Imagine a city where everything works, where maitres d' are the friendliest in the world, where the food is the best, traffic signals are state of the art, trains run on time and airports are as close as that friendly cabdriver, who will chauffeur you to and fro for the lowest fares in the country.
Imagine having to say these things about Washington -- and not crack a smile.
If you are trying to win the hearts and minds of the Democratic Convention Site Selection Committee, you will say these things -- and more.
"Quite frankly," said Austin Kenny, executive vice president of the Washington Convention and Hotel Association, "Conventions are our business." And just in case the committee members hadn't noticed, there also is "that great world's fair between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial."
If you think this was an exaggeration, you should have heard what Mayor Coleman Young's team said about Detroit.
But the stakes were high, so it was expected that the competing mayors would pull out all the stops to bring this, one of the most profitable of conventions, to their city in 1988.
You'd figure that if Philadelphia's Wilson Goode hadn't been caught with trash in his yard, he would have been in on it, too.
Yet, based on what everybody else was saying, a garbage workers strike shouldn't have stopped him.
"And here's Philadelphia," he could have said, "with a year's supply of confetti. Free."
There were eight cities in the running when the semifinal hearings began yesterday morning at the Mayflower Hotel.
When the votes were counted at the end of the day, Washington, New Orleans, Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo., Houston and New York had made the final six. Detroit and a Cleveland suburb were out.
Indeed, by offering up hotels on virtually every corner downtown and uptown, Washington made the cut with rooms to spare. But since this was such a great city, why stop there?
Did you know, for example, that the Convention Center staff is 85 percent black? That 35 percent are women? That three of the six managers are women?
Did you know, as George Demerest, general manager of the Convention Center, says, that this means that Washington is "a city that reflects the key moral issues of the party"?
Did you know, as D.C. City Administrator Thomas Downs told the committee, that the city's electronic traffic signal system can detect instant changes in traffic and accommodate changes in the pattern? Did you know that there is adequate parking space?
Did you know that during past inaugurations and Fourth of July celebrations that the transportation system experienced "no stress, no strain," and that "we are capable of handling anything that may come up"?
Did you know that we do this not just for special events but that we do this every day?
Did you know, as Chief of Police Maurice Turner told the committee, that there has been a 23 percent reduction in crime, that we have the third lowest crime rate per 100,000 residents in the country?
Did you know that his plan calls for using nearly half of the 3,880-member police force to guard the conventioneers?
Did you know, as Barry said, that by holding the convention in Washington, the party nominee would be given a chance to "get accustomed to being in Washington?"
Of course we did. And when the convention committee learned these things, Washington was a shoo-in.
Still, there were problems, little ones, of course, that most certainly can be worked out before the fall, when the committee returns to the six cities for the final round of wining and dining.
For example, did you know that the Mayflower Hotel hosted the site selection committee down in the basement "Colonial Room," while the hotel's more impressive efforts went into refurbishing the grand ballroom for a wedding party?
But imagine this: What's a little hotel faux pas when you have a World's Fair Space Needle on the Washington Monument grounds?