Local publisher Vance Opperman wants one, or both, of the national conventions in the Twin Cities in 2012. Apparently the publicity and visibility garnered for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul outweighs the disturbing — to many — memories of a well-armed police presence that kept violent protesters at bay and intimidated many others.
Opperman, a major DFL donor, makes the nonpartisan invitation to both parties in an open letter in the Novemeber issue of Minnesota Business magazine.
He said media reps from around the world — all but one, whom he doesn’t name — loved the facilities as they broadcast the Republican message around the world with Twin Cities sites in the background. And the convention generated $168 million in spending for the area, with a $6 million budget surplus that will be donated to three local foundations, he said.
He doesn’t ignore the security problems:
In our post-9/11 era — and given the unpopularity of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq — security for the 2008 GOP convention was extremely tight. But in my opinion, there was a security overreaction. More than 800 people were put under arrest (796 charges were dropped). More than 40 of these people were working journalists. Mark Tracy, a bearded pacifist (probably his real offense) who is also a 28-year-old college anthropology teacher, was arrested as part of a “sweep.” He was held for almost two days before being released when charges were dropped. Some of the sweeps and mass arrests were caused by an overly restrictive ruling on how close to the convention site protestors were allowed to march. And there are several civil suits waiting in the wings to be brought by people who were detained by security forces of the state for no reason.
You should come to Minnesota in 2012! We suspect that one party (Governor Kaine) would’ve preferred a gathering here, and we know that the other party was pleased with its convention (although not the electoral outcome). Both of you can remedy this in the next presidential election. Come back — we’ll make the experience even better.