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Tampa, not Salt Lake

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So, are you sad or relieved that the GOP won't be coming to Salt Lake City for its 2012 convention? That question assumes you live in Utah, which I know many of you don't. If you live elsewhere, do you think the party's decision to hold the convention in Tampa was a good one?


Click here to read the Tampa Tribune's coverage of the selection. You'll see the obligatory comments from bid officials that the convention will boost the local economy, which it no-doubt will for a few days. The Tampa area has an unemployment rate of about 13 percent.

You'll also see that Tampa is cash-strapped. Who isn't these days? When it bid for the 2008 convention, "the city estimated it would have to spend more than $12.7 million in public funds on costs such as security and insurance." But this time the city is pledging nothing in terms of city funds. The party apparently will have to work out payment for all the expenses it incurs.

The good news for Tampa is that this will actually make the economic impact of the convention a net gain.

Salt Lake City is similarly cash-strapped, trying to close an $18.8 million budget hole. Who knows what the situation will be like two years from now, but political conventions these days can either be giant party infomercials that few people watch, or they can attract messy protests that turn ugly.

A few months ago, I wrote in this blog that Salt Lake had little chance because Mitt Romney didn't want to fight for the nomination in a city that would only emphasize his Mormon faith, which some consider a negative. I've since confirmed that this was indeed a concern of the Romney campaign.

Frankly, I'm a little ambivalent about Salt Lake trying to host a convention. Like the Olympics, it's a victory for civic pride. But it's a one-shot deal that quickly fades into memory.

I'm curious how you feel. Should Salt Lake City try for 2016?