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The single-issue voter: A birder’s look at Rudy Giuliani – R

October 4, 2007
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It’s that time again. As civic-minded individuals do, I’m oft interested in how the platforms of those running for president affect my life, that’s as a birder naturally. With so many candidates and elections still more than a year off I decided to do the work so you, dear reader(s), don’t have to. So here’s what I hope will be a regular look as those who would be birder-in-chief. Starting with the long-shots and working my way up so that you all will be prepared when the time comes to cast your ballot. The last part of The Drinking Bird’s sixteen part series.  

“America’s mayor”, Rudy Giuliani, is currently leading in the race for the Republican nomination, despite having a reputation as something of a liberal socially. Granted it would be tough to serve two terms in New York City otherwise, but now that he’s gone national he’s trying hard to portray himself as a more traditional conservative. That’s neither here nor there, we’re here about birds not gay marriage or abortion or Iraq, or any of the other myriad issues that the 44th president of the US is going to have to deal with. Some may consider environmental issues to be low on the list of priorities nationally, but locally people tend to appreciate it more, and you know what they say, all politics is local politics. This is especially true with Giuliani, who’s political experience is entirely limited to a localilty, albeit a very large one.As of the writing of this post, Giuliani’s campaign website has no statement on the environment, so we’re really limited as to where we can get an indication of his views here. As a mayor, Giuliani made some decisions that were considered questionable by environmentalists. When West Nile Disease was discovered in the New York area, Giuliani immediately began wide-spread insecticide spraying across the city without studying environmental impacts nor effects on citizens. While the threat to disease was indeed neutralized, the long-term effects still remain to be seen. It’s that kind of act first-deal later attitude that seems to pervade Giuliani’s political career, for better or for worse.

Giuliani has done little with regards to habitat conservation, in fact, he consistently underfunded New York’s city parks while they were under public control and went so far as to privatize many of them, placing the onus for fundraising and maintenence on non-profit organizations. At present most of the classic New York city parks, including but not limited to Central, Bryant, and Prospect Park, are no longer managed by the city. His actions to this end could be seen as equal to the president privatizing the nation’s national park system. It simply stands that privately owned and operated parks cannot provide the same services, not only for citizens but perhaps most importantly in the area of habitat conservation, as those run publicly. I should especially add that the above paragraph was taken in part from comments made by my friend Maura who totally lives in NYC and worked for parks and stuff and was willing to help someone like me who’s never actually been there. Thanks Maura!

Back to Rudy, it seems Giuliani has not placed a very high priority on environmental issues, much like most of his Republican colleagues. And what little he has indicated isn’t that impressive. However, in this time where issues of security and foreign policy seem to take precedence over everything else, it would be unwise for candidates to dismiss issues of environmental (read: birdy) importance. Birds are a bell-weather of the overall health of the environment, and action taken on their benefit likely will be action taken for the benefit of all.

Next Tuesday: I’ll try to wrap this thing up and put a bow on it. Unless someone else declares, and no, Alan Keyes doesn’t count…

Update 1/29/08 – Guiliani is out. What a surprise.

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