11.28 Approved Minutes






Tuesday, November 28, 2006, 5:00 P.M.


City Hall, Room 416

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102



COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Paul Pelosi Jr. (President); Johanna Wald (Vice President), Ruth Gravanis, Angelo King, and Alan Mok


Commission Secretary:  Monica Fish




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


1.      CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL.  The Commission on the Environment Meeting was called to order at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  President Paul Pelosi Jr., Vice-President Johanna Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, King (5:10 p.m.), and Mok.


2.      ACTION:  Adoption of Minutes of the September 20, 2006 Special Meeting Commission Retreat and September 26, 2006 Commission Regular Meeting.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald and second by President Pelosi Jr., the September 20, 2006 and September 26, 2006 Meeting Minutes were approved with no objection. (Absent:  Commissioner King) (Explanatory Documents:  Approved Minutes of the September 20, 2006 Special Commission Meeting Retreat and September 26, 2006 Regular Commission Meeting)


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 REPORT and ACTION:  Commission approval of the Implementation of the Precautionary Principle-Three Year Review Report and Supporting Documentation.  The Commission will submit a report to the Board of Supervisors on the effectiveness of the Precautionary Principle Policy as required by Environment Code Chapter 1, Section 102. (Explanatory Document:  Precautionary Principle: Three Year Review and Letters of Support.) 

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKER:  Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager


Director Blumenfeld discussed the environmental and health issues that the Precautionary Principle addresses, City department’s increasing awareness, and the impact on the rest of the nation.  The non-profit community e.g., the Breast Cancer Fund, the Bay Area Working Group, and the Environmental Justice Community were commended for their efforts in working towards implementing the Precautionary Principle.


Ms. Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager, stated that the Commission has a copy of the Draft Precautionary Principle-Three Year Review Report in their meeting packets in order to approve for submittal to the Board of Supervisors.  It was stated that one of the notable accomplishments was creating the idea of an alternatives assessment and acknowledging the importance of involving the community in identifying available alternatives to minimize harm.   Ms. Raphael cited a report from the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts called “Alternative Assessments Framework” and stated that Department staff has been pioneers in formalizing the idea of a Precautionary Principle and Alternatives Assessment, which is now the subject of academic frameworks and papers nationally.  It was stated that community members are committed to working on the Precautionary Principle.  The Department has received awards, and currently working with other cities, counties and states to do similar things.  San Francisco is being looked at as the leader.


Ms. Raphael stated that in the last three years, letters of support from various organizations and institutions had been received as well as phone calls asking how it was done.   Inquiries had been made as to how San Francisco is different now that it has a Precautionary Principle Ordinance.  Examples of successes given included the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance that looks at all City purchases and asks that the public help decide future products for an alternatives assessment.  It was explained that the idea of a precautionary approach has not percolated deep enough into other City departments.  One recommendation in the Report states that elected officials, City agencies, the community and local businesses all need to understand how to implement a precautionary purchasing approach.   Ms. Raphael asked the Commission to reach out to other City Commissions and City Agencies to adopt these approaches and deepen the understanding of the Principle. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Joan Reinhardt Reiss, Coordinator, Bay Area Working Group on the Precautionary Principle, Public Policy Advocate, BCF, discussed the progress of the Precautionary Principle since its inception three years ago and discussed current work that is being done.  It was stated that other cities are inquiring about San Francisco’s approach and referenced a website for information www.takingprecaution.org.   Ms. Reinhardt Reiss stated that the Bay Area Working Group has traveled to other areas of the United States to educate others, and stressed the importance of instilling a culture of precaution in the City through other City departments.  Creating an informal interagency advocate group that would meet on a quarterly basis was suggested.  Ms. Reinhardt Reiss advised that the San Francisco Foundation funded the Bay Area Working Group and Neighborhood Assemblies Network to utilize a collaborative process to identify existing community problems that could be solved with a precautionary approach.  A Planning Team would be starting work early next year.


Ms. Reinhardt Reiss speaking on behalf of Mr. Neil Gendel, Healthy Children’s Organizing Project discussed Mr. Gendel’s work with the lead ordinance and referenced his correspondence in the meeting packet.


Vice-President Wald stated that the Precautionary Principle had been discussed at the Commission’s Policy Committee meetings on numerous occasions and on October 30 a pre-draft was reviewed.  It was stated that the Policy Committee had an opportunity to hear from speakers such as Ms. Reinhardt Reiss, Mr. Neil Gendel, and others on their work and the importance of the passage of this Ordinance.  Vice-President Wald recommended that the Commission hold joint meetings with other Commissions to present what the Precautionary Principle is, how this Department has utilitized it in decision-making, and how others can use it to improve their decision-making.


Commissioner Gravanis thanked Ms. Debbie Raphael, Department Staff, Ms. Reinhardt Reiss, Ms. Jennifer Clary, and many other citizens who have spent a lot of time on this project.


Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Mok, the Precautionary Principle Three-Year Review Report was approved for submission to the Board of Supervisors (AYES:  Commissioners Pelosi Jr., Wald, Gravanis, King, and Mok).


5.      INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION:  Air quality data collected by the Bayview Hunters Point Community Air Monitoring Project (BayCAMP) (Explanatory Document:  BayCAMP Overview and Presentation.

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKER:  Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager and

Gary Rubenstein, Air Quality Consultant, Sierra Research


Ms. Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager stated that Bayview-Hunters Point is burdened by many industrial sites and facilities, and Bayview residents are concerned with the air quality in their neighborhood.  As a result, a project was initiated to monitor the air in the Bayview for a year, and Mr. Gary Rubenstein of Sierra Research, who has been contracted to analyze the air pollution data, was introduced. 


Mr. Rubenstein presented an overview, summary of results, and principle conclusions on the results of the air quality data collected by the Bayview Hunters Point Community Air Monitoring Project (BayCAMP).  It was stated that the air monitoring station was located near Hilltop Park, across from Whitney Young Circle and was selected based on community participation.  Monitoring was a joint project implemented by the San Francisco Environment, California Air Resources Board, and Bay Area Air Quality Management District with support from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  The air quality samples were collected on a regular schedule from June 2004 through June 2005 and were analyzed for a variety of air contaminants and pollutants.  Topics discussed included:


·         BayCAMP Station and Surrounding Area Map that shows the location of the air monitoring site and its proximity to the Hunters Point Power Plant that was operating at the time of data collection (now shut down) and proximity to the Arkansas Street Monitoring Station.

·         Summary of Results—Data collected for 39 compounds that fall into four categories of pollutants that produce acute health effects, chronic health effects, carcinogenic compounds, and criteria air pollutants, e.g. ozone smog, particulates.

·         Acute Health Effects Index at All Bay Area Monitoring Sites for 2004 (Arkansas Street, Fremont and San Jose stations).  Pollutants measured at BayCAMP were comparable to Arkansas Street, lower than Fremont and much lower than San Jose.

·         Chronic Health Effects Index for BayCAMP, Arkansas Street and San Jose were similar.

·         Cancer Risk from Measured Pollutants at all Bay Area Monitoring Sites—BayCAMP levels were lower among the four sites, Arkansas Street was higher, Fremont was highest, and San Jose was in between BayCAMP and Arkansas Street.  Under the BayCAMP program, they were not able to measure the contributions from diesel particulate because of the high cost.

·         Ozone (Smog) was comparable throughout all four sites, as it is a regional pollutant.

·         Particulate Matter – Annual Average PM2.5 Concentrations—BayCAMP numbers were lower than the other three stations.

·         Conclusions (see presentation).


Commissioner King inquired whether the sites used to measure air quality in San Jose and Fremont were similar land uses as the industrial sites in the Bayview.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that he was unsure, but believed that the Fremont station may be in a similar area, and that there are two or three monitoring stations in San Jose that are downtown or close to the freeway that would have a high contribution of vehicle exhaust. 


Commissioner King asked if there was a report on implication to human health from information gathered at the Bayview site.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that the air quality in San Francisco is among the best for any major metropolitan area in the country because of good weather conditions and location and are within most, but not all of federal and state air quality standards.  It was stated that the further inland you go, the further downwind you go, the higher the levels of air pollutants will be. 


Commissioner King asked if there was a study done that cites dangerous air quality spots in San Francisco and how the BayCAMP and Arkansas Street stations measured in comparison.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission completed a study last year, as part of its efforts to site the new small power plant in this community.  In that study, four community-monitoring stations were compared with the results from the Arkansas Street station.  Results were similar to the BayCAMP results in that there were no significant differences between those four locations.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that the Arkansas Street data produces the longest running records over the past 30 years and is reasonably representative of air quality in San Francisco and in this particular community.


Vice-President Wald asked if different data would have been produced if there had been multiple sites monitored within this community.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that the SFPUC conducted their four studies for this reason four months after the BayCAMP monitor shut down.  The study reviewed several of the same pollutants, not as many, and monitoring was conducted over the peak particulate winter season.  The result was that there were no significant differences seen between those four sites and the Arkansas site.  The SFPUC will be publishing their report within the next couple of weeks. 


Vice-President Wald inquired as to why diesel particulates were not measured.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that it is very expensive to isolate diesel particulates from other particulates and resources were not available to conduct a study.  Vice-President Wald asked if the potential for health risks would change if diesel particulates were measured.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that the results would change dramatically, but for the cases where diesel particulates had been measured and separated from others, the highest levels seen are 4 micrograms per cubic meter, and the numbers discussed here were 12 to 15 micrograms per cubic meter.


Director Blumenfeld stated that now that the Hunters Point Power Plant has been closed, there are still two freeways, Highway 101 and 280 that intersect this community and inquired whether the data gathered included diesel emissions.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that the Particulate Matter-Annual Average chart includes diesel particulates but does not separate how much they are.  It was stated that since the diesel particulates cannot be separated out, they could not be included in the cancer risk assessment.  Director Blumenfeld asked if the conclusions would be different if you were to do similar monitoring at a street level for diesel emissions.  Mr. Rubenstein indicated that if you were to do a localized analysis, upwind and downwind across an intersection on Third Street, you would be able to see some impact from diesel particulates.  It was stated that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to know that there are diesel trucks on Third Street and they emit particulate matter. 


Director Blumenfeld discussed the elevated rate of asthma especially among children in the Bayview community and possible causes such as diesel emissions and indoor pollutants, such as mold and mildew.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that while diesel particulate is a carcinogen, he does not know that it is a worse contributor than other small particles as they are all lung irritants.  It was recommended that additional resources be devoted to isolate other factors that are contributing to higher asthma levels in the Bayview.


Director Blumenfeld asked Mr. Rubenstein to report on the increase in carbon tetrachloride and potential impacts in the final report.  Mr. Rubenstein stated that it was the second or third largest contributor and discussed the high concentrations of acrylonitrile.


Commissioner King stated that the research is fascinating considering the PG&E plant was running at the time and requested additional information on the SFPUC study.  Director Blumenfeld asked Mr. Rubenstein to attend a future Commission or Policy Committee meeting to report on the SFPUC data. 


Ms. Eng stated that studies do not show that there is an excessive level of any single pollutant in the Bayview that is so significantly different than other metropolitan areas.  It was explained that there is approximately 25% of the population that is suffering from cancer, and detective work has to be done as to what portion is caused by air pollution or other factors such as indoor pollution, e.g. mold and mildew.


6.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands Sustainability Plan (Explanatory Document:  Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands Sustainability Plan, Exhibit K and A Sustainable Future for Treasure Island Presentation)

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis

SPEAKERS:  Mr. Jack Sylvan, Mayor’s Office of Base Reuse and Development

Ms. Jean Rogers, Associate Principal, ARUP, Treasure Island Community Development, LLC


Commissioner Gravanis stated that the Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands Sustainability Plan is a significant document that is the product of intense effort, research and cutting edge thinking of numerous participants that has the potential to serve as a model of sustainability plans for large developments.  The Treasure Island Community Development (TICD) team, the Mayor’s Office, and the Department of the Environment Staff were acknowledged for their hard work on this document.  The Plan has been approved by the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors and is on its way to the Board of Supervisors as part of the package called the Term Sheet Development Plan. 


Mr. Jack Sylvan, Project Manager for the Redevelopment Project for Treasure Island, Mayor’s Office of Base Reuse and Development provided background and context on the Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands Sustainability Plan.  It was stated that starting a year and a half ago, there was a confluence of factors that led to a whole scale re-visioning for the Treasure Island redevelopment plans. One of the key factors was a consistent public push for a dense transit-oriented development.  In response, the development team created a visionary plan for turning a former military base into new open space and a destination in a mixed-use transit oriented neighborhood that consists of 6,000 housing units, neighborhood retail and shops, lodging facilities reuse of historic structures, community facilities, arts funding and affordable housing. 


Mr. Sylvan explained that the Plan that originated a year ago was the product of extensive work by a team that created a model and framework for sustainable development in San Francisco that is one of the great public benefits that the project will provide to the City.  Key public benefits that the project would provide include:


·         6,000 housing units.

·         1800 affordable units, 30% of the total project, which includes about 450 units of housing for the formerly homeless through the well-recognized Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative Program that provides supportive housing.

·         300 acres of new parks and open space, the biggest new parks construction-project in the City’s history since the creation of Golden Gate Park. 

·         An estimated 5,000 temporary construction jobs.

·         2,000-3,000 permanent jobs.

·         Project feasibility in that the project is both financially feasible from a constructability standpoint and from the City’s standpoint it is fiscally sustainable as there is no cost to the General Fund.


Mr. Sylvan explained that since January of this year, work had been done on providing more detail and looking at the Plan more comprehensively.  It was stated that the Plan was a collaborative process that involved many people and extensive input from Director Blumenfeld and the Department of the Environment Staff.  William McDonough & Partners had been hired to review the Land Use Plan, measure goals, and craft the guiding vision for the project.  A public workshop was held that included existing Treasure Island residents, members of the environmental community, and other stakeholders to gather input on Treasure Island sustainability.  This information is included as an Appendix to the Sustainability Plan.  Extensive input was received from Commissioner Gravanis over the years advocating for many different things in the course of many drafts. 


Mr. Sylvan stated that the result is a document that is not just a vision, but has targets and criteria that have to be met and is the document that wraps the rest of the project together.  It was explained that affordable housing, economic development, and public safety are all aspects of sustainability and are wrapped together in the Sustainability Plan, recognizing that sustainability is not just about the environment but is also about social issues and economic development.  Ms. Jean Rogers, ARUP Engineers, Consultant to Treasure Island Community Development was introduced.  


Ms. Jean Rogers presented on Treasure Island Sustainability Plan’s vision and guiding principles, focus areas, strategies and targets, key delivery partners, implementation plan and design guidelines. Presentation topics discussed and can be referenced in the explanatory document include:


·         Incorporating Sustainability into Treasure Island: A Triple Bottom Line Approach that includes environmental stewardship, social benefits, and economic vitality.  An example given of the triple bottom line approach was that the renewables portfolio emphasizes building integrated photovoltaics. Those benefits accrue to the residents, reduces their utility bills, and impacts to the environment, which is good for the environment, the community, as well as the economy. 


·         Vision and Guiding Principles to establish commitment to ideals for the Plan such as community development, thriving ecosystems, healthy neighborhoods, affordable solutions, global responsibility, integrated design/lasting beauty, and public transportation/transparency.


·         Unique Aspects of Process: multi-stakeholder approach in developing this Plan including the City and other stakeholders, integration of other key plans, accountability for implementation and best practices underpinned by economic analysis.


·         Unique Aspects of Plan that represents best practices for development.  The cascading approach has the vision tied to strategies, metrics, and an implementation plan; an at-a-glance table that summarizes the entire Plan in three pages; visual representations that help to explain the resources flow and systems thinking; key performance indicators that progress can be measured; a unique method to evaluate progress and incorporate future innovation as long as there is equivalent project economics; and alignment with other frameworks such as the Urban Environmental Accords, the 1997 City’s Sustainability Plan, the Healthy Development Tool, and the USGBC Leadership and Environment in Energy and Environment Framework both for neighborhood developments and new construction.


·         Focus Areas.  Plan contains a cliff notes version on pages 12-15 “Sustainability at a Glance” that summarizes for each focus area, the goals, the strategies, the targets and benefits, and outlines the frameworks, which are supported in each of the strategies.  Focus areas discussed include site design and land use, landscape and biodiversity, transportation, energy, water and wastewater, materials, health safety and security, community and society, and economic development.


·         Site Design and Land Use:  Innovative and Sustainable Urban Design.  The Land Use Plan has been transformed to one that is environmentally sensitive and appropriate for place. 


o        Compact Walkable Community:  density in the range of 90 – 100 homes per acre on Treasure Island, overall including Yerba Buena Island; it averages 75 dwelling units per acre. Compact high-density mixed-use design where residents do not have to use automobiles.  It will reduce green house emissions and minimize the ecological footprint of the Island. 


o        Responsive to Microclimate:  solar orientation/wind protection.  The streets and buildings’ east-west access takes advantage of the sun’s energy and rotation and maximizes exposure to the southern sky while minimizing exposure to the strong prevailing westerly winds.


·         Landscape and Biodiversity:  Landscaping will support biodiversity, revitalization of ecosystems, and the native flora and fauna in the area.  The Landscape Design will minimize use of water and use regionally appropriate species that can adapt to these climactic conditions.  An Integrated Pest Management approach will be developed to eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilizers thereby protecting human health.  A plant nursery will be established for propagation of native species.


·         Transportation Plan:  Highlights include that the design facilitates a shift from cars to alternative environmentally sensitive transportation.  Residents and visitors will be able to access ferries, on-island electric shuttle buses, hybrid vehicles supplied by City Car Share, and an Island bicycle program.  Treasure Island Community Development (TICD) will partner with agencies to emphasize clean fuel technologies for buses and ferries.  There is a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management Program that addresses congestion bridge pricing, car sharing, parking issues/programs, and other areas.


·         Energy:  Energy strategy for Treasure Island focuses on energy efficiency and reliance on renewables. 


o        Designed to minimize demand and creation of a sustainable supply.   The buildings will take advantage of an efficient central plant system and design using 20% less energy than the current Title 24. 


o        Reliance on clean, renewable sources of power.  100% renewable grid source-supply, maximize on-site renewables, export energy during peak hours.  Building design will focus on maximizing reliance on natural resources such as daylight and natural ventilation in addition to incorporating high efficiency lighting and energy star appliances. 


o        Proposed Energy Supply:  Emphasizes renewables, both grid source and on-site generation, building integrated photovoltaics as well as wind power.   


·         Reduced Carbon Footprint:  Focus on reducing emissions from both energy and transportation.  Estimate reducing emissions on Treasure Island by 60% from baseline conditions. 


·         Water and Wastewater:  Living within the water budget.  The Island will have its own hydrologic system designed to minimize the use and maximize the reuse of water.  Through intelligent design and state of the art fixtures, buildings will use 20 to 30% less potable water than conventional design.  An upgraded on island treatment facility will treat 1.1 million gallons per day of wastewater.  All of the wastewater that is generated on the Island will be treated on site.  Use of gray water will be maximized.


·         Eliminating the concept of waste:  Manage the generation supporting the City’s aggressive solid waste diversion goals of 75% from landfills.  Organic waste will be composted for use on the Island’s agricultural park.


·         Materials:  Reducing Embodied Energy and Toxicity of Materials:  Innovative materials will be used in construction of site features, infrastructure and buildings.  They will be evaluated and selected based on their environmental characteristics including renewable and recyclable content, low toxicity, and source locally where possible.  Demolition materials including concrete and steel will be used on site or recycled.


·         Health, Safety and Security of Residents: remediation of contamination/climate change, flooding, seismic risks/emergency support. The new Land Use Plan requires additional remediation of contamination above and beyond what the Navy is committed to.  TICD has allocated funds to perform that remediation to the standards appropriate for the new Land Use Plan.  To mitigate geo-technic risks and sea level rise associated with global warming, a 50-foot wide zone along the entire perimeter of Treasure Island will be strengthened and stabilized.  The levy will provide approximately 7 ½ foot of freeboard over normal high tides.


·         Community and Society.  To foster community development, essential services and easily accessible community spaces will be provided including a centrally located community center and a range of other facilities.  Space will be provided for an educational center through TICD work with a non-profit organization. 


·         Economic Development and Viability:  A sustainable community also provides for a range of diverse housing and employment opportunities that have been carefully considered and presented in the Housing and Job Plans.  The Treasure Island housing mix is designed to accommodate a broad range of incomes and life styles, approximately 30% of the housing units will be affordable and approximately 85% of TICD housing units will be for sale.  The affordable housing units will maximize the benefits of energy and water efficiency strategies thereby lowering utility bills and minimizing the total cost of ownership for the families who need it most.


·         Sustainability Reference:  TICD is committed to achieving LEED ND gold certification with good faith efforts to achieve platinum pending finalization of the program.  The Plan supports the intention and specifics of the Urban Environmental Accords.


·         Green Building Specifications will be incorporated into the design and constructions of the buildings on Treasure Island. It is a condition for all building permits derived in conjunction with the Department of the Environment and based on the LEED NC standards.  Highlights that are included in the Green Building specifications were discussed and are included in the presentation and in Appendix 4 of the Plan.


·         Implementation Plan:  Assessing Sustainability Performance – scale has been developed to evaluate progress.


·         Sustainability Dashboard shows how progress will be achieved over time.


Ms. Rogers summarized that the new community will have a positive impact on local sustainability challenges as well as global sustainability issues across these focus areas.  In result of the sustainability and design effort, the community will enjoy cleaner, healthier forms of transportation, live within its water budget, give energy back to the grid during hours of peak demand, reduce carbon emissions by 60% and serve as a constant reminder of the choices we can make in our daily patterns of living to ensure a more sustainable future. 


Ms. Rogers stated that the goal is to reduce the eco footprint of the development.  Designers and planners have optimized the elements under their control, improving transportation choices, designed energy efficient housing and emphasized on site renewables as well as grid source and emission free supply.  The Land Use Plan has been designed in harmony with local climactic conditions.  It now comes down to personal behavior, consumption choices and lifestyle decisions that residents of Treasure Island will make.  TICD is facilitating awareness and education through its Sustainability Education Center on the Island.  This Plan represents a model for urban development and hope for the future.


Commissioner King complimented the Department’s collective knowledge that went into producing the Plan and questioned why the Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard Plan or the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan is not of the same quality.  It was recommended that future large-scale land use-plans reference this particular plan in order to make people understand how to make a better life for themselves and their neighbors. 


Vice-President Wald thanked everyone for their commitment to sustainability and ambitious goals and stated that she believes that Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands can be a model for sustainable development and hopes that objectives will be achieved.  Commissioner Wald asked what the process of improving performance of some of the focused areas that have been identified over time would be once current targets are met.  Ms. Rogers stated that the Plan was created so that progress could be evaluated and would allow for flexibility and incorporation of new technologies, higher goals, and new ways of doing things as long as the project economics are equivalent and other partners are available to contribute to those goals.


President Pelosi Jr. thanked the speakers for their presentation and wished them luck in their challenge going forward with the Board of Supervisors.


7.      DISCUSSION:  The Commission will initiate a discussion of ways to make current practices on Treasure Island more sustainable.

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis

SPEAKERS:  Ms. Cyndy Comerford, San Francisco Department of Public Health;

Mr. Peter Brastow, Nature in the City and San Francisco Environment Staff


Commissioner Ruth Gravanis stated that the implementation of the Sustainability Plan that the Commission just heard a presentation on is not intended to begin until the project begins which is many years from now after the Navy conveys the land, EIR certification, DDA is done, and other actions.  Commissioner Gravanis asked what could be done now to make the Island more sustainable.  It was stated that people live on the Island and there is a community there.  The Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative has a wonderful program there and there are naturally occurring ecological communities to be protected.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that she is hoping that the topic of sustainability will be continued to March with the possibility of a special meeting on the Island.  Commissioner Gravanis acknowledged Ms. Mirian Saez, the Director of Island Operations for the Treasure Island Development Authority. 


Mr. Peter Brastow, Director, Nature in the City discussed methods to implement the biodiversity aspect of sustainability now before the Sustainability Plan is going to be implemented.  Mr. Brastow discussed Yerba Buena Island’s remaining naturally occurring eco systems, which was the focus of the discussion.  A picture chronology was shown of native vegetation that demonstrates the ecological integrity of the western bluffs of the Island, Department of the Environment habitat restoration day, community habitat restoration day, Clipper Cove Beach, and harbor seals on the Island.  Pictures were also shown of problems the Island is facing such as invasive plant species invading the integrity of the ecosystems on the Island and homeless encampments that present public health issues. 


Mr. Brastow stated that Nature in the City is engaged in the process of identifying, protecting and taking care of the natural resources on Yerba Buena Island and assisting the relevant agencies, e.g. TIDA, while the Island is in flux.  It was stated that one method is to engage the community in stewardship of the land and reference the Coast Guard for ideas.  It was recommended that the Development Plan include a native plant nursery on Yerba Buena Island.  Also suggested was for the Plan to address how the housing redevelopment would affect the natural resources on the Island and preservation and restoration that would be needed to create ecological sustainability.  Mr. Brastow suggested that agency commitment be garnered for the long term and decisions should be made as to what agency and jurisdiction is going to be in charge of managing the natural resources of Yerba Buena Island. It was stated that in order to accomplish what Nature in the City would like to accomplish on Yerba Buena Island requires funding from private foundations, federal funds, or from other City and County of San Francisco municipal arrangements.


Ms. Cynthia Comerford, Senior Health Program Planner, Department of Public Health stated that the Health Department along with the San Francisco Bike Coalition has been awarded a two-year grant from the California Department of Transportation to facilitate a community-based Transportation Plan for Treasure Island to design a collaborative participatory process building a walkable, bikeable, and accessible Treasure Island.  The Health Department has been involved in conducting several community planning processes and developed environmental planning tools to serve pedestrian planning needs and is committed to making this Transportation Plan for short and long term-planning as the Treasure Island redevelopment is not scheduled to start for another eight years.


Ms. Comerford discussed the work of the Bicycle Coalition stating that they are advocates for making San Francisco safer for bicyclists and are extremely knowledgeable in community design features and transportation infrastructure for bicycling. 


Ms. Comerford explained that the grant will award a series of community meetings, surveys, focus groups, and the production of outreach material about walking and biking on and to Treasure Island.  The outcome of the Transportation Plan will result in a Community Action Plan aimed at ensuring equitable access for residents, commuters, and visitors on and into Treasure Island with an emphasis on building healthy, active neighborhoods.  The final Action Plan will be presented to key decision makers on the redevelopment of Treasure Island.  It was stated that the community transportation planning process is in its initial planning phases and will formally begin sometime in January or February.  The scoping documents and more details on the Plan should be available on the Health Department’s Bicycle Coalition’s website in the next couple of weeks.  Ms. Comerford asked if Commissioners were interested in serving on the Advisory Committee, or if the public was interested in being a stakeholder.


Mr. Bob Besso, Recycling Program Manager, Norcal Waste Systems San Francisco Region, which includes Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling, servicing Treasure Island, discussed the need for improvement for recycling and waste diversion on Treasure Island.  Reasons given for the low recycling rate are that housing is similar to apartment house arrangements where the tenants do not have a direct relationship to waste generation and are not paying for refuse collection as a single family household would be in San Francisco.  There is no motivation to separate the waste accordingly because there is no extra fee associated. 


Suggestions to increase recycling included better outreach, direct mail, going door to door with informational handouts, neighborhood workshops, a block-leader program or an island-leader program where volunteers adopt a street and provide oversight and assistance to tenants in correcting behaviors.  It was stated that the most effective method would be to incorporate within the tenant’s lease or property rental agreement a commitment by the tenant to participate in the recycling, waste diversion program as a condition of lease or as a condition for residing on the Island.


Commissioner Gravanis asked what it would cost to do an adequate job of education whether through workshops or literature.  Mr. Besso stated that Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate Disposal have historically worked with the Department of the Environment who has taken primary responsibility for outreach.  It was stated that in the past, a direct mail piece could cost $1.00 per household for a one-time contact, and that door-to-door outreach could be done with less cost with volunteers.  It would then be a matter of printing the material which is about half of the cost of a direct mail campaign.


Director Blumenfeld stated that the Department has a Volunteer Coordinator, Ms. Sunshine Swinford-DeVries who is in the process of doing an outreach multi-family campaign with Golden Gate and Sunset Scavenger.  Volunteers were asked to go door to door and within a week 50 people expressed interest in participation.  Director Blumenfeld stated that he believed that money was not the obstacle and recommended devising a work strategy and surveying the residents as to what the obstacles for recycling may be.


Vice-President Wald asked if the Treasure Island residents receive all of the bins.  Mr. Besso stated that residents do not receive the green bin by default, as there has not been a demand.  Residents do receive the blue and black bin, which is the easiest component of managing waste.  It was suggested that this particular collection be straightened out before implementing the green bin. Vice-President Wald suggested that a study be implemented to determine which outreach method works the best in encouraging people to recycle and suggested that someone may be interested in funding this type of study.


Mr. Morris Quill, General Manager, Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling discussed operational issues.  It was stated that there is significant amount of contamination in the blue recycling containers, and drivers are making a decision as to whether they take the recycling container and contaminate the truck or put it in the garbage.  It was recommended that residences with 5-7 occupants be reviewed to determine whether they have adequate containers or bin loading.  It was stated that the garbage container seems to be limited which is good for encouraging recycling, but the tenants sometimes put the garbage in the recycling.  Financial incentives were recommended in order to motivate the tenants to recycle.   


Vice President Wald asked if the landlord could be penalized.  Mr. Quill stated that the landlords should understand that because charges are based upon garbage collected, that recycling that is thrown into the garbage should have a charge levied as well.  Vice President Wald recommended that Treasure Island residents receive the Department brochure on recycling.  Mr. Quill stated that the three-bin program is transparent and carts are distinctive for each area. It was stated that the residents could live with the smaller containers if they were to separate the refuse and that there is more volume than capacity at this point.


Commissioner King stated that he had previously received a letter from a landlord stating that the cost would be passed on the resident if recycling was not done.  More education in this area was recommended.  The Department was commended for their previous education efforts that reached out to adults and children.


Public Comment:  Ms. Sherry Williams, Director, Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative, a collaboration of ten different community-based organizations that provide supportive housing for formerly homeless people on Treasure Island.  Ms. Williams stated that the topic of recycling is a popular issue on Treasure Island and recommended having community events and multiple strategies for reaching residents instead of handing out written material.  Ms. Williams spoke in favor of working with the Department of the Environment to establish collaboration between Treasure Island residents and the Department to provide education on environmental issues such as recycling efforts, energy conservation, and other resources that can be brought to the Island.


Public Comment:  Mr. Andy Thornley, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition thanked Mr. Brastow for his presentation on Yerba Buena Island.  Mr. Thornley expressed his interest in working with the Department of Public Health on their efforts at Treasure Island.  It was stated that the Department of Public Health have made significant efforts in terms of planning, the environment, and healthy neighborhoods and have developed a set of community health impact assessment tools mostly for the eastern neighborhoods that could be brought to Treasure Island.  Mr. Thornley expressed his support of engaging the current and future residents of the Island, especially people who are economically disadvantaged, by working together to promote future events, recycling, composting, sustainability, and bicycling on the Island.  A discussion was held on a recent youth bike fair that was held on the Island.


Vice President Wald asked whether there is an attempt to make Treasure Island events zero waste as in San Francisco.  Director Blumenfeld stated that the Department will work with Treasure Island Development Authority to coordinate this effort.  Mr. Thornley advised that the Bike Coalition is having their Winter Fest event on Sunday that is planned to be zero waste and will make sure their future Treasure Island events will be the same.   


DISCUSSION and ACTION:  The Commission discussed creating and adopting a policy regarding members’ attendance at Commission Meetings (Explanatory Documents:  Mayor’s September 18, 2006, October 30, 2006 Letter and Attendance Template, Draft Attendance Cover Letters/Attendance Policy to Mayor and Board of Supervisors,  Board of Supervisors Resolution No. 502-06.


President Pelosi Jr. stated that the Policy Committee discussed Commission members’ attendance policy at their October meeting.  The Policy Committee recommended adoption of the referenced Policy.  Upon Motion by Commissioner King and second by President Pelosi Jr. the Cover Letters and Attendance Policies were adopted to be forwarded to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors Office with no objection.  The Commission Secretary would forward the Policy to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors on November 29, 2006.


9.      DISCUSSION and ACTION:  Nomination of Officers.  At the regular Commission meeting held in November of each year, any Commissioner interested in running for office shall state publicly his or her interest and willingness to run for a specific office.  Such Commissioners, and any other Commissioners nominated at the November meeting, shall be candidates for office.


Commissioner Mok nominated President Pelosi, Jr. for the office of Commission President for a new one-year term.  President Pelosi, Jr. accepted the nomination.  President Pelosi, Jr. nominated Vice-President Wald for the office of Vice-President.  Vice-President Wald accepted the nomination.  Elections are scheduled for the January Commission meeting.


10.  INFORMATION: Commission Secretary’s Report

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary


Ms. Fish reported on communications and correspondence received since the September Commission meeting.   An update was given on pending and adopted City legislation.  (See Explanatory Document for additional information.)

11.  INFORMATION: Operations Committee Report

         Chair’s Report:  Commissioner Mok highlighted the meeting of Wednesday, October 18, 2006.  The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17, 2007, at 4:00 p.m., 11Grove Street, Eco-Center Conference Room.  Commissioner Mok reported that at the October 18 meeting, the current and upcoming public outreach plan was discussed as well as the team’s reorganization; yellow-page advertising, recycling and composting, web design, and toxics reduction.  Additional topics heard included approval of Environmental Justice grant funds, the Controller’s Office Audit Report update, and lease of office space at 11 Grove Street update.


Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel stated that she had made a request at the October Operations Committee meeting for a copy of the City’s Global Compact Project, the Department’s formal policy on volunteers, and a defined agreement between the UN Global Compact Office and the Department.  Ms. Wuerfel requested that a formal written policy be developed to address how City land should be used by the UN Global Compact, and asked for further discussion of the status of the $5,000 grant.


President Pelosi Jr. stated that these issues were discussed at the October Operations Committee meeting and recommended that the City Attorney’s Office develop a policy on use of office space and other suggestions as stated in Ms. Wuerfel’s public comment.  The policy would then be brought to the Operations Committee and to the full Commission for adoption. 


Director Blumenfeld stated that the Bay Area Council made a commitment because of their desire to have the UN have an office in San Francisco and would follow-up to see if funds were received.

12.  INFORMATION: Policy Committee Report

         Chairs Report:  Commissioner Wald highlighted the meeting of Monday, October 30, 2006 and Commissioner King highlighted the meeting of November 13, 2006. 


Policy Chair Wald reported that at the October 30, 2006 meeting a discussion was held on a review of the Precautionary Principle preliminary draft report produced by Ms. Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager.  A discussion was held with outstanding speakers on organic and sustainable food policy as a precursor to the Commission and Department’s work on Urban Environmental Accord on organic food priorities and also discussed was the attendance policy for Commission and Committee meetings.


Commissioner King reported that at the November 13, 2006 meeting, a discussion was held on fostering urban wildlife habitats, encouraging people to grow natural plants in their backyards, looking for more areas in the City to grow natural plants, as well as discouraging pouring concrete over what could be beautiful natural areas. Department objectives for 2007 were also discussed, such as preservation of older mature trees and additional strategic developments.  


Policy Chair Wald reported that the December 11 meeting was cancelled due to a lack of quorum.  The next meeting would be held on January 8, 2007.


Public Comment:  Ms. Wuerfel stated that there is $200,000 per year allocated to discuss long-term planning and that long term planning for the landfill should be identified for discussion as part of the Department’s Strategic Plan as it has implications for the Bay Region.  Director Blumenfeld advised that it is slated to begin in January 2007.

13.  INFORMATION: Director’s Report

·         Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment gave updates on SFE 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. (See Explanatory Report for additional information.)


Director Blumenfeld advised that the Final Draft of the Department’s Strategic Plan should be ready by the end of this week.  It was stated that on Monday, December 4, the Board is holding performance measure hearings with all departments, and the Department will be discussing with the Finance Committee performance measures derived from the Strategic Plan.


Director Blumenfeld reported that the California Grocers’ Association advised that they would be submitting a report to the third party consultant on their reduction of bag use and last year’s baseline data.  Director Blumenfeld stated that he had asked that this communication be put in writing and if not received would send a written request for the information.


14.  INFORMATION:  Upcoming City Developments.

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

SPEAKER:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director


Upcoming City developments can be referenced in the Director’s Report.

15.  PRESIDENT’S ANNOUNCEMENTS.  President Pelosi Jr. commended the Department’s good work on Treasure Island and Commissioner Gravanis’ leadership in making the Department’s good work on Treasure Island more public.  The Ordinance banning Styrofoam adopted by the Board of Supervisors in November was highlighted.

16.  INFORMATION:  New Business.  There was no new business discussed at this time.

17.  FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS.  Commissioner King requested discussion of the Hunter’s Point Shipyard Plan’s sustainability and land use plans at future Policy and Commission meetings.  President Pelosi Jr. advised that a presentation would be made at the January 8, 2007 Policy Committee meeting. 

18.  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.  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel asked for a copy of the final draft budget a week before the Commission meeting that it is scheduled for review.  President Pelosi Jr. stated that the preliminary budget would be brought to the second Operations Committee meeting of 2007.

15.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,


Monica Fish

Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709

FAX: (415) 554-6393


** 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 website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission 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 23, 2007






Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:49 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:49 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:49 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:49 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:48 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:47 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:48 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:48 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:47 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:47 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:48 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:47 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:48 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:48 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:49 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:49 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:47 PM
Unknown user,
May 20, 2010, 2:47 PM