Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ex-Secret Service agent hired as convention security director

Organizers of September’s Democratic convention in Charlotte have hired a former Secret Service agent to be their security director.

Ohio native Tom Rosfelder, who logged 26 years with the U.S. Secret Service, will work with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Secret Service – the lead agencies responsible for developing the security plan for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

“He is well versed in the many issues we’re going to have to deal with,” convention CEO Steve Kerrigan said Wednesday.

During his career as an officer, special agent and supervisor with the Secret Service, Rosfelder gained extensive experience protecting dignitaries, including U.S. presidents and vice presidents, DNCC spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.

Rosfelder was recently responsible for managing the Cleveland Electronic Crimes Task Force and the Cleveland/Northern Ohio Organized Crime Task Force.

He’s also served as an instructor at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary.

Tim Funk

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Street closings, convention details still pending

"Probably early summer" is when Charlotteans will learn about street closings and other planned uptown changes due to September's Democratic National Convention.

That was the word Tuesday from Steve Kerrigan, the CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.

During a lunch-time sitdown with Observer reporters and editors, Kerrigan said the DNCC and its various partners will alert people of the street closings, alternative routes and other changes "long in advance so that (they) can make plans to prepare for their commutes and prepare for how to go get groceries."

Kerrigan and DNCC spokeswoman Kristie Greco told the Observer that plans were also underway that should alleviate some of the expected congestion.

The thousands of delegates, for example, will be transported by buses, so they won't clog up the streets with their cars, Greco said, and many of those attending the convention won't come to the Time Warner Cable Arena until late afternoon or evening.

"Our intention is to make sure that uptown Charlotte remains open for business all week," Kerrigan said, "and that (local) folks feel like they should be able to bring their families . . . and come to uptown to experience what it's like to have a Democratic convention in your town."

Kerrigan said no decision has been made about the city's transit center. It's located right across the street from the arena, so will likely to be part of any security perimeter defined by the Secret Service.

Also undecided, he said, is where to put an area for demonstrators who come to town to protest.

Kerrigan also said that:

  • President Obama's hope of winning North Carolina's 15 electoral votes this year was the key factor in deciding on Charlotte as the host city for the 2012 convention. "The political reasons outweigh anything else," he said. "It was obviously a finalist because it had the logistical capabilities . . . (But) it came down to 14,177 votes." That was the margin by which Obama carried the state in 2008. That year, Kerrigan added, "we didn't really need to win North Carolina (to take the White House). This time, it is much more important."

  • The first view of Charlotte that Democratic delegates and others attending the convention will get will be the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. "I spend an awful lot of time at (the Charlotte airport)," he said. "And everyone I talk to around the country - if they haven't been to Charlotte, chances are they've been to the airport. And they love it . . . People know that airport as a welcoming, amazing place. A woman kept saying to me, 'I have my favorite rocking chair' and she's from California."

Tim Funk

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Unions unhappy with Charlotte plan their own 'labor summit'

Some union leaders are still so peeved that the Democrats are holding their convention in right-to-work North Carolina that they want to hold their own political gathering a few weeks before the Dems' Charlotte convention.

The Associated Press is reporting that this "labor summit" would be held in a more union-friendly city, like Philadelphia. They're even planning to invite Democratic elected officials -- governors, members of Congress -- who are longtime labor allies.

Though most labor unions are still planning to send members to the Democratic National Convention, about a dozen or so unions announced last year that they'd be bypassing the convention in Charlotte -- a city, they also point out, that has no union hotels.

Here's a more complete report.

Tim Funk

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bloggers get Charlotte home for DNC

When thousands of visiting bloggers come for the convention, most of them will need a place to work.

That's the premise behind a project called PPL (say "people"), which formally launched last week at one of its two locations - Packard Place on South Church Street. About 80 people attended.

PPL will provide space and resources at the McColl Center for Visual Art on North Tryon Street, too.

Early registration is now open for bloggers for a limited-time rate of $45, which includes access to workspaces, power, Wi-Fi and other amenities. The group also looks to raise $500,000, and welcomes nonprofits to partner with them as sponsors.

Founders Justin Ruckman, Matthew Tyndall and Desiree Kane want to draw a range of independent media members - from bloggers to filmmakers to painters and sculptors.

"These are the folks that are advocating for issues, from sustainability to education reform," Ruckman said. "(We) encourage folks to talk about the real issue at hand."

Find the group on the Web (, Twitter (@ppldnc) or Facebook (/theppl). Or send email to info@theppl.usbrief.

Celeste Smith

Thursday, March 8, 2012

DNC looking for summer interns

From the Democratic National Convention Committee:

"The Democratic National Convention Committee is currently accepting
applications from undergraduate and graduate college students to serve as summer
interns. The program is open to students at colleges and universities
across the country and is a unique opportunity to take part in the
behind-the-scenes events of the Democratic National Convention. The
application and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at

"The deadline to apply is March 30. Interns will serve from May 28
through August 10 and will work out of the DNCC headquarters in uptown
Charlotte. DNCC interns perform a wide range of responsibilities,
including assisting senior staff, preparing memos, attending meetings and
events, acting as the first point of contact to the convention by answering
phones and greeting visitors at the front desk, assisting with special projects,
and any other duties that are needed by the department head.

"Each intern will be placed in one of six departments: Office of the CEO,
Office of the Chief of Staff, Technology, Intergovernmental Affairs and
Outreach, Operations, Legal, Communications and Office of the Senior
Advisor." Jim Morrill

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Michelle Obama brings in big bucks

Getting some meet-and-greet time at Michelle Obama's fundraisers in Ballantyne last Friday didn't come cheap, reports Lynn Sweet with the Chicago Sun-Times.
The top price tag to attend the more lavish of the two events was a whopping $100,000 per couple.
Following Obama's visit to the CIAA's basketball tournament Friday, she spoke at two receptions to raise funds for the DNC.
Read Sweet's blog post here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Projection: Obama wins nationally, but not in NC

The results of the Moody's primary are in. And the winner is: President Barack Obama (but not in North Carolina).

Last week Moody's Analytics released its projection of the 2012 election. Using a model that considers economic factors, including the recession, it projects the national outcome as well as those in all 50 states.

A similar model in 2008 version forecast not only the election results but the number of electoral votes Obama won over Republican Sen. John McCain.

In North Carolina, Obama would get only 47 percent of the vote under the Moody’s model. In 2008 he won the state by 14,000 votes.

Moody’s identifies three key states: Florida, Virginia and Ohio, and gives Obama the latter two.

“The president’s re-election is not assured,” writes Xu Cheng, a senior economist at Moody’s. “In three key states – Florida, Virginia and Ohio – each party’s chance of winning is nearly 50%. If all three states go Republican, it would only take one additional state’s electoral votes to give the White House a new occupant in January.”

Jim Morrill

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reggie Love rallies the Obama troops

Reggie Love was back home in Charlotte today to rally the troops for the man he used to work for, Barack Obama.

Love joined actress Keshia Knight Pulliam at the Obama for America headquarters on Elizabeth Avenue.

"Just know you're much appreciated," Love told around two dozen volunteers.

Pulliam, who played "Rudy" on the Cosby Show, told the volunteers to continue their grassroots effort.

Earlier, she joined Obama campaign workers at a round-table of student leaders from historically black colleges in town for the CIAA tournament.

“Our volunteers have been working very hard for a number of months and hearing from Keshia Knight Pulliam and Reggie Love about their support for the President is a special opportunity to say thank you for their hard work,” said Obama for America spokesman Cameron French.