Dem convention: Day 4

Before grabbing a seat for President Obama’s speech, Palm Springs’ own Greg Rodriguez sent us another round of updates from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

California delegates started today with a breakfast that featured U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. As an added bonus, Rodriguez reported that “MC Hammer’s in the house. ”

Rodriguez then headed to a series of caucus events that focused on women’s issues as well as lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual rights.

He was able to spot First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden at the various morning events.

“I feel like I’m on the Hilda Solis tour today,” Rodriguez noted about seeing Solis repeatedly. “Third time, but she has changed up her speech.”

Interestingly, Rodriguez noted that this was the second day that anti-Obama rallies had made traveling difficult. But he notes that they’re not Republicans, but rather protesters from “the far left.”

It seems traffic woes is a bipartisan issue.

Dem convention: Day 2 update

We got another dispatch today from Greg Rodriguez, who is one of seven Coachella Valley residents in Charlotte this week.

Before the floor session even kicked off, Rodriguez rambled off a list of people who he had the opportunity to hear speak. They include: Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett; California Assembly Speaker John Perez; and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat.

A big theme of today has been how Democratic policies would help women, Rodriguez said.

According to Rodriguez, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the audience that “women have everything to gain if President Obama is reelected and everything to lose if he’s not.”

As noted earlier, The Desert Sun will be printing updates from Rodriguez as part of its convention coverage.

We should also note that the number of local delegates has changed once again.

On Sunday, the Insider reported that there would be six delegates in Charlotte based on information from the local Democratic headquarters. Then Jackie Lopez, a spokeswoman for Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez, told us that both she and Perez were delegates too.

Turns out Perez never made it: The Assemblyman’s office today informed us that Perez, a Coachella Democrat, is in the desert for jury duty.

GOP convention: Day 3

We got a brief update today from Don Genhart of Palm Desert, who is one of three Coachella Valley residents serving as delegates at the GOP convention.

Genhart said they’re preparing for another busy day today, as Rep. Paul Ryan will accept the nomination for vice president.

Despite the long schedule and some bus drama, Genhart seemed energized by what he’s hearing.

“Ann Romney’s talk and Governor Chris Christie’s talk were most
well received last night,” he wrote in an email.

“They, along with several governors and congressional representatives, spoke throughout the day with inspiring,passionate talks about Mitt Romney.”

Monday’s convention schedule was postponed because of weather related concerns. Republican leaders have updated the official convention website to encourage donations that help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Isaac.


GOP convention: Day 2

As we reported Monday, Palm Desert resident Don Genhart has been sending The Desert Sun updates from the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Although organizers canceled Monday’s events because of Hurricane Issac — Genhart said weather has been windy, overcast and even the occasional breakthrough of sun — delegates still got a chance to meet some of the party’s most notable names.

Among the people Genhart heard speak Monday: former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman; famed talk show host Hugh Hewitt; Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy; Reps. David Drier and Darrell Issa; and former Gov. Pete Wilson.

Genhart had nothing but praise for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who spoke to delegates Monday morning and will deliver the keynote speech tonight.

Genhart said it was “a talk with gusto and enthusiasm, bringing us all to the attention of what we need to continue doing to win this November. ”

After having breakfast today with House Speaker John Boehner, California’s delegates are prepared for a long day ahead.

They’re already headed to their seats and — because weather canceled Monday’s events — they are expected to be at the Tampa Bay Times Forum until midnight.

You can view the complete schedule here.

“Spirits are up as we are all anxious to get down to the business of the day,” Genhart wrote in an email to The Desert Sun.

Genhart, a professional pet sitter and longtime volunteer for local campaigns, is one of three Coachella Valley Republicans attending the convention as delegates. Rep. Mary Bono Mack of Palm Springs and La Quinta council candidate Robert Radi are also representing the desert.

Desert Sun Washington Bureau reporter Maureen Groppe is providing news coverage from the convention. You can follow her on Twitter at @mgroppe.

Dispatch from the GOP convention

Three desert residents — Rep. Mary Bono Mack, Palm Desert resident Don Genhart and La Quinta council candidate Robert Radi — are among the delegates at the Republican National Convention this week.

As part of the paper’s coverage, we’ve asked Genhart to send in regular updates about what he’s experiencing.

Genhart, a professional pet sitter who is well known in GOP circles for donating his time to campaigns, arrived in Tampa on Saturday after a three-and-a-half hour delay in Dallas.

The delay may have been worth it: Genhart said he ran into former Bush aide Karl Rove who commented that “those are some mean boots” when he spotted Genhart’s red, white and blue cowboy boots.

Today’s convention events were postponed as the Gulf Coast braced for Tropical Storm Issac.

But this morning, Genhart said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was meeting with the California delegation “exclusively” during a breakfast at the hotel where the state’s representatives are staying.


Bono Mack: GOP abortion platform ‘particularly frustrating’

Rep. Mary Bono Mack has expressed her disagreement with the abortion platform that her fellow Republicans adopted in anticipation of the GOP convention.

The platform encourages a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, with no exceptions made for rape or incest.

“Every four years we go through the process of drafting a party platform and every four years this issue is particularly frustrating.  I do not agree with the language that has been adopted on abortion,” Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, said in a statement.

“I am a Republican because I will always fight for economic freedom, fiscal responsibility, and energy independence.  As Republicans, we will always agree more than we disagree.”

Bono Mack will be in Tampa next week as a convention delegate for presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney. She is also a member of the convention’s rules committee.

Bono Mack’s Democratic challenger is Raul Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert.

The issue of abortion has been a big talking point on the campaign trail this week after U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, suggested abortion laws don’t need exceptions for rape because “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy.

His comments were blasted by both Bono Mack and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat.