A coalition of environmental groups today released a Green Growth Platform for the forthcoming mayoral election, and a list of 20 yes-or-no questions for candidates. Here's their press release.
Here's the pdf of the Green Growth Platform, with the 20 questions (the platform is the statement in italics that follows each question).
I assume these questions will be at the core of the Jan. 19 candidates' forum on community and environmental issues. I look forward to seeing which candidates can actually answer "yes" or "no," or have even heard of the topics mentioned, from stormwater management to coal-burning power plants to preserving natural areas around Lake Calumet.
I also look forward to seeing if any candidates have the intestinal fortitude to answer all the questions and post the answers on their websites.
There are questions I'd like to see answered that aren't on this list. For example, I want to know how much effort the men and women who would be Chicago's next mayor are willing to put into regional cooperation on planning in northeastern Illinois and into national and international cooperation to protect the Great Lakes. But this is a good start.
Of course the top issue on any candidate's platform is going to be money -- the economy, jobs, the city's budget deficit and the impact on the city of the county and state budget messes. And mentioning the privatization of parking meters is always a good way to appeal to voters, in a cheap, mindless, self-absorbed Tea Party sort of way.
But these environmental issues are about the way we will live in this city and this region for decades to come. And the answers to these questions will tell us, among other things, which candidate has vision, foresight, discipline and broad understanding to lead this city forward beyond next year's budget.
Any candidate who has really thought about what has saved Chicago from the fate of Detroit must understand the importance of the changed attitude toward nature, open space, the lakefront, parks and the environment that has taken hold in the last 20 years.
Yes, times are tough now, but they could have been a lot worse, and they could yet be a lot worse if the gains and the momentum and the will that have pushed this city forward are lost.
So: What do you have to say, Mr. Emanuel? Ambassador Braun? Mr. Chico? Mr. del Valle? Ms. van Pelt-Watkins? Mr. De Jesus? et al?
Got a garden question? I recommend you call or e-mail the Plant Clinic of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, the Master Gardeners of the University of Illinois Extension or the Plant Information Service of the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe .
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