A note on the Gore luncheon

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A note on the Gore luncheon

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:19 pm

Much has been said Regarding the Gore Luncheon at the NBC Celebration. But I have one more observation

I have previously stated that I believe it was a mistake on the part of the planners to allow this extracurricular event. It is listed in the NBCC program as Stewardship of the Earth Luncheon with Al Gore. But it was in my opinion less than good stewardship of financial resources when you consider the $ 35.00 per plate for a ticket to attend.

Trudy and I did not Spend $35 for the two of us, for any one Meal the entire 6 days that we where on the road and at the Celebration, and we ate well.

But what I really want to point out is that many (200 or more) of the people who came to attended the luncheon did not attend the rest of the celebration. I say this because I was Working the information booth at the main entrance for an hour before the Luncheon and all during it. Starting about 11:30 and until about 12:15 we had a flood of folk rushing across the lobby from the front door to our booth breathlessly asking "Where is the Gore thing " Or they asked "Are there still tickets available for the Gore Lunch ?" When the Luncheon was over a large percentage of those streaming down the Escalator near our booth headed across the lobby and out the door.

Strangely enough -to me, was the fact that may people where still coming in wasting to attend the luncheon well after it had started. I really felt sorry for one well dressed young fellow who came in about 12:45 (the luncheon was scheduled for 12:00) he has one child in a stroller and was carrying another. He asked if we could page his wife who was at the Gore event -Because - she had his ticket . We had no way to page any one, nor did the facilities management office where we referred him. I don't think he ever found his wife until after the luncheon.

I never promised a perfect meeting just an enjoyable one for folk who hope to see Baptist get together praising God and finding ways to serve others in the name of Jesus. The leadership is asking for suggestions on how to improve any such events that may be held in the future. Many people did accept the opportunity to place suggestions in the offering buckets on Friday evening.
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Re: A note on the Gore luncheon

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:52 pm

Maybe there were some non-NBC Atlanta folk who attended the Gore luncheon? I didn't notice.

Did anyone else at the luncheon make the same observation?

Ed, I notice you've complained about the price of this luncheon a time or two. I'm not your age and haven't been to all of the meetings that you have. But, I've noticed over the last handful of years that most luncheons are around the $35-40 range. Whether the speaker is Al Gore, Randall Balmer or just the annual meeting of the Whitsitt Society Board, the price is in that range. That's the price you gotta pay when you host meals at Convention centers. It's a little expensive but what can ya do?
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Re: A note on the Gore luncheon

Postby Neil Heath » Sat Feb 09, 2008 2:22 pm

Blame much of the cost on the convention center. I think those places rival hospitals in finding ways to charge for everything you touch while on their premises. And they often don't allow outside vendors to compete with them. It's quite amazing to behold.

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Re: A note on the Gore luncheon

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:36 pm

Big Daddy Weaver wrote:Maybe there were some non-NBC Atlanta folk who attended the Gore luncheon? I didn't notice.

Did anyone else at the luncheon make the same observation?

Ed, I notice you've complained about the price of this luncheon a time or two. I'm not your age and haven't been to all of the meetings that you have. But, I've noticed over the last handful of years that most luncheons are around the $35-40 range. Whether the speaker is Al Gore, Randall Balmer or just the annual meeting of the Whitsitt Society Board, the price is in that range. That's the price you gotta pay when you host meals at Convention centers. It's a little expensive but what can ya do?


Ed: The answer Aaron is for the meeting planners to negotiate, and if facility management refuses to negotiate favorably forgo the meal. I have been on several, time and place committees, and more than a few hospitality committees, and often folk have looked at me as if I had two heads when I suggest negotiating prices but it can be done. Another question is when you have so many adequate places to eat near by, why even schedule a Luncheon Meeting? However we were rather surprised that the prices in the small food court between the top two sets of escalators in building B of the GWCC where not exorbitant. I had a Breakfast of Scrambled eggs, grits, Canadian bacon, a sweet roll and coffee for just over 6 dollars.

I am looking forward to finding out what ABC-USA paid for 400 breakfasts at the Sheraton Hotel on Saturday morning.

BTW, what was the menu for the Gore luncheon?
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Re: A note on the Gore luncheon

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:12 pm

Ed, what place nearby could have fed 500 people or 1500 people? I couldn't even find a dang seat to eat my chicken sandwich at the CNN Center!

The Baptist Joint Committee hosts one luncheon annually for their Religious Liberty Council. Where should those 500 people eat? $35 might be steep but the demand is there. BJC packs out their luncheons. The Al Gore event looked full. But most of the people who attend such luncheons can afford a one-time $30-40 meal to hear about the work of the Baptist Joint Committee or hear Al Gore Speak, etc. etc.

It flat out stinks that the convention centers do what they do. But, if you want to host a function where there is food followed by a speaker, what can ya do? And I just don't buy that Bill Underwood or Brent Walker has not made an effort to negotiate prices with the World Congress Center. Walker's BJC held their RLC Luncheon two years ago I believe at the World Congress Center. I'm pretty sure the price was $30 and the BJC probably had to eat some additional costs. But such events are worth the money. For the BJC, getting 500 Baptists (many of whom are financial supporters) committed to separation of church and state into a room for an hour and a half is an opportunity that they can not pass up.

I don't recall the menu. It's normally a chicken plate with bread and a side of fancy-lookin vegetables. I'm definitely not going to argue that the meal was worth $35!
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Re: A note on the Gore luncheon

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:38 pm

Big Daddy Weaver wrote:Ed, what place nearby could have fed 500 people or 1500 people? I couldn't even find a dang seat to eat my chicken sandwich at the CNN Center!

The Baptist Joint Committee hosts one luncheon annually for their Religious Liberty Council. Where should those 500 people eat? $35 might be steep but the demand is there. BJC packs out their luncheons. The Al Gore event looked full. But most of the people who attend such luncheons can afford a one-time $30-40 meal to hear about the work of the Baptist Joint Committee or hear Al Gore Speak, etc. etc.

It flat out stinks that the convention centers do what they do. But, if you want to host a function where there is food followed by a speaker, what can ya do? And I just don't buy that Bill Underwood or Brent Walker has not made an effort to negotiate prices with the World Congress Center. Walker's BJC held their RLC Luncheon two years ago I believe at the World Congress Center. I'm pretty sure the price was $30 and the BJC probably had to eat some additional costs. But such events are worth the money. For the BJC, getting 500 Baptists (many of whom are financial supporters) committed to separation of church and state into a room for an hour and a half is an opportunity that they can not pass up.

I don't recall the menu. It's normally a chicken plate with bread and a side of fancy-looking vegetables. I'm definitely not going to argue that the meal was worth $35!


Ed: Aaron, I imagine the Omni could have handled at least 800 if not more. Or possibly another hotel in the area. I am not sure why you could not find a seat tin the CNN food court. We had no problem getting three tables and putting them together, just before five on Wed afternoon. Twice we went to the sit down Mexican restaurant in the CNN Building just off of the Food court. To get there we had to go through the food court and both time I noted seats at the far ends of their dining area.

Walker and Underwood are nice guys, and I do not know how much either of them make but If I where a betting man I would bet that both make significantly more than the average member of all baptist churches. And I would also bet they have expense accounts that cover such meetings. Since this meeting was tied in with the National Baptist groups conventions, we where probably stuck with Atlanta But there are several convention centers across the nation that can handle up to 50 thousand. The national Baptist have had some of their conventions in Cincinnati.
Indianapolis is a great convention city. Other than June July and August Saint Louis is good and I have survived being there several times for meetings in June. Both SBC and IAPES (International Association of Personnel in Employment Security) . I never eat in the convention center or Convention hotel when in New Orleans. In Denver you have to walk about 6 blocks but their main drag has dozens places to eat. And of course NYC would hardly notice 20,0OO extra visitors on any given day but the hotel prices are ridiculous. When we have a Fellowship of the Northeast meeting in The City, Trudy and I stay across the river in New Jersey. In the NE I prefer Boston. Over head walk ways to the hotels and food court. I am not sure how many Richmond Virginia can handle but they do have a nice facility as does Charlotte and Birmingham These are some of the places we have been in the past ten years. and there are at least a hundred other place that can take care of up to 5,OOO handily. For big gatherings Chicago, Dallas/ Ft Worth are good but public transportation leaves something to be desired in the latter two. Orlando is great and reasonable accommodations are plentiful.

I might have gone to the Gore show if they had given me the meal and paid me $35,00 :lol: But I was volunteering during that time.
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