In San Francisco the police are buying $300 worth of white gloves to sharpen up their traffic cops for the visiting Democrats. In Dallas the Red Cross plans to be on hand with buckets of ice water to revive any Republican delegates who fall victim to the fiery August heat. Attention to such picky details can mean only one thing—the quadrennial circuses known as presidential conventions are coming to town, and both host cities are busting with civic pride.
The 30,000 visitors expected in San Francisco on July 16 for the four-day Democratic Convention should find the famous cable cars clanging about the city again after being unpacked almost two years for a massive overhaul. The police are gearing up for more than 100 events and demonstrations. For starters, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority supporters are holding a “pro-family” conference July 12-13, and two days later a gay march and rally is expected to draw 100,000. Theater shows, musicals, ball games and parties for each of the 57 state and territorial delegations have been planned, as well as countless private soirees. State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown is coordinating a $400,000 bash on Pier 45 for all delegates after the keynote speech. Guests will enter over a miniature of the Golden Gate Bridge and party in replicas of the city’s best-known landmarks.
Down in Texas, the Dallas Welcoming Committee and other groups are working with equal feverishness to greet the 22,000 people (including 12,000 journalists) expected for the GOP Convention Aug. 21-23. Big D is preparing a Texas-size party for the city’s first national political convention. In addition to symphony and opera performances, art shows and summer musicals, there will be not one but two rodeos, a chili and barbecue cook-off and a daily mile-and-a-half cattle drive featuring 150 long-horn steers and a score of cowpunchers.
So much construction is underway in Dallas that locals jokingly suggest an official bird for the city—the crane—and hotel rooms should be no problem. In relatively tiny San Francisco, though, the large hotels are SRO and private homes are renting for up to $10,000 a week. Also anxious to cash in, souvenir makers are hedging their bets. Jars of honey are being readied with labels such as “Stuck on Mondale” and “Sweet on Hart.” In Dallas there’s no indecision. Every souvenir button and bumper sticker is branded “Reagan.”