12.05 Approved Minutes






Monday, December 5, 2005, 5:30 P.M.

City Hall, Room 408

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102



The Tuesday, November 22, 2005, 5:00 p.m. meeting was rescheduled to Monday, December 5, 2005 at 5:30 p.m.


COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Nia Crowder (President); Paul Pelosi Jr. (Vice President); Christina Desser, Angelo King, Alan Mok, Arlene Rodriguez, and Johanna Wald


Commission Secretary:  Monica Fish




Public comment will be taken before the Commission takes action on any item.




The meeting was called to order at 5:35 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Crowder, Pelosi Jr., Desser, Mok, Rodriguez (joined the meeting at 5:45 p.m.) and Wald. Excused: Commissioner King.


2.      ACTION:  Adoption of Minutes of the September 27, 2005  Meeting (Explanatory Document:  Draft Minutes of the September 27, 2005  Meeting).


Upon motion by Commissioner Pelosi Jr. and second by Commissioner Desser the September 27, 2005 Minutes were unanimously adopted (Absent:  Commissioners King and Rodriguez).  There was no public comment at this time. 


3.      PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.


4.      INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION:  Overview of Mayor’s Greening Initiative (Explanatory Documents: Presentation to the Commission on the Environment 12.05.05 and Better Streets Policy Ordinance)   

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Nia Crowder

SPEAKER:  Marshall Foster, Director of Greening, Mayor’s Office


Mr. Foster presented an informational overview of the “Clean and Green Initiative” discussing programs and possible partnerships with the Department of the Environment and other City departments. Topics discussed included:


·         Overall Goals;

·         How the “Clean and Green Initiative” aligns with the Urban Environmental Accords in reference to Urban Design, Urban Nature, Environmental Health and Water goals;

·         Clean and Green Coordinated Planning and Policy—“Top-Down” philosophy as to what City departments can achieve by capital funding, grants, standards reform, maintenance planning and technical assistance and “Bottom-Up” philosophy--what the community can achieve by community ownership, volunteer efforts, enhanced maintenance, performance, and monitoring;

·         The Better Streets Policy Ordinance that would set new policy direction for City departments, the Director’s working group, capital investment, and standards reform;

·         Community-Based Greening Initiatives consisting of community challenge grants, street-parks, and neighborhood greenways;

·         Green Buildings and Urban Design—Expanding support and implementation of the Municipal Green Building Ordinance, developing green-building investment programs, private sector green-building incentives, and elevating architecture and urban design.


Mr. Foster stated that he would be presenting the Better Streets Policy to City Commissions, to the Board of Supervisors Committee in January, and then to the full Board.  An interdepartmental working group is looking at standards for making specific implementation proposals.


Commissioner Rodriguez asked for a breakdown by neighborhood streets and major thoroughfares of the Better Streets Program 11 million capital investments.  Mr. Foster responded that 1.33 million and 1.25 million are designated for Van Ness and 19th Avenues major thoroughfares, and the remaining amount would be distributed by specific projects.


Public Comment:  Mr. John Plummer, Friends of Lake Merced recommended that better management of storm and waste-water be a higher priority and encouraged the Commission to become involved in City water-management programs, enforcement of purple-pipe ordinances, and extension of ordinances that permit local processing of water.


Public Comment:  Ms. Ruth Gravanis, Alliance for a Clean Waterfront requested that storm water management be a higher priority and to involve the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in the process, especially with regard to the wastewater Master Plan process.  Ms. Gravanis recommended (1) replacing impermeable with permeable pavement for greening projects, (2) incorporating ways to keep storm water out of systems, (3) using sand filters underneath recreational fields in parks and playgrounds, and (4) incorporating the use of green roofs.


Mr. Foster stated that design standards would be formed to include storm water management.  City departments such as the Public Utilities Commission, Department of Public Works, and Planning Department have been brought into the effort to discuss rules and fundamental reform as it relates to permeable vs. impermeable pavement and other related issues. 


Commissioner Desser recommended (1) multitasking improvement efforts with street improvement and other projects, and (2) for Mr. Foster to contact Mr. Andy Lipkis of Tree People on funding strategies.


Public Comment:  Mr. Alex Lansburg, Alliance for a Clean Waterfront and representative on the Public Utilities Citizens Advisory Committee (1) inquired about future funding to implement the Initiative, (2) recommended looking to PUC wastewater and recycled water management programs for funding, and (3) recommended reviewing the program from a regulatory and funding perspective.


5.      INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION and ACTION:  San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance: A Garden in Every School.  The Commission considered and voted on Resolution File No. R-2005-06-COE urging the Mayor’s Office to work with San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to create a garden in every school (Explanatory Documents:  Resolution File No. R-2005-06-COE and The San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance).

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Arlene Rodriguez

SPEAKERS:  Becky Wike, Staff, Department of the Environment

Nan McGuire, Chair of SFGSA and

                                          Arden Bucklin-Sporer, Director, Educational Gardens, SFUSD


Ms. Becky Wike introduced “A Garden in Every School” program.  Ms. Wike stated that the Department has been members of the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance for the past three years, and she has served on the Steering Committee working with organizations and individuals that are interested in greening schoolyards.  The Commission viewed SFGSA’s video on “Gray to Green Transforming San Francisco’s Schoolyards.”


Ms. Arden Bucklin-Sporer described her position with SFUSD working with school districts to link private money with public-school gardens, providing resources-information, grant opportunities, and technical expertise on how to develop a school garden program in addition to ensuring that gardens remain sustainable.  Ms. Sporer spoke in support of the Green Schoolyard Program and discussed challenges to the program.

Ms. Nan McGuire described the work of SFGSA, a coalition of Bay Area civic organizations whose work supports schoolyard transformations from asphalt yards into green spaces for learning and play and discussed (1) fundraising for the schoolyard greening program and garden educators; (2) implementing the greening component of San Francisco’s 2003 Proposition A school bond funding in seventeen elementary schools; and (3) requesting funding and support from the Mayor’s Office. 


Director Blumenfeld asked how the Department and Commission could work to support the removal of tarmac from schoolyards.


Public Comment:  Mr. John Bitoff, Executive Director of Maintenance and Operations, SFUSD, voiced his strong support of the program and its positive psychological effects.   Mr. Bitoff advised that his department does not have the ability to remove asphalt from schoolyards and asked for support in this effort.


Commissioner Desser (1) recommended there be mechanisms for contributions and that MUNI placards show pictures of the gardens and children working in the gardens, and (2) asked if there was a tour program of the gardens.


Ms. McGuire stated that SFGSA will start to implement recommendations and asked Director Blumenfeld to work with the Mayor’s office to help support SFGSA and the school garden program. 


Commissioners Wald and Rodriguez recommended that SFGSA schedule a meeting with the Policy Committee to develop a list of specific requests to present to the Mayor.


Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel, discussed a neighborhood group called “Parkside for Kids” that succeeded in replacing a proposed 60-car garage and four-story teacher housing with green space and basketball courts at Diane Feinstein Elementary School. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Ruth Gravanis spoke in support of SFGSA and removing as much asphalt and concrete from schoolyards as possible, but recommended consulting the children, as hard surface and lawn are needed for other activities.  Ms. Gravanis recommended consulting Mr. Lipkis of Tree People to help design schoolyards that incorporate water management successfully.


Upon Motion by Commissioner Rodriguez and second by Commissioner Wald, Resolution File No. R-2005-06-COE was approved by the following vote:


VOTE:       Approved (6-0) (Absent:  1)


AYES:        Commissioners Crowder, Pelosi Jr., Desser, Mok, Rodriguez and Wald


NOES:       None


ABSENT:   Commissioner King  


6.      INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION and ACTION:  Five-year Impound Account, Budget and Plan.  The Commission considered and voted on approving the Five-year Impound Account, Budget and Plan (Explanatory Document:  Five Year Impound Plan)

SPONSOR: Commissioner Arlene Rodriguez

SPEAKER:  David Assmann, Deputy Director


Deputy Director Assmann described the proposed Five-year Impound Account, Budget and Plan that funds program activities conducted by the Department that relate to the production and management of San Francisco’s waste stream that includes recycling, hazardous waste reductions, other solid waste related programs and programs that mitigate impact on neighborhoods effected by the solid waste infrastructure.  Explanatory documents include a three-page explanatory memo, annual budget for each of the five years, and a detailed list of the projects by fiscal year divided by residential and commercial projects.


Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel voiced her objection to the $35 million San Francisco Environment budget proposal as she stated it represents a 25% increase in expense beyond the $28 million five-year budget that was approved for solid waste management in 2001.  Ms. Wuerfel stated that the budget detail was not available until the day of the meeting and requested that the Commissioners spend more time reviewing the details before voting.  A Public Comment document on “Programs and Incentives” was received at the Commission Meeting). 


Deputy Director Assmann responded that the budget overview was presented at the October 17 Special Operations Committee Meeting, but is the first time the entire list of projects has been published.  Mr. Assmann stated that the budget amount has been public for some time and represents only a 2% increase over the past three years, a 4% increase for the subsequent fiscal years, and is in line with inflationary expenses.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. asked to describe the one-year process.  Deputy Director Assmann described the rate process, public hearings, and budget approval process by the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor.


Upon Motion by Commissioner Rodriguez and second by Commissioner Mok, the Five-year Impound Account, Budget and Plan was approved by the following vote:


VOTE:       Approved (4-0) (3 Absent) 


AYES:        Commissioners Crowder, Pelosi Jr., Mok and Rodriguez


NOES:       None


ABSENT:  Commissioners Desser, King and Wald


7.      DISCUSSION and ACTION:  Nomination and Election of Officers.  At the September 27, 2005 Commission meeting, Commissioner Nia Crowder expressed interest in the office of President and Commissioner Pelosi Jr. expressed interest in the office of Vice-President


Commissioner Pelosi Jr. nominated Commissioner Nia Crowder for the office of President and Commissioner Nia Crowder nominated Commissioner Pelosi Jr. for the office of Vice-President.


VOTE:       Approved (4-0) (3 Absent) Commissioner Nia Crowder elected President and Commissioner Pelosi Jr. elected Vice-President.


AYES:        Commissioners Pelosi Jr., Mok, Rodriguez, and Crowder


NOES:       None


ABSENT:   Commissioners Desser, King, and Wald

8.      INFORMATION: Commission Secretary’s Report


Monica Fish, Commission Secretary


§         Communications and Correspondence:  The Commission Secretary’s report included:


1.      Commission on the Environment Meeting Schedule for 2006 and proposed schedule change for the Policy Committee.  Commissioner Rodriguez advised that the Policy Committee members have selected the second Monday of each month for the meeting.  A bylaws change would be noticed and voted on at the January 24, 2006 Commission meeting;

2.      “Policy on Discriminatory or Harassing Remarks Made at Public Meetings of City Boards and Commissions” was distributed in the meeting packet for the Commissioners’ review;

3.      “Commission on the Environment Bylaws as Amended Through September 27, 2005” that includes the adopted new meeting date for the Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Committee meetings was distributed in the meeting packet for the Commissioners’ reference;

4.      Mayor’s Holiday Reception Invitation to Commission Members was announced and previously emailed to Commissioners.


§         Update on Pending City Legislation

A copy of the Board of Supervisors File No. 050922, Ordinance No. 249-05 approved on November 10, 2005 for Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion for Qualified Clean Energy Technology Businesses was included in the Commission packet.

9.      INFORMATION: Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Committee Report


Commissioner Crowder reviewed the agenda for the December 14, 2005 Meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421 at 5:00 p.m.  The main agenda topics proposed for the meeting: (1) an informational presentation on solar heating and photovoltaic programs, (2) update on Propositions B and H from 2001, and (3) preliminary report on the usage of the hydrogen fueling trailers.

10.  INFORMATION: Operations Committee Report


Chair’s Report:  Commissioner Rodriguez highlighted the October 17, 2005 Special Rescheduled Meeting.  Topics that were discussed included review of the budget and the Environmental Justice program Requests for Proposals for grants that are moving forward in the Bayview and Potrero Hill neighborhoods.  The January 18, 2006 scheduled meeting would include a discussion on the draft budget for the next fiscal year and a review of one of the department’s programs.

11.  INFORMATION: Policy Committee Report


Chairs Report: Commissioner Wald was absent for this item. Commissioner Rodriguez highlighted the November 9, 2005 Special Rescheduled Meeting and advised that an informational presentation was given by Transbay Cable LLC on a proposal to install an electricity transmission line beneath the bay between San Francisco and Pittsburg.


The next Policy Committee meeting was rescheduled from January 26, 2006 to January 11 as of this meeting date but subsequently rescheduled to January 9, 2006 at 5:00 p.m., Room 421, City Hall.  Agenda items include a public hearing to receive public comment on what the priorities for the Urban Accords should be for the first year and a discussion on the programmatic and legislative schedule for the Policy Committee one-year calendar for 2006.


Public Comment:  Ms. Ruth Gravanis stated that at previous meetings it was suggested that the Policy Committee meet on (1) the proposed west span bike pedestrian maintenance path to be brought to the full Commission for full endorsement and (2) a possible joint hearing between the Policy Committee and the Treasure Island Development Authority on sustainability of Treasure Island.


Commissioner Crowder advised that the Commission was considering a joint hearing with the Treasure Island Development Authority at a future date.

12.  INFORMATION: Director’s Report


Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment gave updates on San Francisco Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Climate Division, Outreach and Education Division, Environmental Justice Division, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction Program, and the Urban Forestry Division as explained in the Director’s Report dated December 1, 2005.

13.  INFORMATION: New Business:  President Crowder discussed the agenda for the January 24, 2006 Commission meeting.  Proposed topics include year-end reports and the green business certification process.

14.  FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:  Future agenda items were discussed under New Business.

15.  PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel inquired as to the source of the $1 million renovation amount for the Department’s move to 25 Van Ness Avenue.  Director Blumenfeld advised that the Department is going to have a capital campaign and the fiscal agent would be determined.

16.  ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.


Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709

FAX: (415) 554-6393



The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment will be held on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 5:00 p.m., City Hall, Room 416.


** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Commission’s meeting website as attachments to the meeting agenda or minutes; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].


Adopted:  January 24, 2006

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