got from Jim (Rogers). Let’s get the local community to give more.” Jim Morrill
Covering it live: Netroots Nation is taking shape for bloggers
In 2008, a 9,000-square-foot tent was “the blogosphere’s home away from home” at the Denver convention. Now “The Big Tent” is coming to Charlotte.
Sponsored by Daily Kos and Netroots Foundation, the space will be home to the denizens of Netroots Nation covering the DNC. It will be a new media center complete with lounge and space for presentations by politicians and techies.
According to organizers: “The Big Tent will house a state-of-the-art work space for bloggers and activists with wifi, work areas, live coverage of every minute of the Democratic National Convention and food and drink.” Jim Morrill
Bigwigs will push business startups at convention
The convention will bring more than politics to Charlotte.
Startup America Partnership, a non-profit aimed at helping start-up companies, plans to have a big presence both in Charlotte and at the GOP convention in Tampa.
The partnership boasts a board that includes AOL founder Steve Case and basketball great Magic Johnson. It’s helping sponsor “StartUp RockOn.” One headliner: the group The Roots.
Says spokesman Chris Roche: “A lot of people obviously will be paying attention to the conventions so we want to bring the start-ups into that spotlight a little bit to show how important they are in the national economy.” Jim Morrill
Feeding the beasts: caterers wanted for media party
DNC organizers are searching for a catering company that can riff on regional favorites for the big media party being held Sept.1 at the N.C. Music Factory.
“Caterers are asked to propose a menu that is creative, yet casual and encouraged to introduce unique twists on traditional Southern foods and reflect national and international tastes,” according to the request for proposals.
Hmmmm. Sweet potato sundaes? Mac and cheese-pecan pie combo? Organizers aren’t making any suggestions on what longtime favorites should be open for interpretation.
The chosen catering company is also expected to adhere to sustainability guidelines – including donating leftover food, choosing local foods when possible, and using china and glassware instead of plastic.
Interested bidders must be registered in the convention vendor directory, which can be found at charlottein2012.com. Celeste Smith
GOP, Democrats battle with interactive tools
Republicans in Tampa tout their “Convention Without Walls,” an interactive effort to connect people with the GOP convention on social media.
Democrats aren’t ceding the social media turf.
The Democratic convention “is using digital media to engage more Americans in the convention than ever before,” says spokeswoman Joanne Peters.
Among the connections: A website with a timeline “that lets users explore the long history of conventions,” tools that allow people to submit videos and photos and an “interactive map that walks users through the delegate experience.” Not to mention Twitter and Facebook. Convention proceedings will be livestreamed.
“Interactive tools will allow people to participate virtually,” Peters said. Jim Morrill
Wanted: proposals for the convention’s Studio 2012
Coming Monday: Organizers host an information session on request for proposals for Studio 2012, a multimedia studio at the convention. Services needed include television production staff, radio services and make-up artists. For information on the session:http://studio2012.eventbrite.com
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less