Don't feel boggled! The idea is very simple... the minimum package offered by the convention contractor must be priced at $99 (or more). They can offer as many packages containing as many amenities as they like, at any prices they chose (above the $99 floor), but at least one package must include meals. The lowest price package can contain speakers, some meals, or etc., at the organizer's discretion.
You may recall that one reason we agreed with having a Southern California convention two years in a row was so that we could have a Northern California one this year. To me, a "Northern California convention" is one that is easily accessible (measured in time and money) by most Northern California party members. Many of us felt that neither of the two options before us (the Ensenada Cruise from LA, and the Granlibakken Conference Center in Tahoe City) qualified.
With some luck (and more hard work by the convention bidders), the ExComm will be sent a proposal in the next two weeks that meets all the criteria and, I am hoping, is located here in the nine-county bay area near where most of our Northern California members live, rather in a remote location where most everyone is effectively compelled to stay at the convention facility.
The problem is, the more people that commute from home or stay in nearby low-cost non-convention motels, (and thus the less room-nights that our members use at the convention facility) the more the convention contractors are charged for the meeting rooms. In addition, there are also a lot of fixed costs such as speakers, advertising, and etc.
So, while it may make sense for you or me (in San Francisco and Walnut Creek) to commute from home if the convention is held in, say, Oakland or Berkeley, we would be effectively forcing the convention contractor to subsidize our share of the meeting room and fixed costs, setting them up for a potentially large financial loss. By setting a minimum, we reduce this "free rider problem".
Cruise ships, convention centers, conventional hotels, and etc. are still all on the table. None are ruled out by the criteria; this year or any other.
The choice today is really between another Ensenada cruise from L.A. or the Granlibakken Conference Center in Tahoe City, both of which would cost everyone, including most members living in Northern California, $400 (or more), and a bay area location where a much greater number of folks will find the minimum package (presumably $99) sufficient, while still paying part of their fair share for the use of the facilities.
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