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Delegates, Democratic staff members and news media arriving at Boston's fenced-in FleetCenter site have been told by security to discard their cans or bottles. Water is available for purchase inside the venue for nearly $3 for a 16-ounce bottle.
As Associated Press writer Brian Johnson reported yesterday, organizations some with as many as 175 staffers working at the convention have been told they can bring in large quantities of water only if purchased through the FleetCenter's caterer for $60 per case. That's about 10 times the typical $6 retail price for a 24-bottle case.
Ann Roman, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, told Johnson that bottles were identified as a security threat because they could be used to bring in hazardous chemicals or "they could possibly be thrown or used in an improper manner."
"It's difficult to see how this is a security issue," said Jim Drinkard, chairman of the Standing Committee of Correspondents. "It is easier to see it as an economic issue, especially since we've experienced gouging from the beginning."
John Wentzell, general manager of the FleetCenter, denied there was any price gouging. "If anything, our operating costs are up for this event," he said.