Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Green Group Sees Red Over Ulrich Voting Record by Nick Hirshon - NY Daily News

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ENVIRONMENTAL advocates slammed the only Queens Republican in the City Council for votes against green initiatives amid a mostly glowing review of borough leaders released last week.

Newbie GOP Councilman Eric Ulrich of Rockaway Beach, who won a special election in February, tied for the lowest mark in the city - 17 out of 100 - in a scorecard graded by the League of Conservation Voters.

His low score - based on what the league calls votes against "pro-environment bills" and lack of sponsorship on proposed legislation it supports - was exceeded by all 13 Queens Democrats.

"People talk the talk about the environment - fewer walk the walk," said League President Marcia Bystryn.

She denied Ulrich's mark was party-driven, though the only other Republicans in the Council, Staten Islanders James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio, both also scored 17.

Ulrich, a member of the Council's environmental protection committee, said he was "very disappointed" with the report.

"I've already been portrayed in a false light," said Ulrich, stressing bills he backed on preserving wetlands and remediating tainted soil. "I reject their findings."

The report targets Ulrich's stances on legislation ranging from energy auditing to mandatory bike storage at buildings.

It doesn't count votes he missed before being elected.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who had the second-worst rating among Queens Council members, with 22 points, bashed the league for a grading system that valued only select bills.

"I really think they don't know anything about me," said Crowley, adding she drives a hybrid Mercury Mariner and sponsored Earth Day events at local parks.

The borough's highest rankings went to Democratic councilmen Eric Gioia of Sunnyside and Thomas White of South Ozone Park, who both notched perfect 100s.

Gioia trumpeted his efforts to make New York "a greener, more sustainable city," adding that future generations deserve "a cleaner, healthier environment."

White, a confessed Weather Channel junkie who often watches for alerts on air and water quality, said he was caught off guard by the honor.

"I wasn't trying to keep a report card," he said with a laugh, "but it's nice to know you got a good grade on something."