Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Austin Energy-CoA funds transfer

austin energy(Community Matters) I’ve never spent much time understanding the economics of Austin Energy – know our mayor plans to do so. It’s important that our city utilities are positioned to respond to market realities and continue best serving Austin residents & other customers. I certainly don’t oppose the equivalent of dividend transfers and believe transparent allocations are the prerogative of the council & city manager – just not sure there is transparency nor that we’re not handicapping the utilities.

Austin Monitor story:

Explainer: The Austin Energy-CoA funds transfer

The Explainer takes a deeper look at stories we have been following. This week, we tackle the annual transfer from Austin Energy to the City of Austin’s General Fund.

The annual transfer of what has historically been many millions of dollars in cash from the coffers of Austin Energy to those just across the river at City Hall is typical of publicly owned utilities, whether those who live outside the city yet pay Austin Energy for their electricity like to think so or not. This sometimes causes legislators to look at Austin Energy as a problem rather than a top-rated utility.

And sometimes it causes City Council — which is charged with governing the utility to benefit ratepayers as well as the city as a whole — to squirm.

Continue reading

Do the Democrats and Israel Have a Future Together?

(Community Matters) Been warning about the potential acceleration in loss of progressive and liberal support for years – and now that Israel’s prime minister has jumped the shark, there’s even more risk.

israel-master675 nytm

NYTimes Mag: Do the Democrats and Israel Have a Future Together?

“But Jewish Democrats worry about the prospect of keeping liberal support for Israel a viable long-term position for a party base that is overwhelmingly non-Jewish and increasingly critical of the country.”

“. . . many now consider him [Netanyahu] the de facto president of the Israeli chapter of Republicans Abroad.

“And support for Israel has also declined within American government in general. A recent focus group of congressional staffers — tomorrow’s policy makers — revealed ebbing support for Israel.”

You don’t replace a true statesman (former ambassador Michael Oren) with Ron Dermer as your ambassador, allowing him to continue as US political operative, expecting to win more friends. Dermer (now Israel’s ambassador in the US) is a Miami Beach native and Netanyahu’s closest confidant, who, before becoming an Israeli citizen, worked for the Republican takeover of the House in 1994.

Happy to see J Street stepping up and bringing some sanity to the discussion. Proud to be a national leadership circle member of this Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace political organization. I continue to believe in Israel’s ability to become the place of justice for all, just not under the current administration.

Don’t know how this prime minister can earn back any creed with this administration or most of the electorate – perhaps concessions in Palestinian negotiations and a new ambassador to start.