Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where were all the Republicans?

At least the streets are clean.

I have seen the street-cleaner only one other time this year for opening day of the Rays at Tropicana Field. The preparations for the arrival of Politicians and the elite were not unnoticed. Many businesses planned on staying open later than normal hours to accommodate the Welcome Party patrons.

I overheard and spoke with many of my fellow St. Petersburg residents and service industry workers who noticed changes around the downtown area prior to the RNC. This included but was not limited to increased police force, new streetlights and city beautification. Furthermore, the money spent on the Republican National Convention was nearly $55 million for the Democrats and roughly $73 million for the Republicans.

The media inflated predictions of Hurricane Issac's effect on the Bay Area which caused a stir among visitors, but the low pressure system only yielded slight wind and rain. The road closures and weather made the city look abandoned. The only vehicles in passing were police cars of every kind, or the occasional bike gang of brown-clad cops.

Sunday night left locals scratching their heads. I watched as one establishment prepared for a private "after party" in which the request was to shut the entire place down for any guest other than those invited to the party, even before the festivities in the Trop began. The least of expectations was that there may be a surge of some visitors making their way back from the kick off celebration. No one came. In fact, there were many large buses that transported people in and out of St. Petersburg. Other than the private party I noticed no immediate economic contribution to The Burg's businesses as predicted.

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