NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An all-out push has been launched in Brooklyn to get the Democrats to hold their 2016 presidential nominating convention to come to the Barclays Center.
As CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, city officials were hosting a committee from the Democratic National Committee on Monday and Tuesday in hopes of winning the party’s 2016 presidential convention.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer led a rally outside the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. The arena would host the convention and had an appropriately hued welcome carpet for the committee.
“There’s something special in the air in Brooklyn, and every one of the delegates will breathe it and go away better for it,” Schumer said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York would go all-out to try to convince the DNC to hold their convention in the city. He was set to woo the party’s site selection committee Monday night at a dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Meanwhile, city officials have pulled out all the stops to impress the decision makers, even setting up dedicated traffic lanes from Midtown Manhattan to Brooklyn on Monday to show that it took the blink of an eye – 13 minutes and 25 seconds in total – to get from Midtown hotels to the Barclays Center.
Schumer told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller that despite perceptions to the contrary, a quick drive between Manhattan and Brooklyn is the norm.
“When I drive from Midtown Manhattan to my house, right near Barclays Stadium, at night or early in the morning when there’s no traffic, it’s 15 minutes,” he said. “I’m going to offer them a ride with me one night when I’m in Midtown Manhattan to drive home with them and see how fast it is.”
Schumer, Others Welcome Democrats In Bid To Bring 2016 Convention To Brooklyn
But as Kramer reported, decision makers did not see the traffic chaos that city drivers had to endure because lanes were closed on Monday – with cars at a standstill so the bus with the decision makers could glide by.
When the DNC representatives arrived at the Barclays Center, they were met by a marching band, flag-waving children, and many enthusiastic city officials.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton promised that a good chunk of the city’s 35,000-member force would be dedicated to making sure delegates are safe and secure if they come to New York.
“We have the ability to focus the efforts of over 12,000 police officers and thousands of traffic agents,” Bratton said. “I say 12,000 because that number of officers in this one city police department exceeds the size of the police forces in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and it’s only a small part of our 35,000 officers.”
While Los Angeles and Chicago are in the running to hold the 2016 convention, Philadelphia is. Some pundits said they see the City of Brotherly Love as a strong contender.
“They often place them in states that they think are important for them and might be a bit of a struggle, which is why Philadelphia might actually have a much better choice than New York,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and political science professor at Rutgers University. “Pennsylvania is a swing state. Democrats need to win Pennsylvania.”
However, Brooklyn also offers itself as a hip, national symbol of Mayor de Blasio’s liberalism. It has strong fundraising ability and is in the state Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible presidential candidate, represented as U.S. senator.
“Having the convention would be a great thing for Brooklyn and all of New York City,” Schumer told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “I’ve lived there for 63 years, but all of the sudden Brooklyn is hip and with it and young.”
But it has just 3,500 hotel rooms in the entire borough. Convention officials are seeking 17,000 within a close drive.
The New York host committee has promised to raise $100 million to help defray the cost of the convention and entertain delegates. The host committee in Columbus, Ohio – another contender – has pledged only $50 million.
DNC officials will move on to Philadelphia starting Wednesday to review potential venues, hotels and transportation options for the estimated 50,000 delegates, party activists and media expected for the convention. Visits to other potential site cities are to be completed by mid-September.
Phoenix, and Birmingham, Alabama, are also in the running.
The White House will also weigh in on the final selection, with a decision not expected until later this year or early in 2015.
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