The Alamo The Alamo Group of the Sierra Club
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

The Alamo Sierran e-Newsletter - November, 2014

newsletter (pdf)


* General Meetings *

Tuesday, November 18th: Solar Update

Lanny Sinkin, Executive Director of Solar San Antonio, will give an update on progress made in solar energy, particularly new programs soon to be available for distributed solar energy.

Tuesday, December 9th: Holiday Party Features Special Venue, Music, and Silent Auction

Come celebrate the Alamo Group's very successful year at our annual Holiday Party and Potluck Dinner on Tuesday, December 9th from 7 to 9 p.m.. This special event will be held at Dorćol Distilling Company, 1902 S Flores St (south of Cevallos, at the railroad crossing). Dorćol‘s unique elixirs will be available—made with traditional apricot brandy or non-alcoholic.

There will be a tour of the distillery at 7 p.m. Our party will feature a variety of music and great food (potluck dishes welcome) our members are known for. As in years past, there will be a silent auction of unique gifts and certificates donated by members, local businesses and craftspeople. Auction items will be posted on our website's Events page shortly before the event so you can bid on them via email in case you can't make it to the party.

There will be a $10 cover fee at the door. All proceeds go to promote our worthwhile cause. There is free parking on the streets and the public is welcome. Please contact Margaret Day if you have any questions, would like to help, or wish to donate to our auction.

Please check the website soon for updates about this event, particularly for the auction items! This is an important fundraiser for Alamo Group. Net proceeds from the 2013 party and auction were nearly $2,300.

Times, maps and speaker bios are on our Events page.

A Word from the Alamo Group Chair
Vista Ridge update

Sierrans and many regional partners have been working very diligently to look into the San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) Vista Ridge project and contract, which was approved by the SAWS Board of Trustees on September 29th. Vista Ridge commits SAWS to buy 50,000 acre feet of water per year for 30 years from Burleson County. It is our view that due diligence should go beyond SAWS limited scope. The City of San Antonio and other stakeholders should exercise proper oversight to assure that this deal meets diverse, long-term best interests of the City and its citizens.

SAWS has proven able to manage our water needs, but this project and process is different. Remember that Vista Ridge partners offered this package in response to SAWS’ request for proposals. SAWS staff responded that the pipeline proposals were not desirable or necessary. We believe that pressure from business interests railroaded this project and fast track approval. It is unjustifiable that this project be adopted quickly for there is inadequate evaluation and public awareness, and proponents’ claims—such as decades of water crisis, loss of jobs, need for abundant water, to lock in interest rates, or because we deserve it for our conservation efforts—are questionable.

Interested stakeholders have discovered many Vista Ridge concerns—from a lack of due diligence, excessive rate increases for area citizens, partner weaknesses, unreliability of the groundwater supply, questionable aspects of the contract, to excessive supply which will also be used to fuel poorly controlled sprawl risking our primary Edwards Aquifer water source, among other problems. This intense scrutiny leads environmental leaders to believe that SAWS and San Antonio can do better for our citizens.

Please go to the Alamo Sierra Club website to learn more about this important, fast-moving issue. There you can access a clearinghouse of vital documents on Vista Ridge concerns, which is regularly updated with new reports. Please use the City Council contact information to communicate your views to decision makers, in whose hands the decision rests.

As of this writing, Mayor Taylor still had not delayed the vote—scheduled for Oct. 30— on the 16% SAWS rate increase request that enables Vista Ridge, as requested. We hope that City Hall will delay the vote and open up input and deliberations.

by Margaret Day, Executive Committee Chair

Executive Committee Candidate Statements

Members please send in your vote for our annual election using the ballot in the paper edition that you will receive by mail; clip that out and your address label is on the reverse side. We have three positions open on our Executive Committee for three-year terms.

Terry Burns

I have served on the Alamo Sierra Club Executive Committee since my appointment in 2013, and I am running for a full term. I have also been Co-Chair of the Alamo Conservation Committee during this time. I have been involved especially in Clean Air, SAWS, CPS and VIA issues. I serve as an elected member of the Lone Star Chapter Executive Committee, providing us linkage with State issues. I am a life member of the Sierra Club and recently retired physician. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue working on the important local environmental issues of vital concern to us all. Thank you for your support.

Margaret (Peggy) Day

I have an M.A. in planning, specializing in environmental planning. A Club member since 2002, I first served as a Puerto Rico Chapter founding director and serve on the Alamo Group ExCom, as chair for the last five years. As well, I regularly help with publicity, fundraising, tabling, events, programs, outings, political, conservation, newsletter, and education committees. I thank you for your endorsement.

Alan Montemayor

I am a lifelong San Antonio native and have been active with the Sierra Club since 1983. I am an environmentalist, hiker, retired mechanical engineer and love to travel the world with my wife and friends. I’m passionate about conservation of natural resources, clean energy, local agriculture, sustainability and improving the quality of life for not just San Antonio and Bexar County residents, but the whole world.

Cover of calendar

Get Your 2015 Sierra Club Calendars

Support Sierra Club Youth Outdoors San Antonio (formerly Inner-City Outings) by purchasing your 2015 calendars from us. Anne Pearson will be handling the sale of these beautiful calendars.

Contact Anne at 408-6321 or just bring your money to the next membership meeting or the holiday party. Remember, you canít go wrong with a Sierra Club Calendar as a gift. The engagement calendars are $16, the wall calendars $15.

Welcome to our new membership co-chairs!

Hi! My name is Julie Cornelius and I am your new Membership co-chair. I’ve been a member since 2011 and also serve on the conservation committee. I look forward to recruiting new members and engaging some as volunteers. My Co-chair is Sarah Foster, who is a new (but very enthusiastic) member. She’s all about sustainability and finding other like-minded people in San Antonio. I’m passionate about water and land conservation, organic gardening, and sustainability. I am a Master Naturalist, the District 2 appointee for the City of San Antonio’s Citizen’s Environmental Advisory Committee and am involved in several other organizations around town that all involve some aspect of sustainability.

San Antonio is faced with some important environmental issues right now due to rapid growth and I’d love to see the Alamo Group grow, gain strength and continue inspiring San Antonio to change! It takes a village, though, so I’m counting on all current members to bring in new members. We’re starting a membership drive contest. There will be a grand prize of cash and other cool prizes. In order to qualify, there will be minimums for the number of paid members you recruit so start recruiting now. Stay tuned to the newsletter and come to meetings for more info. See you at the next meeting!

by Julie Cornelius, Membership Co-chair

Tree dollar sign

Please Consider The Alamo Sierra Club In Your Holiday Giving

Each December we ask you for a donation to help cover our expenses, such as this newsletter and our Witte fee. Your financial help frees volunteers to work on our education and conservation campaigns. This year we’re asking for a contribution of $10.

Your money will be well spent and deeply appreciated. Because we work on political issues this contribution is not tax deductible. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation on our behalf you may make it out to the Sierra Club Foundation, for the Alamo Group. Please send your donation to:

The Alamo Group of the Sierra Club
P.O. Box 6443
San Antonio, TX 78209

You can enter your donation amount on the fundraising/ballot in the paper edition that you will receive by mail. Thanks for your continuing support and environmental activism.

Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter news

The Lone Star Chapter is Sierra Club's Texas presence, largely working out of an Austin office. For news from the Lone Star chapter see

Of note at this time is an article about LCRA's Fayette coal-fired power plant, which is the fifth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the state. The Austin city council has directed Austin Energy to discuss with LCRA how improve operational control of the plant so as the reduce environmental impact.

Also, “As the beginning of the next Texas Legislature gets closer, the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter is looking for committed students and recent graduates with a strong passion for the environment and social justice to fill engaging and rewarding internship positions in its Austin office to begin January 2015.” Here is more information about our internship program. Current internship position openings include Community Outreach, Political Engagement, and Media and Communications.

To see what is happening at other Sierra Club chapters, go to the chapter list at

by Kevin Hartley, Newsletter Editor

Sierrans at Social Event

Social Events
meet and greet your Sierra Club friends

Regrettably the Alamo Sierra Club Friday socials have been discontinued due to limited interest. Thanks to all of you that have participated in the past. If you would like to help get these socials started again in the future, contact Loyd Cortez at

Sign Up for Action Alerts

The Sierra Club is all about citizen action on critical issues. Quick citizen input often spells the difference between victory and defeat for important measures at the local and state levels. Sign up now to receive our local e-mail Conservation Action Alerts and let your voice be heard. Call (674-9489) or email Loyd Cortez and we'll add your name to our growing list of environmental activists.

Sierra Club national news

Sierra Club's national website is at Of note at this time...

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument established

This new 350,000 acre national monument, established by presidential proclamation, is within Angeles National Forest and an hour's drive for 17 million people. These mountains provide 1/3 of Los Angeles County's drinking water. Here's the article.

Food for Thought
...Water, water, water... there is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount... unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.
- Edward Abbey, from Desert Solitaire

Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument expanded

This national monument was originally established by President George W. Bush and now is six times larger. This national monument, administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, will help protect critically endangered and threatened species in this fragile central Pacific Ocean environment from exploitation. Here is the national monument's website.

The five best foods to forage

...As the article says, “Who needs the agricultural-industrial complex when you can gather food near home? The first way humans got food is still free - and green.”
Note the link to the right of the article page, which provides a signup option for receiving daily green tips by e-mail.

Sierra Club Politics and Elections web page

Per the page, “The Sierra Club will promote leaders who take bold action on climate and clean energy, and expose those who still choose toxic money over human health.”

Here is the Sierra Club web voter guide for Texas.

We don’t need any more evidence – the time for action on the climate crisis is now. The American people know. Polls show that huge majorities have been personally affected by extreme weather and want the government to do something about it. The market knows. Coal’s outlook is sinking and clean energy’s is skyrocketing.
- Melissa Williams, National Political Director

Hike the Canyon at Government Canyon State Natural Area — August 10, 2013

Outings: The Call of the Wild

Visit the Alamo Sierra Club Outings page on Meetup for detailed information about all of our upcoming Sierra Club Outings.

Lion's Field Events
Monthly films and presentations for your edification and enjoyment

The next event will be in January due to the holidays. Please check the Lion's Field Events page for updates.

Our Lion's Field events are free and open to the public. They occur on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Lion's Field Adult Center, 2809 Broadway @ Mulberry. Programs begin at 6:30 p.m..

Visit our Lion's Field Events page for a map and additional information.

Flyer for SA Arbor Day

News and Contributions

San Antonio Arbor Day & National Public Lands Day

Lots of activities for families! 8 am -Tree K fun run, with Rent-a-Rover option; 9 am - volunteer park clean up; 10 am - free tree adoption; 200 trees, 1 per family. Also: booths, saw mill and tree climbing demos and pet adoptions.

Saturday, November 8th
8 a.m. till noon
Eisenhower Park, 19399 NW Military Hwy

For more info see the Alamo Group's Community Events page or the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Dept calendar web page (crowded calendar!). Or call Parks and Rec, 210-207-3108.