Monday, August 25, 2008

I missed breakfast!

Today did not start well. I overslept and missed the entire delegation breakfast. It went until 10 a.m., and I got there at 9:50a.m. My mistake was in relying on the hotel alarm clock. It had a dinky little beep-beep-beep sound that did not wake me up. Tomorrow, I set it on the radio setting at full volume.

One of the wait staff at the ballroom was so kind to get me something to eat, while everyone else was buzzing about, talking to each other and the speakers. I was told that John Chiang, the state controller, was an excellent speaker.

Of course, Nancy Pelosi led things off, and there were a signs that had been passed out that said, “Madame Speaker!” I did manage to get one that was left under a table. I'm disappointed I missed her, but I take solace from having seen her at Netroots Nation last month.

Just over to my left now is Art Torres who has attracted a small crowd around him. Now I’m off to get my credential and maybe go to a Progressive Democrats of America event with the editor of “The Nation” magazine.

I'm here in Denver!

Sunday, August 24

Today was the big day! My wife and I arrived in Denver at 2:30 p.m. on Frontier Airlines. We first met a helpful lady from the airline at the arrival gate who told me that when I fly out on Friday, I could use the preferred customer line to speed through check-in. I’ll take that.

After collecting our bags, we caught SuperShuttle to the Sheraton Hotel downtown, where the California and New York delegations are staying. The van made stops at four other hotels first. At the Hyatt Hotel, there were a huge number of police in riot gear lining the sidewalk. The police presence is tremendous. They wear this heavy riot gear, and they are always in groups of at least 5 or 6 and usually more.

After checking into the Sheraton, which was buzzing with activity, and finding our room, I found the California delegation check-in table downstairs below the lobby. I picked up an extra free ticket for my wife to attend the DNCC delegate welcome reception at the Colorado Convention Center, which is only three blocks away. I also signed my wife up on a list to receive a ticket to Invesco Field on Thursday, in the very unlikely event that any extras are available to the California delegation.

The reception was scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. As it had already started, I hurried back to the room to get Joan. As I was waiting for the elevator, the door opened and out stepped Charlie Rangel! The New York delegation appeared to be having a reception nearby. I stood by as another person greeted him. Then he turned to me, I said hello, and we shook hands. Then he left. Damn! I had my camera with me, but I didn’t have it out. Next time I’ll be ready.

So Joan and I walked over to the Convention Center, walking by horde of souvenir vendors hawking buttons and $10 t-shirts. The center was crowded. As we entered the ballroom, Howard Dean was addressing the crowd, which was whooping it up. After sampling the Cajun fare (jambalaya, rice and red beans, crawdad pastry), and walking around a short time, we ran into Lea Austin (the other CD11 Obama delegate), Ken Richard, Maria Alegria, and a couple other Bay Area delegates. It was great to see them, chat and take some photos, and coordinate some future activities. By the way, Lisa V. in The Contra Costa Times featured both Ken and Lea with photos in a story today on the Bay Area delegates.

When it was time to leave the convention center there was a crowd outside consisting of souvenir hawkers, police, departing delegates, and a couple guys holding a picture of a fetus and saying nasty things about Obama and abortion.

Back to my room then to plan my first day of the convention on Monday. It begins with credentialing and a delegation breakfast program with Nancy Pelosi from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. This will be only the second time that the whole delegation has been together, the first being in Sacramento on May 17.

Now a glimpse of the Olympic closing ceremonies, then off to bed for an exciting day tomorrow.