Bloomberg Woos Conservationists

Just why Mayor Bloomberg has tied his environmental “sustainability agenda” to the League of Conservation Voters has many plausible explanations, but it is hard to discount the clout the organization has when it comes to electoral politics. The League had, as its website advertises, “20,000 volunteers on the ground during the 2004 campaign, a network of 31 state partners, and well over a quarter of a million online and offline activists.” Four out of every five of the congressional candidates it has endorsed over the years has won. And should the Mayor lack cash if he decides to run for national office, the League and its state chapters could pitch in: $140,000 was provided for federal candidates in the last election cycle.

Bloomberg announced the formation of the Sustainability Advisory Board, which will guide the city’s long-term strategic plan, at the League’s spring gala in May, and when the Mayor strode into the Blue Room to address its first meeting Sept. 27, not only was League executive director Marcia Bystryn on the panel but she got a personal thanks from the Mayor. Representatives of many other environmental groups were also at the table, but none as powerful a political force.

“I don’t think that he has particularly warm and fuzzy feelings to us. We share a common interest,” Bystryn said by phone afterwards. “There is a component of the League that is national that may appeal, not to the Mayor, but to some other political figures.”

Maybe to the Mayor also.

Matthew Schuerman

Bloomberg Woos Conservationists