April 23, 2004


Budget squeezes DNC's shindig (Yvonne Abraham, April 23, 2004, Boston Globe)

To the delegation from Des Moines and the contingent from Cincinnati: Forget the lobster tails and caviar.

The city's host committee hasn't got the cash to shower you with such extravagances when you come to town for the Democratic National Convention in July. Sure, you, like every other state delegation, will be feted at one of the 32 cocktail parties being held around town to welcome you and showcase Boston on Sunday, July 25. But there will be no blowouts.

Party planners who were given the nod to plan the delegation receptions were informed this week that the budget for said shindigs will be exactly $100 per person. That C-note has to stretch an awfully long way, they say: burgundy and bourbon for delegates in the mood for a party; substantial hors d'oeuvre; flowers, and lighting, and linens, and live bands.

Some party planners, used to more highfalutin affairs, said yesterday they are bowing out of the delegate party game.

"We were offered a couple [of parties],' said Ellen Burnett, president of Best of Boston event planners. "We just determined it was not in our best interests to do them. In general, that is not a figure that one normally applies to an elegant event in Boston."

Burnett and other planners said they would normally budget well over $100 per person for the kinds of parties the host committee is asking them to organize: two-hour receptions with open bars, plenty of finger food, flowers and entertainment. Particularly since some of those parties, held all over the city, including Franklin Park Zoo and the L Street Bath House, might require extras, like tents and portable bathrooms. Some planners submitted proposals well over the host committee's newly-disclosed limit, more than $200 per person in some cases.

"All civic pride notwithstanding, a tent rental company is not going to give me a $10,000 tent for $2,000," said Dusty Rhodes, head of Conventures, Inc. "We all want to live up to our civic pride, but even if we do an event pro bono, perhaps there should be a little bit more money to spend on the delegates."

The dozen or so planners given preliminary approval to produce the parties will not be working pro bono: their fees will be 15 percent of the events' total cost. With a deadline today to submit proposals that conform to the budget limits, some planners complained privately yesterday that the smaller parties, those for fewer than 100 guests for example, would hardly be worth their time. Some said those parties, with their budgetary constraints, would not be good for their images.

Terry McAuliffe is, without a doubt, the greatest party chairman in the history of the Republican Party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 23, 2004 9:47 AM

The road closures planned aren't exactly going to elicit sympathy from the locals. I may just have to take those days off; the plans I've heard will probably add an hour or more to my commute.

Posted by: mike earl at April 23, 2004 10:17 AM

And yet, we keep hearing that campaign finance reform, far from being a benefit to the Republican Party, has actually produced parity. We are also told that Kerry raised a record amount of money this spring (though that is for his own campaign, of course)

It seems the dems have adopted another characteristic of their Hollywood backers: creative accounting, in which a movie makes millions of dollars, but it all comes out a wash.

Has the GOP mailed mcawful his Platinum Supporter card yet?

Posted by: M. Murcek at April 23, 2004 11:20 AM

Can't they just hold all the big, expensive shindigs at Teresa's house?

Posted by: John at April 23, 2004 12:31 PM

All I can say is that I hope the locals in Boston are as hostile as I was during D2KLA. I was working at a law firm in LA at the time and, in the interest of alleviating traffic congestion for the delegates' benefit, the city and the firm asked us to work East Coast hours, i.e., come to work at 5:30 a.m. That got old in a hurry, especially since (1) it didn't actually mean we got to go home earlier, and (2) we had to listen to the loony-left beating drums and shouting through megaphones as they paraded past our building every day.

By Thursday morning, I was screaming "Get a job!" at people with astonishing regularity.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at April 23, 2004 12:35 PM

Don't be too hard on Terry. Do you think Bill and Hillary are unhappy with him?

Posted by: David Cohen at April 23, 2004 1:33 PM