By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The head of Homeland Security for the federal government will be in Philadelphia tomorrow, when city officials will make the pitch for federal money for security for next year’s Democratic National Convention.

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In past years, the feds have given cities that host political conventions upwards of $50 million for security.   Those events — because of the huge numbers of VIPs in attendance — are generally considered among the most complex security events on earth.

Today, city representative Desiree Peterkin-Bell told Philadelphia City Council members that the Nutter administration wants the 2016 DNC to be designated a “National Special Security Event,” which has already been given to this year’s World Meeting of Families.

“We’ll be seeking the same designation for the DNC as well,” she told the lawmakers.  “And, truth be told, we are meeting with Secretary Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, who will be in Philadelphia tomorrow to have those direct conversations.”


(City representative Desiree Peterkin-Bell, testifying before Philadelphia City Council.  Image from City of Phila. TV)

(City representative Desiree Peterkin-Bell, testifying before Philadelphia City Council. Image from City of Phila. TV)


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The goal of the meeting, she said, is to make the case for the full $50 million.

“There is a designation — or what’s called an earmark — for 50 million dollars.  What is unclear is whether or not that will be less for both the (2016) RNC and DNC.  Obviously we are going to push to get all that money,” she said.

And to bolster the city’s case for federal security dollars, Peterkin-Bell said they’re partnering with Cleveland, which will host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

“We don’t see this as a partisan issue at all.  What we see this as is an issue of public safety.  We believe that we have a greater chance, if we buddy up, partner side-by-side, to make a case for getting reimbursement for public safety for the DNC,” she said.

Councilmember Curtis Jones was among those voicing the hope that the city is not left footing any part of the DNC bill.

“It’s one hell of a party.  But we want to make sure that after the confetti is down, that the clean-up is paid for,” he said.

Mayor Nutter has promised that other costs for the DNC will be paid for with millions of dollars in private donations.

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