Overview. "...a city that embraces the core values of the Democratic Party ... cosmopolitan ... a city built by immigrants... a city with a strong union presence ... a city with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dedicated workforce that produces the best America has to offer."
Convention Complex. "A key element within Detroit's proposal is our ability to present a choice of venues for the Convention. A combination of the Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center and Joe Louis Arena offers a venue located on the Detroit River with an international view of Windsor, Ontario... The second venue is the new Ford Field (opening in Fall 2002), a 1.3 million square foot stadium complex offering 113 suites."
Hotels. "Metropolitan Detroit boasts 31,000 sleeping rooms with more than 12,000 within 20 minutes of the downtown core."
Security. "The entire Detroit Police Department, 3,969 sworn members, operates with the goal of professional public service to the residents and visitors of Detroit."
Transportation. "The Detroit
Metro area is served by two airports located within the 45 minutes travel
time...to either Convention Complex proposed."
-In the first three weeks in May, in advance of the Site Advisory Committee's first meeting (May 22), Detroit sent members of the committee an introductory pitch. First came a portable CD player accompanied by a CD on the themes of diversity and capacity; two subsequent CDs focused on community and labor and on political and corporate support. Each CD had soundbites from relevant leaders and Motown music.
-At the beginning of July, Detroit sent each member of the site committee an authentic individualized Red Wings jersey autographed by Scotty Bowman (the all time winningest NHL coach, he retired after leading the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in June).
-Following the visit, Detroit sent members of the committee a DVD with highlights from the visit.
Observations. Detroit hosted the 1980 Republican convention; in fact that convention was one of the first events at the Joe Louis Arena. In the decade that followed, the population of Detroit and the Detroit metropolitan area actually decreased, but from 1990 to 2000 there has been a modest 4-5 percent increase. According to the 2000 Census, the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint consolidated metropolitan area has a population of 5.5 million (eighth biggest metropolitan area), and the primary Detroit area is home to 4.4 million people. The city is seeing considerable new development and boasts a young, energetic mayor, Kwame M. Kilpatrick (D), elected in November 2001. The choice of two convention venues is one of the more interesting aspects of the city's proposal. In 2000, Michigan was a battleground state; Gore ended up winning it by 51 to 46 percent. With 17 electoral votes, Michigan will again be important in 2004.
Copyright © 2002 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.