Menino makes pitch for convention

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mayor Thomas Menino repeats the same theme, over and
over again.

What better place than Boston — that seat of American independence —
to showcase all that the Clinton administration’s Democratic policies
have accomplished?

After all:

  • The city’s booming.
  • Porpoises are swimming in the formerly nasty Boston Harbor.
  • Community policing has helped reduce crime.
  • Heck, all the public schools are even wired to the Internet.

“We are the best backdrop of Democratic policies — economic growth and
economic fairness — in the nation,” said Menino, a relentless booster,
who was in Washington, D.C., recently to continue lobbying for the 2000
Democratic National Convention. A list of city finalists is to be
announced next week.

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“If today’s conventions are ‘made for TV’ shows, why not produce a show
with scenes that strongly support your message in one of the most loyal
Democratic cities in the country?” said Menino, who spoke at the
National Press Club.

Menino has been telephoning some of the 40 members of the site selection
committee. He has the backing of most of the New England governors,
including Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, with that
state’s influential role in the presidential candidate selection

Menino also met with John Sweeney, the national AFL-CIO president, to
get labor’s support. Besides working with members of the state’s all-
Democratic congressional delegation, Menino’s also reached out to
prominent Boston natives working in Washington, to persuade them to
weigh in.

But for all Boston’s attractions — the history, the boom and the short
walk from the Fleet Center to major hotels — the sell may still be a
hard one.

One of the seemingly biggest obstacles, though, isn’t homegrown.

It’s Los Angeles.

Officials close to the selection process have said L.A. is almost
certain to be the Democrats’ choice for the 2000 convention, because
vote-rich California is critical to the party’s strategy for winning the
White House.

“If it’s based on electoral votes, we don’t win it,” conceded Menino.
Denver and Boston, meanwhile, are still in the running, at least because
one party co-chairman, Roy Romer, is from Colorado and the other one,
Steve Grossman, is from Massachusetts.

Philadelphia withdrew its application after being selected for the
Republican convention. Other cities vying for the Democratic convention
are Miami, Minneapolis and New Orleans.

A final decision is expected late this year or early next year.

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