The Ross Report: Foodies and Crazies

1219415931Since we can’t stand being jet-lagged, we won’t be attending the Democratic National Convention. Lucky for us, Boston City Councilor Mike Ross is attending the convention as a member of the Massachusetts delegation. Throughout the week, he’ll provide you with an insider’s view of what’s happening in Denver.

Today, we get a visit from the Duke, crazy protesters, and Mayor Menino betraying his city’s culinary offerings. Take it away, Mike.

Hillary Clinton’s speech to the convention last night was meant to close the rift that had divided the party. Her passionate words were more for party and country than for Barack Obama, but her message was clear—the only way her work can be accomplished is if her delegates vote for Obama. Whether the Clinton die-hards heed her words remains to be seen. Before last night’s speech, 28 percent of her supporters said they would vote for McCain.

The Democrats have faced rifts like this before. In 1956, John F. Kennedy took the high road by rallying behind the ticket after nearly winning the vice presidency. Four years after that, he was elected President. It will be interesting to see where Clinton’s gracious speech leads her.

Former Governor Michael Dukakis spoke eloquently to the delegation Tuesday morning. Since losing to George H. W. Bush in 1988, the Duke carries with him the weight of delivering the Bushes to the world, but he has dedicated himself to helping his party win elections—often going door-to-door himself. For the hundreds of Democrats listening to his remarks, it was hard not to wonder how the world might have been different had he won.

Democratic foodies from across the country united for the American Cities event, hosted by the mayors of Chicago, Denver, Louisville, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston—and it was a culinary delight. Each city’s mayor hawked distinctive dishes from his or her area.

But one mayor was promoting another mayor’s spread! Sitting before an homage to Boston’s tasty fare—gigantic shrimp and decadent clam chowder from Legal Sea Foods—Mayor Tom Menino’s recommendation couldn’t have been clearer: “Cheesesteak.” Three consecutive trips to the Philadelphia table later, I believe that he was absolutely correct. [Ed. note—heresy!]

San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, was also not talking up his city’s food. Newsom is expected to run for Governor of California when Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to the end of his term in 2010. Look for Mayor Newsom to visit Boston soon to drum up some support.

1219857578Are Boston’s crazies crazier than Denver’s crazies? Normally, I would proudly say yes—as Mayor Menino says, Boston is the city of champions. That was, until I met stop-the-bird-porn lady.

This woman proudly stood on a Denver street corner with her “STOP BIRD PORN!” sign. Down the street another “activist” held a sign that read BRING BACK CRYSTAL PEPSI.”Whether these people are guerilla marketers or simply deranged lunatics, their protests drew confused looks from passersby.

Mike Ross is a Boston City Councilor, pledged delegate for Barack Obama, and one of our MySpace top friends.