Skip to comments.Why The GOP Should Choose Tampa For 2004 Convention
Posted on 11/15/2002 6:57:07 AM PST by Brandonmark
Unforgettable images - the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Broadway theaters, Central Park - flash into focus when one thinks about what distinguishes New York City from every other metropolis in the world.
Despite a rugged history marked by soaring highs (those V-J Day hugs and kisses in Times Square) and gut- wrenching lows (terrorists striking the World Trade Center), that grand and glorious urban blend of ethnicity remains the epicenter of the free world.
Indeed, that's why it was a target back on Sept. 11, 2001, and why it now stands as a symbol of rejuvenation and determination as the United States vows to quash terrorism worldwide. Sympathy combined with American fortitude has already landed New York this country's 2012 Olympic bid and the 2008 Super Bowl in the Meadowlands - the first time the big game will be played outdoors in a Northern city.
So why should the Republican National Committee opt to come to Tampa in 2004 rather than take its quadrennial convention and crowning celebration into the heart of all that glitter and gold?
Let's start with money. For many, it all comes down to the bottom line.
New York reportedly has pledged millions in public and private dollars to host the convention and has promised to raise whatever it takes.
Tampa, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and Florida's Legislature similarly will be asked to help with basic expenses normally incurred by such big events.
While it's a tight budget year and the state faces a difficult fiscal challenge to lower class sizes, bringing a national political convention to town should be considered an investment in the future, much as improving the state's education system is.
Area banks have signed a letter of intent to guarantee the funding, and local Republicans have pledged to privately raise the bulk of the money needed. And when the GOP's three Als - Austin, Hoffman and Cardenas - say the money can be raised here, the RNC can be confident it will be done.
Then there's the cost of visiting.
New York's hotel room rates start somewhere near where Tampa's top out. Dinner for two in Manhattan can exceed a working person's weekly wage. A terrific Cuban sandwich in Tampa costs about $3. The best of the best here - seafood, steak or sushi - is manageable on a middle-class salary.
Getting around in New York, whether by cab or subway, can be difficult for out-of-towners. Traffic woes here - bad and getting worse - pale in comparison.
So what about politics?
Even though New Yorkers just re- elected Republican Gov. George Pataki and readily embrace Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also Republicans, it's traditionally a Democrat-controlled state.
Florida delivered the White House to the GOP in 2000. And it just renewed its commitment with an impressive win by Gov. Jeb Bush and a Republican-dominated state Legislature. Having the Republican convention here would be a well-deserved reward and increase the likelihood that the state will stay in the GOP column.
But what's the overriding, most important reason the GOP ought to pick Tampa over what many consider the sentimental favorite?
It's all about what's more important: the past or the future.
New York - and we too love New York - epitomizes the past, while Florida represents the future.
Everyone - even the experts in New York and Washington - agrees that Florida is the best bellwether for the rest of the nation. Take any issue - taxes, health care, education, property insurance, the economy, immigration, transportation, housing, tort reform or partisan politics. Florida is facing what the rest of the nation soon will.
But while New York and many other states are struggling to overcome the mistakes of a colorful past, Florida is already working on creative solutions for what comes next. Gov. Bush promised four years ago to make dramatic changes in government for the betterment of state residents, and voters agreed that he delivered.
West Central Florida and the Interstate 4 corridor - led by the University of South Florida, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and the University of Central Florida - are poised to become the nation's most popular high-tech destination.
A City Of The Future
The economy here is stronger and more resilient than just about anywhere in the nation. New convention facilities, upscale hotels, luxury cruise ships, sandy beaches, local attractions, the ability to host visitors and guaranteed sunshine are second to none. Our diverse history and heritage speak for themselves.
Granted, Tampa isn't New York. It isn't Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans or Los Angeles, either. They are all great cities of the past.
Tampa represents the future.
When television cameras and news media follow the convention into town, they won't be focused on yesterday. We and the Republican Party leadership know that all eyes will be on a wider and wiser tomorrow.
That's about right!
As someone who grew up in Florida, I'm always amused at the self-confidence cities like Tampa and Orlando have. Tampa the future? My sides are hurting. There are plenty of good reasons for Tampa to be chosen, but to say USF, UCF, and other locations in the I-4 corridor are the leading ones is preposterous. The same corridor includes International Drive, The Orange Blossom Trail (definitely not as nice as it sounds), and huge stretches of flat, boring land.
You can't even say that Florida delivered the election without acknowledging that it should have been a blowout down there to begin with. Hell, if Tampa got the convention, more than half of the attendees would fly into Orlando. What does that tell you?
Pick Tampa for the weather, the golf, the very good strip clubs. But it's not the future any more than Statesboro, Georgia is.
My preference? Vegas, baby. Vegas.
Uh, they forgot to mention the world famous Mons Venus gentlemens' club! (ducking for cover)8^)
New Orleans, did someone say New Orleans? And a decision by mid-December, just after the Senate election in LA. My vote is for New Orleans, but not until after the election results are in and LA has gone GOP. Failing that, Tampa is nice that time of year.
Sarasota is fabulous!
Unfortunately, Sarasota has cut its nose to spite its face in the convention arena. The SRQ airport (about an hour from TPA) has intolerable surcharges making airfare non-competitive with tha Tampa airport.
That's only a plus for the Democrats scoping out cities...
Upon further reflection, maybe the adult entertainment establishments would appeal to the DNC organizers just a bit more than the RNC.
TAMPA - ST. PETERSBURG, FL
"In addition to our world-class resources and accommodations, Florida also holds an important place in our nation's political landscape. As you are aware, Florida is the fourth most populous state in the nation with 27 electoral college votes, and hosting the 2004 Republican National Convention in Florida will send a strong, positive message of our party's commitment to victory in this state. I hope you will give the Tampa/St. Petersburg area every consideration to serve as the home of the 2004 Republican National Convention."
--Governor Jeb Bush, in a letter to the RNC Site Selection Committee
Tampa St. Petersburg: The Strategic Choice Overview:
Tampa Bay has grown into a major population center and a political bellwether community, accurately predicting statewide trends. The Tampa Bay area subsequently has become a key focal point for any national political campaign. The candidate capturing the hearts and imaginations of Tampa Bay voters likely stands a good chance of doing well at statewide- and nationwide-levels.
Strategic Partnerships: Tampa Bay's Host Committee has the necessary experience, influence, and commitment to successfully produce the Republican National Convention. The Host Committee is co-chaired by Al Austin, CEO of the Austin Companies and current Finance Committee Chairman for the Republican Party of Florida, Bob Basham, COO of Tampa-based Outback Steakhouse, Dick Beard, Owner and President of R.A. Beard & Co. and a past Finance Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida from 1995 1998, and Rick Michaels, CEO of Communications Equity Associates, who has also served as Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Republican Regents program since its inception in 1999. Since its brief inception, the Tampa St. Petersburg Host Committee numbers almost 90 individuals, reflecting the strong support and diversity from the participating municipalities, counties, state and business community.
Strategic Convention Venues: Boasting impressive capacity, the latest technology and modern amenities, the Ice Palace arena provides the perfect setting for the main convention area. Media workspace is easily accommodated at the adjoining Tampa Convention Center. Both facilities enjoy dramatic views of the waterfront and the downtown Tampa skyline, while nestled in the middle is the brand new 717-room headquarters hotel, the Tampa Marriott Waterside. With over 21,000 seats and 82 luxury skyboxes at the Ice Palace, and over 360,000 square feet of usable space at the Tampa Convention Center, both facilities packages are further enhanced by the fact that Florida is a right-to-work state.
Strategic Accommodations: With over 40,000 available guest rooms in the Tampa Bay area, the target of 20,000 rooms and 2,000 suites was easily achieved for the formal bid. Overnight options include beach front properties, golf resorts, and high-rise luxury hotels.
Strategic Support: Tampa Bay is a bastion of hospitality, thanks to its population of local residents who consistently welcome 27 million visitors each year. Additionally, the area provides peace of mind when it comes to security. Not only do the local law enforcement agencies operate as a unified security task force under the Mutual Aid Agreement, but also MacDill Air Force Base, the worlds current peace keeper, serves as headquarters for both the U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command.
Strategic Transportation: Tampa Bay boasts one of the most popular and admired airports in the world, Tampa International Airport. Offering additional accessibility are St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport and eight other regional airports. Once in Tampa, delegates will enjoy a myriad of transportation options, including electric streetcars, rubber wheeled trolleys and a network of over 350 buses. To insure maximum connectivity and convenience, the Host Committee has developed a detailed four-phase transportation plan.
The Winning Strategy: The vibrant community of 2.5 million residents known as Tampa Bay awaits the opportunity to provide the experience, the venues, the support, but also the strategic edge as a prospective Host City for the 2004 Republican National Convention.
The stadium is really a very,very nice facility(this is coming from a St.Louis Cardinal baseball fanatic).It is located almost in the middle of the two cities,with a pretty good area of fairly securable parking...(makes it easier to keep the "bums" out who would maybe try to cause "trouble"....can't really guarantee THAT about a NY location....)
We are very vibrant! ...and if we get the convention, I'll take ya'll out for a boat ride!
That's an understatement! It's because of all the nearly dead and newly dead. Florida!--God's Little Waiting Room!
I know that hurricane season was a concern for the Summer Olympics...