Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Petition Update Concerns Many

People are keeping an eye on what is happening with the petition and with preserving the Scenic Corridor in perpetuity. Yesterday was the first meeting of City Council beyond sixty days from the September 20th meeting when an update was promised. Board members of Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, Judy Ackerman and Raul Amaya, spoke to the issue during the Call to the Public. City Planning Staff will give an update next Tuesday, December 6. They will report that Dover Kohl will begin work on the Northwest Master Plan that includes the Scenic Corridor and that they should begin in late January following their completion of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Public charrettes will be scheduled around that time. Petition organizers are meeting with attorneys regarding any question about any deadline by law to proceed to a petition for a ballot referendum if necessary. The crux of the matter is trust. When all is said and done, people want to see the Scenic Corridor preserved forever.

The real question is whether SmartCode can guarantee preservation. Currently the City is sponsoring a three day workshop about SmartCode. There are about 118 people in attendance – many from the City and one that I know about from PSB. 19% of the attendees are developers. The workshop is being conducted by the Placemakers, a collection of professionals (“planners, designers, architects, an attorney, an MBA, a journalist and a marketing communications veteran”) who are city planners who promote the principles of New Urbanism – the design of walkable, diverse, compact communities.

I’ll report more about the workshop tomorrow at elpasonaturally. I was able to hear keynoter, Jeff Speck, yesterday at the workshop and at his public lecture last evening. What I heard about neighborhoods, community, walkability, health, and more is exciting and promising. It’s good news that they are here and that the City is adopting SmartCode.

You can follow Placemaker Hazel Borys on Twitter and pick-up some of the key concepts of the workshop or go to and follow the conversation about the workshop.

Of course, a huge cloud over preservation is just what TxDOT plans to do. Elpasonaturally has learned that they are already making changes that will preclude much of the landscaping with trees as previously promised to the public. It also appears that the intersection at proposed Paseo del Norte will eat up quite a bit of the corridor which will give excuse to some to go ahead with plans to plow through the natural landscape of the Scenic Corridor. These machinations may precipitate a need to proceed to a ballot.

Although he did not touch on specific highway projects such as Transmountain, Jeff Speck in his lecture last evening did give some hard evidence how such road projects have caused greater congestion and are a greater harm to the public health, safety and welfare. Adopting SmartCode and allowing TxDOT to continue these behemoth projects in El Paso are contradictions.

The time has come and gone for applications for an upcoming vacancy on the Public Service Board. I decided to apply and you can read my cover letter submitted with my resume.

Since the last e-letter promoting buying locally for the holidays, many more suggestions have been emailed to me. Check out the right hand column at elpasonaturally for new ideas for shopping including Hyundai Sun Bowl tickets, the Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso annual Christmas bazaar, the upcoming gem and mineral show, and the Happy Hawaiian Holidaze Open Hut Arts & Crafts Fair at the Hal Marcus Gallery.

Finally, give yourself a real holiday treat this weekend on either Friday or Saturday evening. Go to Keystone Heritage Park and enjoy Luminarias by the Lake. Details here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Transmountain Scenic Corridor Is Still on Minds of Many

It's been 60 days since we presented to City Council the petition to preserve in perpetuity the Scenic Corridor along Transmountain. There was no decision except to begin a process to re-do the Northwest Master Plan with the guidance of Dover Kohl and include in that process the preservation of the land. Dover Kohl can't get started on that project until they finish the Comprehensive Plan for El Paso. Nevertheless, members of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition went to Council this morning and gave gentle reminders that the issue has not been forgotten. Planning will present an update next Tuesday to City Council. By schedule, that day will be the first time to make the promised 60 day update since September 20th when the certified petition was formally presented to Council.

Judy Ackerman and Raul Amaya spoke during public comment. Judy made it clear that, as Secretary of FMWC, she hears from many people. FMWC is a coalition of 30 other non-profit groups and has for its own membership 1200 people. Nearly 1600 signatures were certified on the petition.

Here is the text of Judy's remarks:

Good morning Honorable Mayor and City Council.

Thank you for this opportunity to address you on the topic of the Scenic Corridor. I am judy Ackerman, Secretary for the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition. The Coalition has been a non-profit local organization since July 1978, dedicated to preserving and protecting the unique bio-diversity, geology and historical cultural heritage.

We are a coalition with 30 local non-profit organizations as members and they each have their own individual members. Additionally the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition has over 1200 individual members.

The coalition members are YOUR constituents from the far east side, through central, northeast and all the way around to the far upper valley.

I’ve been getting phone calls, e-mails and members stopping me on the street asking, “What’s going on with the Transmountain Scenic Corridor?” They see the Scenic Corridor as vital to the integrity of our mountains and they are concerned about the delay in permanently protecting the city-owned land along the western slopes of our Franklin Mountains.

They see the mountain as vulnerable to bulldozers and paving and want YOU to protect our mountains.

We fully support the charrette process to gather public input to the planning process for El Paso’s future. We support your efforts with Dover Kohl.

We just wanted YOU to know what I am hearing from YOUR constituents. They want City Owned land permanently protected as natural open space.

Here is the text of Raul's remarks:

There are places in the world that should be left as they are; that should be preserved, conserved & protected for everyone’s benefit. Things like beautiful beaches, mountains & mountain vistas like the 700 acres of land along the western slope of Trans Mountain road that we the citizens of El Paso own.

There are places in the world that should belong to everyone in general & no one in particular & that because of their uniqueness & beauty shouldn’t be sold for private development & profit like the 700 acres of land along the western side of Trans Mountain road.

Everything, everyone & everyplace should not be for sale. Money is not all that matters in life. Commercial & residential development on every parcel of land regardless of its beauty & uniqueness should not be the predominant value.

Environmentalist author Edward Abbey wrote: "The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need … wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread."

I’ll close my comments with a few lyrics from a popular song of my youth written by Joni Mitchell named Yellow Taxi.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot with a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot SPOT.

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Please don’t be the “they” in this song.

Luminarias by the Lake

Click image to enlarge.

Keystone Heritage Park is a great place to visit, enjoy the garden, bird watch and see the wetlands. It has archaeological and historical significance. It can use your support.


Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm Applying!

Through the elpasonaturally e-letter I have let readers know that the PSB is taking applications now for a position on the PSB that is coming vacant. It is the position that Katherine Brennand currently holds. My understanding is that she wants to continue on the board but that the City has insisted that the application process be honored. When changes were to stagger board membership a few years ago, Katherine drew one of the short straws and her term expired in two rather than four years. After much thought and input, I decided that I am qualified for the seat termed Communications, Public Administration or Education. Below is my cover letter that I emailed less than an hour ago to EPWU's Consumer Affairs Officer, Paula Apodaca:

PSB Application Letter

Friday, November 25, 2011

Free City Planning Lecture Next Tuesday

Click to enlarge image.

As part of a three day workshop on SmartCode, Mr. Jeff Speck will be giving a free public lecture on Tuesday, November 29th, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Main Public Library, 501 N. Oregon. (Map). Jeff will do a book signing after the lecture. He is the co-author of Suburban Nation and the Smart Growth Manual.

Bottom line: Don't miss this one!

For more information, contact City of El Paso Deputy Director of Planning, Matthew McElroy, at 915-541-4193 or

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7th Annual Holiday Market at Ardovino's Desert Crossing

Talk about buying locally! The 7th Annual Holiday Market at Ardovino's Desert Crossing will be held Sunday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is their largest event ever with over 70 vendors from their Farmers Market plus guest artisans selling a variety of handmade gifts and crafts. Check out the new A1 private party room with a special Champagne tasting plus free cider. Enjoy brunch in the restaurant starting at 10 a.m. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. For more information please call 575-589-0653. (Map and driving directions)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Buy Locally for the Holidays

Elpasonaturally likes the idea of buying from local businesses for the holiday shopping . . . and beyond the holidays shopping. You can read the message that has gone viral that encourages American consumers to buy locally. As those on the Frontera, we can also consider products from Juarez and Chihuahua as being local as well. So, as we approach “Black Friday” and the holiday insanity, here are some thoughts.

Last e-letter, I recommended that you get a copy of the El Paso Scene or visit it online. See their list of bazaars and fairs on their Round-Up page. Also get a list of local El Paso businesses at Homegrown El Paso and check out Craig’s List for El Paso. Check out Small Business Saturday on Facebook. Here are some more specific suggestions:

Go to Jackson Polk’s for history and heritage DVDs about El Paso. They ship anywhere and they have 13 different DVD titles – all about El Paso. You can buy them online or at about fifty El Paso and Southern New Mexico stores and gift shops. Jackson’s new "Ghost Stories of El Paso Vol.3" will be available starting this Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m., Nov. 26, 2011, at the DVD release party at the El Paso Main Library downtown, 502 N. Oregon. You can see the program for free in the library auditorium. (Map)

Our friends, Bobby and Lee Byrd, are the owners of Cinco Puntos Press. They publish books for all ages including a new one by daughter and City Representative, Susie Byrd, and candidate for U.S. Congress, Beto O’Rourke. Their book, Dealing Death and Drugs, was the subject of an EP Times story yesterday.

Check out Cactus Mary Soap. Mary Fountaine makes her all natural, cold process soaps by hand in Central El Paso. You can buy from her online as well.

Many of you who read the El Paso Hiker and who like to hike, run, walk or marathon will appreciate El Pasoan Dr. David Williams’ web site with a cyber store – the Runnin’ Bunion.

Buy gift certificates from your favorite restaurants such as El Paso eatery icons: Kiki’s and House of Pizza. Ardovino’s Desert Crossing is not just fine dining but owners, Marina and Robert Ardovino, strive to bring locally produced foods and beverages to your table.

Support your local artists and shop at the Downtown Art Market this Saturday November 26, 2011 from 9 to 1 in the Union Plaza District.

This e-letter and elpasonaturally will post suggestions for great local holiday buys. If you or someone you know has goodies that make great presents, please let me know. Keep checking elpasonaturally for local shopping suggestions.

Downtown Art Market: Shop Locally on Saturday

The Downtown Art Market observes

Small Business Saturday with local artists

November 26th

Union Plaza District


The City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD), in its continuing effort to support local artists, announces its participation in the national “Small Business Saturday” project, encouraging the El Paso community to shop local at the Downtown Art Market on Saturday November 26, 2011 from 9am-1pm. (Map of Union Plaza District)

On one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, participating Downtown Art Market artists have gathered to promote 20 gifts under $20 this Saturday. Local artists will also be offering free holiday craft s for children including making clay gingerbread men.

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

The Downtown Art Market launched on October 29th and occurs every Saturday from 9am-1pm at Union Plaza. The event attracts El Pasoans and visitor’s downtown and provides opportunities for local artists to sell their work.

Nabhan Speaks at UTEP at 5PM Today

Click in image to enlarge.

Ethnobotanist, conservationist, farmer, essayist and internationally-celebrated nature writer, Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan, will lecture and sign his new book, Chasing Chiles, this evening in Room 116 at the Undergraduate Learning Center on the UTEP campus. A reception will follow at the Centennial Museum. (Map)

Nabhan was the Founding Director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University. He co-founded Native Seeds/Search, a clearinghouse of native varieties of agricultural seeds of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico, and founded RAFT (Renewing America's Food Traditions), "an alliance of food, farming, environmental and culinary advocates who have joined together to identify, restore and celebrate America's biologically and culturally diverse food traditions through conservation, education, promotion and regional networking."

Mother Earth News has called Gary (an orchard-keeper and wild forager) "the father of the local food movement."He is also an Ecumenical Franciscan brother.

Chasing Chiles is co-authored with Kurt Michael Friese and Kraig Kraft. "Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper - from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Experience Bliss and an Eatery Institution

There’s a surge in planned hikes in our region! More and more people are hiking and looking for groups to hike with. Keep going to Celebration of Our Mountains , El Paso Hiking Meet-up and the Las Cruces Hiking Meet-up. Also check out the Ocotillo Hikers of Las Cruces.

Here’s one hike that doesn’t appear on any of the above but sure has me excited:

Bliss Sandstone Field Trip! Meet in the Mountain Park area of NE El Paso just off Magnetic/Alabama at Titanic and Big Bend tomorrow (Thursday, November 17, 2011) at 7 a.m. Hike to an interesting feature of Bliss Sandstone in the Franklins. Afterwards plan to eat at an El Paso Institution: the New Clock on Dyer which one veteran hiker has described as “the finest cuisine Northeast El Paso has to offer.”

Composed of small grains of quartz embedded in a matrix of sericite and kaolin and taking its name from Fort Bliss, Bliss Sandstone is a Paleozoic formation of the Ordovician/Cambrian Periods roughly 500 million years ago. Dating is based on “Annelid borings both perpendicular and parallel . . . in the Bliss sandstone.” (Citation here.) Although “the main occurrence of the Bliss sandstone is along the eastern slopes of the Franklin Mountains” . . . there are also “ outcrops in small areas on the upper western flanks of the central part of the range.” In fact, I have a sample found on the western side of the ridge above Fusselman Canyon along the Ron Coleman Trail not far from the Mammoth and our beloved Winkie. Bliss Sandstone is primarily ancient beach sands deposited in shallow, offshore waters. Similar formations are found in Central Texas, southwestern New Mexico and Arizona including the Tonto sandstone of the Grand Canyon. (Picture)

A fied trip to see Bliss Sandstone followed by breakfast at the New Clock – Priceless!

This weekend you can go birding in the lower valley (Tornillo, McNary, Fort Hancock) and see shore and wading birds. You can look for Fluorspar in the mines, adits and prospects that dot Bishop’s Cap. Franklin Hills is the launch site for two more hikes this weekend. On Saturday there will be a trails hike that can be done with moderate ease or moderate difficulty – whichever description you prefer. As you hike into the Franklin Mountains State Park you can see land to be developed and, hopefully, land to be permanently preserved. On Sunday take a more leisurely route and stroll and see the fossils in the area. Both hikes will be led by Master Naturalist and Master Hiker, Tommy Young.

Finally, if you are interested in the Crane Festival at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge (just below Socorro, New Mexico), this weekend is a good time to go. Contact Coordinator Carol Brown at 915-630-1424 for more information.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Today's E-Letter: Reyes Deputy Chief of Staff Loses Control

Value conservation, preserved open natural space, green infrastructure/low impact development? Head doesn’t bob like a dashboard ornament? APPLY TO SERVE ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD. The Public Service Board is accepting applications for one vacancy. Applicants must have education and professional expertise in the field of Communications, Public Administration or Education. Go here for more information. Hurry. The deadline for receiving applications is Monday, November 28, by 5 p.m. Any application received after 5:00 p.m. on November 28 will not be considered.

Here’s a story you won’t read in the Times: Representative Silvestre Reyes’ Deputy Chief of Staff, Sal Payan, lost all control at the regular monthly meeting of City Council Rep. Susie Byrd whose guest was candidate Beto O’Rourke. The meeting happened on November 3rd at Tierra del Sol Mexican Restaurant. It’s sad to report that a tax payer-paid staff member of Congressman Reyes verbally assaulted Mr. O’Rourke. Since the elpasonaturally post about this matter, I’ve interviewed five other people who were witnesses. All told the same story about Mr. Payan’s rudeness and incivility which even caused kitchen staff to come into the dining area to see what was wrong. The behavior of a Chief of Staff says a great deal about the caliber of representative we currently have.

There is a story that you will read in the Times probably on Sunday and it will be worthwhile to read. It is great news about Castner Range, Frontera Land Alliance and Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition. I’ll let top-notch reporter, Chris Roberts, tell it. The Castner Conservation Conveyance Report is now published. The study was done by CALIBRE Systems, Inc. of Alexandria, Virginia with funding from a $300,000 Office of Economic Adjustment/Department of Defense grant.

If you want to give input and suggestions for projects for the 2012 bond election, visit the home page of the City of El Paso. Here’s the message:

“City and County Officials and downtown business leaders have announced the beginning of the public process for a November 2012 bond election. Our city is constantly changing, lifestyles are shifting and the needs and opportunities are abundant. The proposed election will create new ideas for bold economic development and quality of life initiatives.

“The call for community projects is the beginning of a public process to provide voters the opportunity to request projects to improve the quality of life in El Paso and recommend key signature projects to create a more dynamic environment for downtown.”

Of course, voters may still be in a foul mood in a year for anything having to do with “spending”. They certainly were with regard to Propositions in the last election. Although a majority of people in El Paso County who voted last Tuesday wanted the kind of Regional Park District as recommended by a Blue Ribbon Committee for the City and championed by all of El Paso’s State representatives, a majority of Texans probably saw the words “ad valorem taxes” in Proposition 7 and voted it down as if what happens in El Paso will affect their jerking knees. Those same Texans favored big contractor water projects (Proposition 2) but opposed the conservation efforts of Proposition 8.

There seems to be a real effort to encourage American consumers not just to buy American but buy local during the upcoming holidays. “Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition” is the subject of an email that has gone viral and is being picked up by web sites and blogs of all varieties and persuasions. The opening paragraph reads:

“As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!”

If you haven’t gotten the message in your e-mail, read it here.

Buying local is living sustainably. Get a copy of the El Paso Scene or visit it online. You'll find a list of bazaars and fairs on their Round-Up page. You can get a list of local El Paso businesses at Homegrown El Paso. Do check out Craig’s List for El Paso. El Paso has a great bilingual publisher for your holiday shopping: Cinco Puntos Press.

Also for sustainable living, check out the El Paso Freecycle Group. It’s part of the Freecycle Network, a “grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills.” Many thanks to Judy Ackerman for this link. Check it out, folks.

Finally, here’s a dream for the City of El Paso’s open space policies and programs: Visit the Open Space page for the City of Albuquerque. Imagine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition

My buddy, Mike Mecke, forwarded this to me:

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or abook of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?
I googled the title and actually found it posted all over the web - on far left sites, far right sites, generational blogs, blogs for women, editorials, etc., etc. It's viral which is to say that it's popular. It's also a great idea for helping your local economy, i.e. your friends and neighbors. So, if sustainability is what we are about, let's sustain the businesses in our own community. It cuts shipping costs, reduces carbon footprints and builds community.

All of us have favorite stores, restaurants, haircutters, gyms, home care services. Get a copy of the El Paso Scene or visit it online. You'll find a list of bazaars and fairs on their Round-Up page.

You can get a list of local El Paso businesses at Homegrown El Paso.

It's a new tradition that can become a great new way of living all of the time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reyes Chief of Staff Loses Control

Last Thursday candidate for U.S. Representative, Beto O’Rourke, was Susie Byrd’s guest at her monthly breakfast. It’s sad to report that he was targeted by a very rude member of Silvestre Reyes’ taxpayer-paid staff. Artist and nearby resident, Ho Baron reports:

“There were maybe 20 people at the forum, two of them evidently from Reyes’ office. Beto spoke about 20 minutes, then opened the discussion for questions. He had discussed the poor veterans facilities in the city, and one guy stood up ranting about Beto being a liar regarding the veterans. He wouldn’t shut up until another guy yelled: ‘We didn’t come here to hear you.’ The guy ranted on until the moderator, Susie’s assistant, interfered, and he finally shut his mouth. The guy was really rude.”

Rep. Byrd was out of town but her assistant, Judy Gutierrez, was there on her behalf. Judy identified the rude man as Sal Payan, Rep. Reyes’ Chief-of-Staff, a taxpayer-paid position and not a campaign person. Mr. Payan apparently lost control, was yelling so loudly that kitchen staff came out to see what was happening, and called Mr. O’Rourke a “liar”. More than one person asked Mr. Payan to settle down. Ms. Gutierrez with assistance from outraged members of the audience finally got this tax-payer paid public official to quit his ranting. Judy reminded everyone that courtesy is to be given speakers, Mr. Reyes will be Rep. Byrd’s guest early next year, and that the community breakfasts are not a forum for debate and certainly not an excuse for incivility.

More later.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In

Here's more about rainwater management. This may seem crazy now that El Paso is in a drought and it isn't even rainy season. Perhaps, though, now is the time to plan for better water conservation measures - even for your own personal yard or the landscaping around your business.

Good definition: "Sustainable societies are those that embrace institutions, infrastructure and lifestyles that meet current needs without compormising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Philadelphia "LEED"s the Way with Water Conservation

Opening early next year will be the Paisano Green Community, an affordable green housing development by the City of El Paso Housing Authority. "The project is expected to receive the highest rating through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system - platinium - and be certifed through Enterprise Green Communities."

Here is a video of the Onion Flats project in Philadelphia which also incorporates stormwater/rainwater management and water conservation. It's eleven minutes, but an eleven minutes worth spending:

Imagine what advantages El Pasoans could gain from using similar water conservation techniques in building, development and landscaping. We are, after all, a bit drier than Philadelphia.