09.25 Approved Minutes






Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 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, Jane MarieFrancis Martin, Alan Mok, and Darian Rodriguez Heyman



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 Pelosi Jr. (5:08 p.m.), Vice-President Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin, Mok (5:07 p.m.), and Rodriguez Heyman. Absent:  Commissioner King. 


2.      Adoption of Minutes of the July 24, 2007 Regular Commission Meeting.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin and second by Commissioner Gravanis, the July 24, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES:  Vice-President Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin and Rodriguez Heyman; Absent:  President Pelosi Jr. and Commissioner Mok) (Explanatory Document:  Approved Minutes of the July 24, 2007 Regular Commission Meeting) (Discussion and Action).


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. 


Mr. Richard Parker, founding member of 450 Architects in San Francisco, a certified green business in San Francisco, and member of SPUR’s Development Committee and the Green Business Council, Northern California Chapter.  Mr. Parker stated that he had discussed a concept identified by SPUR’s Sustainability Development Committee called “green roof bus shelters” with Supervisor Mirkarimi and presented the concept and an Executive Summary to the Commission for their consideration and comment (see Explanatory Document).  The concept is to provide the existing bus shelters in San Francisco with green roofs, native plants that are located in recycled plastic or copper trays that sit on the existing bus shelters to provide City beautification and promote wildlife corridors through San Francisco.  The proposal is for 40 bus-shelters down the length of Market Street from the Embarcadero to the Castro Street station.


Chair Wald asked if a special bus shelter was required or if any kind of bus shelter with a roof would work.  Mr. Parker stated that there are three essential sizes for the existing shelters, and nothing special would be needed.  It was stated that the green roof bus shelters would fit exactly over the existing shelters and explained the configuration.


Commissioner Martin asked if a prototype was in place.  Mr. Parker stated that the proposal had been shared with a number of Supervisors, and Supervisor Mirkarimi agreed to sponsor a Board Resolution.  It was explained that the Resolution has not yet moved forward as there is a stall between the Municipal Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Art Commission.  Mr. Parker stated that he is here today to see if this project could be moved forward with support from the Commission on the Environment.  Further discussion on this item would be heard during New Business.


Item 6 was heard before Item 4.


4.      Mayor's Task Force on Green Building.  Overview of the recommendations that the Task Force presented to the Mayor in July 2007 to advance green building in the private sector (Informational Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Document: Mayor’s Task Force on Green Building Report and Recommendations and Presentation)  

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKERS:  Laura Rodormer, Department of the Environment Green Building Coordinator and

Craig Nikitas, Planning Department


Ms. Rodormer co-presented with Mr. Craig Nikitas who provided (1) background on the Mayor’s Task Force, (2) a summary of what the Task Force recommendations and report include, and (3) an update on next steps.  Ms. Rodormer reported that the priority-permitting program for LEED Gold buildings in San Francisco, which was implemented last October, is a collaborative partnership between the Department of the Environment, Planning and Building Inspection Departments.  The objective is to increase the number and quality of green buildings in San Francisco. It was stated that there are eight projects that are in the process of attaining the LEED Gold standard and represent slightly more than a million square feet of building space in San Francisco.  There are four projects that are pending that equal approximately two million square feet.  In total, there are almost three million square feet of projects that are meeting the LEED Gold certification level.


Ms. Rodormer explained that the Mayor after assessing what was coming through on the priority-permitting program, called together this Task Force on Green Building in February to assess whether or not the private sector could pursue and achieve LEED standards for commercial and residential projects in San Francisco. 


Mr. Nikitas summarized the Mayor’s Task Force on Green Building Report and Recommendations. It was stated that the report reviewed six building typologies based on building size and use and set standards that start in 2008 and then increase through 2012.  Summaries of the following topics were presented:


·         Detailed recommendations for each use, incentives and requirements that start in 2008 and increase through 2012 for new large commercial buildings, new high-rise residential buildings, large commercial tenant improvements/major renovations, new mid-size commercial, new mid and small size residential.

·         Implementation through Building Code and Planning Code Amendments:  Draft legislation is under review by various City departments and the City Attorney’s Office that the Mayor will introduce as amendments to the Building Code in the near future; then would go through the Department of Building Inspection’s code amendment process, the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee, and the full Board.  The proposed amendment to the Planning Code would go to the Planning Commission and then back to the full Board.


Ms. Rodormer described the anticipated benefits from all six building types.


·         Impact from 2008-2012: electrical savings, CO2 reduction, drinking water savings, and waste storm/water reduction—a significant reduction in all of these categories.  Additional impacts:  construction and waste reduction, recycling, reducing car trips, and increasing green power generation.

·         Implementation: Collaboration between the Department of the Environment, DBI, PUC, Planning and the Assessor’s Office (for assessment of green buildings).


Ms. Rodormer stated that she hopes that the Task Force’s report would broaden the scope of green building.  President Pelosi Jr. and Director Blumenfeld thanked and commended Ms. Rodormer for her outstanding work for the Department.  Director Blumenfeld announced that Ms. Rodormer would be leaving the Department to work at Swinerton Builders where she will be leading their green building projects. 


Commissioner Martin inquired about the required credits to achieve LEED certification.  Ms. Rodormer stated that credits would be different for each of the six different building types and would include storm water management, water use reduction, use of renewable energy, enhanced commissioning, incorporating compostable strategies within the program, construction and demolition waste management, and water efficient landscaping.  The credits increase in numbers over the course of the years.  Ms. Rodormer stated that the program is a five-year program that allows education over the course of five years in moving from LEED Silver today to LEED Gold by 2012. Commissioner Martin asked what code interfaces would be required in order to accommodate wastewater.  Mr. Nikitas explained that is one of the issues that would be worked on with the PUC through the Mayor’s Office. Commissioner Gravanis recommended that (1) code changes include enabling more grey-water systems within buildings, and (2) that training should be done on the concept of deconstruction instead of demolition. 


Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman commended the work done on this program and asked what the Commission can do to help move it forward.  President Pelosi Jr. explained that work is currently being done with the Mayor’s Office.  


Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel thanked the Mayor’s Task Force for their work.  Ms. Wuerfel asked that the Building Code be amended in order to require that new high-rise buildings include built in capacity for three chutes in order to better implement recycling efforts. Mr. Nikitas stated that Requirement 5 is on site space designated for compostable space in addition to recycling.


5.         Department of the Environment Zero Waste Outreach Plan.  Summary of the Department of the Environment and Norcal’s outreach focus for “Fantastic Three” and Toxics for 2007-08 and presentation of Fall 2007 outreach campaigns (Informational Presentation and Discussion).

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKERS:  Department of the Environment Staff Thea Hillman, Communication Manager and

Robert Haley, Recycling Program Manager


Ms. Hillman reported on her work coordinating and producing outreach-materials across the Department’s programs along with Mr. Mark Westlund, the Department of the Environment’s Outreach Program Manager.  A presentation was made on the Department’s communications campaigns that are currently being worked on. Commissioners were asked to direct any questions to Ms. Hillman, Mr. Haley, or Mr. Paul Giusti, General Manager of Sunset Scavenger.  Ms. Hillman affirmed that the Commission on the Environment adopted goals of 75% diversion by 2010 and zero waste by 2020.  It was reported that the Department of the Environment recently conducted an analysis of materials still going to landfill and determined that approximately 67% of the material that ends up in landfill could have been composted or recycled. Those figures include approximately 36.2% compostable materials (namely, food scraps) and 31% recyclable materials (namely, paper).  In addition, under state law it is illegal to toss in the trash household batteries, fluorescent tubes and bulbs, thermostats, any items that contain mercury, and electronic devices.  A lot of the campaigns will be to educate the public about what to do with these items. 


The Department will be promoting new and ongoing City and Norcal services. Top priorities for diversion are (1) food scraps, paper, and construction and deconstruction materials (based on sheer tonnage); (2) for toxics reduction, priorities are e-waste, promoting drop-off locations located throughout San Francisco, and residential toxics pick-up programs.  The campaigns will be integrated to the fullest extent possible in order to capitalize on advertising and outreach dollars.  Messaging will include “there is a right place for everything, and where you put it makes a world of difference.”  Messages would bridge toxics, recyclables, and compostables.  Main audiences that will be targeted are small to medium neighborhood businesses, large commercial businesses, single to three unit residences, four to five unit residences, apartment buildings, and multi-family apartment buildings which are six-units and above. Focus groups that were conducted last year influenced the campaign choices, in which research was done with various audiences in San Francisco to test their awareness around the issue of toxics and toxics programs in the City.  Programs discussed included:


·         Kitchen Pails:  A kitchen pail pilot test was recently conducted and is now being retested to test the effectiveness of the kitchen pail; e.g., what type of kitchen pail to use and whether the kitchen pail is effective in getting people to compost who wouldn’t otherwise compost.  Tests are also being done on pail delivery methods, whether it is helpful to go door to door, or for Norcal to drop off the pail to people automatically.  Kitchen pails are also being delivered with educational materials.


·         Green Cart Recycling:  The majority of the work being done right now is to focus on green cart compostables collection as that is where the most diversion is.  Programs for residents where the cart is new to them would include four to five-unit buildings and multi-family apartments. An opt-out campaign is being done, which is intended to deliver green carts and kitchen pails to four to five unit buildings with a letter informing them that the carts will be delivered unless they call to opt-out.    


Ms. Hillman reported that Norcal has a newly appointed Waste Reduction Specialist to oversee efforts that will be working with the Outreach Team on the opt-in campaign.  The opt-in campaign will include an incentive program that motivates the bill payer to contact Norcal’s Customer Service to request kitchen pails.  Residents would receive personalized letters; there would be a timed callback system, and support would be provided in terms of flyers and kitchen pail delivery. Department staff would go to these apartment buildings, drop off the pails, provide outreach to these units, follow-up with site visits as well as send experienced auditors to do a participation and accuracy check. That is the outreach where the green cart is new to people. 


A lot of effort will be done for residents that have already received the green cart, which is called the “reintroduction campaign” and would be done for single-family homes to three units, small to medium businesses and some apartment buildings.  The plan is to work on five routes per week.  Each time a route will be done, a reeducation mailer will be sent out to educate what goes into each of the carts and to invite residents to community meetings. 


·         Apartment Building Chutes Pilot: Testing how to designate recycling and garbage chutes in a large complex of apartment buildings has now concluded, and a two-chute system will be implemented through the complex.


·         Black Cart Audits:  Auditors will tag the black carts “offenders” for those that contain recyclables or compostables and will keep track of who the offenders are. Auditors will pass the spreadsheet onto the appropriate entity; if it is a commercial offender, it will be sent to the commercial team at Norcal; residential will be sent to the Department.  The Department would then do door-to-door outreach to positively educate the “offenders” as to what goes into each cart.   A letter will also be sent to each offender about what is found. 


·         Advertising/Marketing and Other Outreach Efforts:  Ms. Hillman reported that Outreach staff would be tabling in front of grocery stores and cafes when they are in a particular route/neighborhood area.  There would be in-store advertising on shopping carts, milk cartons and other in-store education opportunities; e.g., telling people you can use your milk carton for compostables, your bag is recyclable, etc.  In terms of toxics, a citywide mailer is planned promoting drop off sites, which will be sent out in a staged manner.  The Department will continue to partner with other agencies and jurisdictions about various collection events; e.g. thermometers and other materials.  Promotion will be done around the home collection program—ads will be placed in neighborhood newspapers, the yellow pages, and the Green Zebra coupon book.  Work is being done on new homeowner and apartment dweller outreach on energy and water efficiency measures that have been put into place in their homes or apartments as well as programs for disposal of their fluorescent bulbs and recycling in their building. 


Additional efforts that would impact both the toxics reduction and zero waste programs are to (1) update the notes that are left on people’s carts, whether it is for bulky item pickup or other infringements; (2) updating the stickers that go on the green and blue carts and creating a sticker for the black carts telling people what goes in or not.  Signage will be placed on Norcal trucks, bus sides, and bus shelters around the City promoting the benefits of recycling and composting.  There will also be on the ground and underground climate campaign that would include recycling and composting messages. 


President Pelosi Jr. commended Ms. Hillman, Mr. Giusti, and Mr. Haley for their efforts.  Commissioner Martin (1) spoke in support of creating black cart stickers; (2) asked that the term “landfill” be used instead of “garbage” and “trash”; (3) commended outreach efforts to tag the carts, but requested that door hangers not be used; and (4) asked if there is a fee for opting out or for participating in the compost program. Ms. Hillman stated that there was not a fee for not doing the program, and indicated that there were incentives for participating in the compost program.


Mr. Haley reported that participating in composting and recycling is free for residents and virtually free for businesses.  There is a small 5% fixed charge for businesses; otherwise, you essentially get a discount for recycling and composting so there are financial incentives for participating.  Commissioner Martin asked if outreach was directed to new residents.  Ms. Hillman stated that in terms of new residents for apartments, we are partnering with large landlords in the City such as Citi Apartments, piloting a program where work is being done with the property managers to get new materials into those buildings.  Consideration is also being given to working with realtors on new homeowner outreach.  Currently, Sunset Scavenger takes our materials and brings them to new residents as well.  Commissioner Martin suggested that marketing efforts might include Craigslist as so many people rely on that for information about new apartments. Ms. Hillman stated that Craigslist would be a great idea.        


6.         Green Business Program Reforms.  Proposal to reform the Green Business Program in an effort to build program capacity and provide much needed assistance to local small businesses (Informational Presentation and Discussion). (Explanatory Document:  Green Business Presentation) SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKERS:  Department of the Environment Staff Debbie Raphael, Toxic Reduction Program Manager and

Sushma Dhulipala, Green Business Program Coordinator


Ms. Raphael reported that San Francisco businesses that are finding success with green business programs share a desire to expand their work outside of San Francisco.  It was explained that staff’s capacity to assist in these efforts is limited because of increased demand.  Ms. Raphael stated that the definition of green should be kept meaningful and that we cannot allow the green washing and lowering of standards.  Consideration is being given to how San Francisco can participate in a program that would be accessible in other cities where there are different infrastructures and priorities.  It was stated that the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has taken the leadership in defining what green means for a green business program, and San Francisco is trying to increase the bar for qualifying green businesses.  Topics discussed included:


·         California Green Business Programs (ABAG) in Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo and founding members Alameda, Contra Costa County and Sonoma; and (Other California Programs) in Santa Cruz/Monterey, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Santa Monica.  The founding members have worked on green business programs for over ten years. San Francisco has a three-year old program that has benefited from the work that the other counties have done and are now trying to set a higher bar for qualifying as a green business in San Francisco.

·         San Francisco Green Business Program Partners include the Department of Public Health, Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of the Environment as well as other Compliance Partners.


Ms. Dhulipala reported that she works with City agencies such as the Department of Public Health and the Public Utilities Commission in an effort to offer free services to businesses.  Topics discussed included: 


·         Green Business Process:  enrollment, compliance verification through a green business checklist, conservation audits of green business practices; e.g. evaluation of a business’s recycling practices, energy conservation, etc. When minimum requirements are implemented, the business can become designated as a green business, receive a certificate signed by the Mayor, and are listed on the Department of the Environment’s website as a green business.

·         Defining a Green Business:  Steps that a business must take in order to become a green business.

·         Tracking Businesses: system to track applications and assessments.

·         San Francisco Green Business Team Performance: How long businesses take to get through the process.  There are varying timelines, but on an average it takes over four months to go through the process.

·         Demand versus Capacity. No outreach or marketing has been done on this program.  The business community has been very receptive to this program.  The number of enrolled and awarded businesses per month was discussed (recognizing about three to four businesses per month).


Ms. Raphael presented statistics and reasons why the green business program needs reforms in order to increase its capacity and discussed what is being considered. Topics discussed included:


·         Statistics:  number of businesses awarded to date (app. 80); number of businesses under evaluation; number of businesses waiting for initial walkthroughs (app. 35); number of businesses enrolled in the green business program, completed their checklists and are awaiting audits (approximately 300).

·         Future Steps: There are no plans to hire new staff anytime soon to meet growing demand.  The Department is brainstorming ideas to secure resources in order to hire outside auditors to help get through the backlog.  Consideration has been given to using professional services budget funds in order to hire an outside contractor who can do the audits so Department staff can help the high-end businesses (hotels, complicated businesses) on their efforts and in developing tools and guides.  Consideration is being given to charging businesses in the next fiscal year in order to increase resources.    


Commissioner Martin asked if there are any particular business types or size that are being targeted.  Ms. Dhulipala reported that when the program was first launched about three years ago, the focus was to be restaurants, hotels, and office retail spaces.  At this time, the focus has not expanded to all the other business sectors, but there is a waiting list of other types of businesses awaiting assistance from staff that figures were not presented for today that includes painters, remodelers, laundromats, and other small businesses.  President Pelosi Jr. asked if work is being done with non-profits, and Ms. Dhulipala confirmed that about 5% of work is with non-profits.  Ms. Raphael stated that the businesses were prioritized by what the Department’s partner’s interests were; e.g. if it was a solid waste interest, water conservation, or toxics reduction, what sectors would be worth the time. It was explained that the program is designed for small to medium-sized business.  Commissioner Martin asked if program goals had been set for where the program should be in one to five years.  Ms. Dhulipala stated that the original goal was to recognize at least 10% of the business sector, but that goal is not being reached because the program is only three years old, and standards are always being revised based on new services, programs, and initiatives.  The small to medium-size businesses were chosen because they may not have the resources to hire outside consultants to go green as the larger businesses may have.  Commissioner Martin suggested that the goal be revised and that guidelines should be made available to businesses that are interested and who can pursue this effort on their own if staff is not available to assist.


Vice-President Wald asked if the Department could work with the Small Business Commission and other city institutions on funding and implementation mechanisms.  Ms. Dhulipala stated that the Small Business Commission is one of the Department’s partners as well as other small business associations, groups, and merchants associations. It was explained that these organizations usually request more help from the Department than they have to offer, especially with funding, and usually do not have staff that are trained as certifiers. 


Public Comment:  Mr. Cliff Waldeck advised that if you “google” green business certification, the ABAG program comes up first, and SF Environment comes up second.  It was stated that the Department now has a world-class organization, which is basically run by two or three people and commended their efforts. It was stated that in the AB32 world, along with emissions control and building design, green business certification is one of the best tools to combat global warming.  Certified green businesses use less energy, conserve water, recycle and reuse material, keep material out of the landfills, and promote conservation, as well as being some of the first adopters of new clean technologies. Mr. Waldeck agreed that it is a good step to secure monies to pay for independent auditors, but suggested that foundations fund nursing practices at CPMC or the Packard Foundation fund professors at UC Berkeley.  Mr. Waldeck stated that he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce, and that a climate change summit had been held and advised that many of the participating businesses in attendance would be happy to fund a green business certification program.   


7.         Civil Grand Jury Report, “Can San Francisco Keep its Promise to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?” Overview of the Response of the Department of the Environment to the Civil Grand Jury  (Informational Presentation and Discussion) (Explanatory Documents:  Civil Grand Jury Report , Department’s Responses, Department Responses Table and Presentation) .

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKER: Melissa Capria, Climate Action Coordinator


Ms. Capria presented background and gave an update on the status of the Civil Grand Jury Report.  The Civil Grand Jury over the past year did an investigation of how San Francisco is doing in meeting our greenhouse gas reduction target to reduce emissions 20% below 1990 levels by 2012.  The Grand Jury Report contained about 42 findings and 50 recommendations that included steps that we could take to pursue our greenhouse gas reduction goals.  The Department of the Environment, as the lead agency, was asked to coordinate all the departments’ responses back to the Grand Jury and had done so on September 4 (see explanatory document above). In general, the departments were in agreement with the findings except for a few jurisdictional issues where the report may have misidentified the responsible agency.  In general, the response was very favorable. 


Ms. Capria reported that many of the recommendations are in the process of being implemented at this time, but pointed out that even if each of the recommendations were implemented, there would still be a long way to go in achieving our greenhouse gas reduction targets.  A presentation was shown on what it may take to achieve our 2020 goal (see explanatory presentation above).  Topics discussed included:


·         Greenhouse gas emissions forecast, targets, and current emissions from 1990-2012.

·         Emissions Reductions by Energy, Transportation, and Solid Waste Sectors from the 2004 Climate Action Plan that would total 2.6 million tons of greenhouse gas reductions that would meet the 20% reduction target.

·         Emissions Avoided & Reduction Goals Remaining by Sectors.  Ten percent of transportation emissions reductions have been achieved as a result of aggressive programs; e.g., commuter benefits.

·         Potential Transportation Reductions. (1) Congestion Pricing that is under consideration could achieve another 4% of reductions; (2) promotion of rideshare programs (2% reductions); (3) increased transit rider-ship (4% reductions); (4) clean vehicles, biking and walking programs (4% reductions); and (5) increase in federal Corporate Average Fuel Efficient (CAFÉ) standards (12%). 

·         Emissions Avoided & Reduction Goals Remaining—Energy.  Existing energy reductions (13% of reductions).

·         Potential Energy Reductions. (1) Renewable power from distributed generation (1%) from the Electricity Resource Plan’s goal of 31 megawatts of renewables—we are 3 megawatts right now.  To achieve the 31 megawatts would reach only 1% of reductions; (2) Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance (RECO) Update (14%)--at time of sale, an investment would have to put in an investment into energy efficiency; (3) Energy Watch & Commercial Ordinances (10).  Commercial ordinances would require maintenance on HVAC and a ban of T12 lighting.  Energy Watch is a partnership with PG&E to do energy efficiency; (4) Solar Hot Water geared towards the residential sector (2%); (5) New Commercial Green Building 60,000 tons reduction by 2012 (2%); (6) Other Energy Reductions that have not been quantified; e.g., Green Business Council on Climate Change, Green Business Program; Renewable Portfolio Standard on a state level (6%).

·         Emissions Avoided & Reduction Goals Remaining—Waste.  Waste is a success on the climate front as targets set out in the Climate Action Plan are well on their way in the waste sector.  Existing waste reductions (12%); waste reductions remaining (2%).


Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman asked for clarification on the CAFÉ standards.  It was stated that as an example, if the Governor or the President approved better fuel efficiency standards tomorrow to increase the average by a couple of miles per gallon, that would not change all the cars that are out there currently.  Ms. Capria stated that those numbers are not based on an assumption that all of the vehicle fleet in San Francisco is already meeting the CAFÉ standard.  There was work done when the Climate Action Plan was worked on to determine what the average fleet efficiency in San Francisco is right now and if you incrementally raise the average, what our actual citywide fleet efficiency is.  The Climate Action Plan indicated that the CAFÉ standard measure was a large number of transportation reduction tons, and the number on the presentation chart has been scaled back. Commissioner Gravanis commended Ms. Capria and staff on this effort and requested that more emphasis be placed on reducing car ownership per capita instead of purchasing a car that is electric or fuel-efficient.  Ms. Capria requested any ideas that the Commissioners may have on outreach efforts to reduce car ownership. Commissioner Martin asked if the Department is providing outreach to support car free living.  Ms. Capria explained that outreach efforts at this time mostly goes to promotion of transit, working with the Bicycle Coalition, outreach to large employers urging them to offer commuter benefits to their employees, offering showers for bikers, and similar programs.  Commissioner Martin stated that the Bicycle Coalition has a pamphlet about how to be more dependent on your bicycle and asked if the Department has any pamphlets or brochures for people who would like to live car free.  Ms. Capria stated that the Department has not designed a pamphlet for that purpose at this time, but indicated it would be a good outreach tool.


8.         Commission Secretary’s Report (Information and Discussion) .

 Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

Communications and Correspondence.  Ms. Fish reported that correspondence has been received and included in the Commission packet (1) addressed to all Commissioners requesting that the Commission not allocate money for purchasing in newspapers that feature trafficked immigrant women in violation of state law; and (2) communication from Mr. Waldeck recommending that the Commission on the Environment advertise their meetings on SFGTV, the official television station for the City and County of San Francisco. Ms. Fish reported that a response had been sent to Mr. Waldeck indicating that an inquiry had been made through SFGTV on this possibility, and they had responded that their current schedule does not enable them to record meetings held on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The Commission would have to change their meeting schedule that would coincide with hearing room and SFGTV availability.  Ms. Fish also advised that there was a substantial cost associated with televising meetings.  It was stated that the Commission could choose to discuss this issue further at an Operations Committee or full Commission meeting.


Update on Pending City Legislation.  Commissioners were asked to review their meeting packet to reference pending City legislation (see Explanatory Document above).


9.         Operations Committee Report (Information and Discussion)

         Chair’s Report:  Commissioner Mok will review the agenda for the upcoming rescheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, at 4:00 p.m., 11 Grove Street, Eco-Center Conference Room.  Commissioner Mok reported that he had attended the Bayview Farmer’s Market approximately one month ago, and it had achieved a good turnout. Commissioner Mok requested a progress report on the market along with finance, and outreach program updates and the school education annual plan at the next Operations Committee meeting.

10.  Policy Committee Report (Information and Discussion)

         Chairs Report:  Commissioner Wald will highlight the meetings of Monday, August 13 and Tuesday, September 18, 2007 and will review the agenda for the upcoming meeting on Monday, October 22, 2007, 5:00 p.m. to be held at City Hall, Room 421.  


Commissioner Wald reported that at the August 13 meeting, there was an in-depth presentation and discussion on the Civil Grand Jury Report which Ms. Capria detailed many of the issues that were raised, and the Committee had the opportunity to contribute suggestions and ideas in response.  At the September 18 meeting, two major items were Commissioner Gravanis’s proposal to volunteer her services to the Commission and the City to develop a plan for San Francisco’s wildlife, a topic that caused a fair amount of controversy.  The Policy Committee voted to accept the offer after noting that Commissioner Gravanis could work on her proposal without the Committee’s approval.  Commissioner Wald requested that this topic be put on the Policy Committee’s list of topics to have regular updates on.  The other item addressed was that the City does not have a carbon credit program, policy, or a determination as to what carbon credits would make sense for the City, which credits should be bought, and for what period of time.  Commissioner Wald reported that the Committee had an informative discussion on what issues would relate to that topic that would be a first step towards the adoption by the City through the Commission of a carbon credit program. Commissioner Wald also commended staff on their talent and dedication in presenting these issues and giving the public an opportunity to provide input.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman requested that net metering be placed on a future Policy Committee agenda.


Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel (1) requested information on the scope of work being proposed for the Wildlife and Biodiversity Research and Related Habitat Plan that the Policy Committee approved; (2) stated that it appears that this Plan will be prepared under the auspices of this Commission and asked how the public would participate in additional ways other than just receiving updates; (3) stated that at the August 13 and September 18 meetings, she recommended that the Animal Welfare and Control Commission be invited to participate in these discussions and in developing a Plan; (4) stated that Commission Gravanis met with Animal Care and Control today and asked what their reaction was to the proposed Plan; (5) urged the Commission to prepare a written proposal to outline the intent of the Plan and the process so the public can fully participate; and (6) asked if there was funding available in the Department’s budget to work on this Plan.  President Pelosi Jr. stated that discussions have been held with Director Blumenfeld on this issue to make sure that all work that is being done is consistent with the Commission’s Charter requirements and that staff time is being allocated appropriately.


Commissioner Gravanis explained that the Sunshine Ordinance allows the Commission to briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by members of the public under public comment.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that she agrees with issues raised by Ms. Wuerfel.  It was stated that work would be done on identifying (1) a scope, (2) a plan for agency and public involvement, and (3) a clearly stated purpose.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that the Department does not have funding in their budget for staff to do the Plan, so she has offered her services as long as the Commission is interested.  Regular updates will be made at the Policy Committee that will allow for full public involvement.


Commissioner Gravanis reported that she did meet with Mr. Carl Friedman, Director of Animal Care & Control, who gave his full support in creation of a wildlife plan with two requests that topics of feral cats and domestic dogs not be included in the Plan.  Mr. Friedman also asked that the Commission not expect the Animal Care and Control Department for enforcement of every ordinance because of lack of funding.  It was stated that Mr. Friedman (1) would help find sources of funds as neither department currently has funding, (2) is excited about using the resources of our volunteer and intern program to help do some of the research to help compile what other cities are doing in regards to coyote management, raccoons, skunks, etc. and to work closely with the department on these things; and (3) totally agrees that wildlife and creating habitat for wildlife is in the purview of the Commission as well as the Animal Care and Control Department and agreed to work together on this effort.  A meeting will also be set up with the SPCA, members of the Animal Welfare and Control Commission, and other relevant agencies.  Ms. Wuerfel thanked Commissioner Gravanis and President Pelosi Jr. for their comments and stated that she feels positive about this effort.   

11.  Director’s Report (Information and Discussion) 

Nelly Sun, Senior Management Assistant to Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment will give 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.   


Director Blumenfeld reported that the Commission Retreat would be held at the Port building on October 2 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The main subject to be discussed is “Extended Producer Responsibility.”  New employees would be attending the retreat and introductions will be made in a formal setting.  It was reported that legislatively, the Department has been working on a Commuter Benefits Ordinance that would require all companies with ten or more employees to offer commuter benefits.  The Department just got awarded a grant of $200,000 to explore wave power by the same foundation that gave the department a grant to explore tidal power.  Director Blumenfeld thanked President Pelosi Jr. for attending Senior Staff meetings and invited the rest of the Commissioners to attend on Tuesdays at 9:15 a.m., but requested that a quorum of members not be present at the same time.


Commissioner Martin asked what the top three challenges facing the Department are.  President Pelosi Jr. stated that he could work with the Commissioners when a need arises and recommended that Commissioners rotate attending the Senior Staff meetings to keep current of priorities that arise over time.  President Pelosi Jr. stated that at this morning’s meeting, there was a discussion on food priorities and production of food similar to the Precautionary Principle and other purchases. Water bottles were not discussed at this time.  Priorities and challenges change over time. Director Blumenfeld explained that the purpose of choosing “Extended Producer Responsibility” is that is really deals with what we do and with all the state, federal, and local challenges.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman requested that the Director’s Report include challenges and how the Department can use the Commission’s support.  President Pelosi Jr. stated that each program area holds meetings designed to address challenges that Commissioners are welcome to attend. 


12.  President’s Announcements.  (Information and Discussion).  President Pelosi Jr. reported that there would be a meeting in the Potrero Hill neighborhood to discuss closure of the Potrero Power Plant and to ensure reliable and efficient energy supply.  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman stated that one of the ideas that he had discussed with the Director is to hold Commission meetings in different neighborhoods in the City.  President Pelosi Jr. stated that this idea could be explored for the November meeting.  

13.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion).  No new business/future agenda items were heard at this time.

14.  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.

15.  Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 6:43 p.m.


** 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].


Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709

FAX: (415) 554-6393


Approved: November 14, 2007



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