If you can read this, you’re not from San Antonio
A national study conducted by Central Connecticut State University found San Antonio ranked 64th of the 69 largest U.S. cities in literacy.
The study, “America’s Most Literate Cities,” was headed by University President John Miller, who said it “attempts to capture one critical index of our nation’s social health—the literacy of its major cities.”
The analysis developed a profile of 69 cities with populations greater than 250,000 based on six key factors: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, local newspapers, magazine and journal publishing, educational attainment, and internet literacy. This set of factors, Dr. Miller believes, “presents a more complex and nuanced portrait of our nation’s cultural vitality.”
Overall, San Antonio received a 61.5 ranking in daily-newspaper circulation, 55 in number of bookstores, 62 in library resources, 60 in magazine and journal publishing, 53 in educational attainment, and 61 in internet literacy.
In overall rankings, five Texas cities came in lower than 50, including Houston (53), Arlington (57), Corpus Christi (67), and El Paso (68). Austin was the top-rated literate city in Texas at 16, while Fort Worth received a 44.5 and Dallas, 48.
Seattle ranked No. 1; Stockton, California ranked 69th.
Last year, 79 cities were included in the survey and San Antonio ranked 75th. Internet literacy wasn’t calculated in the 2004 rankings.
Miller drew several conclusions from the literacy study:
• The presence of retail bookstores in a community is associated with higher-quality libraries. It is not a question of whether people buy books or check them out: they do both or neither.
• There is virtually no relationship between the number of newspapers circulated per person and any other literacy factor, including reading a newspaper on the internet.
• The number of public-library staff per capita, number of retail bookstores per capita, and magazines published per capita are significantly related to additional literary factors more than any other factor.
• There are strong relationships between three of the four internet literacy factors, including wireless internet access, purchasing books on the internet, and reading newspapers on the internet. But availability of wireless terminals in public libraries is not related to any of these three factors.
“The value of this study ... lies less in the absolute accuracy of the rank orders and far more in what communities do with the information,” Miller said.
The road rumor goes nowhere
An e-mail rumor that the City is planning to build a road through Government Canyon State Natural Area is not true, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials.
TPW spokesperson Rob McCorkle said he had not heard of such a proposal; a Government Canyon official told the Current that the City has old thoroughfare plans on the books that could appear to include a road, but the State Natural Area is off-limits for such projects. “It’s not going to happen,” the official said.
Government Canyon opened two months ago after a decade of fund-raising, construction, and at times, controversy. In 2003, City Public Service Energy was under pressure from former Senator Phil Gramm and other landowners near the area to run high-transmission power lines through Government Canyon rather than along their property. Public outcry outweighed Gramm’s political sway, and CPS Energy tossed the plan.
Part of the 8,600-acre Government Canyon lies over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone; it is home to endangered species and protected areas. It is open to the public Friday-Monday from 8 a.m. to sunset. Those hours will be extended as the days grow longer.
Election filing deadline is nigh
If running for election is your New Year’s resolution, you have until 6 p.m. January 2 to file for office. Republican and Democratic hopefuls should file with their county or state party chairperson, depending on the office sought.
Libertarian, Green, and Reform candidates should also file with their state or county party chair.
Independent candidates must file with the county judge or Secretary of State, depending on the office. Bexar County offices will be closed January 2, so if you wait until the last minute, contact one of the County Judge staff: Seth Mitchell (394-6336), Cindy Segovia (378-5282), or Shalim Torres (723-6184).
Those seeking election must either collect signatures of registered voters on a petition or pay a fee. The number of signatures and amount of money varies according to the office. Third parties and independent candidates have additional ballot hurdles. Go to sos.state.tx.us/elections for details.
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