and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Monday, May 24, 2004

CLT calls for cancellation of DNC convention

For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Anderson – (508) 384-0100

Now that some have begun calling for state taxpayers to finance part of this Democrat Party SNAFU, let us be the first to say what many others are thinking: Admit the mistake, cut our losses – cancel it.

If Democrat convention delegates can vote by Internet or proxy later after Sen. John Kerry declines to accept the nomination in July for whatever reason – then they can vote by Internet or proxy now instead of crippling Greater-Boston. Which is more important to Democrats?

There is no rational excuse to shut down a city for a four-day multi-block party. Just because the DNC, Mayor Menino, and the Boston Chamber of Commerce have taken leave of their senses is no reason to stumble ahead blindly with this debacle. We already know who the nominee will be; let the DNC have a big news conference, announce its vice presidential nominee, and get on with the campaign.

In December 2002, CLT predicted “an inevitable taxpayer mugging” and Chip Ford has recorded the accelerating public relations crisis since on its website When Chamber President Paul Guzzi suggested that people stay home that week, Barbara Anderson responded in her weekly column:

“Great idea, genius. Working people of Boston, take the week off – cooks, waiters, hotel workers, caterers, street cleaners, trash collectors, anyone who might be servicing the conventioneers. That'll ‘showcase the city’: Restaurants and tourist attractions closed, trash piling up, while the city's working class vacations on Cape Cod with Chamber executives.

“Cabs will be sitting at the airport waiting for a fare to anywhere north of the city; Democratic delegates can call Congressman Michael Capuano of Somerville, who first suggested that businesses close for the week, for a ride into town.

“Doctors and nurses at Mass. General, take a break: sick people can take the week off, too. No surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments; just stay home and enjoy yourselves.”

A convention planned for congested-on-a-good-day Boston was absurd from the start. But now we have reached the level of insanity. We learned that Mass. General has given up 700 spaces of its employee parking for the convention! This is beyond irresponsible; it is giant lawsuits waiting to happen if the hospital is understaffed while people are having babies and heart attacks in traffic, and possible heat exhaustion while air-conditioning technicians are “taking the week off.” Not to even mention what happens if heaven forbid there IS a terrorist attack and medical personnel and other first responders are driving around looking for a parking place, or “telecommuting.”

And all for what? So the few people around the country who aren’t watching reruns of “Fear Factor” can see John Kerry give his not-ready-for-acceptance speech? Watch delegates do the Macarena?

We knew from the Beacon Hill Institute months ago that the local economy will lose tens of millions because of this over-hyped event. Despite its earlier estimates being pooh-poohed, BHI is now overshadowed by other economists with even more dire predictions (in a recent worst-case scenario – where we’ve about arrived – a $300 million loss throughout Metro-Boston).

If Democrats truly care about “working people” they will not prohibit them from working the last week in July. And if Republicans are really “compassionate conservatives” they can give their New York convention money to private charities in the name of the RNC. Both parties should cut their losses and vote by e-mail, fax, phone or teleconference.

Meanwhile, those delegates who have purchased their airline tickets can pay the fee and re-schedule a vacation to “the Hub of the Universe” sometime during the coming year, when Boston will be open for business.

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