Sunday, June 24, 2012

CPCC a security staging area?

With students and staffers staying home, what will become of Central Piedmont Community College convention week?

Here's a possible hint from CPCC spokesman Jeff Lowrance: He told us the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department "contacted the college about using part of the central campus as a security staging area."

We at Dish on DNC have even heard that the Secret Service might use the site, which is a short hike -- or  helicopter ride -- away from the uptown action.

We contacted the CMPD, which was typically tight-lipped.

The Secret Service was friendlier, but equally mum.

CPCC usually starts classes Aug. 17 or 18. This year, the school will start back on Aug. 9, then take off Labor Day week.

--Tim Funk

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Duke, Wake have convention connections

While the commercial networks are expected to stick with their reality-show skeds, PBS will offer gavel-to-gavel coverage of the convention.

And co-anchoring from the PBS skybox inside Time Warner Cable Arena will be Judy Woodruff, who knows North Carolina. (We'd say the Tar Heel State, but she's a Duke alum).

Besides her Duke U. connections -- she served on the school's board of trustees from 1985-97 -- Woodruff is married to a Wake Forest alum. That would be Bloomberg Washington editor Al Hunt, who will also -- no doubt -- be on-the-job here in September.

--Tim Funk

WashPost takes a Charlotte wine-and-BBQ tour

They've started popping up: DNC-themed spreads about Charlotte in the country's biggest newspapers.

"In Charlotte, N.C., the New South Rules" reads the headline this weekend in the Washington Post’s travel section (and online:

Author Zofia Smardz – sometimes snarky, sometimes complimentary – takes readers on a tour that starts at Cosmos CafĂ© "in downtown – oh, sorry, make that uptown" and ends with a plate of BBQ and a glass of white wine at Mac’s Speed Shop

"Pretty, leafy Charlotte," she says upfront, "may lie 500 miles south of the Mason-Dixon line, but it’s even farther from the South of my outdated imaginings . . . It's all buttoned-down business, a multicultural melting pot and a farm-to-table haven."

She visits the Museum of the New South, the Bechtler, the NASCAR and NoDa.

Best line comes from her husband, who also does the uptown walk: "Most cities have historic buildings. Charlotte has historic plaques."

--Tim Funk

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Senate: No taxpayer cash for future conventions

The Senate voted by a lopsided margin Thursday to deny future national political conventions millions in federal tax dollars.

If the House goes along, the Democratic and Republican parties in 2016 and beyond would not be able to look to Washington for cash to subsidize staff salaries, catering costs, fancy decorations and other convention-related expenses.

Even if it passes both houses and is signed by the president, it would not affect the Democrats' September gathering in Charlotte or the Republican convention a month earlier in Tampa.

POLITICO reported that Thursday's 95-4 vote was on a bipartisan measure adopted as an amendment to the farm bill. It was proposed by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Mark Udall, D-Colo.

This year, the Charlotte-based Democratic National Convention Committee and its GOP counterpart in Tampa each got about $18.3 million for their respective conventions.

That money, POLITICO reported, came from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, a program bankrolled by about 33 million taxpayers who each year voluntarily check a box on their tax forms directing $3 to the fund, which was established in the 1970s.

"Ninety-nine percent of the American public has no idea when they check the box that we're going to take actual American taxpayer dollars and subsidize party conventions for candidates who have already been decided," Coburn told his colleagues.

Udall cast the vote as a sign that Congress is serious about cutting unnecessary spending: "This is a way to get our fiscal house in order. It's a small step, but it's an important step."

POLITICO reported that the amendment would not affect federal money that goes to cities hosting the conventions to help pay for stepped-up security. Congress has already appropriated $100 million for that.

To read the complete story:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A dazzling exhibit hopes for POTUS visit

Hoping for a POTUS siting is Eleanor Brawley. She’s curator of the "Families of Abraham" photo exhibit that will return to the Levine Museum of the New South on June 24 and stay through convention week.

Its portraits of Jewish, Christian and Muslim families in the Charlotte area dazzled many when it first appeared at the uptown museum in late 2006.

Brawley told us she is hoping the president takes some time to check out the exhibit, and is so taken with it that he then finds a prominent place for it in Our Nation’s Capital.

She has her reasons for believing it could happen. Reason No. 1 is this quote from his 2009 inauguration: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers."

Hear any convention talk? Message Tim Funk at Or call: 704-358-5703
-Tim Funk 

Read more here:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Will there be an Obama sighting at a Charlotte church?

Will the Obamas do any church visiting when they’re in town for the convention?

If they do, we at the Dish are betting they show up at Friendship Missionary Baptist.

Hear us out: Among the many prominent members of this African-American megachurch on Beatties Ford Road are Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt -- both in the forefront of bringing the convention to CLT.

And if that’s not reason enough to merit an appearance by the First Family, consider the quilts.

Let us explain: The ladies in the quilting ministry at Friendship stitched five quilts -- one each for the president, the First Lady, their two daughters and the First Mother-in-Law.

"They were all very different," reports Mayor Foxx, who hand-delivered them to the White House. "The one we gave the president actually (featured) a history of Charlotte - different patches reflected different moments in the city’s history."

So, any chance that the Obamas will include a stop at Friendship on their itinerary? To share the pulpit with Pastor Clifford Jones, Sr.?

The schedules are yet to be worked out, Foxx told us. But he added: "Of course, I’m always hopeful that they will come by the church and spend time there."

If they do come, the quilting ladies should get seats in a front pew. Says Foxx: "They did not see this project as work. They saw it as a cause and it was just so incredible to see them take it on the way they did."
-Tim Funk

Read more here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hey, kids: Win a night shooting photos at convention

Calling all you young shutterbugs!
That’s what we old-timers in the news biz used to call photographers – shutterbugs.
These days, they’re photojournalists. And this item is for photojournalism students, ages 16-28, around the world.
You are invited to compete in a digital contest that Charlotte’s Echo Foundation, in partnership the Observer, is staging in connection with the convention.
Here’s the deal: Submit original photography that responds to the questions: “What does democracy or tyranny look like?”  Or: “What does justice or injustice look like?”
New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks will judge up to four Awards of Merit and pick a Grand Prize winner. That winner gets a trip to the convention, and a chance to work for one day with renowned photojournalist Bill Eppridge.
Plus, the winning photograph will be hung in the Observer lobby – the site for “One America, One American: Robert F. Kennedy Through the Lens of Bill Eppridge,” a convention-week exhibit.
It costs nothing to enter, but times a-wastin’ – the deadline is June 30. To enter, visit -- Tim Funk

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stop it with the N.C., already

Our city has the Panthers, the Bobcats, Bank of America and even the dang Democratic National Convention. And still news readers around the USA have to be reminded that we are Charlotte, N.C.?

Baltimore has fewer people, but you won’t see Baltimore, Md. atop news stories about prize crab-cakes or baseball Orioles.

This dateline bias does not sit well with many Charlotteans, including those of us at the Dish. But now one proud Charlotte transplant is trying to do something about it.

And Jill Santuccio -- owner of PRISM Communications, a Charlotte PR firm -- thinks the upcoming convention could help our cause for a standalone dateline.

To host the DNC, Charlotte beat out St. Louis, Cleveland and Minneapolis. So isn’t it just a little bit INFURIATING that we are the only one in that quartet still saddled to its state ID?

Of the 46 cities that have hosted the Democratic National Convention over the years, former journalist Santuccio discovered, only three needed a state for news readers to locate them -- Atlantic City, N.J. (1964), Kansas City, Mo. (1900), and our neighbor Charleston, S.C. (1860).

The rest of them -- including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta and, yes, Baltimore -- didn’t need no stinkin’ state abbreviation behind their name.

So, Santuccio has written the Associated Press editorial board to make the case for a change in the revered AP Stylebook that dictates which cities get standalone datelines and which don’t.

When Santuccio, now 44, went to journalism school, the professor would give a closed-book quiz on such things. "I’ve always been an AP Stylebook geek," she told us. "I still know the five states that you don’t abbreviate."

Not only does AP follow its stylebook; so do many newspapers. So this is a Big Deal, readers.

Santuccio hasn’t heard back yet from AP, whose reasons for sticking Charlotte with N.C. are so-outta-date. But she’s bringing in reinforcements: We’re talking ex-Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson.

"Many people used to confuse Charlotte with Charleston, S.C., or Charleston, W.Va., or Charlottesville, Va., but no more," Tommy wrote, "The people who still confuse us with them are people who probably don’t care about the nuances of the AP Stylebook. Or, for that matter, reading."

Santuccio is a Rochester, um, N.Y., native. But she’s been in the Queen City, N.C., for 22 years, and she wants her adopted city to finally get its due, dateline-wise.

"Charlotte has worked really hard to be on the national and international stage," she says. "And getting a standalone dateline would be another sign that we have arrived."

Tim Funk