The Indypendent recently launched RNCWatch.org to track stories connected to this summer’s Republican National Convention, addressing everything from the latest grassroots organizing efforts to the city’s evolving security strategy and Republican plans for their New York visit. Below are some recent reports on the site:
´ NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has refused to rule out that the NYPD will infiltrate groups that are planning to protest the GOP convention. On Jan. 18, Kelly told WNBC: “I’m not going to get into the specific tactics of – of what we’re going to do. It’s, you know, too early in the game. We’re going to do everything that we can do lawfully, legally, reasonably to protect this city and to make certain that this is a – a peaceful and safe occasion.”
´ Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has come under criticism for her bill that would allow the CIA to place agents inside local police departments. On Jan. 22, the newly formed Campaign to Demilitarize the Police protested outside her district office in Manhattan. The group has called on her to withdraw the legislation which they say “poses great danger to our civil and human rights.”
´ City Council member and newly announced 2005 mayoral candidate Charles Barron has come out strongly against GOP plans to hold its convention in New York. At a Martin Luther King Day rally in Madison Square Garden, Barron said: “New Yorkers are mad because nobody asked them whether they wanted Bush and Company to take over the city next summer. It is wrong for Bush to come to New York City posing as the conquering hero and savior of the city when New Yorkers are overwhelmingly against his policies.”
´ The U.S. Senate has approved giving New York City $25 million to cover security expenses during the convention. The allocation came as a part of the $820 billion omnibus spending bill.
´ The Republicans are examining how they can use the city during the convention to portray themselves as the party of diversity. In a profile of RNC head honcho Bill Harris, New York magazine recently summarized the plan:
“Harris has been scouring New York’s neighborhoods for places to stage events that will present a picture of GOP racial and ethnic diversity to a national audience… Harris wants the GOP to venture into the outer boroughs. He’s eyeing Flushing Meadows Park in Queens as a possible venue, and is exploring events in the city’s diverse ethnic neighborhoods. The idea is that the sight of Republicans mingling with New Yorkers of all hues will project an image of a new, inclusive GOP to a national audience. ‘I fully expect to have events all around New York,’ Harris says. ‘It’s an opportunity to show the country, and the world, what the Republican Party is all about.’”
´ David Norcross, chairman of the convention’s Committee on Arrangements, told the Associated Press: “All of the neighborhoods – they’re like cultural centers for a variety of ethnic groups, and Bush is determined to compete in all markets. New York gives us a great backdrop for that.”