Naked City

Off the Desk

It's all hands on deck at City Hall as A2K (party-party) and Y2K (prepare for the worst) activities come down to the wire in the waning days of 1999. The city's Emergency Operations Center folks are so readiness confident that they invited press representatives to a briefing on Tuesday, Dec. 28, to discuss their Y2K activation agenda. Meanwhile at A2K party headquarters, "we're putting the final touches on everything," says Lisa Schickel, a production assistant with Middleman Music. Are things pretty tense over there? "Not really," she says matter-of-factly. "It's like any other concert, except bigger." The first of several street closures occurs at 7pm Tuesday, Dec. 28 for the installation of a 50-foot light tower and countdown clock. The street reopens at 6am Wednesday but closes again for the festivities. Also, any fears that Budweiser would be the only sponsor to step forward were allayed when some other big cheeses opted in. Now the sponsor list has been beefed up to include (to name only a few): Coca-Cola, Austin-based Hoover's Online, Schlotzky's, Post Properties, LBJS Broadcasting, Downtown Austin Alliance, and the law firm of Armbrust Brown & Davis. And if you're toying with the idea of venturing downtown on New Year's Eve but don't know where to park, Capital Metro will shuttle people downtown from the site of the old Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, and back, between 5pm-2am. But first -- get over to HEB and buy your $5 round-trip pass. They won't let you on the bus without it...

After the millennial confetti settles and you're back to the mundane in 2000, you may want to give some thought to what's cooking over at Austin Energy. A new program called "Green Choice" will offer residents the opportunity to buy energy produced by "renewable sources" -- meaning wind, solar, or biogas (landfill methane). Austin Energy and city and enviro representatives will kick off the program at a press conference Jan. 11, with representatives from renewable energy companies on hand to explain things like how those West Texas wind farms operate. Residents wanting to contribute to the development of this hip new energy program would pay, on average, an extra $4 a month on their utility bill, says Mark Kapner, renewable energy and conservation manager for Austin Energy. He says the program is the first step toward achieving the utility's goal of obtaining 5% of its electricity from alternative sources by 2005. Green Choice, Kapner explains, is "both a renewable energy program to build sustainable energy for our future, and a clean air program in one."

Gus Garcia Jr., son of Gus Garcia of Austin City Council fame, isn't going to let his non-appointment to the County Court-at-Law No. 5 bench discourage him from running for the post. Garcia will vie for the bench from which Judge Wilfred Aguilar resigned in the face of mounting political pressure stemming from a Williamson County DWI charge. Serving out the remainder of Aguilar's term will be Justice of the Peace Gisela Triana, who was appointed by the Travis County Commissioners Court. Garcia was among four final candidates the commissioners considered for the post before settling on the politically well-connected Triana. Garcia says he's not one to try and capitalize on his dad's name (then again, with a name like Gus Garcia Jr. he doesn't have to try), but he says he'll call on the elder Garcia for assistance and support. "I'd be a fool to turn my back on that," he says. Filing deadline, by the way, is Jan. 3.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

A2K, Emergency Operations Center, Budweiser, Hoover's Online, Post Properties, LBJS Broadcasting, Downtown Austin Alliance, Armbrust Brown & Davis, Capital metro, Gus Garcia, AustinEnergy, Green Choice, Gisela Triana

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