More than a dozen members of the Democratic National Committee’s Technical Advisory Group, which is also considering four other cities, began their two-day New York City tour Monday with a rally in front of the gleaming downtown Brooklyn arena.
Sen. Charles Schumer, whose boosterism of his home borough knows no bounds, stressed that Brooklyn’s hip image would lend youthful cache to the party’s eventual nominee.
“There is no better place than Brooklyn, New York, for the convention,” he said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday he is committed to winning, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
“Whatever it takes to make this work smoothly for everyone coming to visit and for our fellow New Yorkers, we’re going to do it,” the mayor said.
De Blasio said the city is committed to raising more than $100 million in private funds. He expects the city would make money. He added that taxpayers should not have to kick in more than $10 million.
Amy Dacey, the DNC’s chief executive office, told Haskell, “Our priorities are certainly on the financial resources and the logistics that put together a good convention.”
De Blasio’s administration has tried to quell criticisms that Brooklyn does not have enough hotel rooms for the more than 30,000 expected convention-goers, saying that the hotels in Manhattan are closer to the arena than many of the hotels serving recent convention cities, such as Charlotte, North Carolina, were to their event sites.
A de Blasio spokesman said that, by using a dedicated traffic lane, it only took the delegates 13 minutes to travel the 8 miles from their Midtown hotel to the arena.
The New York host committee has also stressed the public transit options to the Barclays Center, several subway lines and a commuter railroad stop under the arena — and its experience in hosting recent events, such as the MTV Music Video Awards, the Tony Awards and the Major League Baseball All-Star game.
De Blasio also touted the city’s experience hosting major events.
“We did it earlier this year with the Super Bowl, which is an extraordinary moment for New York,” he said. “We do it every year on New Year’s Eve and at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.”
Those events, however, did not come with the Secret Service security that the DNC will. At conventions in other cities, scores of blocks around the convention site were “frozen” and off-limits to vehicles and, often, pedestrians.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton promised 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 here.
“I say 12,00 because that’s the size of the police forces in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia,” he said.
De Blasio also said the city “will learn from mistakes” made during the last time it hosted a major political convention.
The city hosted the Republicans in 2004 at Madison Square Garden, and more than 1,800 demonstrators were arrested.
The city agreed in January to pay nearly $18 million to settle civil rights claims stemming from the arrests.
Brooklyn is considered one of the favorites to land the convention, along with Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio. Both of those other cities are situated in swing states, which have hosted the majority of conventions in recent years. Also vying for the 2016 convention are Phoenix and Birmingham, Alabama.
The DNC committee will travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday and is expected to make a decision by early next year.
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