A Green Mayor for Tel Aviv?
Tel Aviv is not London. While London mayor Ken Livingstone has adopted and energetically pursued a green agenda in his city, Tel Aviv has yet to experience an environmentally progressive administration. However, rumor has it that one such ticket is in the works for next year's elections - a former Minister of the Environment named Yossi Sarid is reportedly considering making a bid for the office.
Local newspapers have been abuzz in recent weeks with speculation that Sarid may run for mayor in next fall's elections. Polls have put his support at almost fifty percent, despite the fact that he has yet to announce his candidacy. Officially retired from politics (he was a Member of Knesset for decades), Sarid now writes a regular column for Ha'aretz newspaper. Here is a recent piece with some of his thoughts on the December Bali conference on climate change. Alon Tal, one of the pioneers of Israel's environmental movement, credits Sarid with transforming the fledgling Israel Ministry of the Environment into a force to be reckoned with in the early 1990's. He devotes almost an entire chapter in his book Pollution in a Promised Land to the years in which Sarid headed the ministry.
Sarid, for his part, has promised to decide by April whether or not to run for mayor. If he runs, Sarid plans to run independent of the existing political parties, instead heading his own "supra-party" made up of activists and community leaders, with no major contributors and staffed completely by volunteers. Regarding policy directions for the city, Sarid has mentioned London mayor Ken Livingstone as a model for sustainable city planning.