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Archive for September, 2009

With a mayor who listens, maybe more civil discussions are needed

September 30th, 2009 No comments

Today an article in the Express-News disclosed that Mayor Julian Castro, in response to a request for open meetings by the Express-News, postponed the upcoming executive session with CPS to allow them to determine what items could be discussed in open session and what required executive session. “There cannot be even the perception that any portion of this process isn’t as open as it should be,” Castro said. One word sums up that move in my mind – COOL! Castro has demonstrated a strong desire to hear the public during his first year in office. He’s learned a lot in the four years since leaving city council and those lessons can help lead to great movements in our city. The question is if the public can learn to discuss the issues in a civil manner. Read more…

A time to plan

September 29th, 2009 No comments

This morning I woke up to a Facebook wall post from Mayor Julian Castro saying “It’s been 25 years since Target ’90, the last time San Antonians came together to answer the question, ‘What kind of city do we want to be?’ It’s time to envision our city’s future together again–and to act on it.” Wow, he’s a busy mayor. You see, he had just spent 5 hours the night before listening to public citizen commentary about the CPS’s planned expansion of the STNP. Oh, did I mention that message came in around 6 a.m. this morning? Yes, we have an active and engaged mayor. What is interesting is that this very idea is what essentially kicked his campaign off over a year ago through an editorial piece in the Express-News. But how do we get a plan after 20 years? Read more…

CPS holds final hearing on STNP

September 28th, 2009 No comments

Tonight before a crowd of around 300 or so at the Villita Assembly Hall the CPS Board of Trustees held the final hearing before making their decision on future investment in the South Texas Nuclear Project. All members of the board were present along with Mayor Julian Castro. Councilman Reed Williams, the principal council member staying close to the discussions, was also in the audience. The board will have one more meeting on Oct. 5 but will not be taking public input during that meeting. Audience members were permitted to speak for 3 minutes each before the board to voice their opinions. I stayed for about an hour and a half before leaving to come watch the Cowboys game. Even though I left early it was pretty easy to get the basic messages of the evening. Read more…

Categories: Energy Tags: ,

A lot of talk about energy these days

September 27th, 2009 4 comments

Recently there has been a lot of talk about solar energy these days as many utilities cope with a need to expand their infrastructure and deal with the environmental impact of generating electricity. San Antonio is among those communities dealing with these issues, primarily because of discussion about expansion of the STNP. Over the past few months CPS, city council, and energy advocates have hosted a number of public forums to learn and discuss options to consider for the future. The discussion rivals only the health care town halls in intensity and interest in San Antonio. San Antonio must address growing energy needs as the city grows and expands its reach into information technology. So with all this discussion is there really a simple answer or is there more complexity to the matter?

Read more…

Categories: Energy Tags: , ,

It’s football season so let’s have some fun

September 26th, 2009 No comments

I’m heading up to Austin today to enjoy some more Longhorn football with friends. One has never been to a college football game so we’re going to give him the full experience. So, in context of football weekend, here’s a great little funny clip from the new TV series “Glee” with some Beyonce thrown in. After all, who isn’t doing something to “Single Ladies” these days? Watch the YouTube video after the jump. Read more…

Categories: Entertainment, Sports Tags: , ,

Ken Burns’ National Park series begins this Sunday

September 25th, 2009 No comments

else_1-lgThis Sunday marks the beginning of the latest Ken Burns series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” It’s a six-episode series (preview) that chronicles how the National Park Service came to be and explores some of the major parks across the nation. Based on some of the preview clips I have watched it’s definitely a must see event on public television. You can watch the series on our local public television station KLRN starting Sunday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. What is wonderful about our national parks is that we have one of the gems located within the city limits of San Antonio – the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. Located just south of downtown the park provides one of the best examples of the missions outreach of the colonization by the Franciscans and Spanish in America. Read more…

Categories: San Antonio Tags: , ,

What really is in the future for newspapers?

September 24th, 2009 2 comments

Today the San Antonio Express-News unveiled a few changes to their online edition, mainly in the above the fold area of the home page. The intent appears to be to make the online edition more dynamic and provide the latest information in the top part of the page. Blogs and twitter updates are also included on the home page as the paper starts to leverage new media as a means to deliver content. This can also be seen in the Twitter accounts many of the staff have where they post breaking information or cool topics. However, with all these changes will this help save the paper from closing its doors as more and more readers drop subscriptions and opt for other sources for news? Read more…

The effect of renewable energy on the poor

September 22nd, 2009 2 comments

Monday as I was scanning media around Texas I found an interesting article at the Austin American-Statesman regarding the problem facing the poor and elderly as a result of Austin’s decision to fore go further investment in STNP and opt for renewable energy. It appears that after the cost figures were calculated based on the decision that Austin’s poor and elderly would have a hard time paying their utility bills due to the expected cost increases. Advocates for the low-income residents have been in discussions with Austin Energy to try to plan for how to meet the needs. “We help a lot of people who can barely afford to keep the lights on now,” said Ron Walker, chancellor for the Catholic Diocese of Austin, which calculates electric bills could rise 50 percent in the next five years. What if San Antonio drops investment in STNP? What would happen to our low-income residents and who would pick up the costs? Read more…

AT&T big on marketing, slow on service

September 21st, 2009 2 comments

This past weekend I traveled to Austin to attend the Texas-Texas Tech game which was the largest football crowd in Texas at 101,297 until the Cowboys-Giants game eclipsed it on Sunday. Regarding the crowd, in my mind Texas Memorial Stadium still had a bigger crowd than the Jerry Dome. Counting people standing outside in the plaza isn’t really valid when you count a crowd but that’s Jerry Jones for you – all hype and low delivery. Regardless, with the record crowd in Austin came a lot of other problems. I’ve already hit on the transportation issue in yesterday’s blog but let’s talk about AT&T’s failure to deliver. For all the hype of the iPhone it was basically rendered useless once we got into the sea of burnt orange across 15th Street. Read more…

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,

People, trains and automobiles

September 20th, 2009 No comments

There’s been a lot of talk in San Antonio recently about public transportation and some options to consider. VIA just completed their SmartWaySA public hearing series where public input into transit options was discussed including light rail and streetcars. Mayor Julian Castro recently weighed into the conversation after VIA’s announcement of a commission to review options for streetcars and light rail. Mayor Castro said in the article that San Antonio was the last major U.S. city that hasn’t invested in passenger rail. In the article he said “It’s time for San Antonio to make a significant investment in mass transit.” But before we launch into any major plans for passenger rail, be it streetcars or light rail, I feel it is critical and important to take a hard look at other cities around Texas and the nation to see what works and what doesn’t. Read more…

Is ACORN really that bad or just an easy dog to kick?

September 18th, 2009 2 comments

These days when Congress should be knuckling down on health care the Republican leadership seems preoccupied with another pressing issue – the defunding of ACORN. Of course, this wasn’t their original idea but in classic form they follow the lead of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh on these matters. Sometimes I wonder who’s really running the Republican Party. So why are conservatives like Beck and Limbaugh against ACORN? I can only boil it down to one reason and that is the mobilization ACORN did for voter turnout in low to middle income areas of America, areas that would vote for a Democrat rather than a Republican. Granted during that voter registration drive ACORN’s ground forces got a little overzealous in the approach to register names since the part-time registrants were being paid by the hour and had to sign up a quota of names. That was probably not the best approach to take for something like voter registration. But is ACORN bad all around? Read more…

Categories: Politics Tags:

The reality or lack of it on the Internet

September 15th, 2009 No comments

tea_party_crowdThis past weekend if you surfed the NY Times website Sunday morning looking for information on the “Tea Party” march in Washington you probably were surprised to have a fake antivirus malware popup hit you warning you of virus problems. Many of us who saw the popup were shocked that a site with the reputation of the NY Times would have such a situation happen. Fortunately my browser, Google’s Chrome, prevented the malware from being loaded and installed on my computer and saved me hours of painful removal process. The NY Times did respond to the issue and removed the malicious ad from the site. But how could this have happened? Furthermore, how could a fake picture about the march in Washington be posted as legitimate? Ah, the false reality of the Internet. Read more…

Categories: New media Tags: ,

Selected Shorts in SA – will you be there?

September 14th, 2009 No comments

selected_shorts_iconOn September 25th Selected Shorts will return to San Antonio staged in the historic Jefferson High School Auditorium. The show, a TPR Saturday regular, is a collection of short stories read by celebrities and writers. Each week Isaiah Sheffer brings together celebrities and hosts the show for a great afternoon of simple and entertaining readings. In case you’re not familiar with the show you can check out prior episodes at their podcast home page hosted by Public Radio International. The San Antonio show is a traveling show Sheffer presents during his annual tour around the country. This year’s theme features Latin artists in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Read more…

Categories: Entertainment Tags: ,

Shouting down the opposition will not fix health care

September 13th, 2009 No comments

Last Wednesday night many of us watched Pres. Obama deliver an address on health care reform in a rare special session of Congress. The address comes at a time when Congress has just returned from the summer recess and a series of town halls held across the nation on health care reform, many which have been shouting matches at best. Aside from the normal cheering and booing from either side of the aisle the event was marked by a rare shout from the Republican section by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). Wilson has since apologized to the president and faces possible discipline Monday if he doesn’t apologize on the floor of the House. Personally I feel Wilson has apologized enough and we should put this incident behind us. The real question is whether this signals a change in the tone of debate in America. Read more…

Categories: Obama Tags: ,

What’s really at the root of hatred for Pres. Obama?

September 7th, 2009 3 comments

Tuesday President Barack Obama will address school children across the nation in a speech about responsibility, education and the values of staying the course. I’ve read the remarks posted by the White House and find them to be pretty good and reasonable. There’s no political rhetoric like the garbage I’ve seen coming from both sides on health care reform. For example, after remarks about not having great advantages Pres. Obama tells kids that’s no excuse for not doing the right thing. “But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying,” according to the remarks. For some reason the conservative right has taken a good speech from a president and made it about evil indoctrination. Give me a BREAK! Read more…

Categories: Obama Tags: