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Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa calls for a vote to amend the platform on Wednesday at the party convention.

The Buzz: Convention hotel's needs reflect the nation's

Published: Friday, Sep. 7, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

Crumbling hotel a symbol of failed leadership, Chiang says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The scalding showers, stuck elevators and crumbling stucco at the Blake Hotel have been a source of frustration – and more than a few jokes – for California Democrats in town for the convention.

But perhaps no one tried harder to make a policy point about it than the state controller, John Chiang.

"We've made fun of this hotel," he said at a delegation breakfast Thursday. "Obviously it's been a little bit stressful, it's been a little bit challenging."

However, Chiang said, beyond "the safety issues, which are serious," are dozens of hardworking hotel staffers – and beyond that, apparently, is a reflection of the nation's needs.

"This country, as reflected in this hotel, requires three things," Chiang said.

He listed education, access to capital and infrastructure.

When infrastructure and leadership fail, he said, "you get the Blake Hotel."

– David Siders

VILLARAIGOSA CRITIQUE CONTINUES – Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic National Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa is still facing heat about his handling of late changes to the party platform, including from some home-state delegates.

Villaraigosa presided Wednesday over a vote to restore references to God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He declared the amendments adopted after three voice votes from a divided Time Warner Cable Arena audience, drawing objections and boos from some who felt the ayes had not hit the two-thirds margin.

Dr. Sota Omoigai, a delegate from the San Fernando Valley, was among those dissenting.

"(Former President Bill Clinton) later came out and said one word the Republicans don't understand is arithmetic. There was no arithmetic done when Villaraigosa declared it was two-thirds that had given the voice vote," he said. "… I believe that democracy needs to be practiced in all aspects of the platform. This position cannot be shoved down the party."

He called Villaraigosa a "pawn" of party leaders in the decision but said it still affected his views of the mayor, who has signaled interest in running for statewide office.

Villaraigosa told CNN news after the episode that he simply "wanted to make sure that every voice was heard."

He said he was "not sure" he heard two-thirds support on the first two votes.

"By the third time I knew that there was a two-thirds majority, so I called it," he said.

– Torey Van Oot

CALIFORNIA AS HEAVENDebbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman and congresswoman from Florida, was at ease Thursday morning among a group of Democrats from deep-blue California.

"Let me just tell you how much I appreciate the oasis of Democratic politics that California is," she said at a delegation breakfast. "I know that you all feel like you live in heaven."

Wasserman Schultz is from a Florida district that includes Miami Beach. She suggested she's not so fond of California politics to be unhappy in the Sunshine State.

"I like to say that I'm Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Paradise."

– David Siders

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