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Mission Verde finally unveiled 

Sustainability studies, chatter fleshed out in speech

San Antonio infected with sustainability bug: green jobs, clean power, mass transit? What city is this? Mayor Hardberger presented broad points of 'Mission Verde' to a packed house yesterday at this year's State of the City Address.

Greg Harman

I walk in a hungryish daze, snapping pics, as San Antonio's rich feast. I missed the server assigned to pour the salad dressing, it seems, at the back of the room where the obviously much-esteemed journalists are crunched.

Can't blog the speech, since the Chamber didn't purchase a wi-fi package and Marriott wants to charge me $250 for the access code. So I wander for those initial 40 minutes or so waiting for the Mayor to take the stage.

As I meander, I can't help but wonder at this well-cuffed crowd. Do they have an inkling of what they are about to hear? Some, maybe. Most, not likely. But, in the immortally T&A-grasping words of Frank Loesser, “baby it's cold outside,” and there are a lot of bank accounts needing insight into which direction the City will be taking this year to stave off a deep freeze. This Chamber-sponsored “State of the City” address is the place to be.

Do they want comforting words? They'll get those. A tea-leaf reading? Much more than that.

It breaks at minute 17 of Mayor Phil Hardberger's speech, the vision for a sustainable energy future for Alamo City. “We call this effort, Mission Verde.”

The pitch for Verde rolls forward this way:

I wrote about what these crowds could expect from the unveiling of Verde a couple weeks ago. If most of what we heard was expected, it was no less ground-shaking.

I had also been warned to expect a few surprises from the speech, too. They came in spades.

For one, it's safe to say, when I wrote CPS Must Die more than a year ago, I didn't expect the City to actually take our prescription for decentralized power. But here is was â?? with CPS Energy's endorsement.

Why “distributed” energy is the future:

Some of the names mentioned in the Mayor's speech (and later at the City Council's B Session dedicated to Verde) were a rolling shock.

Are the world's efficiency gurus really ready to paratroop into Military City?

“Let's talk about money.” The yawning question mark hung in the air as the list of projects fell from Hardy's lips. How will we pay for it?

San Antonio as the hub of a major eco- venture capital fund? Possible?

Building our way to the new clean-energy economy, one new home at a time.

We will have a transportation plan.

And grow and retrain our workforce into new green jobs:

Not to be forgotten. Trees!

It's a double-barrel explosion of new-think raining over San Antonio here. After you've chewed the bones and spit out the buckshot, let us know what you think.

Fears, hopes, questions, loves?

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September 23, 2020

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