The Association of U S West Retirees



Business firms buried hatchets
Drive to woo Dems in 2008 united rivals in raising $23 million
By Gargi Chakrabarty
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, January 12, 2007

Rival companies buried their differences and high-tech competitors joined hands with traditional utilities to raise more than $23 million in pledges to land Denver the Democratic National Convention in 2008.  "This is a combined effort by the local leaderships and all the companies involved in the initial pledges," said Cindy Parsons, Comcast spokeswoman.

Cable provider Comcast pledged $5 million, slightly behind rival Qwest's commitment of $6 million -- the highest from any single donor.

Comcast will provide highlights of the convention on its Video-On-Demand program available to all digital cable subscribers, while Qwest will be the convention's primary provider of telecommunications services, including wireline, wireless and video.

"We stepped up with the time, the resources, the contributions," said Qwest CEO Dick Notebaert at an Internet conference sponsored by the Center for the New West at the University of Denver's Cable Center.  "It's not self-interest.  It's doing the right thing for the right reason."

Notebaert noted he was a co-chairman for fundraising efforts when Chicago hosted the convention in 1996, and said he experienced how such an event became a "real turning point for the community."

Denver, too, rallied in the past months, managing to raise $23 million in cash and in-kind commitments -- more than the $20 million it needed to compete with New York City.  Most of the money came from about 75 donors, said Steve Farber, co-chairman of the 2008 Denver Host Committee.

"We're going to try to get $30 million in commitments from Colorado, and another $10 million from the region, and another $15 (million) or $20 million nationally -- which is something both conventions, Republican and Democratic, have done in recent years."

The Democratic convention in Denver could have an economic impact of more than $163 million -- similar to what Boston received in 2004 when it hosted the same event, said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Gas and electric utility Xcel Energy pledged $1.5 million, while Echostar and Alvarado Construction committed in excess of $1 million each, Farber said.

"Like all Colorado companies, we are committed to working with local business and community leaders, and the Democratic host committee, to ensure that this will be the best convention ever," said Patricia Vincent, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, Xcel's subsidiary in the state.

Molson Coors Brewing, and its U.S. subsidiary, Coors Brewing, together pledged $1 million.

"As a global business with a major Denver presence, we are pleased to support both the host committee's bid and the city of Denver," said Leo Kiely, chief executive officer of Molson Coors Brewing.  "This is an event that will bring economic benefit to our community and will showcase Denver to the world as a top-tier tourist and convention destination."

Convention war chest

Denver raised more than $23 million in pledges from about 75 donors that helped the city beat New York City for the right to host the Democratic National Convention in 2008.  The city hopes to garner more than $55 million in total donations. Some of the biggest donors are:

Qwest: $6 million

Comcast: $5 million

Xcel Energy: $1.5 million

Echostar: More than $1 million

Alvarado Construction: More than $1 million

Molson Coors Brewing and its U.S. subsidiary, Coors Brewing: $1 million