April 10, 2008
I’m not sure what we’re all going to do next week, since there isn’t an election going on.
We’ve had a lot of democracy to revel in over the last few weeks – a primary, a caucus, exciting conventions, and a runoff election. Better news for all of us political junkies, we’re only about halfway through the spring political season – the city elections are still coming up next month.
Even the summer will be pretty lively, at least around Austin. We’re the site of the Texas Democratic Party Convention, which will be June 5-7.
I’m proud to say that I’ve been recommended as permanent chair of the convention by the Party Chairman Boyd Richie. That may only mean I’ll get to preside over stuff like the rules debate. But I’ll have a great seat.
I’ve written a number of times about the recycling of computer equipment and other so-called e-waste. I’m proud that we passed House Bill 2714 last year that created Texas’ first e-waste recycling program.
This law is designed to stem the number of monitors, hard drives, keyboards, and other devices with potentially toxic chemicals that might end up in our landfills. Instead, this equipment would be recycled or reused.
We passed the bill, but that’s just half of the process. As with a lot of legislation, it will be administered by a state agency. In this case, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has to write regulations that will ensure the law is administered and enforced.
Last week, I sent a letter to TCEQ Chairman Buddy Garcia to make sure the TCEQ rules giving life to the program will actually make it strong enough. Two of my best partners in supporting this legislation – Texas Campaign for the Environment and Dell, Inc. – and I are worried that the draft rules wouldn’t actually do what the law was supposed to do: ensure that recyclers discard this equipment in ways that won’t hurt the environment or undermine the Legislature’s good work.
I asked the TCEQ to make sure the legislation had “teeth” and required recyclers to follow certain standards. You can read the full letter here.
The letter seems to have worked. The TCEQ is going to take some time to review the rules and our concerns. Hopefully, after all this work, there’s going to be certainty that when people try to recycle their computers and monitors, that equipment actually will be recycled.
Preston Watson, our 18-year-old senior at Austin High, introduced Liz and me to lacrosse about five seasons ago. We knew zero about the game. Preston made it his sport, and made it the Watson family passion and hobby. He has excelled at it and been a leader (he’s a team captain this year).
He’s made us very proud of him for many reasons, including his lacrosse activity. And, we’re proud of his team, which is currently undefeated in District play. Hopefully, they’re headed back to the state finals, where they’ve been the last two years.
But, Preston went down with a knee injury and will have surgery next Tuesday. He’s going to be fine after rehab and will be able to play next year in college, which he says he wants to do. But, obviously, he’s very disappointed.
I knew I’d go through a withdrawal when his senior season ended, and I was trying to prepare myself for that eventuality. I must admit this sort of thing hadn’t occurred to me. A friend tried to reassure me by saying, “Kids that age bounce back fast.”
I suppose that’s true. But what about their old dads?