We are working from our Bellevue, WA office this week and there is going to be a fundraising event later this afternoon. Because our offices are on the same block as the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Bellevue, this is not particularly big news. They have some sort of event in their conference centers and ballrooms several times a week.
What sets today apart is that the President is coming to the one today. I had a teleconference at 7am this morning so I wheeled in pretty early and didn't have any trouble at all. But at noon I stepped out to get some lunch ( Subway: 6" Roast Beef on wheat, no cheese, no toasted!). As soon as I stepped out of the building, you could see that security was in full swing. Metal railings up all the way around the block. There was no pedestrian access on the block accept to leave. If you wanted to enter, there were only two access points that could be used. The construction crews on several of the buildings nearby were sent home at noon. Streets were blocked off. I am tempted to hang out until this evening to see him arrive, but I have plenty to do and there is no way of knowing how long it will take to get out of the parking garage.
The thing that struck me the most was both the enormity of the security and its relative informality. The cops were helpful and courteous. ("Sorry about the inconvenience." one of them said.) No bags were searched. Nobody stopped the car on the way in. No passes, ID or papers. I realize that things will be strict at the event itself, but when I used to travel to Manila, there were 14 checkpoints between the entrance to the airport and the actual seat on the plane. This was much easier. For all of the changes since 9-11, it is nice to be reminded that we still live in a fairly free society. (But they are probably monitoring this internet connection and reading this post! <grin>)