Verde endorsed by picky enviros minutes before ozone season party

Keep it up, but don't shut us out, was the message for Hardberger on Verde.

Greg Harman

[email protected]

So the green camp likes the Mayor's sustainability plan? Where's the headline in that, local pen-pushers and lens-cleaners must have been asking themselves as they retreated en masse from the steps of City Hall.

See, Mayor Hardberger and state Representative Mike Villarreal had just been bad-mouthing unscrupulous developers at their own little press event, warming the stage for the People's Republic of Eco-Sanity.

`LIGHTNING BACKSTORY: Villareal is pushing a bill that would close a loophole that has allowed developers to use ag exemptions to continue clear-cutting land in spite of strict city tree and flood ordinances. “Some developers are poised to make a profit while playing by a different set of rules than the rest of us,” Villarreal said in a press release yesterday. “With this legislation we're not only fighting for fair government, we're fighting to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.”`

Great stuff. But, on principal, I avoided the Mayor's press conference to protest the reporters who would be protesting (or just plain not covering) the enviro community's display of Verde unity afterward. Crazy strong foresight, huh?

I amaze myself.

Anyway, if you want to join area media and send me and my report to your personal penal colony from this point down, check out Villareal's HB 2016 and be done with you.

For those still reading: The San Antonio Environmental Network is a coalition of environmental groups, ranging from native plant enthusiasts at Master Gardeners, to the institutionalized U.S. Green Building Council, to the more active policy tinkerers at Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and Environmental Defense.

That an umbrella group representing about 10,000 San Antonians could get their stuff together to endorse a plan as multi-faceted as Mission Verde is impressive.

“To put it in the words of Calvin Coolidge, we're for it,” said Bill Hurley, of the Network. “In fact, this plan was received so well by SAEN, our group felt especially obliged to comment.”

But just collecting to backslap the mayor, does not a press conference make. They had to want something, verdad?

Yup. More Verde. Faster. Louder. Tougher alloy.

Hurley urged city leaders to:

1. Enshrine Verde in policy prior to the upcoming May elections

2. Include SAEN members and member groups in future Verde discussion

3. Establish checks and balances to keep the program strong

A Hill Country Planning Association member even urged the City to take its new, greener building codes into the nether regions of its extra territorial jurisdiction.

The endorsement comes at a key time, as the chin-striking sustainability consultant to kings, Mr. Jeremy Rifkin, prepares to touch down in SA to meet the local elected reps and energy leaders.

“We all depend on the press for getting the word out,” Loretta Van Coppenolle, conservation chair for the local Sierra Club chapter, said well after most of the reporters had nearly all dashed away. “There has been very little information out in the local press and the media. We hope that will be changed today and in the future.”

Hear, ye:

Meanwhile, across the street it was a party time on Main Plaza as the Alamo Area Council of Governments kicked off the start of ozone season with the third annual Fresh Air Friday.

Find out about AACOG's efforts and ways you can help, or just complacently watch our ridiculous video dispatch. Your choice.


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