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Friday, September 3, 2010

Uruguayan Press Gaga Over Ross Mirkarimi

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 3:15 PM

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Ross Mirkarimi -- and his signature vest -- were warmly received in South America
El Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi spread the San Francisco no-plastic-bag gospel to Uruguay this week, and the local press apparently went gaga for San Francisco's good-looking ambassador of green.

Okay, check your maps: Uruguay is Argentina's tiny and more laid-back neighbor. It's the land of bicyclists, drinkers of yerba mate, lovers of futbol (fourth in the World Cup!), and heart-clogging fried steaks with eggs on top. Mirkarimi arrived there as a speaker sponsored by the U.S. State Department to talk to leaders in the country's capital, Montevideo. His mission: repeat, in so many words, the most famous phrase of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca: Verde que te quiero verde. "Green how I want you green."

The Uruguayan newspaper El Pais ate his message up, dedicating nearly 900 words to the "supervisor del Districto 5 de San Francisco," and all his green pronouncements. El Supervisor was blown away by the amount of plastic bags they use in Montevideo. "They should do something about this, without a doubt," he said. El Supervisor declared: "I think that Uruguay and Montevideo can become what other American cities aren't. They can make this one of the greenest countries. You have all the natural ingredients to capitalize on it."

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Verde que te quiero verde
El Supervisor was dismayed by the pollution-spewing buses, and he opined, "There should be political support to back private initiatives to convert these buses and cars so they emit less."

He told them how San Francisco does things: That we'd banned Styrofoam. That 50 percent of taxis are hybrids, and, by 2020, they'll all have to be ecologically friendly. That we give subsidies and no-interest loans to low-income folks to install solar panels in their homes. That "we'd won" against the petrochemical and supermarket lobbies and banned plastic bags. He left out the part about banning el Happy Meal.

Overall, it looks like Mirkarimi's South American sojourn was a bang-up success. Of course, it's hard to beat his last green-themed trip down there to an environmental conference in Brazil, when he met the Venezuelan soap opera actress Eliana Lopez -- now his wife. Viewing the photos of their cutie patootie son, it seems South America and Mirk are a good mix. 

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Lauren Smiley

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