This evening, Colorado threw a bash for all the DNC delegates, Recognizing Katrina Relief Organizations, at the Denver Convention Center, hosted by Governor Howard Dean, complete with Cajun fare and music by Randy Newman and others. Oh, and free alcohol spiced the party up quite a bit.
As we were walking into the event, I noticed a street vendor busy trying to push a gold on black image of Barack. The gentleman he was coaxing turned out to be New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin! I asked Chris to snap a quick shot and gave him a business card so he’d know where to look for the photo.
Mayor Nagin would take a few steps before being asked to pose for a photo, or shake hands with one stranger after another. He’s every bit as charming and gracious as I had imagined.
We met up with DPOC chairman Frank Barbaro, Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee John Hanna, mayoral candidate Michele Martinez, and delegates, Davida Hopkins-Parham, Elyssa Fox, Dave Walsh, and convention veteran, Marty Schrank at various times during the evening. Several new found friends from the Stonewall Democrats Convention also met up with us, folks I hope to stay in touch with in the years to come.
The St. Bernard Project, which is getting ready to open a Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic in September, had a table with information about their ongoing struggle to rebuild housing for displaced residents of the parish, and theÂ beginning of construction for Senior Disability rental Housing.
Women of the Storm were also handing out postcards to send to U.S. Senators and Congress members to remind them that there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to rebuild communities devastated by Katrina.
After that party began to wind down, Chris and I headed back to the hotel, stopping for a few minutes to take in a John Denver tribute artist on our way to the free city bus…proving that all parties and events are not created equally. Few people showed up, and even fewer stayed. We decided it was more fun to talk local politics than to stick around. We ran into syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press on the elevator.
I came back downstairs to have a smoke and met a former Hillary Clinton campaign fundraiser, Border MediaÂ Vice Chairman, Thomas Castro, and as his business card reads, “Head Mexican in Charge.” A former California resdent, Castro had a great conversation about Hillary’s campaign in Texas, old Orange County politics, the impressive strength of the Vietnamese community in Orange County. More on that later! Castro is currently working with the Obama campaign’s finance team.
While we were chatting, Castro made arrangements with a local rickshaw driver for a late night jaunt. Conventioneers and guests can travel green by using rickshaw, rental bikes, and walking from venue to venue. Frank Barbaro rode to the delegate party in a completely electric sports car. I was told the price for the sleek vehicle is over $100 thousand. Not likely to be in my price range any time soon.
I saw Delores Huerta of the United Farm Workers arrive after an evening at the Supreme Court cafÃ© and club across the street from the main entrance to the hotel. It’s actually the ground floor of the Tower section of the two-block hotel complex.
As I was coming back inside to get a cup of coffee before writing this post, I ran into delegate Taylor Honrath and chatted with him for a few minutes. Bill Grisolia, alternate in the Long Beach/Palos Verdes area pulled me away to serenade me while playing the lounge piano. He’s quite good. Meanwhile, bloggers were every where in the lounge-busy writing about their experiences.
ThenÂ Grisolia dragged me outside on the patio of the Capitol Bar (packed) for yet another smoke and more talk. I finally had to beg off so I could come upstairs to write and try to get in bed at a decent hour so I can be sharp when Senator Hillary Clinton joins us for breakfast in the morning.
More tomorrow after the breakfast, Unconventional Women event, and an evening Diversity party! It promises to be a long day!