CL and HuffPost team up for DNC/Occupy Charlotte coverage



The first in a series of collaborations between Creative Loafing and The Huffington Post leading up to the Democratic National Convention next year reached the No. 1 spot on the site shortly after it was published at 11:27 a.m. EST. It's on a story we've been following closely in the CLog — the ongoing relationship between Occupy Charlotte and the city's leaders.

Here's an excerpt:

When the Democratic National Committee picked Charlotte to host its September 2012 convention, city leaders saw it as a boost to the local service economy. Hotels would be filled, restaurants would be booked, and party spaces would be rented. Up until a few months ago, officials only had to worry about the would-be traffic congestion on Trade Street as lobbyists shuffled to the next cocktail party. But now, they have to be concerned about feistier visitors known as Occupy Wall Street.

If Charlotte officials fear having another Chicago '68 on their hands, they're hoping to take one essential weapon out of the hands of activists: their tents. On Oct. 27, the Charlotte city manager released a draft ordinance that makes camping on public property a "public nuisance" and would prohibit "noxious substances," padlocks and other camping equipment that city officials fear could impede traffic and create public safety issues.

The Charlotte City Council has not yet voted on the ordinance, and some argue its language is vague and may violate First Amendment rights. "If the ordinance is passed, it is possible that its constitutionality will be challenged," wrote Isaac Sturgill, director of the Charlotte School of Law chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, in an editorial that will run in the Charlotte alternative weekly Creative Loafing on Dec. 13. "There is also the potential for increased confrontation between protesters and police."

Read the entire article, by HuffPost reporter Jason Cherkis and myself, at this link.

We reached out to every city council member, including the four n00bs. Only two responded with comments: Michael Barnes (D) and Warren Cooksey (R). They say to expect the ordinance to get some attention from the council (the press and Occupiers, too) in January.

Read the drafted ordinance here, and the memo Police Chief Rodney Monroe and appointed city manager Curt Walton sent to the city council here.

In the meantime, while Charlotte gussies up for the DNC, Tampa, Fla., is getting ready for the Republican National Convention. (Reporter Mitch Perry at our sister paper in Tampa has been hard at work reporting on that convention.) And which convention will be rowdier?

Roll Call bets the DNC will be where all the action is at. As the Occupy movement begins to lose steam, reports Stuart Rothenberg, he's betting it will be a factor during these major political conventions, especially in Charlotte:

While the Occupy movement is likely to show up at the Democratic and Republican conventions in Charlotte and Tampa respectively, activists will potentially be more disruptive in Charlotte.

Republicans can easily dismiss the Occupy crowd as a bunch of radicals, and the more confrontational the protesters look, the better the Republican view will appear.

Democrats will be in an inherently more awkward position, because the party and the Occupy activists will be blaming corporations, the banks, Wall Street and the wealthy for taking advantage of the “little guy” and for refusing to pay their fair share.

The Democratic National Convention, of course, will be held in the Time Warner Cable Arena. The city’s football stadium, where President Barack Obama could give his acceptance speech, is Bank of America Stadium.

Charlotte is Bank of America’s corporate headquarters, along with Duke Energy and Goodrich, the former rubber and tire company that now calls itself “a global leader in the aerospace, defense and homeland security markets” on its website.

You get the picture. There will be plenty of opportunities and venues for OWS activists to make statements about the country — statements which could well make some Democrats very uncomfortable.

Read the entire article here.

Watch the Charlotte City Council's Nov. 14 discussion about the ordinance:

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