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Come Saturday Morning: The Corporate Blue-Greenwashing of Mark Andrew

Photo by Karen Boros of MinnPost.

There are currently around three dozen candidates in the running to replace outgoing Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak. Many are serious, many are jokes, and at least one, former DFL chair and current alleged “Greenest City” guy Mark Andrew, is running under a false flag or two.

Andrew, whose second biggest claim to fame (after being a Hennepin County commissioner and being its longtime chair) has been his mid-1990s role in steering the Minnesota DFL (our local branch of the Democratic Party) towards corporatism and Republicanism, is now going around Minneapolis touting his homeboy status while making himself out to be what looks like some Madison Avenue ad agency’s idea of a nice soft and fluffy pro-environment, pro-99-percent politician: Carrying a green manila folder while standing on a tree stump talking up tree planting, all while his silver hair gleams and blows gently in the winds. Seriously.

The consultants who dream up this sort of carefully-contrived greenwashing schtick don’t come cheap, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that at a nice homey hometown fundraiser held for him last Thursday the 29th, the following decidedly non-soft, non-fluffy, non-homey, and very much un-green and un-progressive entities were present:

John E. Derus, lobbyist for Minnesota Metalcasters, a metal industry group that claims to be green but seems to be more “green by assertion”.

Jason George, pro-sulfide union mining lobbyist (creating short-term jobs through long-term polluting of trout streams and groundwater).

Dan Gunderson, lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, which among other things backs the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tony Kwilas (click on “Public Policy”), prominent member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and strong mining backer.

Duane Arens, until recently a lobbyist for Connexus Energy.

John Evans, lobbyist for Wells Fargo Bank.

The husband and wife team of Ron and Val Jerich, whose bread and butter comes from lobbying for the ethanol and Big Ag (especially Big Corn) industries.

Vic Moore, a lobbyist whose clients include the health insurance industry and anti-environmental “wise use” groups such as the Minnesota Snowmobilers Association.

Mark Oyaas, lobbyist for Minnesota CenterPoint Energy.

Erin Roth, yet another American Petroleum Institute lobbyist.

Brian Rice, longtime lobbyist for various local police and fire federations, groups not exactly known for their progressive natures.

And just in case you still aren’t sure whether Mr. Andrew really is just another corporatist DINO-saur dressed up in shiny new and ill-fitting progressive/green togs, check out this glowingly approving passage from a glowingly approving editorial titled “DFL’S NEW CHAIRMAN FACES DAUNTING TASK OF TURNING PARTY BACK TO MAINSTREAM”. The editorial was penned by the highly conservative Steve Dornfeld for the October 9, 1995 edition of the Saint Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press:

Andrew is upbeat about his chance of turning things around. He calls his own election “a gesture of political pragmatism” by party activists.

“I want to build the party so that it matters again, and has an impact on people’s lives,” Andrew says. To do that, he says the DFL must develop “a mainstream agenda” that emphasizes bread-and-butter issues such as job creation and tax equity, and avoids “the hot-button issues that have torn the party apart for years.”

“Hot-button issues” that Dornfeld said were the province of “liberals, gays, feminists, environmentalists and others who wield great influence within the DFL”.

Needless to say, Andrew’s effort to Third Way the DFL didn’t produce the electoral bonanza that was promised.

Meanwhile, there are other elements in his past — such as the FBI probe into plumbing work done while he was a Hennepin County Commissioner — that are surfacing again, despite all the lobbyist-enabled corporate blue-greenwashing:

Not only is Mark Andrew divisive, but he’s the only candidate who has been investigated by the FBI for corruption after his service as a Hennepin County Commissioner. I really wish some more of his history would come out, especially his mandated work-for-welfare program that got unions upset that unskilled laborers were being put next to union professionals on road construction projects, and his single-handed advocacy FOR the downtown trash burner. Do your research of his time in office, people!

We don’t need to see this slickly repackaged shill become the next mayor of Minneapolis. There are other, better choices out there — City Council members Don Samuels and Betsy Hodges, plus former council members Jackie Cherryhomes and Dan Cohen, for starters. Any of them would be better than the Blue-Greenwashed Man.

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