Charlotte got some better reviews than Tampa as far as political convention security is concerned. Chuck Plunkett, politics editor for the Denver Post, told the Charlotte Observer that during the Republican National Convention in Tampa last month, “It was like a banana republic during a coup. The security was so overwhelming. Apparently the locals had the same kind of feeling [ ] that we better shut down and get out and not come.” Even Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat and member of the Florida delegation, acknowledged Charlotte was more lively.
Activist Dianne Mathiowetz, who marched in both cities, criticized the $50 million federal security grant that each city received. She said the amount was exorbitant and was used partially to suppress demonstrators' ability to march for their causes. In Charlotte, she said, demonstrators could at least march through populated sections of its downtown. In Tampa, the sidewalks were largely empty except for media and police. “A lot more people in Charlotte got to see the protest themselves and didn't have to rely on the lowball numbers of the police,” Mathiowetz said.