We disagree on one point, and that is how important it is for local fandom to buy into and support a WorldCon. His opinion, which has the weight of experience behind it, is that local fan support will make or break a WorldCon. I, on the other hand, a fair weather fan but also veteran of many trade shows and work-related conventions, believe that anyone with reasonable travel agent/convention organizing skills, backed by the WSFS and its SMOFs, can put on a successful WorldCon in Reno, regardless of where they are based.
My argument hinges on three things:
1. It's a WORLDcon. Fans will come from all over the world regardless, and that includes gophers
2. It's a WORLDcon. People from all over the world, with the help of WSFS, will come forward to be program chair, party maven, hotel liaison, etc.
3. It's RENO, one of the most convention-centric cities on the planet. There's a stellar Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau willing to help bring 5,000 bodies into town to spend money and help the balance of trade stats.
We agree that it would help if local fandom was gung-ho about hosting a WorldCon. We disagree that it would make or break the con.
I can't see a lot of potential GoHs turning down a paid trip to Reno, whether the invitation email comes from someone in Reno or Portland. Or Iceland, for that matter. I can't see fans staying away in droves just because an international convention is chaired by someone from out of town.
Part of the opposing viewpoint is emotional (that's not a value judgment, just an observation) - WorldCon has always had pride-of-host as part of its charm. And local folks can more easily steer the con leaders away from stupid mistakes which an out-of-towner might make. But I don't buy either of these for a WorldCon. Regional and local cons, absolutely, but not a WorldCon, and not in Reno. Someone from Portland can get to Reno easily - it's a 1.5 hour flight - and staying in hotels would be part of the legitimate research.
I'll leave it at that. Feel free to chime in. Keep it friendly.