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Wednesday, May 26,2010

Virg Watch

Virg's environmental scorecard vs. Andy Dillon's, plus, some national press

by Neal McNamara
Given the recent sunny weather, it might be a good time to look at the environmental record of Virg Bernero.

Two weeks ago, Bernero spoke at a forum that hosted by the League of Conservation Voters. And on Tuesday, the League released its annual scorecard of state elected officials.

Since Bernero is a gubernatorial candidate and a mayor, he was not rated. But we can take a trip back to the beginning of the decade when Bernero worked in both chambers of the Legislature. In 2002, as a state representative, he got 100 percent, voting favorably for every single one of the League’s choice issues that session. One of only 12 or so state reps scored that high.

In 2003, as a state senator, Bernero dropped down to 86 percent because of his “yes” vote on a bill that allowed property owners along the Great Lakes shoreline to mow their grass and move around vegetation and land in what the League called “emerging wetlands.”

Compare that to his opponent in the democratic primary, Andy Dillon, who got a 78 (out of 100) in this year’s rankings. Dillon got points off for supporting a coal plant in Bay City, according to the League, and voting with Mike Bishop (who got a zero) on a pollution prevention bill.

Since becoming Lansing mayor 2006, Bernero established a city office for green initiatives and has continued the combined sewer overflow project (which sucks for drivers and business near construction, but it literally makes sure less crap gets into the Grand River). I might be going out on a limb, but Bernero may be a lock for the League’s endorsement.

Last week, more than 30 government and political types in Macomb County, a vaguely Minnesota-shaped geopolitical expanse north of Detroit with a median household income of $55,000, endorsed Bernero. And God knows, if the public listens to anyone, it is local governement officials.

The coolest endorsement Bernero got was from former U.S. Rep. David Bonior, who was most recently the campaign manager for John Edwards’ 2008 presidential bid. I don’t know what person would care which gubernatorial candidate their school board member or public works director is endorsing, but Virg got them.

Today, Bernero appeared at the Michigan State Medical Society leadership summit on a panel of gubernatorial candidates along with Pete Hoekstra and Tom George, who are vying for the GOP nomination. Last week, he appeared at the Ingham County Young Democrats’ barbecue in East Lansing.

Bernero was also interviewed in a blog post published today on the website of the National Journal, a Washington-based political magazine. In it, he called Dillon “ineffectual” and “Speaker of the Mess.” The rest of the article was much the same as any article about Bernero: a mention that he’s “angry,” a quote that people on “Main Street” are mad, etc. The highpoint is this graph: To Bernero, his mayoral experience is “one of the things that makes me the best candidate because I'm closest to the people and I know what it is to actually run something. How many of these guys have actually run something other than their mouth?”

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