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As the 2012 DNC assumes its place in history, allow me to share a few more thoughts, stories, and pictures of this most excellent week in Charlotte.

First, thanks again to all who showed my DNC diary on Tuesday so much love!  Today I realized I've written three time more diaries in the past month than in my previous three years here.  How can it not be a fantabulous week you wake up refreshed from a long weekend AND on the rec list?

Charlotte Convention Center 9/3/12
Most of my perspective today is as a "townie" who has lived and worked in Charlotte in the midst of this beautiful madness.  Eventually I will do a separate diary on the volunteer experience, including tips for aspiring volunteers at future conventions.  In the meantime, enjoy!
Press pit, Charlotte Convention Center 9/3/12

It was an incredible thrill to have my home of eight years, Charlotte, NC, selected to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  It was also a little scary.  There's been no shortage of doubt, even negativity, leading up to this event.  The bar was set high regardless of what happened in Tampa.  I registered as a volunteer not only because I love my President dearly, but because I am proud of my city and wanted to help make my city proud.

Together, it looks like we did.  From former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe:

"I've got to take my hat off to Charlotte. They did a magnificent job. It's a great city. It was easy to get around, great hospitality."

McAuliffe has been to 10 conventions, and ran two previous ones in Boston and Los Angeles. He joked with Mayor Foxx Thursday about making Charlotte the home for the DNC.

"I think we should make Charlotte--I went up and saw your mayor for a little bit--and I said we ought to make this the permanent site," McAuliffe said smiling.

This made my heart sing:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Two California delegates and another from Washington State were waiting for the signal to change at Stonewall and Tryon streets on Friday afternoon when they noticed the badge on a Charlotte Observer reporter who was returning to the newsroom.

"Excuse me," California delegate Rachel Binah said. "Is there someone we can speak to at your paper? I want to thank the people of this city. I am astonished at how caring, kind and helpful the people of this city are. Every single person I came in contact with was extraordinarily kind."

More random thoughts:

Weather:
When the announcement came Wednesday that the President's acceptance speech would be moved from BofA Stadium to the much-smaller TWC Arena, 65,000 credential holders were suddenly without seats.  As many as 10,000 "fired up and ready to serve" volunteers had our shifts canceled.  

It was a huge disappointment, but that's all.  It was not a scandal, fiasco, disaster or misstep.  Especially as one tasked with ADA support, this is not something you want to see heading for a concrete-and-steel bowl containing 70K+ people, high voltage, and limited exits.

From Stonewall rail station, Charlotte, NC 9/3/12
I was at the James Taylor concert on Monday when a severe storm moved in.  It was no joke.  There was a lot of electrical equipment and very little shelter available to fools like me still angling for a better stage view instead of running for cover.  This was my last shot before the skies opened and the show was shut down.  
CarolinaFest, Uptown Charlotte, NC 9/3/12
The finger-wagging and nay-saying commenced the moment the announcement was made, but not from a single volunteer or credential holder I know.  The sour grapes mysteriously ceased around 4pm EDT on Thursday.  The text is blurry, but that's Bank of America stadium circled in the middle.
Uptown Charlotte Doppler Radar, 9/6/12, 4:00pm EDT.  Any questions?
Regional Doppler radar, Charlotte metro, 9/6/12.  Weather.com screenshot
It couldn't have been an easy call to make, but it was the right one.

The canceled stadium event resulted in 8,000 pounds of leftover food.  Fear not, Dems again shared the love:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Sixty-five thousand people may have been disappointed by the cancellation of President Barack Obama’s Bank of America Stadium speech Thursday, but Charlotte’s homeless and hungry were celebrating in high style on Friday.

All the fancy catered food intended for the VIP suites and club rooms at the stadium – and perhaps even for the president himself – was redistributed Friday to local soup kitchens and shelters, via Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

On the menu: thousands of pounds of pecan-fried chicken, baked orzo, fresh crudités, three bean bake, fresh cut fruit and something called short rib cobbler.

Now that's good karma.

Security:
SteelerDude got up close and personal on this when his car broke down a few blocks from the perimeter during Tuesday evening's heavy rains.  He'd been jamming at a friend's condo and was driving home when it abruptly stopped in the middle of the street.    

He called me for help, but it would've taken me an hour to get there in traffic.  There was a strict no-parking/stopping policy in effect for miles up the local Interstates this week.  Multiple officers were on scene before I could finish telling him they'd find him faster than I could :-0

His saxophone case attracted some scrutiny from the authorities until he showed his chops with a little Coltrane.  While they checked him out, he summoned AAA.  Quickest tow truck arrival ever :-D   He was cleared, the car was hooked up, and he arrived home soaked and spent, but safe!

Law enforcement officers from as far away as Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago were in town to help out.  We talked to a Chicago officer for a few minutes on Monday while drying out under a tent, and he expressed pleasant surprise at the cleanliness and friendliness of the city.  

Moments like that may seem minor in the big picture, but they make the some of the best memories.  It is in those brief but heartfelt connections among strangers that good will takes root, multiplies, and blossoms into the indescribable energy we've all felt here this week.

Traffic:
As a daily local commuter, I had no significant traffic problems.  I worked Tuesday and Wednesday, and while traffic speed and volume varies from day to day, this week was nothing unusual.  I've seen far, far worse.  

Loonies!
No large gathering of amazingly cool Democrats would be complete without them, and they didn't disappoint.  I encountered this mobile masterpiece less than a mile from home.

North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 9/3/12
On Saturday morning, I spotted an airplane pulling a banner with an anti-abortion message circling the city.  I was barely able to make out the words, though I wasn't driving and have 20/20 vision.  It wasn't even worth trying to take a picture with my phone.  This is how they spend their money?

Then there's this guy.  I've seen him around town before, though he's apparently from Colorado.  This was taken after the storm on my soggy way back to the rail station.  

No comment.  Uptown Charlotte, 9/3/12
A closer look:
Uptown Charlotte, 9/3/12
I almost felt sorry for this next guy.  Not only was no one paying him the least bit of attention, but no morality, families, or children were being attacked for entire city blocks around us.  
Um, OK.  Uptown Charlotte, 9/3/12
A bit more detail:
Protester, Uptown Charlotte, 9/3/12.  The sign reads, "
I wish safe travels to our many honored guests now headed for home, and hope each of you leave with fond memories.  Forward!

Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 11:05 PM PT: It's an honor to be in the Community Spotlight, thanks so much!  I'll hang around until the sandman catches up with me.

Originally posted to SteelerGrrl on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 09:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town and Community Spotlight.

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