PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former Governor of Pennsylvania and the Chairman of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Ed Rendell, previewed the festivities with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, saying he doesn’t expect protests to disrupt the city when the Democrats come to down between July 25 and 28.
Rendell believes all of the action will be confined to the immediate vicinity of the stadium complex in South Philadelphia.
“Because the convention is about five and a half or six miles from Center City, most of the protests are going to be at FDR Park, across from the Wells Fargo Center, so they’ll be controlled and they won’t be tying up traffic too badly. There are a number of routes to get the buses with the delegates into the convention that won’t be tied up. They’ll be some discomfort, particularly with people who live down in the stadium area, but I don’t think we’ll see a major problem in Center City.”
He supports Mayor Jim Kenney’s decision to allow protesters to have their say during the event, as long as they don’t cross the line.
“Mayor Kenney has said if people are demonstrating and they’re blocking access to egress, they’re going to be removed and taken into custody. They’ll be cleared off the streets. Access and egress will be restored. But instead of listing them for trial four months later, clogging up the justice system with cases where no judge is going to put anybody in jail, they’re just going to get a citation and a fine. That’s OK with me. But if the demonstrators go further and get involved in any destruction of property, any assault of police officer or anything like that, then, no question about it, they should go through the justice system like any other offender.”
Rendell recommended that convention week will be a great time to go into Center City because it will be empty during the prime time evening hours.
“This is a good time to go to dinner in Philadelphia because all the Democrats, all the guests, all the donors, all the delegates will be down at the Wells Fargo Center from seven to eleven and you’ll have a great shot to get in to a Philadelphia restaurant that, maybe, you normally couldn’t get into and most of our Philadelphia restaurants are going to have convention specials, discounted entrees, things like that. We’re hopeful that the disruption will be at a minimum and it will be down, mostly, in the stadium area.”