Philly rolls out the barrel to show the DNC a good time

Posted: August 08, 2014

BREAKFAST at the Comcast tower in Center City. Lunch at Pat's King of Steaks in South Philly. Dinners and drinks at some of the city's swankiest joints.

That's the flavor of Philly that 18 members of the Democratic National Convention's 2016 site-selection committee can expect to taste Wednesday and Thursday when they come calling, right after spending two days touring Brooklyn, N.Y., to see how that borough fails to measure up to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

Philly and Brooklyn are thought to be front-runners to win the convention, with Birmingham, Ala.; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix also in the mix.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell, chairman of the local committee bidding for the convention, joined U.S. Rep. Bob Brady and Mayor Nutter last night to seed the local clouds of enthusiasm with some rah-rah suds at the Independence Beer Garden, across from the Liberty Bell Center.

About 150 people from the corporate, political, nonprofit and activism worlds mingled and quaffed brews in a kickoff party, the first step in recruiting an army of convention volunteers and raising $70 million in local cash.

Yesterday's real goal: a bunch of local media stories about enthusiastic Philadelphians to show the DNC when it arrives.

Brady will serve as tour guide next week for the delegation, which is expected to include DNC executive director Amy Dacey and the technical staff that produced previous conventions.

They'll look at things like the local hotel-room inventory - up 24.5 percent in the region since the city hosted the Republican National Convention in 2000 - along with transportation infrastructure and travel time from hotels to event locations.

They will tour the Wells Fargo Center, where the main convention would be held, along with the Pennsylvania Convention Center and iconic Philly locations like Independence Hall and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

At Pat's, Brady plans to regale the delegates with the story of teaching former President Bill Clinton "the cheesesteak lean" during a 1996 campaign visit there with then-Mayor Rendell.

It goes like this: To consume the sandwich and avoid wearing it on your shirt, eat standing up, tuck in your tie and lean in.

Brady violated that rule two weeks ago when he appeared in a Washington Post video scarfing a cheesesteak at his desk in his U.S. House office while pitching Philly's convention bid.

"I'll make sure they lean," Brady assured us about the delegates next week. "You can't eat a cheesesteak sitting down."

Nutter now seems firmly on board with the convention bid after frustrating Brady in the past with a cautious approach that looked a lot like foot-dragging.

Nutter was quoted widely yesterday in a New York Daily News story about all the reasons Philly is a better pick than Brooklyn.

Politics & public places

Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for governor, in June dismissed as "nonsense" complaints from Gov. Corbett's campaign and the Pennsylvania Republican Party that he'd met in private in City Hall with a quorum of City Council members.

Wolf took a different view toward politics in public buildings this week after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Corbett has been meeting in his state office with campaign staffers as well as state-paid aides.

Chris Pack, Corbett's campaign communications director, this week claimed Wolf "was lobbying the City Council for their political support during official legislative proceedings, violating the city's Sunshine Laws." He sees that as very different from Corbett's meetings with advisers.

"When you're the sitting governor, your schedule obviously includes both official and campaign events," Pack said.

Wolf agrees the two situations are different, but for very different reasons, calling it "ridiculous" to compare the meetings.

"I'm not a public official," Wolf said yesterday, just before a lunch in Philadelphia where the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers gave him a $400,000 campaign contribution.

"I was not there soliciting votes," Wolf said of his June visit to City Hall. "I was there meeting people who I hope are going to be my constituents, if I'm lucky enough to win this race."

McNesby on the move

We told you in June that John McNesby, president of Lodge No. 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police since 2007, has his eye on the state's 5th Senatorial District in Northeast Philly. The current occupant of that seat, state Sen. Mike Stack, is running for lieutenant governor on Wolf's ticket.

McNesby is one step closer to a potential run, having officially retired from the Philadelphia Police Department last week. He remains in charge of the union.

Wolf is leading Corbett in the polling. McNesby tells us he is pushing hard for Stack's election, especially close to home, since about 70 percent of his union members live in Stack's district.


Phone: 215-854-5973

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN


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