Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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De Blasio Sells DNC Bid to Party Officials, New Yorkers

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is personally lobbying Democratic Party officials to get them to hold the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn, and at the same time, he also seems aware that he needs to convince skeptical New Yorkers that it is worth it for the city to host such a massive event. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

There appear to be two fronts in Mayor Bill de Blasio's fight to win the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He needs to convince party officials that there is no better place than Brooklyn for them to hold their political gathering, and he needs to sell New Yorkers on the idea that having the city host such an event is good for them as well.

"This is an incredible moment to showcase not just New York City as an idea, but each and every borough, starting with Brooklyn, to show people the totality," de Blasio said. "This will be a five-borough convention, and we're going to get people from all over the world to feel what we have to offer, and we think that's going to lead to a great short-term economic impact but even greater long-term economic impact."

As for his message to Democratic officials? The mayor says the city's massive public transportation system, its police force, its volume of hotels, and the vast array of attractions and restaurants here all set New York apart from the other cities competing for the convention.

"We've got something for every kind of person, and we are eager and energized to host this convention," de Blasio said.

The last convention the city hosted, the Republican National Convention in 2004, was marred by the arrest of more than 1,800 protesters. Earlier this year, the city agreed to pay $18 million to settle wrongful arrest lawsuits from the convention. The mayor says the city has learned from the mistakes of that event. He pointed to the Occupy Wall Street protests from 2011 as an example of police working well with protesters.

"I think we're very good at accommodating people's right to speak," de Blasio said.

The mayor plans to raise more than $100 million in private money for the convention should the city be selected. He estimates that the cost to taxpayers will be about $10 million.

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