Two months ago, he was the besieged chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, the man who stayed in his job even after national negative publicity and calls from Gov. Bev Perdue and Lt . Gov. Walter Dalton to resign.
But on Friday, David Parker, still chair, was at the Hilton Charlotte Center City, welcoming other members of the Association of State Democratic Chairs to the Queen City. He even tried to be funny, telling the group that one of the upcoming speakers Dan Murrey, executive director of the citys host committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention had the most thankless job in Charlotte and one akin to herding cats and squirrels.
During a break, Parker told the Observer he planned to stay in the post for the foreseeable future. Absolutely, he said, sounding a little defiant.
Top N.C. Democrats started calling for Parker to step down earlier this year because of concern that his handling of sexual harassment accusations by a staffer would hurt the partys candidates including President Barack Obama and gubernatorial nominee Dalton in November. There were even reports that the Obama campaign, locked in what could be a close race for the states 15 electoral votes, would try to steer clear of Parker.
Asked Friday if hes felt the cold-shoulder treatment, he replied: Not that I can tell.
In fact, he said, the Obama campaign is fully dedicated to North Carolina you can see it in the (TV) advertising, you can see it in the staff thats here in North Carolina and in all the headquarters theyve opened up all over the state.
And Parker doesnt think much of all the newspaper stories suggesting the state party scandal could hurt Obama and the N.C. Democrats below him on the ballot.
I think its old news, he said of the scandal. People are looking for stories to write -- in part because theres not going to be a surprise ending to this convention. Barack Obama is going to be renominated as the current and next president of the United States. Tim Funk
Westin repairs continue
Nearly 10 months after a 30- to 50-pound sheet of aluminum fell from the outer wall of the Westin hotels 24th floor, officials are still making fixes to the façade but say the work will be done by convention time.
No one was hurt by the debris, which a Lynx light-rail operator discovered on the tracks. But the September incident did trigger a six-month evaluation of the buildings exterior, according to David Montgomery, the hotels director of sales and marketing.
That was done in conjunction with the city, and also with an engineering firm that we brought in to do that, Montgomery said. Obviously, they wanted to make sure there were no additional panels that would fall.
Through the study, workers found other loose panels, Montgomery said, and are now removing and resealing those pieces. Work should be done by August. Celeste Smith
Rallying citizens abroad
The delegates to the September convention in Charlotte wont be just from all over the country theyll be from all over the world.
As in Afghanistan, Peru, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom.
We had a global primary, said Kenneth Sherman, international chair of Democrats Abroad. He was in Charlotte over the weekend to attend the state chairs meeting.
Sherman is a U.S. citizen who lives in Canada the home of an estimated 800,000 Americans, he said.
Overall, 4.3 million Americans live abroad. Our challenge is to get them to vote in U.S. elections, Sherman said. Most think that once they live in another country that theyre unqualified to vote.
In fact, they arent, he said. And 25 of the 50 states even allow grown children who were born abroad to U.S. parents to vote in their state primaries, Sherman said.
Details on voting absentee from another country: www.VoteFromAbroad.org; www.DemocratsAbroad.org and www.RepublicanAbroad.org. Tim Funk
Last week, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee released the names of those who will serve on its various convention-related standing committees Platform, Rules and Credentials.
In one surprise, Newark, N.J., Mayor Corey Booker was chosen to chair the full Platform Committee. He was thought to be on the outs with the White House after criticizing the presidents campaign for its ads attacking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romneys record at Bain Capital.
Three North Carolinians were tapped: N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell of Raleigh (Credentials vice chair); state Sen. Dan Blue of Raleigh (Rules); and Carboro consultant Diane Robertson.
Here are some other notable names announced as members of the various panels:
• U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (all on the Platform drafting committee).
• American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Cherokee Nation member Keith Harper of Oklahoma (all on the full Platform Committee).
• Retired Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth, a Democratic House candidate in Illinois; Columbus, Ohio, Mayor Michael Coleman, Richmond, Va., Mayor Dwight Jones (all on the Rules Committee).
• Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (all on Credentials). Tim Funk
Arena makeover to start
Coming Monday: Convention organizers and arena officials will have a key handoff for work to begin on transforming Time Warner Cable Arena from the Charlotte Bobcats home into a convention hall. Organizers also selected twenty Twitter fans to cover the key handoff as part of a Tweetup sponsored by the DNCC.
Postponed due to weather: Last Fridays outdoor screening of screening Carolina Stories, two-minute videos designed to promote the area to convention visitors. A new date will be scheduled this week.