by VICKIE SCHNEPS, Queens Courier Publisher
He electrified the audience, and she dazzled the crowd.
Bill and Hillary were the stars of my first convention. And they were a powerful beginning on my journey to Los Angeles. With credentials in hand, I became one of the l5,000 members of the media from around the world to come to cover the 500 delegates attending.
See and be seen. Thats the scene. Queens delegates came out in force to celebrate the anointing of their candidates. How did they get to be here? Delegates ran for their designation at the March primaries. Anyone with signed petitions could get themselves on the ballot to run as a delegate. The number of people chosen depended on how many votes were cast in the last congressional election. A percentage of that number determines how many delegates can be selected from the congressional district. Then there are the super delegates like Claire Shulman.
But not being elected doesn't mean you can't elect to come. There are special passes and many spouses of elected officials and friends were seen in the Staples Arena. The arena had been cordoned off so the best route was from the hotel on special buses.
I attached myself to the Queens delegates staying at the Century Plaza. The event had one large party sponsored by the Democratic National convention and corporations. Sunday night at a reception to meet and be photographed with Hillary, I had my picture taken, courtesy of Kodak, making believe I was sitting in the oval office. Then chances to meet and chat with the new delegates as they arrived from New York. Claire Shulman, our Borough President, helped to guide me through my first convention. Speaker shelly Silver hosted a breakfast meeting for the new York delegation featuring Hillary, who got a standing roaring ovation and then delivered a pep talk. It wasn't really necessary. Theyre all there for her.
The dais featured Senator Chuck Schumer, congresswoman Nina Lowey and Congressman Charles Rangel who also got a rousing cheering greeting, and next comptroller Carl Mccall. Speaker Shelly Silver somehow didnt pull off having his favorite candidate for Governor, Andrew Cuomo, on the dais. That honor went to Carl McCall who was touted as "destined to be governor." In the queens delegation good news for assemblywoman nettie meyerson spread like wildfire. It seems her sons $8 share initial offering for his company hit $200. We congratulate the shareholders. Who wants to be a millionaire?
Overheard was assemblyman Dennis Farrel (ways & means) complaining to a beaming school board member Terri Thomson (who had also attended the republican convention) that private corporations were paying for ballfields at schools throughout the city. He wanted it paid for by government money but Terri was delighted to have the new facilities and the partnership for schools with businesses.
The brunch hosted by County Leader Tom Manton brought together informally some Queens delegates. City councilwoman Juanita Watkins reflected that half a dozen people are looking to replace her in the council. Her support seems to be going to Jim Blake.
Everyone's fun was going through their invitations and the problem was which party to attend. From Paramount to Spago to Museums to sightseeing, much was offered to the delegates. Finally, President Clinton's dramatic walk through the halls of the arena to the main stage had the delegates cheering, clapping and swinging banners. The NY delegation cheered wildly and many wistfully wished that he could run again.
Sightings: Cindy Adams, Christie Brinkley, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Barbra Streisand, Bobbie Kennedy, Julia Louise-Dreyfus and Jimmy Carter.
To send an e-mail message to HollisNY.com go to Contact