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The QueQue

The QueQue: Electric bill help in San Antonio, Open records fights in Alamo Heights, Smith protective of Canseco in redistricting, 152-0: CPS Energy’s Beneby lauded by Sierra Club

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The emails also show Smith taking a special interest in the new Hispanic-majority congressional district running from San Antonio to Austin, a redistricting move that threatens to bump longtime Democratic Congressman and GOP nemesis Lloyd Doggett from his seat by pushing him into a majority Hispanic district anchored in San Antonio. Some exchanges show Smith hoping to pump more and more Hispanic votes into the new Latino-opportunity district, now home to the primary fight between Doggett and State Rep. Joaquin Castro. In one exchange, Smith requests that the neighborhood around the San Antonio Country Club be moved out of the new District 35 to his own, thereby lowering the number of Anglo voters in the new District 35 by a “fraction.”

“Change has been made,” was the response.

The emails also show a bitter fight between Smith and his longtime colleague, Texas GOP Congressman Joe Barton, over how to best form Texas’ four new congressional districts. Smith and his team emailed copies of an April Politico piece detailing the behind-the-scenes spat, which described Smith as more pragmatic — wanting to split the four seats evenly between Democrat and Republican — while Barton pushed to make three, or even possibly four, of the new seats Republican-leaning. (In one email, Smith tells his staff that Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar of Laredo “has been the most helpful dem,” saying that, in return, Cuellar wanted a piece of both Bexar and Hidalgo counties).

Eventually, Dub Maines, a senior staffer with Barton, sent out an email to the delegation promoting Barton’s own plan, contending that Smith’s plan amounted to “high-risk poker with no discernible positive return.” Hours after Maines wrote the message, Smith emailed Congressman Pete Sessions of Dallas, a high-ranking Republican who chairs the House GOP re-election committee, asking him to call Barton. “Pls call barton. Dub mains sending emails criticizing cd 20. May be used against us in court,” Smith wrote.


152-0: CPS Energy’s Beneby lauded by Sierra Club

Warning that CPS Energy’s CEO Doyle Beneby was under attack by coal-power interests since he announced the early closure of the JT Deely coal-fired power plant, the Sierra Club suggested members and clean-energy supporters write in to praise the decision.

152 did. Number of pro-coal haters clogging up Beneby’s in-box in the same period? Zero.

While we may be able to shut Deely down to comply with new clean-air regs from the U.S. EPA (and avoid what the utility said was up to a half-billion-dollar investment for scrubbers promised years ago), it will be interesting to see the reaction when the utility has to spend up to $100 million on new pollution-reducing equipment at Spruce One — that’s what it’s estimated it will cost the utility to comply with new air regs at a coal plant we want to keep. •

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