Austin Top Green City
Austin has been named one of the Top 10 Green Cities
. Austin was recognized as clean and affordable and as a green-building city where 15 percent of our area is dedicated to parks and nature preserves, with many opportunities for paddling and as well as trails (even if they missed the trail mileage by half). Austin was also recognized for its commitment to renewable energy and its solar manufacturing initiative.
Austin was the only southern city on the list. Chicago was the largest city recognized and the only city from east of the Mississippi. Others on the list consisted of the usual suspects of Boulder, Honolulu, Madison, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. Oakland also received recognition for its affordability, transit, and commitment to renewable energy.
Austin the Walkable
Austin was ranked as the 29th most walkable city
in the American Podiatric Medical Assoication's 2005 survey. The only other Texas city in the top 50 was Irving (44th). The survey examined the 200 largest cities based on census data for 14 criteria based on active lifestyles, work-related walking, and fitness and sports measures.
Three Texas cities ranked in the bottom 10%: El Paso (194), Brownsville (199), and Laredo (200). It is interesting that these are all border cities where there is significant pedestrian traffic across the bridges. However, California wins the couch potato prize with 11 cities in the bottom 10%.
Austin has strong advantages in several of the criteria used: athletic shoe buyers, hike/backpack, go to beaches, dog owners, baby stroller owners, golf index, play sports/exercise. Three of the categories, though, appear to overlap: walk for exercise, walking for health index, walk for fitness. Regardless, given the weight accorded to leisure related criteria (8 out of 14 criteria), it is not surprising that the border cities scored so low.
Interestingly, El Paso and San Antonio (132d in 2005) were both named as two of the twelve best walking cities in 2004
. Needless to say, different criteria were used. Other folks are grumbling
about the weighting of the criteria. So, there may well be changes for the 2006 survey.
Geo-Greens Ahead in PollA recent poll
conducted on behalf of the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute, showed that two-thirds of participants, representing a wide socioeconomic and geographic range of Americans, said they considered driving a more fuel-efficient car to be patriotic in light of increasing U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil reserves.
In the survey of more than 1,000 adults, 57 percent of self-described conservatives considered the purchase of a fuel-efficient vehicle to be patriotic, with 67 percent of NASCAR racing fans concurring as well. The poll also showed that nine out of 10 Americans agreed on the importance of government action to reach a 40-mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency level for American cars, both for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing dependence on foreign crude sources.
Cornyn and Delay Among Washington Elite
Our fine Junior Senator, John Cornyn, and the bugman from Sugarland have been as two of the "28 people whose unbridled ego rubs off everywhere in Washington."
Cornyn, however, was a late comer to the list, "a complete nobody," until he spoke up the Senate floor about killing judges. And, here we thought that the Junior Senator had been dutifully earning his stripes up until now as a partisan hack on the Judiciary Committee. Delay also makes the list, coming in at No. 2 and identified as "[t]here's no one in Washington more roaring drunk on power." On the plus side, it seems that D.C. has its own Jennifer Gale in the form of Adam Eidinger.
Santos for Houston
A recent article in the Houston Chronicle
, draws inspiration from the West Wing's Matt Santos
, a Hispanic Congressman from Houston running for president, and asks why not here:Veteran Houston political consultant Marc Campos, an avid West Wing viewer, is calling for local Hispanic political leaders to use the upcoming Santos-Vinick confrontation as a promotional tool to encourage Latino political participation.
Campos calls the Santos character an ideal political role model who can educate as well as entertain . "We can't just sit on our couches on Wednesday evening and root for the guy. Let's think of a way to get the local Latino community to start talking about Santos."
Since the West Wing scriptwriters have yet to flesh out their character's Houston upbringing, Campos suggests Houstonians could fill in the blanks with a Santos neighborhood, a high school, even a favorite Mexican restaurant. While the partisan cast of the Santos candidacy might limit the fun to Democrats, it's still a great way to encourage Latinos here to register to vote and perhaps turn a fictional candidacy into future fact.
Not a bad idea for a way to get people to ask why Houston can't produce a leader like Santos. Now, if we can only get Midland to produce someone like the West Wing's Sen. Arnold Vinick
1:02:47 this year. Not bad considering I did next to no training. With some training and some Body Glide, I probably would have broken an hour. Still, six minutes better than last year