When representatives of the Democratic National Committee visit Minneapolis this weekend to scout it out as a potential site for the party’s 2012 national convention, they’ll likely be shown Target Center, the baseball park, the hotels, the lakes, the riverfront and, oh yes, they’ll get to see some protesters, too.
A “coalition of community groups and residents,” called No DNC, says it is planning to rally near Target Field at noon Sunday to oppose the city’s bid to bring the convention to Minneapolis. The group did not return a phone call, but its website indicates its supporters are sympathetic to people who were charged with various lawbreaking for actions during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
Minneapolis is among four cities being considered for the convention by the Democratic Party. St. Louis, Charlotte and Cleveland are the others.
City officials have been told that the DNC will make its decision on where it’s headed by “the end of the year.” The Republican National Committee already has selected Tampa as its convention city for 2012.
The great strength of Minneapolis as a convention host would seem to be the proximity of Target Field, the baseball park, and Target Center, the likely convention site. Recall that in 2008, the Obama campaign staged the final night of the convention at Denver’s football stadium, throwing open the gates for all comers.
Kristen Montag of Meet Minneapolis said positives of attracting such a huge convention far outweigh any negatives. Not only would such a convention generate $170 million in economic activity, she said, but would also do everything from boost the hours of service workers to show other large organizations that a city is capable of hosting big events.
Studies done following the RNC in St. Paul also showed that “the Twin Cities received more advertising than money could buy,” Montag said.
Those studies showed that there were 10 billion media impressions, worth $407 million in advertising.
In a release e-mailed to media outlets, No DNC tore into the security arrangements surrounding the St. Paul convention.
“Like the 2008 RNC,’’ the group said in a statement, “the 2012 DNC will be a National Special Security Event (NSSE), with the Secret Service and Homeland Security controlling security operations instead of a locally controlled police force. Infiltration of dissident groups is certain. Provocateurs will manufacture ‘bad protesters’ and create disturbances to justify the spending on policing. In 2008, local residents and businesses had their lives disrupted by the security measures such as street closures, causing a loss of business as well as wages for employees. . . . Without consulting their constituents, the city of Minneapolis placed a bid to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention earlier this year. Since the City Council bypassed an open political process and discussion about the convention, community groups and residents are vowing to prevent another police riot in the Twin Cities by organizing opposition to Minneapolis securing the bid.’’
The group has called for a noontime rally near the ballpark Sunday, which is about when 40,000 people will be showing up for a Twins’ game against the Chicago White Sox.
Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.