Weekend’s low-key DNC convention visit will see city sights — and likely some protesters, too

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.

At the request of the DNC, city and convention officials are keeping the DNC visit low-key. The event is being handled by Meet Minneapolis, the city’s Convention and Visitors Association.

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.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by William Pappas on 07/17/2010 - 08:22 am.

    Mayor Rybak would do well to revisit the RNC debacle in St. Paul that gave democratic mayor Coleman a big black eye. The massive violation of civil rights and the relinquishing of security control to the Department of Homeland Security created such an affront to our notions of a free nation that Coleman may never recover from his role in supporting those efforts. I predict that if the DNC is held in Minneapolis and the incompetent DHS is in control of security Rybak’s political future will be badly damaged if not over.

  2. Submitted by Richard Parker on 07/17/2010 - 10:29 am.

    “The policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”
    — Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, 1968

    DNC representatives visiting Minneapolis this weekend should get a pretty good impression of what it’s like not to be able to get around the city, with orange-cone season in full flower.

    Even though I made about $.0002 million as a banjo player at events during the RNC, I think it would be a real nuisance to put up with another national political convention here.

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/17/2010 - 07:05 pm.

    The mayor and council might also check out the civil rights debacle caused by overly-zealous security at the recent G8/G20 conference in Toronto.

    Not just 3,000 imported cops, but 20,000 — and as in St. Paul they came on horseback, in cars with sirens, on motorcycles, and on foot in riot gear. Not just a downtown closed off by police to citizens (complicated by shutting down the public bus system), but a barbed-wire fence all around the area containing the G20 meeting place(s). Not just 800-plus arrests (mostly for being in the wrong place at the right time) but a thousand or so.

    If the mayor thinks events can be held away from the main location in Minneapolis, he needs to know that these locations, too, will be “protected.”

    What we saw in St. Paul and Toronto is the NEW NORM for such gatherings. No city needs that!

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