Monday, March 31, 2008
Southwest Workers Union is pleased to release its newest report, "Keeping School Workers Poor: A report on wages & disparities in the Austin Independent School District."
Read here in English
Leelo aqui en Espanol
Friday, March 28, 2008
Over 30 community residents came out to the CPS hearing in opposition to the building of two more nuclear power plants in Bay City as part of the South Texas Project.
Teachers, Parents, Community leaders, youth all came out to voice their concerns and urge CPS board to withdraw from the project and instead invest in renewable energy and a green job force for San Antonio. A green job force that will advance the economy of San Antonio without leaving residents with empty pockets.
By the end of the 3 hr, 2 1/2 hrs being community speakers, it was clear the majority opposed this project. The majority being tax paying residents of San Antonio.
Many comments involved how CPS did not do enough outreach to community residents, which will leave residents wondering why their energy bills keep going up.
See article below
View news clip here
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Residents oppose bigger CPS bills
Web Posted: 03/26/2008 12:00 AM CDTVicki Vaughan, Express-News
Opponents of a rate increase proposed by CPS Energy far outnumbered supporters at a public hearing Tuesday night, with most objecting to the part of the boost that would fund a nuclear plant study.
More than 30 residents spoke at the hearing at La Villita Assembly Hall, which came less than a week before the CPS Energy board of trustees is expected to vote on the rate increase proposal, which could go into effect in May.
CPS Energy officials said the nearly 5 percent increase for electricity and natural gas customers would add about $6 to the average residential monthly bill of $135. That's a revision of an earlier estimate by the city-owned utility that bills would increase by almost $7 a month.
CPS Energy has said that only a small percentage of the increase would fund a controversial $206 million study on the expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear plant near Bay City, southwest of Houston.
Although CPS Energy told the crowd of about 120 that CPS has the lowest electricity rates in Texas, that didn't comfort Consuelo Pedroza, who spoke in opposition to the rate increase.
"It's not fair to compare our rates to other cities, because wages in San Antonio are lower," she said. A senior citizen on a limited income, Pedroza objected to the proposed expansion of the nuclear plant, saying she's concerned about nuclear waste disposal.
CPS Energy deputy general manager Steve Bartley said that "there's no silver bullet for meeting our future demands" for energy. The utility has worked hard to achieve a balanced portfolio that includes renewable sources and conservation, he said.
But many speakers insisted that CPS Energy isn't doing enough to boost sustainable energy sources.
"Did you really consider all the safe, clean alternatives? I think not," said Loretta Von Copponelle of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. The decision to spend $206 million to study expanding the nuclear plant "was a wrong one."
But Richard Perez, president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber supports the proposed rate increase. "I urge you all to move forward; the plan is very sound."
Howard Rogers, a member of the San Antonio Manufacturers Association, said he supports the use of renewable energy sources, but new plants must be built to handle future energy needs. "The (rate) plan as currently presented strikes a nice balance," he said.
CPS Energy officials said the increase would be the first since 1991 and that the utility needs to raise rates to pay for a number of major projects now under way, including the completion of a coal-fired plant at Calaveras Lake to be completed in 2010 and a detailed look at whether the utility should add two reactors to the South Texas Project nuclear plant.
CPS Energy's board last year approved spending $206 million to study the feasibility of the nuclear plant expansion.
The utility joined NRG Energy of New Jersey last fall in filing the first application to build a nuclear plant in the United States in almost 30 years. NRG has estimated that adding two reactors to the South Texas Project could cost $6 billion to $7 billion.
If CPS Energy trustees approve the rate increase Monday, the City Council must then approve the measure.
CPS nuclear project poses big questions, San Antonio Express News
Foes claim nuke plan cost estimate lowballed, San Antonio Express News
Unlikely Cause for CPS Rate Hike Protest
SAN ANTONIO -- A handful of protestors stood outside a meeting for a proposed rate hike, but not specifically for the increase itself.The group protesting outside a public meeting was upset about CPS Energy considering using a portion of the proposed funds increase to construct a nuclear power plant.They argued that CPS Energy should be considering using more clean energy sources such as wind or solar power to help meet its increasing demand for electricity.
"We've got a lot on our plate of what customers have asked us for," CPS Energy spokeswoman Theresa Brown-Cortez said. "We are doing things like energy efficiency and conservation, we're adding new things to our coal plants to make them cleaner (and) we need extra money to do these things."One protestor said he isn't bothered with the rate increase, but he preferred it would go for other methods of power production.CPS Energy's board will vote on the 5 percent rate increase on Monday and hope to take the issue before City Council for approval in April. If approved, the average bill would rise by about six dollars, according to CPS Energy officials. Less than 1 percent of the proposed rate increase would go to nuclear energy sources, Brown-Cortez said.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
– Genaro Rendon
SWOP, CVH and Southern Echo, three Pushback Network anchor organizations from New Mexico, New York and Mississippi respectively, went to San Antonio Feb. 15-16 to support the Southwest Workers Union (SWU) in its 2-day training entitled, “’Mobilizing Grassroots Voting Power”. We had members of the Pushback Network collaborating together to assist a key grassroots network in a fourth state to build their organizing process from the bottom up. This assistance actually arose out of the SWU, SWOP and Echo South x Southwest Experiment that focused on building black-brown bridges across the south and southwest. Through this Experiment, the Pushback Network developed a relationship with SWU. All in all, a great time was had by all.
SWU was most interested in hearing how New Mexico, Mississippi and New York explained their different models of grassroots community organizing, both historically and programmatically, and how each state brought their community into the political process. SWU’s goal was both to understand what others have done and to see what it could take from each of the models that would be most useful in the south Texas context. What was interesting to me was that SWU was not seeking a singular black and white roll out of do-this and do-that, but an opportunity to obtain a more complex overview of vision and strategy, as well as the critical details of program, to assess the best that each of the models had to offer that flowed from the variety of approaches and experiences based on their different circumstances.
The Texas process brings to life one of the principal values that we projected from the outset as a goal of the Pushback process, and also in the South x Southwest process. The question was, can we build bottom up grassroots models of work that would not only further the work in our own states, but be useful to like-minded communities in other states? I think the answer is affirmative.
Reported to Pushbacknetwork.org by Mike Sayer, Southern Echo, MS
By Samiya Bashir