... of things to come, from my local paper:
Since Virginia emerged as one of the battleground states in this year's presidential election, Hampton Roads has found itself flush with presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls.
But for Newport News at least, the courting comes with a financial price tag.
Two weeks ago, Barack Obama stopped in Newport News, attracting about 18,000 people to downtown, packing Victory Landing Park and infusing a depressed neighborhood with excitement not often seen there.
The Oct. 4 event — for which the city had only two days to prepare — was a logistical challenge. "It was a big deal," said Neil Morgan, an assistant city manager who oversees the city's public safety departments. "It consumed a lot of time and energy for a brief time. And it went really smoothly."
But once all the hustle and bustle settled and the last campaign signs and buttons were swept out of the park, the event came with a $20,000 to $30,000 price tag for Newport News for additional security for Obama, most of it for overtime for the city's public safety employees such as police officers.
In light of the recent economic gloom and doom, some city officials wondered whether the city could recoup some dollars from the campaign.
The answer: Hardly. The Obama campaign reimbursed the city for $4,693 worth of bottled drinking water for the crowd. That surprised at least one council member. "I am just looking for money," Councilwoman Madeline McMillan said.
To compare, the McCain-Palin rally Monday turned into a moneymaker for Virginia Beach primarily because that city — more than double the size of Newport News — used a convention center for the venue, instead of a city park, and it has a larger police department. The McCain campaign rented the entire four halls of the center. Standard rent for the space: about $20,000.
"It generated revenues," said Courtney Dyer, general manager of the Virginia Beach Convention Center. "We treated it like any other event. It was business like usual."
Bottom line, Obama campaign cost a locality a ton of money, the McCain campaign filled another's coffers.
There's a lesson there.
A huge one.