Sunday, October 10, 2010

DEBATE FAIL!: Great Lakes? Energy? Transportation? Rebuilding cities? IGNORED.

Michigan is smack in the middle of the world’s most astounding water system – 18 percent of the world’s fresh surface water surrounds us. It provides 40 million people with drinking water; fuels our water-intensive industrial economy and fertilizes our farmers’ bounty. It is threatened by sewage overflows, deposition of hazardous chemicals, and by Asian carp and other invasives.

We are on the cutting edge of advanced automotive batteries, have a burgeoning clean energy technology industrial sector and a vital tourism economy (all are growing – the only economic sectors in Michigan to do so recently).

We have world-class sand dunes, vast forests, fertile farmland and fantastic hunting, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, boating, mushroom picking, frog-spearing, cricket listening and Petoskey-stone hunting. Stone skipping, too. We also have a few cool cities where smart young college graduates want to live work and play. But not nearly enough.

So how did an hour-long gubernatorial debate take place tonight without any…ANY…mention of the role Michigan’s natural resources play in our economy and quality of life?

Not. a. single. one. Not in their opening or closing comments. Not in the questions from the moderators. The Center for Michigan says you can find the replay right here starting Monday, if you have trouble getting to sleep.

Thumbs down to moderators Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press and Nolan Finley of the Detroit News for ignoring energy, transportation, vibrant cities, and the future of the Great Lakes in favor of queries like “would you forego your salary as governor?” (as if that would make a difference) or “are you tough enough” to play political hardball? (seriously Nolan, how could that question elicit anything other than a minute-long infomercial?)

And thumbs down to Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder for utterly failing to incorporate our state’s important natural assets into any of your answers.

Oh, wait. I rewound the DVR and did find that Bernero did mention “…the green automotive future, the green technology, wind turbines…” during a frenetic monologue about manufacturing. So…there you have it.

Should either candidate want to feign interest in Michigan’s water, land or air,here’s a start. Until then, the hell with it. If this is all you got, I’m leaving the governor’s ballot blank in November.


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