Thursday, August 30, 2012
- Rosario Dawson (“Unstoppable”) and America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) are expected to show at the Voto Latino Policy Forum (Sept. 4) and the “Purple Carpet Bash” (Sept. 5).
- Kathy Mattea, Anthony Hamilton and Biz Markie will be among the 20-plus acts serenading 15,000 journos at the Charlotte host committee’s $2 mil media party, Saturdayat the N.C. Music Factory.
- Actress Thora Birch (“American Beauty”) will be here as a California delegate.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy’s oldest daughter, will attend the Echo Foundation's gala Monday night as well as the opening of a photo exhibit on her father's 1968 presidential campaign.
Townsend, a former Maryland lieutenant governor, will accept the Echo Foundation inaugural Family Legacy Award on behalf of the Kennedy family. She'll receive the award at the group's gala at the Knight Theater. The gala, featuring a keynote by Gen. Wesley Clark, honors Jim and Mary Lou Babb.
After the event participants head to the Observer for a reception at the exhibit of photos by Bill Eppridge, who chronicled RFK's '68 campaign.
“As we honor Robert F. Kennedy’s legacy of public service, we celebrate the extraordinary contributions to American democracy of the entire Kennedy family,” said Stephanie Ansaldo, president of The Echo Foundation. “For three generations, the Kennedy name has stood for hope, progress and unity in purpose as we work to build a more just and inclusive society for all people.”
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory will in fact be here for part of the Democratic National Convention, a spokesman confirmed today.
On Tuesday, the first official day of the convention, McCrory will be part of the Republican contingent fielding calls and doing press interviews to rebut the Democrats' talking points.
After that, he'll head to points east on his campaign.
McCrory played a similar role in 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston. That year, you'll recall, John Edwards was on the ticket.
McCrory is, however, skipping the Republican convention in Tampa this week to campaign in the western part of the state. While he's in Charlotte during the convention, he might do a little campaigning among the Democrats, the News and Observer's Rob Christensen notes.
“I am proud the convention is there,” McCrory told the N&O. “I am going to try to get them to spend as much money in our state as possible to help our economy. Then I am going to try to convince as many of them who are attending from North Carolina to vote for Pat McCrory for governor. So I am going to be campaigning in Charlotte part of that time.”
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Looks like those emails referring to Charlotte's football venue as "Panthers Stadium" may not have been a fluke.
In an interview with CNN, Los Angeles mayor and Democratic National Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa stumbled a bit when asked by CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin about the reports of referring to Bank of America Stadium by another name. Villaraigosa is in Tampa this week to provide a counterpoint to the Republican convention.
"Do you have a problem with a big-bank sponsor?" Baldwin asked him.
Villaraigosa said he didn't, but noted that the Panthers do play there and that they're a "great football team." (He a fan?)
"I'm just calling it the football stadium," he said. He also said the convention is proud to be in Charlotte and in North Carolina.
The video was posted to YouTube by a Republican organization, but you can verify its context by reading a transcript provided by CNN itself.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Republican Richard Hudson planned to take the podium in the Tampa Bay Times Forum Monday, but not to address delegates. Instead, he was going to practice.
Organizers scheduled a 30-minute rehearsal for Hudson’s 2-minute speech on Tuesday. The congressional candidate in the 8th District will speak to delegates, or as many of them are in the hall on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m going to make the point that President Obama’s policies, supported by (incumbent Democratic Rep.) Larry Kissell, are hurting real North Carolinians,” he said.
Another GOP congressional candidate, David Rouzer in the competitive 7th District, also will speak to delegates.
One congressional candidate who won’t is Charlotte’s Jack Brosch. He’s running in the heavily Democratic 12th District against longtime Rep. Mel Watt. He didn’t seem bothered by the speaking snub.
“I understand there’s a limited amount of time and pretty much an unlimited amount of candidates,” he said.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
AP has spoken: Wire service stories about our big-enough-to-get-the-DNC city will continue to have Charlotte, N.C., not just Charlotte, as the dateline.
CLT crusader Jill Santuccio got the dispiriting news in an email from thDavid Mintorn, AP Stylebook co-editor.
“AP stories are transmitted globally, and more detailed datelines help readers overseas and elsewhere grasp news locations,” he e-wrote.
So why standalone datelines for Denver? Baltimore? St. friggin’ Louis?
Santuccio – owner of PRISM Communications, a Charlotte PR firm – says she’s not giving up.
Next step: A petition!
Did Charlotte hotels price-gouge the DNC?
That's what Nashville superdelegate Will T. Cheek tells the Tennessean newspaper. Public officials in the state capital have been considering whether the city should put in a bid to host a political convention, encouraged by the decision to choose relatively-small Charlotte.
But Cheek said convention organizers have run into problems with the size of the market, including hotel chains jacking up prices because they knew the DNC would have no other options. To find space for all the state delgations, the DNC had to spill over into neighboring towns.
"Charlotte is becoming real difficult," the eighth-time convention-goer told the Tennessean.
Cheek declined to speak to the Observer on the subject.
U.S. Rep . John Lewis, a star of the civil rights movement, will take a break from the convention on Sept. 5 to tell an auditorium full of students how crucial it is to stay in school, get an education and prepare for life.
The Georgia congressman will also talk about his own youth: At 21, as a seminary student-turned-Freedom Rider, he got beat up by bigots for daring to pass through a “whites-only” entrance at the Rock Hill bus station.
That was 1961. Four years later, while marching for voting rights in Alabama, he suffered a skull fracture when cops billy-clubbed him. In between – 1963 – he joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in speaking at the March on Washington.
Introducing Lewis to the students at East Meck will be former CLT Mayor Harvey Gantt, who made civil rights history himself when he became the first black student to be admitted to Clemson University.
Joan O’Brien, executive director of the East Meck HS Foundation, said she’s been working since March to get Lewis.
"He said 'yes' right away; since then, it's been staying in touch," she said. "I decided if we were going to have all these congressmen in town, we should get one well respected on both sides of the aisle."
-- Tim Funk
Caroline Kennedy and actress Eva Longoria are among the latest speakers to be added to the DNC slate this morning.
Both are co-chairwomen of President Obama's re-election campaign.
Other speakers announced this morning:
- Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
- Tammy Duckworth, former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a candidate for Congress from Illinois
- Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University student memorably called a nasty name by Rush Limbaugh
- Denise Juneau, Montana's state superintendent of public instruction
- Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
- Lilly Ledbetter, activist known for advocating for equal pay for men and women
- U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who the DNCC says will stand together with the women of the U.S. Senate
- Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
A Democratic official says Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke has been added to the roster of speakers at next month's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
In an incident that Democrats charged was part of a GOP "war on women," Fluke was called a slut by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for favoring President Barack Obama's health care law requiring contraception coverage.
No day or time for Fluke's speech has been released, but she's expected to reach out to women voters and, like all the other Democratic convention speakers, cast Obama as the best choice for the middle class.
-- Tim Funk
With the DNC convention rolling into town in (only) 14 days, just about every national news organization has dispatched someone to Charlotte to tell their readers what they should expect when they get here. And it seems like the city can all be summed up in just a few themes.
That’s not to say they’re incorrect or misleading. A number of the publications tapped local (or semi-local) reporters to unveil the Queen City. But they are undoubtedly interesting.
Here are the unofficial top five things the outside world is learning about Charlotte, ranked by number of mentions in the city profiles I’ve found.
1) It’s the second-largest financial center outside New York. No, the Bank Town moniker hasn’t faded a bit. Yes, Bank of America is headquartered here, despite rare appearances from CEO Brian Moynihan. Hugh McColl will sometimes make a bonus appearance. (Boston Globe, New York Times, National Journal, Tampa Bay Times, Huffington Post, Associated Press(x 2), CNN)
2) This is the “New South.” We have skyscrapers, we care about more than Nascar and Billy Graham, we’ve outgrown tobacco and textiles, we compete with Atlanta. We even have a museum devoted to it. This storyline often gets mixed up in a discussion of North Carolina as a swing state, rapidly urbanizing yet keeping a rural core. The recent gay marriage constitutional amendment, which Mecklenburg County voted against, is Exhibit A. (Boston Globe, National Journal, Tampa Bay Times, Associated Press (x 2), Washington Times, National Journal, CNN, Huffington Post)
3) There aren’t many unions here. North Carolina is the least unionized state, and Charlotte is its business hub. Labor unions are mad Democrats picked here to host their convention. (Tampa Bay Times, National Journal, New York Times, Associated Press, Huffington Post)
4) Amelie’s is a cool place. No local establishment has gotten more attention than the trendy-cool NoDa joint. Price’s Chicken Coop is probably in second. (Boston Globe, New York Times, CNN, Associated Press)
5) We’re a little insecure. Charlotte is a city that hasn’t quite found its footing. We have an “inferiority complex,” and we’re even a “debutant.” Only a few publications went straight out and said it; it’s often couched in the banks’ struggles and the city’s reinvention. (Washington Times, Associated Press, National Journal)
Monday, August 20, 2012
The Democratic National Convention today announced more speakers for its Sept. 4-6 gathering:
-- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
-- California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
-- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
-- Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine
-- U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts
-- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley
-- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
-- Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland
-- Jim Morrill
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
An army of A-list celebs and politicos are expected to show up at the N.C. Music Factory on Sept. 5 for a Hollywood-themed gala hosted by L.A. Mayor – and Dem convention chairman – Antonio Villaraigosa.
The Dish has learned that the Factory’s Fountain Plaza and Osso Restaurant will get a one-night make-over. Picture palm trees, hints of classic L.A. architecture and lots of California wine.
Villaraigosa offered his vision for the party during a recent CLT stopover. Dining at Osso with Factory prez Noah Lazes, His Honor said he’d invite stars.
"I’ll call Eva," he name-dropped – a reference to former "Desperate Housewife" Eva Longoria, now a national co-chair of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
The event is a benefit gala under the glamorous auspices of The Creative Coalition, an advocacy group for the arts and entertainment community.
Based on its Web site photos (www.thecreativecoalition.org), the group draws some of Hollywood’s hottest to their events.
Set to perform "Love Shack" and other dance-able hits that night: The B-52s.
-- Tim Funk
The Neighborhood Theatre announced this week that regional favorites Acoustic Syndicate will return to the NoDa venue for Occupy Your Mind Thursday, September 6. The Western Carolina group will share the stage with Brooklyn's Breaking Laces and Folly Beach, SC's Dangermuffin. Tickets are $10 and available through www.neighborhoodtheatre.com.
Also open to the public are previously announced concerts from R&B singer Kem at Ovens Auditorium and the Rock the Red concert with Travis Tritt, Lee Brice, and the Charlie Daniels Band at Bojangles' Coliseum. Both of those concerts take place Wednesday, September 5. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Facebook is sometimes known for ill-advised party pics, but during the DNC, the newly public social media giant will be hosting shindigs of its own.
No word, though, on whether Mark Zuckerberg and his hoodie will make an appearance in Charlotte.
The company unveiled its plans for Charlotte and the RNC in Tampa this week through a post on a page run by its Politics & Government team.
Facebook will host receptions "honoring pro-technology legislators and highlighting the contributions of leading high-tech innovators to the strength of the American economy," the company said.
Sounds like Bank of America Stadium may not be the only Charlotte locale President Barack Obama will frequent during convention week.
Apparently, 44is also scheduled to attend one of the 60 private parties set for the Charlotte City Club.
In a letter to 1,000 members, club president David Page wrote that the “many important dignitaries” planning to visit the exclusive uptown club during the DNC included “the President, Past Presidents, Former Secretary of State and Governors.”
We wanted to make sure our eyes weren’t lyin’, so we called Club GM John Scharer.
“He is supposed to be in attendance at one of the events, if his schedule allows,” Scharer said of POTUS. “Based on some of the hosts, they’re expecting him to be here.”
Scharer was mum about the actual event as well as the day and time. We do know that Obama is skedded to give his acceptance speech Sept. 6 on the 50-yard line at BofA Stadium.
Sharer told us the City Club is also planning to serve ex-Pres Bill Clinton and his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright.
And though 87-year-old Jimmy Carter has announced he won’t be coming to Charlotte, Sharer told us the Georgia delegation is hosting an event to honor the 39th president. “He may or may not be there,” the GM said.
In his letter, Page informed members – they own the 65-year-old private club at Trade and Tryon – that member dining would be limited to one room Sept. 4-6. And no breakfast will be served convention week.
But the good news: “We expect September 2012 to be one of the best financial months in Club history,” Page wrote.
The City Club will be just outside the security perimeter. Still, we’re told club officials have met with the Secret Service, U.S. m0arshals and other security folks. And Page said in his letter that the decision to limit member dining to the Presidents Room was based on “feedback from many members of their intent to avoid downtown during this time.”
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
We already knew that corporations were giving money to a special nonprofit set up by the convention host committee to get around the Democrats' ban on company cash. Turns out lobbying groups are giving, too.
$12-15 million: Amount the Charlotte host committee is believed to be raising to pay for events designed to showcase Charlotte, known as the New American City fund. Accepts corporate money.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Time for a shameless plug for the Observer’s almost-annual “Firebird” photo contest.
You can win prizes by sending us a photo of yourself standing next to the sculpture at the uptown Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
To celebrate the DNC, the editors have ponied up $25 gift cards. To win one, snap a photo of yourself with the bird and a member of the first family. Upload photos at charlotteobserver.com/contests.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Uptown won't get all the action when the Dems come to town. Take the 2012 DNC Golf Classic, set for Sept. 4 at the Charlotte Country Club. Four members of Congress signed up for the $1,250-per-golfer fundraiser.
Reps. John Yarmuth(Ky.), Cederic Richmond (La.), Joe Courtney (Conn.) and Gene Green (Texas) will be out to benefit The First Tee of Washington, D.C., which introduces golf to youngsters.
Charlotte’s Echo Foundation had hoped to kick off convention week with Bill Clinton as headliner at its 15th annual awards gala. Clinton begged off, but another son of Arkansas – and a bona fide FOB (Friend of Bill) – will deliver the keynote on Sept. 3.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, supreme commander of NATO forces during the Kosovo War and a brief Democratic presidential contender in 2004, will speak on “Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times.”
The real stars of the night will be CLT civic leaders Mary Lou and Jim Babb. They’ll pick up the Echo Award Against Indifference for their many years of educational, cultural and charitable contributions.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Tar Heel native <span class="bold">Charlie Rose </span>will tape his PBS talk show in Charlotte convention week.
So says Bloomberg – the mass media corp., not the NYC mayor. Rose, whose tobacco farmer parents owned a country store in Henderson, will be among 90 or so Bloombergers converging on CLT. They’ll all share space at “Bloomberg Link,” the elegant headquarters the news outfit is creating uptown. (Who knows where? Call us. 704-358-5703)
The protesters are coming, and at least one of the big banks is getting ready. Sources who should know told us that Wells Fargo will likely coat its uptown windows with anti-shatter stuff.
Looks better than boarding them up – still an option, we hear.
With anarchists and Occupiers among the mix of marchers, a source said, “Banks will be such a huge target.” Many Wells Fargo employees will be working from home, far away from protesters.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
The Tampa Bay Times reports this morning that Haley will join former GOP presidential candidate John McCain, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Ohio Gov. John Kasich as a featured speaker.
GOP chairman Reince Priebus called the lineup "some of our party's brightest stars, who have governed and led effectively and admirably in their respective roles."
Democrats earlier announced their headline speakers. Along with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, they include former President Bill Clinton, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and First Lady Michelle Obama.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will give the Democratic keynote. Republicans have yet to announce their keynoter, although New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been mentioned. Jim Morrill
Friday, August 3, 2012
A dark-skinned caricature that’s the logo for the black-owned No Grease barbershops in Charlotte is drawing some attention.
A story reported by WBTV, picked up by BET,says a local business owner is circulating a petition for shop owners Jermaine and Damian Johnson to take down the logo hanging outside their Time Warner Cable Arena shop location because it is controversial.
Jay Whipple, founder and director of Queen City Tours and Travel, told WBTV the logo will be offensive to Democratic National Convention visitors.
"As a kid I was actually called a 'Little Black Sambo' because I was darker than some of my brothers and sisters," said Whipple in the WBTV story. "It was a joke but you don't always realize how damaging it is to you as an African American."
Below is July 2010 column about the No Grease logo by former Charlotte Observer writer Ron Stodghill:
It's time for brothers' minstrel logo to fade to black In case you haven't noticed, some of the world's biggest brands have recently taken a decidedly public plunge into the unknown.
Google's done it. So have Hertz, MasterCard and Audi. Even Kraft, perennial darling of the American stovetop, has jumped headfirst into the mix.
No, they're not helping BP clean up the Gulf.
Yep, they've changed their logos.
Which brings me to the improbable - and admittedly lower-profile - case of No Grease Inc., our own chain of black-owned barbershops that is clinging to a racially explosive minstrel logo like Trump to his comb-over.
Perhaps you've encountered No Grease's logo, the bug-eyed, black-faced caricature inspired by those dehumanizing minstrel shows of yesteryear.
If logos are measured in second looks, this one ranks right up there with the Golden Arches. Trouble is, like swastikas and Indian mascots, minstrels don't exactly evoke humankind's finest hour - or, for my money, put folks in the mood for a haircut.
Yet since No Grease's founding 13 years ago, the caricature has served as the company's proud signature, the branding behind its three shops, barber school and various promotional events and materials that include a book and DVDs.
For me, here's the rub: I like No Grease as a company and progressive brand. I said as much recently in a column about how Damian and twin brother Jermaine Johnson, who co-own the company, are galvanizing the city's black entrepreneurs to become bigger players in Charlotte's economy, something this city really needs.
And I applaud their fledgling organization, the Urban Business Network, which has blossomed to earn the support of several heavy hitters around town, including Ronald Carter, president of Johnson C. Smith University.
But the logo has got to go.
Jermaine, a graphic designer, created what would become the infamous logo back in high school.
Since launching their company with the logo, the brothers have been offering years of thoughtful, if not strained, rationale for subjecting patrons and passers-by to it.
It goes like this: Symbols possess no real power, and No Grease, through its solid work ethic and entrepreneurial success, embodies the notion that racist stereotypes are no match against the real truth of what we can accomplish.
Hey, I get all that. But it's wishful thinking - and maybe a dose of arrogance - to expect ordinary folks to unravel a tangled logic which suggests a caricature of a cooning black man can become - voila! - a socially redeeming force under the right proprietorship.
A bad idea is a bad idea no matter where it lives.
Pity the white business that one day wants to buy No Grease and invest a few million into a minstrel marketing program or perhaps a stadium sponsorship.
Picture it: The No Grease Dome, with a big rotating minstrel on top.
Guys, you're on the fast track now. The minstrel has served you well. Now, can we finally bid him farewell? There's nothing wrong with a good makeover from time to time.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The “Carolina Stories” screening is back on for this week’s Food Truck Friday in Historic South End.
Three local production crews made 30 two-minute videos designed to promote the area to convention visitors. Charlotte in 2012 convention host committee is sponsoring the event in partnership with The Light Factory and Charlotte Center City Partners.
Showtime is 7-10 p.m. at 112 W. Park Ave., at the corner of Camden Road and Park Avenue.
This event was originally scheduled for July 13 but was postponed due to weather. An earlier Convention Watch blog post gave the wrong rescheduled date.