Philadelphia beat out Brooklyn and Columbus for hosting the Democratic National Convention, but how? Was it former governor Ed Rendell’s work behind the scenes and his bed-bug-ridden insults of New York? Or was it his former No. 2 man David Cohen’s ability to pull some strings with Obama and other high-end Democrats? Or did it all come down to a really tasty meal? Billy Penn highlights seven of the people and Philly-specific qualities that helped lead to the Democrats choosing our city for the 2016 Convention.
According to a source quoted by Politico, logistical concerns may have separated Philadelphia from Columbus and Brooklyn as much as anything. Whereas those other cities’ proposed hosting sites feature many residences and businesses that would’ve needed to be blocked off, the area around the Wells Fargo Center is largely parking lots and easier to secure.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said she liked that there are 18,500 hotel rooms within a 15-minute walk of the Wells Fargo Center, also better than Columbus and Brooklyn. That figure certainly sounds like a stretch, but we’ll take it.
The Comcast executive vice president was a senior advisor on the convention committee, and his political ties that stretch all the way to Obama probably helped Philadelphia.
A one-way Broad Street
Rendell helped alleviate the concern of bad traffic by suggesting Philadelphia make Broad Street a one-way, south to the Wells Fargo Center, during the convention. Philadelphia did this in 2000 for the Republican National Convention.
The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall at night
Rendell took Wasserman Schultz and other members of the Democratic National Committee on a tour of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell at night, when it’s normally closed to the public. Wasserman Schultz also got to touch the Liberty Bell.
A delicious meal at High Street on Market
After that tour, Mayor Michael Nutter and Rendell whisked Wasserman Schultz and the committee to High Street on Market for a meal by Ellen Yin and Michael Kulp. They dined on angry crab spaghetti so good they asked for seconds.
Rendell didn’t just give tours of Philadelphia and help organize donations, he talked a good amount of trash on New York. Last summer, he talked publicly about how awful the traffic would be from Manhattan to Brooklyn and sent the Democratic National Committee some articles about NYC’s bed-bug problem and its ridiculously hot subway platforms.