Festivities designed to draw people downtown during DNC
By Stephanie Clary
Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Hollywood hunk Ben Affleck are among those the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee will bring together for its series of roundtable discussions during the Democratic National Convention.
Outside the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Complex on Thursday, July 31, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said the 2008 Rocky Mountain Roundtable will feature leaders from all over the world “talking about the most crucial issues of our time.”
The arts complex will host 10 discussions on various topics, including health, education and technology, Aug. 25-27. Tickets will range from $12, for most roundtables, to $55 for the session on energy and climate change, and go on sale Aug. 11. A schedule is available at www.2008rmr.org.
“I believe you’ll find with the 200 or so dignitaries … that there is going to be tremendous dialogue, exchange and energy that comes from the three days,” said Jim Polsfut, chairman of the roundtable.
Hickenlooper also took the opportunity to highlight the other public events taking place before and during the Aug. 25-28 convention.
“There are a lot of special opportunities, and there is something, literally, for everyone,” he said.
Planned events include a film festival, a traveling presidential exhibit, various concerts and art installations.
This convention “is in every sense a once in a lifetime experience,” he said. “One of my great, great desires is to make sure that … as all these visitors, 50,000 strong, come from all over the country and all over the world, they see what we’ve built here.”
The mayor also had to address questions about whether downtown events might be disrupted by demonstrators.
“There are very few people that are even talking about anarchy,” he said. “The media seems to give them a very broad platform.”
Hickenlooper said police officers have received 30 to 40 hours of training on crowd control.
“Can you predict everything? I don’t know. But, boy, we have studied every example in the past. We have tried to anticipate any possible contingency for the future,” he said.
He ended the conference with a final push for people to take part in the convention-inspired events.
“Come down to the city and experience democracy. It is a once-in-a -lifetime thing,” Hickenlooper said. “If people don’t do it, I think they’ll regret it.”