May 19 2010 12:00 AM

The varied travelings of Virg

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has spent a lot of time traveling in the last week.

He started out last Wednesday in Mt. Clemens at a gubernatorial forum at Central Michigan State University hosted by Michigan Radio, the Detroit Free Press and the League of Conservation Voters. Bernero came out in support of making investments in alternative energy, including being “open” to offshore wind turbine farms … in the right conditions. He also said that he would be in favor of closing off the Chicago River to Lake Michigan so no more of those pesky Asian Carp would get into the lake.

On Friday, Bernero appeared at an Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce candidate event, where he rubbed shoulders with Republican gubernatorial candidates Rick Snyder and U.S. Rep Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland. Bernero told AnnArbor.com that he plans to release a 10-point economic plan in the next few weeks outlining how he is going to make Michigan the “No. 1 place to do business.” Aside from that, he pretty much said the same stuff he’s been saying since entering the race. He did make two questionable claims.  According to the website, he said he has been mayor “for five years now,” a inflated claim, since he took office in January 2006. He also was paraphrased as saying “Lansing hasn't raised taxes or spent down its reserves," even though the city had $10.8 million in reserves in FY 2009 and has budgeted for $8.5 million in FY 2011.

Bernero was invited to an open carry (not beer, but guns) event in Warren on Saturday, but it does not appear that he attended.

On Monday and Tuesday, Bernero was in Washington with his old gang, the Mayor’s and Municipalities Automotive Coalition (including leaders from the Michigan communities of Orion Township, Wixom, Wyoming Wayne, Auburn Hills, Bay City, Fenton, Flint and Hamtramck; Bedford, Ind., Janesville and Kenosha, Wis.; Wentzville, Mo.; and the Ohio communities of Lordstown, Toledo, Twinsburg and Walton Hills) to accept a really big novelty check for $836 million from Barack Obama for the cleanup of old GM sites. On Tuesday, mayoral spokesman Randy Hannan issued a press release, which was later re-released (with “Office of Mayor Virg Bernero, Ninth Floor, Lansing City Hall” still at the top) by gubernatorial spokesman Jamaine Dickens.

In future events: Bernero will appear at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce PAC Mackinac Policy Conference, which starts on June 2. Bernero, according to a Chamber PAC release, will participate in a “great gubernatorial debate” with his Democratic rival, Andy Dillon, and all the Republican candidates. (Speaking of debates, the Dillon campaign issued a release saying that Dillon would participate in up to three televised debates — he doesn’t specifically challenge Bernero or any of the Republicans, but simply that he’d be willing to do the debates.) On June 24, Bernero will appear at a networking luncheon hosted by the Small Business Association of Michigan.

Finally, Bernero is set to be endorsed by “major” Macomb County leaders. When asked, Dickens declined to say who is endorsing before a Thursday morning press conference.

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