Off the Desk
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.