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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The scalding showers, stuck elevators and crumbling stucco at The Blake Hotel have been a source of frustration - and more than a few jokes - for California Democrats in town for the Democratic National Convention.

But perhaps no one tried harder to make a policy point about it than the state controller, John Chiang.

"We've made fun of this hotel," he said at a delegation breakfast this morning, on the final day of the convention. "Obviously it's been a little bit stressful, it's been a little bit challenging."

However, Chiang said, beyond "the safety issues, which are serious," are dozens of hardworking hotel staffers - and beyond that, apparently, is a reflection of the nation's needs.

"This country, as reflected in this hotel, requires three things," Chiang said.

He listed education, access to capital and infrastructure.

When infrastructure and leadership fail, he said, "you get The Blake Hotel."

Chiang said later that it isn't a partisan matter, that he doesn't know how the hotel's owners vote.

But Democrats, he said in his address, want business to succeed and workers to have "the middle class experience."

"There is nobody more tenacious for our hard workers or business than Democrats," he said. "We want this hotel to work."

PHOTO CREDIT: State Controller John Chiang following remarks to a California delegation breakfast at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders



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