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What Did It All Mean for L.A.?=20
 Convention gave Democrats and protesters an audience, but some yawned. =
Economic verdict is still out.=20


By JAMES RAINEY, STEPHEN BRAUN, Times Staff Writers





     And so the last speech has been delivered and the balloons have =
been dropped. The demonstrators have made their last march across the =
city, having created no real chaos, but plenty of confusion. The pundits =
have had their say, telling us, predictably, that politics have become =
too predictable.=20
     What did it all mean?=20
     Los Angeles is a big city, and the Democratic National Convention =
that concluded Thursday will leave behind few lasting traces: a =
refurbished roller skating pit and boardwalk at Venice Beach; glowing =
red, white and blue towers at Los Angeles International Airport; =
caterers' bills to beat the band; and a minor backlog of misdemeanor =
cases in Municipal Court.=20
     Still, to say that this odd event had no meaning would be wrong. It =
was meaningful as a circus is meaningful--to the spectators in the tent, =
to the trapeze artist working without a net, to the passersby, who can't =
quite understand what all the fuss is about.=20
     In the end, the convention mattered not because it delivered any =
great revelations--no unique political message emerged, no fortunes were =
lost or won--but because 35,000 delegates, politicians, journalists, =
protesters and their hosts wanted it to matter.=20
     It mattered, of course, to Al Gore, the high-wire act in this =
circus. He needed to give a performance that would make the nation--or =
at least 50%-plus-one of its voters--begin to see him no longer as =
President Clinton's sidekick but, rather, as he put it himself Thursday =
night, his "own man."=20
     It mattered to the street vendors who made a few hundred extra =
dollars selling their fried chorizo. It mattered to the A-list =
Washingtonians, who rented out Los Angeles for a week as their own =
private sound stage.=20
     And it mattered to Chief Bernard C. Parks and the Los Angeles =
Police Department, who had been more or less put on notice that another =
Rodney G. King outbreak, or even a post-Laker-championship-style melee, =
would not be tolerated.=20
     Demonstrators who hoped Los Angeles would climax a year of street =
protests were parried and repelled. But their message still got out, =
under a thousand headlines and on countless channels around the globe. =
They promise they will not disappear.=20
     Parties blossomed everywhere, even if not everyone could get in. =
The production crew of television's "West Wing" chuckled at one woman's =
pathetic plea for a pass to their exclusive bash for Chelsea Clinton. =
The journalist shouted and begged--she would lose her job without a =
ticket!=20
     Soon, she may be looking for work.=20
     At one party early in the week, giant images of the city and its =
people splashed across downtown high-rises, bringing a smile to the face =
of a Venice man named Pappy. Swaying to the salsa music, the 55-year-old =
summed up his joy this way: "I am just loving all of this. We invited in =
the whole world, and we really put our best foot forward."=20
     But some were ready long before week's end to snatch up the welcome =
mat. A secretary named Angela seethed about how protest marches and =
police skirmish lines turned her one-bus, 20-minute commute into a =
two-transfer, 3 1/2-hour voyage of the damned.=20
     "I'm more than ready for the Democrats to go home," she said. =
"Right now!"=20
     For most others, the roar in the heart of the City of Angels was a =
vague and distant thunder. Rafael Brown, a 21-year-old surfer, spent =
Thursday at Santa Monica Beach. "What's the convention?" the West Los =
Angeles resident asked. "Is that where all the people are talking for =
president on TV right now?"=20

     LAPD Ruled the Blacktop=20
     "Whose streets? Our streets! . . . Whose streets? Our streets!"=20
     The chant echoed all week, but no matter how much the activists =
wished it were true, it was the LAPD that ruled the blacktop.=20
     The locals were backed up by 2,700 California Highway Patrol =
officers, who were ordered to Los Angeles by Gov. Gray Davis. So many =
brown-uniformed state officers prowled the streets that one might have =
wondered who was watching the highways in Yolo County.=20
     The show of force worked. The LAPD recorded 194 arrests, fewer than =
the 390 made during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. =
All but 59 in L.A. were for misdemeanor offenses. There was no serious =
property damage and no major injuries.=20
     A defining moment turned out to be Monday night's street =
confrontation--after a polemic-laced concert by the thrash-rap group =
Rage Against the Machine.=20
     Small errors by the police and a single bad decision by a protest =
organizer made a bad scene worse.=20
     It began as the concert wound down. A small group of spectators in =
the protest pit began throwing rocks, cement chunks and bottles at =
police. Officers let the fusillade last for about half an hour, before =
they pulled the plug on a second band and ordered everyone to disperse.=20
     Twenty minutes later, nearly 200 people who did not make it out =
were caught between police horses and the pellet-rifle squads outside. =
Pinned against a locked gate, they were unsure whose orders to follow. =
One group of officers shouted, "Get down! Get down!" Others yelled, =
"Move it!"=20
     Further west on Olympic Boulevard, homeless activist Ted Hayes made =
a snap decision that ratcheted up the tension. Frustrated and =
disappointed that his Homeless Convention down the street had drawn =
little attention, Hayes led a candlelight procession of just 30 =
followers directly into the chaos.=20
     Holding a parade permit and toting an American flag, Hayes joined =
the other protesters just as they were finally beginning a slow retreat. =
Many turned back to confront the police again. Others lingered, =
uncertain, but still in the line of fire.=20
     Seconds later, the shower of rubber pellets began to bruise and =
sting again.=20
     Hayes noted ruefully later that the police, nervous and tired, had =
some justification: "To them, I was just some black guy, carrying an =
American flag and looking like he was leading a re-attack."=20
     "It was not smart on my part," he said. "If I was an officer in =
that situation . . . I am probably going to drop the guy out in front =
and make it stop."=20
     Apparently, police thought exactly that. A police bean bag blast =
sent Hayes crumpling to the ground, one leg wrapped in his American =
flag.=20
     For almost a week, the derelicts and pigeons of Pershing Square =
were forced to give way to a new menagerie--vegans, young socialists, =
anarchists, Rastafarians, Green Party members, trade unionists. In the =
words of San Francisco poet Gg Poetrescr who wandered through the =
square, it was an assemblage essentially "down with everything."=20

     A Wide Variety of Causes=20
     One protester earnestly told a radio reporter about his campaign to =
ban breast-feeding. His mother had nursed him, the man explained, and he =
had been left obsessed with "oral gratification" and needing to smoke =
two packs of cigarettes a day.=20
     One afternoon, during a march against "corporate greed," a group of =
environmentalists rolled a butchered stump of an old-growth redwood down =
Figueroa Street. Behind them were protesters costumed as Gore and George =
W. Bush, lolling on a mobile bed, with a bevy of "corporate whores."=20
     There was method in the mayhem. The vivid images caught the eyes =
and lenses of journalists from around the world. The excitement infected =
young activists, who made plans to stick with what one called "the new =
democratic movement."=20
     One group of Los Angeles teens said they are already planning a =
school walkout this fall, demanding more school spending and less =
support for the nation's "prison-industrial complex."=20
     "There is always concern that any movement traveling around like a =
circus might lose its momentum and its flavor," said Luis Sanchez, an =
organizer for the group, Youth Organizing Communities, and a native of =
the Eastside. "But we are in this for the long run. . . . We are not =
going away."=20

     From a Business Angle: Mixed Tally=20
     Los Angeles' business community has become accustomed to living =
with lowered expectations--when big events promise to bring in big =
money.=20
     The 1984 Olympics weren't the moneymaker for business that they =
were supposed to be. Neither was the 1994 World Cup. Some experts were =
already guessing Friday that the Democratic convention too would fail to =
meet the projection of a $132.5-million boost to the local economy.=20
     The ledgers are far from balanced, but businesspeople suggested a =
mixed tally at best.=20
     Area hotels were supposed to book 94,500 "room nights" for the =
convention. But the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau said they =
had logged only 77,233. Party planners, restaurants and bars hoped for =
$12 million in sales. But the lavish spreads promised to total much =
more.=20
     The jewelry district downtown went into virtual shutdown. Fearing =
vandalism, the businesses inflicted losses of up to $30 million on =
themselves. Other merchants--including an office furniture store, a =
grocery and a ticket broker--near Staples Center were temporarily put =
out of business by police barricades.=20
     A special shopping night for delegates at the downtown mall newly =
named 7 + FIG, drew just 50 patrons, despite raffles, discounts and free =
giveaways.=20
     Sy Zagha said his City Blues clothing store on Broadway hadn't seen =
it so bad since the 1992 riots. Business was scared off by all the =
police and the demonstrators, said Zagha, 64.=20
     "A little retailer," he said, "can't take losing this kind of =
business for long."=20
     But for many others, pluck and persistence paid off. Pouria Gotriz, =
owner of Broadway's Milano Jewelry--one of the few gem shops that stayed =
open--was so busy she had to hire two more salesclerks and keep her =
repair man on seven days, instead of his usual five. Business was up 50% =
and Gotriz was crowing: "All the other jewelry stores downtown are =
afraid of a little chaos."=20
     Cabbies and caterers also profited.=20
     Timothy Bopp, 55, pulled down at least $300 on a Monday shift in =
his cab that would normally net $100. "It's a fabulous moneymaker for =
the city," said Bopp, a lifelong Angeleno.=20
     On the other side of the ledger, the public had been spared some of =
the expense of, say, Philadelphia, which joined other public agencies in =
putting $24 million into last month's Republican convention. L.A.'s tab =
is expected to top out at $11 million in cash and advance services, with =
police overtime and other costs adding at least $6 million more.=20
     But the city also fell far short of its early pledge to run the =
first national political convention funded entirely by the private =
sector.=20
     Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic =
Development Corp., said the city would probably obtain a better bottom =
line with a "heavy-duty" business convention.=20
     "If someone ever asks if we should bid for another political =
convention," he said, "my answer would be no. What did we gain?"=20

     High Stakes Inside Arena=20
     There was business being transacted inside the hall too, but the =
stakes could be considered much higher than lost sales of pants and =
watches. The fall product line was Al Gore, Joseph I. Lieberman and the =
2000 Democratic ticket, and the party's marketers had stitched together =
a four-day spectacle aimed at whipping up the regulars, subtly swaying =
the media and luring millions of television viewers.=20
     The challenge was no small one. On the historic night of =
Lieberman's nomination as vice president, after all, the Democrats ran =
into nearly 29 million Americans more interested in who would be kicked =
off television's "Survivor."=20
     "Look, at the end of the day, we know people tune the Republicans =
out and tune us out," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry =
McAuliffe. "But if we put on a good show, we can change a few minds out =
there, get people charged up."=20
     That task of firing up folks at home and on the floor fell to Gary =
Smith, a gray-bearded veteran of past Democratic conventions who =
orchestrated this year's four-day affair and many of its TV images from =
a control tower directly across from the vaulting pastel gray podium.=20
     Smith choreographed an arsenal of cameras--from hand-held models =
snaking along the convention floor to a massive, 360-degree rotating eye =
in the sky.=20
     Every time the networks chose to use one of Smith's determinedly =
uplifting images, he chalked up a victory for the party and Gore.=20
     "Whenever we can get them to use our shots," Smith said, "it's a =
small win. That's our message getting out."=20
     A few fleeting moments actually pulsed with the power of great =
television: Gore's high-fiving emergence from the hall, Clinton's power =
strut through Staples' backstage maze, Al and Tipper's amorous, =
time-stopping embrace before 20,000 cheering voyeurs.=20
     But much of the confab droned past like the final bleary hours of a =
Jerry Lewis telethon, tightly choreographed, terse, barely memorable. =
Forty politicians a day shuttled to the podium, their entrances so timed =
that some of them ran to their marks.=20
     Smith's crew knew in advance where actors Harry Hamlin and William =
Baldwin were sitting, knew when to train on vanquished primary foe Bill =
Bradley and the Gutierrezes of San Antonio, a Texas family planted in =
the gallery to symbolize victims of dilapidated schools.=20
     On the final night, Smith led his electronic orchestra like a =
conductor swept away by his score.=20
     From the moment Gore appeared on the convention floor, Smith was a =
man possessed. He bounced in his seat. He waved his arms. Barking at his =
lighting crew to dim the hall, he pounded the air with his fists and =
stamped his feet as if his motion alone might get it done faster.=20
     As Gore neared his finish, Smith was almost out of his skin with =
tension--glancing at his watch, shuffling papers endlessly.=20
     Finally, on the last page, he leaned into his seat. As Gore's "God =
bless America" was drowned out by the final roar, Smith was out of his =
seat, arms skyward.=20
     "Go balloons! Go music!" he bellowed. Smith looked toward the roof =
just as the first red balloon floated loose. Then he collapsed back into =
his chair.=20
     With the last balloon yet to settle to the floor, the media =
monolith that had taken over Staples Center began to loosen its grip.=20
     Technicians spooled up 300 miles of cable that had tethered =
hundreds of cameras and microphones to the outside world. Workstations =
were collapsed and stacked. Reporters hugged and promised not to wait =
four years to see each other again.=20
     Outside the hall, the armies of CHP officers already had their =
cruisers pointed toward home. A few hundred protesters staged one last =
stand outside the Twin Towers jail, demanding the release of their =
brethren, but then peacefully dispersed. Pershing Square belonged to the =
pigeons again and a few exhausted police officers.=20
     Amazingly, in a week without secrets, party functionaries managed =
to hide the fact that the president of the United States--or a =
reasonable facsimile--had watched Gore's speech from a sky box high =
above the floor.=20
     Two hours after the address was over, the chief executive and a =
small entourage tried to slip out a back door of the arena. But dozens =
of stragglers spotted him and, true to form, he could not resist the =
crowd--hugging delegates, posing for pictures, soul-shaking with a union =
member and even granting a quick interview for Chilean TV.=20
     Then President Josiah Bartlet--actor Martin Sheen from "West =
Wing"--strode out the back door of the arena and into the night.=20
     Their brush with Hollywood now complete, the out-of-towners could =
go home, one Virginia delegate gushing: "This is the closest I'm going =
to get to the president."=20
     The Democrats are gone. And Los Angeles is spinning back on its =
axis again.=20



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<P><SPAN class=3DcHeadline1><B>What Did It All Mean for L.A.? =
<BR></B></SPAN><!-- end main headline --><!-- start keydeck --><IMG =
alt=3D""=20
height=3D6 hspace=3D3 =
src=3D"cid:007901c00be5$01f93720$badfd49b@oemcomputer" vspace=3D2=20
width=3D6> Convention gave Democrats and protesters an audience, but =
some yawned.=20
Economic verdict is still out. <BR><!-- end keydeck --><!-- start author =
& byline -->
<P><SPAN class=3Dcauthor>By JAMES RAINEY, STEPHEN BRAUN, Times Staff=20
Writers<BR><BR></SPAN>
<P><!-- end author & byline --><!--STORY BEGINS-->
<P><SPAN class=3DcLocation><!-- dateline --></SPAN><SPAN=20
class=3DcontentFirst><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;And so the last =
speech has=20
been delivered and the balloons have been dropped. The demonstrators =
have made=20
their last march across the city, having created no real chaos, but =
plenty of=20
confusion. The pundits have had their say, telling us, predictably, that =

politics have become too predictable. =
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What did=20
it all mean? <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Los Angeles is a big =
city, and=20
the Democratic National Convention that concluded Thursday will leave =
behind few=20
lasting traces: a refurbished roller skating pit and boardwalk at Venice =
Beach;=20
glowing red, white and blue towers at Los Angeles International Airport; =

caterers' bills to beat the band; and a minor backlog of misdemeanor =
cases in=20
Municipal Court. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Still, to say that =
this odd=20
event had no meaning would be wrong. It was meaningful as a circus is=20
meaningful--to the spectators in the tent, to the trapeze artist working =
without=20
a net, to the passersby, who can't quite understand what all the fuss is =
about.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;In the end, the convention mattered =
not=20
because it delivered any great revelations--no unique political message =
emerged,=20
no fortunes were lost or won--but because 35,000 delegates, politicians, =

journalists, protesters and their hosts wanted it to matter.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It mattered, of course, to Al Gore, =
the=20
high-wire act in this circus. He needed to give a performance that would =
make=20
the nation--or at least 50%-plus-one of its voters--begin to see him no =
longer=20
as President Clinton's sidekick but, rather, as he put it himself =
Thursday=20
night, his "own man." <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It mattered to =
the=20
street vendors who made a few hundred extra dollars selling their fried =
chorizo.=20
It mattered to the A-list Washingtonians, who rented out Los Angeles for =
a week=20
as their own private sound stage. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;And =
it=20
mattered to Chief Bernard C. Parks and the Los Angeles Police =
Department, who=20
had been more or less put on notice that another Rodney G. King =
outbreak, or=20
even a post-Laker-championship-style melee, would not be tolerated.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Demonstrators who hoped Los Angeles =
would=20
climax a year of street protests were parried and repelled. But their =
message=20
still got out, under a thousand headlines and on countless channels =
around the=20
globe. They promise they will not disappear.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Parties blossomed everywhere, even if =
not=20
everyone could get in. The production crew of television's "West Wing" =
chuckled=20
at one woman's pathetic plea for a pass to their exclusive bash for =
Chelsea=20
Clinton. The journalist shouted and begged--she would lose her job =
without a=20
ticket! <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Soon, she may be looking for =
work.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;At one party early in the week, giant =
images=20
of the city and its people splashed across downtown high-rises, bringing =
a smile=20
to the face of a Venice man named Pappy. Swaying to the salsa music, the =

55-year-old summed up his joy this way: "I am just loving all of this. =
We=20
invited in the whole world, and we really put our best foot forward."=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But some were ready long before week's =
end to=20
snatch up the welcome mat. A secretary named Angela seethed about how =
protest=20
marches and police skirmish lines turned her one-bus, 20-minute commute =
into a=20
two-transfer, 3 1/2-hour voyage of the damned.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"I'm more than ready for the Democrats =
to go=20
home," she said. "Right now!" <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;For most =
others,=20
the roar in the heart of the City of Angels was a vague and distant =
thunder.=20
Rafael Brown, a 21-year-old surfer, spent Thursday at Santa Monica =
Beach.=20
"What's the convention?" the West Los Angeles resident asked. "Is that =
where all=20
the people are talking for president on TV right now?"=20
<B><BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;LAPD Ruled the Blacktop</B>=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Whose streets? Our streets! . . . =
Whose=20
streets? Our streets!" <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The chant =
echoed all=20
week, but no matter how much the activists wished it were true, it was =
the LAPD=20
that ruled the blacktop. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The locals =
were=20
backed up by 2,700 California Highway Patrol officers, who were ordered =
to Los=20
Angeles by Gov. Gray Davis. So many brown-uniformed state officers =
prowled the=20
streets that one might have wondered who was watching the highways in =
Yolo=20
County. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The show of force worked. The =
LAPD=20
recorded 194 arrests, fewer than the 390 made during the Republican =
National=20
Convention in Philadelphia. All but 59 in L.A. were for misdemeanor =
offenses.=20
There was no serious property damage and no major injuries.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A defining moment turned out to be =
Monday=20
night's street confrontation--after a polemic-laced concert by the =
thrash-rap=20
group Rage Against the Machine. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Small =
errors=20
by the police and a single bad decision by a protest organizer made a =
bad scene=20
worse. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It began as the concert wound =
down. A=20
small group of spectators in the protest pit began throwing rocks, =
cement chunks=20
and bottles at police. Officers let the fusillade last for about half an =
hour,=20
before they pulled the plug on a second band and ordered everyone to =
disperse.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Twenty minutes later, nearly 200 =
people who=20
did not make it out were caught between police horses and the =
pellet-rifle=20
squads outside. Pinned against a locked gate, they were unsure whose =
orders to=20
follow. One group of officers shouted, "Get down! Get down!" Others =
yelled,=20
"Move it!" <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Further west on Olympic =
Boulevard,=20
homeless activist Ted Hayes made a snap decision that ratcheted up the =
tension.=20
Frustrated and disappointed that his Homeless Convention down the street =
had=20
drawn little attention, Hayes led a candlelight procession of just 30 =
followers=20
directly into the chaos. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Holding a =
parade=20
permit and toting an American flag, Hayes joined the other protesters =
just as=20
they were finally beginning a slow retreat. Many turned back to confront =
the=20
police again. Others lingered, uncertain, but still in the line of fire. =

<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Seconds later, the shower of rubber =
pellets=20
began to bruise and sting again. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Hayes =
noted=20
ruefully later that the police, nervous and tired, had some =
justification: "To=20
them, I was just some black guy, carrying an American flag and looking =
like he=20
was leading a re-attack." <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"It was not =
smart on=20
my part," he said. "If I was an officer in that situation . . . I am =
probably=20
going to drop the guy out in front and make it stop."=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Apparently, police thought exactly =
that. A=20
police bean bag blast sent Hayes crumpling to the ground, one leg =
wrapped in his=20
American flag. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;For almost a week, the=20
derelicts and pigeons of Pershing Square were forced to give way to a =
new=20
menagerie--vegans, young socialists, anarchists, Rastafarians, Green =
Party=20
members, trade unionists. In the words of San Francisco poet Gg =
Poetrescr who=20
wandered through the square, it was an assemblage essentially "down with =

everything." <B><BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A Wide Variety of=20
Causes</B> <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;One protester earnestly =
told a=20
radio reporter about his campaign to ban breast-feeding. His mother had =
nursed=20
him, the man explained, and he had been left obsessed with "oral =
gratification"=20
and needing to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;One afternoon, during a march against=20
"corporate greed," a group of environmentalists rolled a butchered stump =
of an=20
old-growth redwood down Figueroa Street. Behind them were protesters =
costumed as=20
Gore and George W. Bush, lolling on a mobile bed, with a bevy of =
"corporate=20
whores." <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There was method in the =
mayhem. The=20
vivid images caught the eyes and lenses of journalists from around the =
world.=20
The excitement infected young activists, who made plans to stick with =
what one=20
called "the new democratic movement." =
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;One=20
group of Los Angeles teens said they are already planning a school =
walkout this=20
fall, demanding more school spending and less support for the nation's=20
"prison-industrial complex." <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"There is =
always=20
concern that any movement traveling around like a circus might lose its =
momentum=20
and its flavor," said Luis Sanchez, an organizer for the group, Youth =
Organizing=20
Communities, and a native of the Eastside. "But we are in this for the =
long run.=20
. . . We are not going away." =
<B><BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;From a=20
Business Angle: Mixed Tally</B> <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Los =
Angeles'=20
business community has become accustomed to living with lowered=20
expectations--when big events promise to bring in big money.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The 1984 Olympics weren't the =
moneymaker for=20
business that they were supposed to be. Neither was the 1994 World Cup. =
Some=20
experts were already guessing Friday that the Democratic convention too =
would=20
fail to meet the projection of a $132.5-million boost to the local =
economy.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The ledgers are far from balanced, but =

businesspeople suggested a mixed tally at best.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Area hotels were supposed to book =
94,500 "room=20
nights" for the convention. But the Los Angeles Convention &amp; =
Visitors Bureau=20
said they had logged only 77,233. Party planners, restaurants and bars =
hoped for=20
$12 million in sales. But the lavish spreads promised to total much =
more.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The jewelry district downtown went =
into=20
virtual shutdown. Fearing vandalism, the businesses inflicted losses of =
up to=20
$30 million on themselves. Other merchants--including an office =
furniture store,=20
a grocery and a ticket broker--near Staples Center were temporarily put =
out of=20
business by police barricades. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A =
special=20
shopping night for delegates at the downtown mall newly named 7 + FIG, =
drew just=20
50 patrons, despite raffles, discounts and free giveaways.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Sy Zagha said his City Blues clothing =
store on=20
Broadway hadn't seen it so bad since the 1992 riots. Business was scared =
off by=20
all the police and the demonstrators, said Zagha, 64.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"A little retailer," he said, "can't =
take=20
losing this kind of business for long." =
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But=20
for many others, pluck and persistence paid off. Pouria Gotriz, owner of =

Broadway's Milano Jewelry--one of the few gem shops that stayed =
open--was so=20
busy she had to hire two more salesclerks and keep her repair man on =
seven days,=20
instead of his usual five. Business was up 50% and Gotriz was crowing: =
"All the=20
other jewelry stores downtown are afraid of a little chaos."=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cabbies and caterers also profited.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Timothy Bopp, 55, pulled down at least =
$300 on=20
a Monday shift in his cab that would normally net $100. "It's a fabulous =

moneymaker for the city," said Bopp, a lifelong Angeleno.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;On the other side of the ledger, the =
public=20
had been spared some of the expense of, say, Philadelphia, which joined =
other=20
public agencies in putting $24 million into last month's Republican =
convention.=20
L.A.'s tab is expected to top out at $11 million in cash and advance =
services,=20
with police overtime and other costs adding at least $6 million more.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But the city also fell far short of =
its early=20
pledge to run the first national political convention funded entirely by =
the=20
private sector. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Jack Kyser, chief =
economist=20
for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said the city =
would=20
probably obtain a better bottom line with a "heavy-duty" business =
convention.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"If someone ever asks if we should bid =
for=20
another political convention," he said, "my answer would be no. What did =
we=20
gain?" <B><BR><BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;High Stakes Inside =
Arena</B>=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There was business being transacted =
inside the=20
hall too, but the stakes could be considered much higher than lost sales =
of=20
pants and watches. The fall product line was Al Gore, Joseph I. =
Lieberman and=20
the 2000 Democratic ticket, and the party's marketers had stitched =
together a=20
four-day spectacle aimed at whipping up the regulars, subtly swaying the =
media=20
and luring millions of television viewers. =
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The=20
challenge was no small one. On the historic night of Lieberman's =
nomination as=20
vice president, after all, the Democrats ran into nearly 29 million =
Americans=20
more interested in who would be kicked off television's "Survivor."=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Look, at the end of the day, we know =
people=20
tune the Republicans out and tune us out," said Democratic National =
Committee=20
Chairman Terry McAuliffe. "But if we put on a good show, we can change a =
few=20
minds out there, get people charged up." =
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;That=20
task of firing up folks at home and on the floor fell to Gary Smith, a=20
gray-bearded veteran of past Democratic conventions who orchestrated =
this year's=20
four-day affair and many of its TV images from a control tower directly =
across=20
from the vaulting pastel gray podium. =
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Smith=20
choreographed an arsenal of cameras--from hand-held models snaking along =
the=20
convention floor to a massive, 360-degree rotating eye in the sky.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Every time the networks chose to use =
one of=20
Smith's determinedly uplifting images, he chalked up a victory for the =
party and=20
Gore. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Whenever we can get them to use =
our=20
shots," Smith said, "it's a small win. That's our message getting out."=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A few fleeting moments actually pulsed =
with=20
the power of great television: Gore's high-fiving emergence from the =
hall,=20
Clinton's power strut through Staples' backstage maze, Al and Tipper's =
amorous,=20
time-stopping embrace before 20,000 cheering voyeurs.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But much of the confab droned past =
like the=20
final bleary hours of a Jerry Lewis telethon, tightly choreographed, =
terse,=20
barely memorable. Forty politicians a day shuttled to the podium, their=20
entrances so timed that some of them ran to their marks.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Smith's crew knew in advance where =
actors=20
Harry Hamlin and William Baldwin were sitting, knew when to train on =
vanquished=20
primary foe Bill Bradley and the Gutierrezes of San Antonio, a Texas =
family=20
planted in the gallery to symbolize victims of dilapidated schools.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;On the final night, Smith led his =
electronic=20
orchestra like a conductor swept away by his score.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;From the moment Gore appeared on the=20
convention floor, Smith was a man possessed. He bounced in his seat. He =
waved=20
his arms. Barking at his lighting crew to dim the hall, he pounded the =
air with=20
his fists and stamped his feet as if his motion alone might get it done =
faster.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;As Gore neared his finish, Smith was =
almost=20
out of his skin with tension--glancing at his watch, shuffling papers =
endlessly.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Finally, on the last page, he leaned =
into his=20
seat. As Gore's "God bless America" was drowned out by the final roar, =
Smith was=20
out of his seat, arms skyward. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Go =
balloons!=20
Go music!" he bellowed. Smith looked toward the roof just as the first =
red=20
balloon floated loose. Then he collapsed back into his chair.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;With the last balloon yet to settle to =
the=20
floor, the media monolith that had taken over Staples Center began to =
loosen its=20
grip. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Technicians spooled up 300 miles =
of=20
cable that had tethered hundreds of cameras and microphones to the =
outside=20
world. Workstations were collapsed and stacked. Reporters hugged and =
promised=20
not to wait four years to see each other again.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Outside the hall, the armies of CHP =
officers=20
already had their cruisers pointed toward home. A few hundred protesters =
staged=20
one last stand outside the Twin Towers jail, demanding the release of =
their=20
brethren, but then peacefully dispersed. Pershing Square belonged to the =
pigeons=20
again and a few exhausted police officers.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Amazingly, in a week without secrets, =
party=20
functionaries managed to hide the fact that the president of the United=20
States--or a reasonable facsimile--had watched Gore's speech from a sky =
box high=20
above the floor. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Two hours after the =
address=20
was over, the chief executive and a small entourage tried to slip out a =
back=20
door of the arena. But dozens of stragglers spotted him and, true to =
form, he=20
could not resist the crowd--hugging delegates, posing for pictures, =
soul-shaking=20
with a union member and even granting a quick interview for Chilean TV.=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Then President Josiah Bartlet--actor =
Martin=20
Sheen from "West Wing"--strode out the back door of the arena and into =
the=20
night. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Their brush with Hollywood now=20
complete, the out-of-towners could go home, one Virginia delegate =
gushing: "This=20
is the closest I'm going to get to the president."=20
<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Democrats are gone. And Los =
Angeles is=20
spinning back on its axis again. =
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