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Residents post event services on Craigslist

ST. PAUL -- Enterprising Twin Citians have taken to Craigslist.com to offer cars, houses, day care and mental health treatment to the 45,000 people expected at September's Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

ST. PAUL -- Enterprising Twin Citians have taken to Craigslist.com to offer cars, houses, day care and mental health treatment to the 45,000 people expected at September's Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

Andrew Foxwell of Minneapolis is going them one better: He's offering himself.

"I am a recent college grad from a Minnesota private college that wants to help YOU make the most of your RNC experience," Foxwell's ad, posted late last week, reads. "Whether business or government related, I can help you find what you need and take care of you personally as your attendant for the entire convention . . . I know the area and I will help you have a perfect time. Price negotiable."

The Minneapolis-St. Paul section of Craigslist is full of other listings that specifically mention the RNC. The category with the most listings is the one seeking or offering housing. At last count, there were 485 listings from people either seeking or offering rooms, apartments, townhomes or entire houses for the convention, with prices ranging from $500 for a room in a home in the Hamline-Midway area ("$500, Not Looking to Retire on the Republicans" reads the title of the ad) to $20,000 for a five-bedroom "gracious home" in St. Paul's Crocus Hill neighborhood.

Another ad, listed under the "Men Seeking Men" category, was placed by someone who identified himself as a 28-year-old man from Washington, D.C., "looking for a gay or gay-friendly place to crash" during the convention.

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"I'm of course willing to pay cash for the hospitality," the ad reads. "I'd have a rental car and wouldn't raid your fridge or anything. And I MIGHT be able to bring (you) along (as) a guest to the convention if you're interested, but that's not for certain yet. Yes, I'm gay, but no, I'm not a registered Republican."

A day-care center operator "just five minutes" from the Xcel is offering "flexible and affordable" rates during the convention. A family in Cascade, Mont., wants to "trade your house for ours" for the last week in August and the first week in September, and sweetens the pot by offering a house in either Montana or West Virginia $2,200 a week for the house in Montana and $350 a week for the West Virginia property.

A restaurant on West 7th Street, not identified but "across from the Holiday Inn" and "very close to the Xcel Energy Center," is for sale.

Several entrepreneurs with cars are offering their services: "I can find anything your (sic) looking for, the first time, faster than any taxi or limo driver," one promises. "The GPS helps too." And all for only $999 a day for 24-hour, on-call service.

The University National Bank in St. Paul is offering 27 parking spots for rent.

The ad hypes the bank's location, "only a few blocks from the state Capitol," and notes that there will be security patrols in the lot.

Foxwell, unabashedly Republican and a recent graduate of St. Olaf College (with a degree in political science and business), got the idea to offer himself as an RNC guide after spending time in New Hampshire and South Carolina in January and February, working on presumptive GOP presidential candidate John McCain's campaign.

"I loved the political stuff," he says in an interview.

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A classmate of Foxwell's who also campaigned for McCain returned home to New York and worked his way into a job as a driver and guide for Edward Cox, the son-in-law of late President Richard Nixon.

Cox briefly considered running for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2006.

Foxwell, 23, who works for a technology company in Edina and runs his own marketing company, decided to try the same thing in Minnesota.

"People need help, and I can help you get to where you need to go," he says. "I know the (Twin) Cities fairly well. If you need to know where to go and where to be when, I can help. ... And I think it would be a blast."

A group with political views somewhat different from Foxwell's, the NorthStar Health Collective, posted an ad on Craigslist seeking volunteers for a "wellness space" for RNC protesters.

The group is "preparing for the tens of thousands of demonstrators" who may experience "emotional trauma" at the RNC, the ad says.

"We ... have secured a wellness space in which we will treat those in need of emotional first aid," the ad says. "Inevitably, some of those people will find themselves in a crowded, unfamiliar city, full of traumatizing scenes and triggering events. No doubt, many will be exposed to state-sponsored violence, either as survivors of, or witness to. For this reason, we are seeking your help!"

Interested volunteers must subscribe to the collective's principles, which include "resist the commercialization and corporatization of our health care" and "work to end all relationships of domination and subjugation, including but not limited to those rooted in patriarchy, race, class, xenophobia and homophobia."

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The contact person listed in the ad did not return e-mails seeking comment on the project.

And then, of course, there are these ads:

"I am looking for 10 beautiful women for the week of Sept. 1-7," the title reads.

A local reggae and hip hop group, Dred I Dread, wants 10 women "of all nationalities" to help collect donations at a show the band is apparently going to give every day during the convention somewhere in the vicinity. "I don't care about political affiliation," the ad says. "This is a great opportunity to get seen." The ad is listed under "talent gigs."

And this one, under "erotic services," almost pulls no punches:

"Republican convention party entertainment hostesses wanted," the ad says. "We are offering custom coaches, party buses and party boats to service high-end clients (VIPs) during the Republican convention. ... Looking for fun, outgoing hostesses to help entertain our established list of sophisticated clients."

Applicants must be "at least 18." Of course.

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