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Monday, March 18,2013

No need for ‘fat cat’ lists

Mayor’s Office: You can keep your highfalutin rankings, Forbes

by Andy Balaskovitz

Friday, Feb. 3 – The Bernero administration is hardly impressed that the publishing company Forbes ranked Lansing 13th this week on its list of America’s Most Miserable Cities.

“The list is laughable. It’s a joke,” said Randy Hannan, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Virg Bernero. “It has all the credibility of a carnival barker.”

Forbes, which is headquartered on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, doesn’t have a clue of what it means to be a Michigander, Hannan added.

“Forbes can have their Park Avenue tea parties and Wall Street fat cats. We love Lansing and so do the people who live here,” he said.

One reason Forbes ranked Lansing 13th – along with “lots of foreclosures” and “high property taxes” – is “lousy weather,” according to its website.

“Complaining about the weather? In Michigan? Really? We in Michigan love our weather,” Hannan said. “Like every city in Michigan and in most cities across the U.S., we’ve been hit hard by foreclosures. We’re on the rebound with jobs and housing values. By any credible measure, we are leading the nation’s economic recovery.

“We’re on the comeback trail, no question about it, and there’s nothing the ivory tower idiots at Forbes can say that disproves it,” Hannan said.

When asked if Lansing simply has a perception issue to outsiders, Hannan said: “Michigan in general has a massive perception problem on the national stage. It’s the epicenter of the national economic crisis. … I think people who live here perceive Lansing as a great place to live. … The bottom line is this particular list really misses the mark by a wide margin.”

According to its website, Forbes “looked at 10 factors for the 200 largest metro areas and divisions in the U.S. to determine America’s Most Miserable Cities. Some are serious, like violent crime, unemployment rates, foreclosures, taxes (income and property), home prices and political corruption. Other metrics we included are less weighty, like commute times, weather and how the area’s pro sports teams did. While sports, commuting and weather can be considered trivial by many, they can be the determining factor in the level of misery for a significant number of people.”

See here for Thursday's City Pulse coverage of this story and more on the Forbes list.

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