David Siders / dsiders@sacbee.com

Mayor Kevin Johnson speaks to the media Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.

The Buzz: Dems' hotel a new standard in delegation complaints?

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – California's delegation to the Democratic National Convention is housed much closer to the action than their counterparts were for the GOP convention in Tampa, but that doesn't mean they're happy with their accommodations.

They're at the Blake Hotel, a spot in uptown Charlotte that touts itself as the "new standard in Charlotte accommodations."

But a recent renovation and staff overhaul have caused some hiccups in the hotel, where rooms run more than $300 a night.

Wind damage caused stucco to be removed from one side of the structure. Gripes from delegates include the the quality of food at the on-site restaurant, a stalled elevator and damaged or unfinished rooms. One Democratic consultant said the plaster on her ceiling was still wet.

Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, went through five rooms in two days. Issues included scalding water that almost burned his child, cockroaches, a broken lock and a "funny smell," according to his tweets.

A hotel manager would not comment on the issues.

– Torey Van Oot

BURTON BAILS FOR ROOT CANAL – Reporters hanging around Tuesday for another John Burton moment went away disappointed: The chairman of the California Democratic Party, who likened Republicans on Monday to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, went back to California for a previously scheduled root canal, the state party said.

Burton had suggested as much in a conversation with reporters Monday morning – well before his controversial remarks about Goebbels. Told to enjoy his week at the convention, Burton said he would not enjoy it. It wasn't entirely clear at the time that he was being literal when he mentioned going to get a root canal. Burton is not expected to return to Charlotte before the convention concludes Thursday.

– David Siders

KJ MAKES THE ROUNDS – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, judging by his Twitter feed, has been in some demand since arriving here, speaking at state delegation breakfasts and other functions.

"Good morning Sac!" he wrote Tuesday morning. "It's before 530am your time and already I spoke to 2 delegation bfast, Hawaii and Utah."

In a week made for partisanship, Johnson said at a press conference Tuesday that his busy schedule is a chance to "take off my nonpartisan hat, or bipartisan hat. I'm a moderate Democrat from California, the mayor of Sacramento."

Johnson was stopped by a crew from "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News, and Johnson's interviewer told him Bill O'Reilly sends his "warmest regards."

"I'm sure he does," Johnson said. "Bill and I shared a flight from the West Coast to the East Coast a couple (of) years back, and I picked his brain and I tried to convince him to shift a little more to the left. I wasn't very successful."

Johnson did "The O'Reilly Factor" interview, talked to a student journalist, then headed for the door.

– David Siders

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