CITY HALL, ROOM 416, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
COMMISSION MEMBERS: Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Angelo King, Jane MarieFrancis Martin, Alan Mok, Johanna Wald
ORDER OF BUSINESS
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 convened at 5:08 p.m. Present: President Tuchow, Vice-President Gravanis, Commissioners Martin, Mok (5:15) and Wald.
2. Adoption of Minutes of the March 23, 2010 Regular Meeting and May 11, 2010 Rescheduled Meeting. (Explanatory Documents: March 23 and May 11, 2010 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)
Acting Director Assmann requested that the March 23, 2010 meeting minutes section about the landfill agreement agenda item accurately reference where appropriate “winner of tentative award” and not contract, because it is not a winning contract until the Board of Supervisors actually approves the contract.
Commission Secretary Monica Fish made a point of order that meeting minutes are supposed to reflect what was actually stated even though it may not be correct. Commission President Tuchow stated that he felt it would be acceptable to correct the meeting minutes based on the intent of the speaker. Commissioner Martin asked if an explanatory footnote would be possible explaining the intent. Deputy City Attorney Owen stated that it would be acceptable to add a clarification or explanation to the meeting minutes if requested by a Commissioner. Commissioner Wald suggested amendments to page 9 of the meeting minutes as explained in the motion that follows.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commission Vice President Gravanis, the Meeting Minutes amendments to page 9, second full paragraph were approved to read as follows (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Martin, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King) (1) first sentence “Commissioner Pelosi Jr. asked how people who did not win the tentative award were informed”; (2) second sentence “Acting Director Assmann reported that the Department issued a letter to the contractors who did not win the tentative award..” and (3) tenth sentence “The negotiating team with Recology, the winner of the tentative award…” Commission Vice President Gravanis stated that she is concurring with the proposed amendments based on the understanding of the intent of the speakers. She concurred with the Commission Secretary’s point of order stating that parliamentary procedure calls for minutes to reflect what was actually said, whether the statements are correct or not.
The March 23, 2010 meeting minutes were approved with amendments (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Martin, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King).
Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin, second by Commissioner Gravanis, the May 11, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Martin, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King).
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. Department of the Environment Zero Waste Program Accomplishments. Sponsor: Commission President Matt Tuchow; Department Speaker: Robert Haley, Zero Waste Program Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)
Commissioner President Tuchow stated that he is proud of the Department’s Zero Waste program’s accomplishments and asked Mr. Haley for an update and his thoughts on how to better communicate the program’s success to the citizens of San Francisco.
Mr. Haley reported that Mr. Jack Macy, the Department’s Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator provided the Commission with an update around the time the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance was approved in October 2009. The Ordinance has been extremely successful and is the biggest accomplishment for zero waste in San Francisco. The Department is working hard to fully implement the Ordinance as it is a big undertaking, and there has been quite a bit of progress and positive impact from this policy. There was really good press on the adoption of the Ordinance since it went into effect. The Ordinance generated huge enthusiasm and response from the public, and huge increases in recycling and even more so in composting have been seen. People are requesting service and there have been big increases in participation. Recology, who is the Department of the Environment’s primary partner, and the Department are still receiving lots of calls.
Mr. Haley reported that program implementation is in progress for different businesses, City departments, and residents, and education is being offered to a lot of people as to how to use the programs. In order to lead by example, ensuring compliance with the programs started with the highest-profile larger City government departments and facilities, including the entire Civic Center complex. Every building in this area has recycling and composting. Over 4000 City employees were trained resulting in a savings to the City of over half a million dollars, and that was just in the last year. Ten thousand employees were trained in the last couple of years, which involved quite a bit of effort. There are still some smaller facilities that need work, e.g., recreation centers, etc.
The Department of the Environment Zero Waste and EnvironmentNow program staff have looked in about 30,000 curbside bins to see what is there and providing feedback to the residents as to the proper materials being there or not. One of the successes was bringing the Bayview neighborhood that was previously at below the citywide average diversion rate, up to average. There has been work with about 300 apartment buildings directly, which encompasses about 21,000 units. Credit was also given to Mr. Steven Chiv who put good effort into the success of the program. He reported that as a result of program implementation into two of the largest apartment complexes in San Francisco, Park Merced and Golden Gateway, and a number of other large complexes, the number of apartments composting has tripled. Approximately 4000 buildings in the past year have been added. The average building could have ten units, which includes a huge number of people.
Mr. Haley stated that the department has worked with more than 100 of the largest events in the City to reach higher diversion. Events are complicated and challenging, but two-thirds of those achieved diversion over 50% which is good for an event, and we are starting to see composting at all events. He would like to do better than 50%. The Zero Waste team, EnvironmentNow and the Department’s consultant ESA directly assisted 800 commercial accounts, which include some of the largest accounts in the City such as Stonestown (one account that is an entire shopping mall with a huge number of generators) and trained over a 1000 people in recycling or composting in the last year. Two thousand businesses started composting in the last year. That is a 50% increase in businesses doing composting in a relatively short amount of time.
Mr. Haley reported that staff had visited approximately 4000 food establishments to discuss the Food Service Waste Reduction ordinance (the Styrofoam ban). Mr. Alex Dmitriew visited almost 3000 on his bicycle by himself and we have achieved over 96% compliance with the Ordinance, so people in San Francisco should not see Styrofoam in food establishments anymore—it should all be recyclable or compostable. Overall, compostables collected by Recology have increased by 45% since the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance has passed. The number increased from 400 tons per day to 580 tons per day, which is a huge amount of material. Recycling has been relatively flat, but the ratio of recycling to trash increased 17%. To have an economy where overall generation is declining, but recycling staying flat, and composting skyrocketing is a remarkable achievement for this period.
The Zero Waste and EnvironmentNow staff contacted 850 architects and others about the Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery ordinance. The Styrofoam, Construction and Demolition Debris and, Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinances are powerful tools. Staff has registered over 350 transporters and conducted 100 construction site visits. Debris to landfill has been reduced by 20%, which is 20% beyond the economic decline in construction. That represents about 15,000 tons in the last year, which is a lot of material and is close to a diversion point. This has been the best year ever. These achievements would not have happened without nation leading laws like the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance and efforts of the Zero Waste team, Environment Now, Recology, ESA, and a lot of other participants, e.g., Outreach, Building Managers. It is hoped that the Mayor will announce the new diversion rate in the next month, which is significantly higher than the current rate of 72%.
Commissioner Tuchow inquired about what the 72% diversion rate consists of. Mr. Haley stated that is the total generation citywide that follows a state formula and includes all the sectors, residential, commercial, and City government. It is 72% of all that is thrown away and includes all types of activity, but only half of the construction and demolition material, and it is an impressive number. Commissioner Tuchow offered his congratulations on the success of the program.
Commissioner Wald offered her congratulations on the fabulous program to the Zero Waste and EnvironmentNow program staff and to the entire team. She stated that it is wonderful to hear about the remarkable accomplishments year after year since she joined the Commission. As Commissioner Tuchow stated, it is a fact that most San Franciscans do not know about the accomplishments of this program and do not know what they themselves have done to advance the goals of the City and Department. She asked whether it might be possible to annually include a statement in the Recology bills similar to inserts received in the Public Utilities Commission bills that reports what the City has accomplished during the preceding twelve months. That way, people will be able to share in the accomplishments of the Department, the team, and all of us and feel a sense of pride in what they have been able to do. It is that link between the work staff is doing and the awareness of City residents that she would like to see strengthened. Mr. Haley stated that he feels the inserts are a good idea that have been included in the past, and would look at another billing cycle. He stated that a newsletter is included with each billing. Once the Mayor makes an announcement, we would try to get a lot of press at an event, put the announcement in the newsletter, on the web, and other places that Mr. Westlund, Outreach Manager, may have ideas for. Commissioner Wald suggested highlighting cumulative accomplishments.
Commissioner Martin stated that adding information in the Recology bill is an effective mechanism indicating that is where she saw that ParkMerced is the largest apartment complex that is trying to be as sustainable as possible. She inquired about how the half million dollars was saved and calculated. Mr. Haley stated that this figure resulted from City department efforts to reduce their trash service. When you add composting and recycling, you can cut back on the trash. In San Francisco, you mostly pay for your trash and not recycling and composting. In some cases, City departments have unnecessary trash service which they don’t need in the first place, and staff is pointing it out. In some cases, there are purchasing reductions through paper use reduction, mandating double-sided copying, linking copiers, and buying less paper. Commissioner Martin also suggested communicating to renters who are participating but may not see the bill.
Commissioner Martin inquired whether reuse is tracked, e.g. people taking items to Goodwill, selling through a garage sale. Mr. Haley stated that figure is encapsulated in the diversion rate. There are different ways to calculate diversion. In the past, a study was done tracking reuse that is quite time-consuming and expensive. This was when the state required the Department to calculate a diversion rate. The reuse figure was not enormous, but it was significant. Now the state has shifted to a disposal basis. When a 75% diversion rate is achieved, we will only focus on disposal, which is an easier number to review. By measuring disposal, reuse is being tracked because it is not being disposed of at least the first time around. Commissioner Martin asked if there was an educational message that could be relayed to the public about reuse. Mr. Haley stated that there are waste prevention and reuse messages being relayed, e.g. the “Bring your own bag” campaign. More can be done and discussions are being held. He stated that staff recently held a Zero Waste retreat and talked about reuse in the construction industry and other places, which they would like to heighten.
Commissioner Gravanis concurred with Commissioner Wald’s suggestion about publicizing accomplishments more toward all San Franciscans so we can all collectively be recognized for this great accomplishment. She stated that she is pleased to see the acknowledgement of the hard work of staff, such as Mr. Chiv who she met as a volunteer intern and who is now playing a critical role, Mr. Dmitriew’s efforts, Mr. Haley, and everyone on the Zero Waste and EnvironmentNow staff. She stated that the Mayor’s Office should be kept apprised to make sure staff receives the recognition it deserves.
Commissioner Tuchow inquired how the program compares with other communities because he has heard that San Francisco is in the forefront of municipalities around the country. Is our diversion rate better than others and where does San Francisco stand in the hierarchy? Mr. Haley stated that different places calculate rates differently. San Francisco has the highest diversion rate for a City. There are some suburban communities that have rates that are just as high because they have a lot of yard trimmings which allows them to reach a higher diversion rate. Company towns that have a lot of forest products or fish processing have quite high diversion rates, but for a complex large city, San Francisco is doing the best in the country and continuing to move forward.
5. Report on the Progress of the Department of the Environment EnvironmentNow Program. Sponsor: Commission President Matt Tuchow; Department Speaker: Donnie Oliveira, Green Jobs Coordinator (Explanatory Document: EnvironmentNow Program Presentation to Commission) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)
Mr. Oliveira acknowledged the EnvironmentNow program staff, many of which were in attendance for the meeting. He discussed pragmatic program goals that include (see explanatory document for additional information):
· Creating and implementing job training that creates a new mechanism for developing environmental stewards and preparing participants for the green economy and associated jobs in a short amount of time.
· Promoting outreach that creates awareness, information dissemination of policies, behavior change and best practices on City programs.
· Combining goals with Department program goals to expand the Department’s ability to reach audiences.
Mr. Oliveira presented on EnvironmentNow staff’s work and tremendous achievements on Department of the Environment programs. He discussed project evolution, steps involved, required skills, and results achieved for Zero Waste programs that include the Green Apartment campaign, Residential Curbside campaign, Bayview Compost campaign, and Zero Waste Commercial. He also discussed EnvironmentNow’s work on sixteen additional programs, several of which include Energy Watch, Used Oil Campaign, School Vehicle Idle Reduction, Toxics Collection Outreach, Clean-PowerSF Awareness Campaign in conjunction with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Bayview Food Guardians Project on quality food access for Bayview residents, Zero Waste Special Events, Urban Forestry work such as planting trees, habitat restoration, etc. He commended individual program staff for their efforts learning about the programs and disseminating information so effectively in such a short amount of time.
Mr. Oliveira stated that he is proud of this program that has turned a vision of 100 people walking the streets talking about environmental programs into a reality. He explained that it has taken a lot of work to give people the confidence to do this type of work and to identify the projects that they have a passion for. This program also establishes a path for people for their future careers. There are currently 35 staff members that may be potentially reduced to 12 due to funding constraints. He explained that there is long-term value in the program as a grass roots component of the Department of the Environment. Program staff is reaching populations that may not have been reached otherwise, and there is much more work that has to be done. Mr. Oliveira stated that he would be willing to expand the team if necessary.
Commissioner Tuchow thanked Mr. Oliveira and his entire team for their fantastic work. He stated that as part of this presentation, it was reported that the program has brought the Department to scale. There were lots of communities that were not effectively integrated into environmental programs effectively, and in a short time the EnvironmentNow team has achieved this effort. When talking about Zero waste, the team has played a critical role in increasing compost numbers and likewise with Energy Watch and other programs they are involved in. His concern is on how to create a sustainable program where people are not just trained for a short amount of time, do real well for nine months, and then it is over. He asked if there are funds available to continue the program. Mr. Oliveira thanked Department staff that had been so instrumental in making the projects work through their supervision and training efforts at the initial start of the program. He acknowledged the EnvironmentNow operational staff that runs the program on a day-to-day basis for their phenomenal work.
Acting Director Assmann reported because of this program’s success, it is a number one priority in trying to acquire additional funding for. He explained that federal funding to renew the program was approved by the House but not by the Senate. It is unlikely that the Senate will approve an extension to the program, but there will be another effort after the August recess. Recognizing that funding may not continue in terms of federal subsidies, he has been working to identify funding to keep part of the program going. Through reallocating existing funds within the Department, he currently has enough funding for sixteen people and is working on taking two other approaches to expand funding beyond that. He met with the Deputy General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission who was receptive to a program that would utilize EnvironmentNow staff to incorporate water messages into their outreach message. The proposal would be submitted to him by the end of next week.
Acting Director Assmann reported that he is also looking for other grant opportunities to help pay for this program. If federal subsidies won’t continue, there will continue to be a program, but not at the same scale as there is currently. He explained that the Human Services Agency will continue to provide support services after September 30th that they have supplied to date at no extra charge. He explained that the Department of the Environment seems to be the only City department that is reallocating their own resources to continue the JobsNow program after September 30 when federal funding runs out. He stated that he would do as much as possible in terms of acquiring resources to support this program on an ongoing basis moving forward.
Commissioner Martin congratulated Mr. Oliveira and his team and expressed her appreciation for their efforts. She stated that there is value to this program beyond simple employment and noted an inherent strength of the program is to provide skills and opportunities to move participants forward after the duration of the position. Recognizing the economic and jobs climate and the value of the program, it may be a good opportunity to work in volunteers into the program if funding is not available to pay support staff. Mr. Oliveira stated that staff is helping people with job training and Résumé development, and that a couple of staff members have actually started working in other permanent employment. An effort is being made to actively find people places in the work community that are stable and permanent. Nine high school students will be assisting the team and other volunteers will be sought after. He explained that the Outreach team does run a volunteer program which he will inquire about. Mr. Oliveira acknowledged that it is important to have a program with a clear end date that would move people to the next job, but the trick is to make sure that the next job is available.
Commissioner Gravanis stated how fortunate the City is to have this program and hopes that it will continue. She is impressed by the way the curriculum, program, and training has evolved and is excited about how the team goes about educating people about what goes into which bin, assessing a whole system, and then providing information through this assessment. She stated that she has a list of places that staff could visit to do an analyses on, e.g., UCSF, Kaiser. Commissioner Gravanis stated that she hopes there is some way that what has been done here can be offered or replicated nationally with other cities. She stated that she has had personal encounters with EnvironmentNow staff at various fairs, such as the JobCorp Green Fair on Treasure Island and was impressed by their enthusiasm, people skills, grasp of knowledge, and how information was presented. She was also impressed by how quickly staff was able to acquire skills and share them.
Mr. Oliveira stated that there are parts of the program that can be replicated across the country, but cited that San Francisco unlike other cities is unique in that it has embraced the environmental movement so passionately that it would present a challenge to other cities without having the same type of Department staff on board. He stated that he has been constantly amazed by the quick development of the team, their ability to grasp new information so well, articulate it, and reach people where a script that did not make sense was made relevant to the place they were going. Commissioner Martin suggested that an effort could be made to enlighten other departments if not nationally. Acting Director Assmann stated that he would be talking to other departments as well.
Commissioner Wald extended her congratulations on the wonderful program and thanked the Environment Now staff for the Commission and the Department. She reported that a number of Department staff have told her how great it has been to work with Mr. Oliveira and EnvironmentNow staff. They have grown and learned from and enjoyed working with the team throughout the process. Commissioner Mok congratulated Mr. Oliveira and his team for all of their hard work and recognized that it was not easy to work with so many different people all around the City. He asked that the team keep up the good work and hopes that the program will continue.
Mr. Steven Chiv, Department of the Environment Residential Zero Waste Team, stated that he is in awe of the EnvironmentNow program staff. From a professional level, he would not have been able to reach out to all the apartment buildings in order to increase recycling and composting throughout the City as they have done. He stated that working in multi-family units is the most difficult segment in any population, especially in San Francisco, because you have to work through property managers, multi-languages, access issues, etc. He stated that the team has been instrumental in increasing diversion numbers. On a personal level, he stated that he would have like to have the opportunity, similar to the EnvironmentNow staff, to be exposed to work not only in zero waste, but in energy, clean air, urban gardening. He stated that he is pleased to hear that Acting Director Assmann has been able to work on increasing the number of staff from 12 to potentially 16.
Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss spoke as a member of the public and as Department Manager of Grants and Fundraising. She stated that EnvironmentNow has been written into the next “Safe Fruits to Schools” grant. There has also been funding identified for some of their hours in the next two years working on the car-idling reduction program and promoting car pools at schools. She commended Acting Director Assmann for identifying funding opportunities. She stated that she would be writing EnvironmentNow staff into most of the grant proposals because it is such a vital part of the Department’s work. She extended her commendation for the work accomplished by the team and discussed the necessity of this type of program to reach people that otherwise would not have been reached.
Mr. Lee Williams, EnvironmentNow, stated that he has worked with energy efficiency, green apartments, and other programs holding presentations. He commended Department staff such as Ms. Rosenmoss, Ms. Eng, Mr. Chiv, Ms. Ojea, and Mr. Oliveira, team leaders, and others for instilling the whole project in his team and stated that it could not have been accomplished without them. He described the team’s efforts providing outreach in storms because they saw a need for the city. He is glad to hear that maybe there are four more positions open because he feels that this City needs exactly what they are doing. The EnvironmentNow staff is doing for the future right now. What was done in the past is over, now is what counts and they are doing it. He stated that staff members will be certified and able to reach out and teach others about programs.
Ms. Niema Hawkins, EnvironmentNow, thanked staff for providing training on all aspects of the environment in everyday life. She stated that she takes home what she has learned about eating healthy, not idling her car, and looking at the bigger facts of the environment. She described the positive impact that this program has had on Bayview residents who do not know about composting and other environmental programs. As a result of the EnvironmentNow staff doing the footwork, it makes people that are their peers to do the same thing. She is proud to have the opportunity to do the work and teach San Francisco.
6. Overview of Existing Department of the Environment Energy Efficiency Programs and Presentation on New Residential Energy Efficiency Programs, Goals and Design. Sponsor: Commission President Matt Tuchow; Department Speaker: Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)
This agenda item was continued to the September 28, 2010 meeting.
7. Review and Approval of Resolution Approving Department of the Environment Funding Recommendations for Environmental Justice Grants. Sponsor: David Assmann, Acting Director; Speaker: Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager (Explanatory Document: Environmental Justice Program Funding Recommendations for Grant Awards (2010-2012) and Draft Resolution File No. 2010-05-COE and Approved Resolution 005-10-COE) (Discussion and Action)
Ms. Eng commended EnvironmentNow staff for their hard work and dedication that is a real value to the Department. She reported that grant-award selection for the new awards was a competitive process Four new awards were recommended for Fiscal Years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, a two-year term. Representatives from the non-profit organizations were present to answer questions. She explained that staff conductedi a robust evaluation process, involving a panel of readers who scored written proposals and another panel that conducted oral interviews of the strongest candidates. Four organizations were selected to receive the new awards that include Bret Harte Elementary School PTA for their school gardening project; Literacy for Environmental Justice to expand and make infrastructure improvements of a native plant nursery located at Candlestick State Park; Urban Sprouts to maintain and operate a school garden and leadership program at International Studies Academy; and Southeast Food Access Workgroup (SEFA) to continue operating their food guardian project in the Bayview neighborhood to promote nutritional education and food access. (See Explanatory Document for detailed grant information).
Commissioner Tuchow inquired how the four grantees were selected. Ms. Eng explained that a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in January 2010, and ten proposals were received in February 2010. A panel of evaluators scored the ten proposals, and those applicants that received a written combined average score of 70 points or higher were invited and attended an oral interview. Concerns and questions were answered at this time. Based on the ranking of the written and oral scores, funding recommendations were made based on available funding. Ms. Eng explained that the grants program has been operating for ten years and has awarded more than 11 million dollars, and that this would be the last funding cycle as available grant funding is running out. With this award, there will be some funds for staffing for a couple of years to manage the new grant awards. Six existing grants are wrapping up from a previous funding cycle.
Commissioner Gravanis stated that she had participated in a panel several years ago that made award recommendations noting how detailed, precise, and objective the process is, and thanked the current panel for their hard work. She inquired how reporting requirements would be met by the grantees and what kind of success was achieved in the past in meeting program expectations and receiving prompt and thorough reports. She stated that a report at the completion of the program would provide an understanding of how well these funds were spent in terms of the difference that was made in improving the environment and to the people involved. Ms. Eng reported that the grant recipients are required to submit quarterly progress reports that are reviewed by staff, and if there are questions and deficiencies, they are addressed with the grantees. A final progress report summarizing the major accomplishments is prepared at the end of the grant cycle. Staff also does a fair amount of monitoring and hears from the grantees on a monthly and quarterly basis. Payment of invoices is tied to meeting deliverables and submission of progress reports. Grantees are provided with a small advance to meet immediate expenses.
Commissioner Wald inquired whether there has been thought given to preparing a report relaying what San Francisco has accomplished with the expenditure of the 11 million dollars over the past ten years. Ms. Eng stated that it would be valuable to have a final report that highlights the accomplishments and outcomes of the grant program. She reported that an independent evaluator conducted a review of 35 grant awards a couple of years ago. Staff is currently keeping track of progress and accomplishments and would assemble a final report for the grant program. In addition to seeking Commission approval, staff goes before the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee on an annual basis to report what is being done with this money.
Commissioner Tuchow asked if there could be a linkage in work currently being done or in the future between the Environmental Justice and EnvironmentNow programs. Ms. Eng reported that EnvironmentNow staff conducted outreach and worked closely with Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) who had been funded to plant trees in the southeast neighborhoods. In addition, program staff also provided outreach on nutrition and food access in the southeast neighborhood through the Food Guardian Project. Commissioner Tuchow suggested that staff and grantees explore ways and synergies to include EnvironmentNow staff in their programs or hiring EnvironmentNow staff as appropriate.
Mr. Cooper, Executive Director, Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), reported that the application process was simple, but that there was a lot of effort that his staff put into the preparation of the application. He explained that Department staff had been thorough in their questions that were offered to LEJ. Mr. Cooper stated that LEJ had identified ways to work with the Department with or without the funding attached to their proposal. He acknowledged the Department as being the primary funder and largest supporter of the Eco Center at Herons Head Park. The project also had the support of the Port of San Francisco and State Coastal Conservancy, but the Department was the biggest investor into the project. Mr. Cooper stated that Department and EnvironmentNow have been engaged not only in LEJ work but in Bayview Hunters Point projects that he has been involved with or tracking. Ms. Eng brought participants of the program to see the Eco Center to see what an off-grade educational center would look like. There was also participation in the People’s Earth Day event, which was a success. He expressed his support for the work that the Department is doing and is happy to answer any questions. Commissioner Gravanis stated that she is proud of the support given by the Department and Commission to the Herons Head Eco-Center and is excited about the ongoing partnership with State Parks and impressed with the work that has been done.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner Gravanis Resolution File No. 2010-05-COE approving Environmental Justice Grant awards as described in the Environmental Justice Funding Recommendations explanatory document was approved with an amendment to the Resolution heading line 2 to read “four organizations” (not ten) without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Martin, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King).
8. Review and Approval of Resolution Approving Department of the Environment Funding Recommendations for Zero Waste Grants. Sponsor: David Assmann, Acting Director; Department Speaker: Shawn Rosenmoss, Manager of Grants and Fundraising and Community Partnerships (Explanatory Document: Zero Waste Program Funding Recommendations for Grant Awards (2010-2012), Draft Resolution File No. 2010-06-COE, and Approved Resolution 006-10-COE) (Discussion and Action)
Ms. Rosenmoss reported that thirteen Zero Waste grant proposals from twenty-two proposals received are being recommended to the Commission. These groups scored 70 points or higher and went through an oral interview. She explained that the grant process is committed to help people build capacity. The RFP was designed to look like a grant that the San Francisco Foundation or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would offer, so grantees can really do a great proposal and then shop for services. Ms. Rosenmoss explained that there is so much that the Department does that could not be accomplished without all of these partners, some of which are the non-profits being funded to do Zero Waste work. She pointed out that these are Zero Waste grants, but that there is a tremendous co-benefit that includes job preparation services, getting art material to art teachers and educators that do not have the funding, helping to get access into apartment buildings to do energy efficiency work, etc.
Ms. Rosenmoss presented on the Zero Waste grantees and their projects that include: The Supportive Housing Employment Collaborative, San Francisco Clean City Coalition, Goodwill Industries, Garden for the Environment, San Francisco Conservation Corp; Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District, San Francisco Community Recyclers; Asian Inc., Grupo de la Comida, Jewish Community Center of SF, Scroungers for Reusable Arts Parts, Connect the Dots. (See Explanatory Document “Funding Recommendations for Zero Waste Grants” for detailed information.)
Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the source of funding for the zero waste grants and when and if it expires. Ms. Rosenmoss reported that funding comes from the Impound Account garbage rates to do all kinds of zero waste work to help the City meet its zero waste goals. Commissioner Tuchow inquired about possible synergies with the EnvironmentNow program. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that she is working on this effort and reported that most of these sites, especially ones called dump-intervention sites, have been field-trip and learning sites. For example, it is hard to fund all of the staff that SCRAP, a non-profit organization, needs to do all their work, so it is a good training opportunity for EnvironmentNow staff to volunteer there to help do the sorting of material, etc. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that she is trying to set up a process to funnel some of these staff members into the non-profits. Connect the Dots is interested in working with the EnvironmentNow team to help with paper work and outreach activities. The training that EnvironmentNow staff receives in energy efficiency and zero waste will be ideal to help Connect the Dots. Commissioners were asked to send ideas.
Commissioner Martin stated that the Commission received an appeal letter from SCRAP where they entreat the Commission to provide funding of $20,000 for the period between October 2010 and July 2011 (see explanatory document July 23, 2010 Letter to Commission). She inquired whether part of the amount awarded in Fiscal Year 2011-2012 could be split in half so SCRAP could receive $20,000 in Fiscal Year 2010-11. Acting Director Assmann reported that the amount per fiscal year is preset and could not be moved from one fiscal year to another without taking it from another award. Ms. Rosenmoss explained that Mr. Drew and his team juggled money to maximize funding to as many groups as possible. Commissioner Martin pointed out that three other recipients would be receiving funding for only Fiscal Year 2010-11 and none in the following. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that no-one received the entire amount they applied for and that there was negotiation. The RFP states that the Department reserves the right to give people less than what they ask.
Public Comment: Ms. Cara Gurney, EnvironmentNow, stated that she used to work for Supportive Housing Employment Collaborative, and explained that Community Housing Partnership is the fiscal sponsor. It is a collaborative of six different supportive housing organizations. She stated that there is a cross-over into other opportunities for EnvironmentNow staff. Three people that are part of the EnvironmentNow team graduated the recycling and environmental awareness internship and now have the opportunity to work at events. The staff members currently worked at the “Up Your Alley” event and received compensation for training people on their zero waste knowledge.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin, second by Commissioner Wald, Resolution File No. 2010-06-COE approving Zero Waste grant awards as described in the “Funding Recommendations for Zero Waste Grants” explanatory document was approved with amendments without objection. Amendments include: line 12, “Community Housing Partnership” should be the fiscal sponsor and “The Supportive Housing Employment Collaborative (SHEC)” should be added; line 17, “Fisherman’s Wharf” should read “Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District” (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Martin, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioner King).
9. Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chair’s Report: Highlights of the July 21, 2010 Meeting and review of the agenda for the October 20, 2010 Meeting.
Operations Committee Chair Mok reported that the Operations Committee at their July 21, 2010 meeting (1) heard a presentation by Ms. Tamar Hurwitz, School Education Manager, on the Department of the Environment’s School Education programs; (1) Acting Director Assmann provided an update on the Department of the Environment’s lease at 11 Grove, space and reconfiguration plans; (3) discussed ways for the Policy and Operations Committee to work together that would be discussed at a future meeting of the Commission. The next Operations Committee meeting is scheduled for October 20th.
10. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chairs Report: Highlights of the May and June meetings and review of the agenda for the August 9, 2010 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.
Commissioner Gravanis, Policy Committee Vice-Chair, reported that the Policy Committee held two meetings and one non-meeting since the last Commission meeting. At the May 10 meeting, Ms. Raphael provided an update on San Francisco’s Bisphenol A Resolution and recent state and national efforts on reducing the prevalence of BPA in our environment. The second item in May was an update by Department Green Building staff, Mr. Hooper, on green building-related activities in new and existing buildings in the public and private sector. He talked about state green building standards, mandatory measures that are not mandatory yet in San Francisco, but will be, and how we will be prepared to comply. He provided an update on LEED certifications on energy star buildings in San Francisco and the roll out of the GreenFinanceSF program.
At the June 14 meeting, the Committee discussed doing a follow-up to the Outreach Survey to environmental groups that was sent out several months ago. It was suggested that the survey be sent out to a more up-to-date list of environmental groups in the city, which Ms. Fish is working on. The intent is that these groups can be contacted when there is an agenda item that may be relevant to their organization so they can provide their expertise on the subject matter. Another topic of discussion included holding Commission meetings in various communities throughout the city and making sure that agendas are relevant to the community. The Committee also discussed long-term agenda setting in light of the Bylaws provisions. In reviewing those provisions, the Committee discovered that a few of the duties were not relevant to the Policy Committee and an overlap was identified with the duties of the Operations Committee. A discussion ensued about finding ways to work more closely with the Operations Committee. The Committee may be coming back to the full Commission some time later in the year with suggested changes to the Bylaws to make them more up to date in terms of what the Committees should be working on. At that meeting, Acting Director Assmann provided a report on the Earth Day breakfast noting that it would cost about $100 per person for folks to attend the breakfast, but is offered for free because of donations received. There was concern about the appropriateness of big corporate sponsors receiving too much time on the microphone to talk about their businesses based on the donation they were making. The intent is not to charge people $100 to attend the breakfast, so future plans were to not invite the corporate sponsors to come to the microphone and give more time to recognize green business awards recipients and Department accomplishments.
There was no meeting in July because of a lack of quorum so the Committee could not hold a lengthy discussion or take action on agenda items, but presentations were given by two of the presenters. Ms. Bryant of Department Zero Waste staff reported on what options were available if the Commission wishes to pursue the idea of banning the sale or giveaway of single-serve plastic water bottles at events held on City property. A discussion was held about ways to write into the lease a requirement about how that would not happen. This item needs more discussion on how to make sure water is available especially at concerts at Golden Gate Park. The second presentation was on bird-friendly building facades. The Planning Department is reviewing standards to make sure that we have surfaces on our buildings that are less likely to result in birds striking them. Many birds throughout the country are killed by flying into reflective surfaces that they perceive as open air that they can fly into.
The August 9 meeting will include discussion on the single-serve plastic water bottles at events, continuation of the public outreach survey, and a report by the San Francisco Unified School District Sustainability Manager on sustainability measures pursued by the school district and ways to share resources and support each other in these efforts.
Commissioner Martin inquired whether the outreach survey should be shifted to the Operations Committee per the discussion held at the July Operations Committee meeting or whether this agenda item could be worked on in tandem with both Committees. Commissioner Gravanis reported that the Bylaws state that the Operations Committee has purview over outreach and communications activities of the Department. The idea was entertained that this agenda item could go to Policy since there was a connection about formulating policies and figuring out how to convey policies to the general public. To ensure an equitable distribution of workload, it was agreed that outreach should go to Operations. Still pending is a discussion on how the two standing committees can work together without violating Sunshine Ordinance laws that restrict three commissioners from working together at a meeting. She stated that it is appropriate to find some way to have the Operations Committee involved in the follow-up to the survey. Commissioner Martin suggested crafting a mechanism to work together and transferring this type of knowledge at Commission meetings. Commissioner Gravanis asked for ideas on how to make this happen.
11. Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion)
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
· Communications and Correspondence
Ms. Fish presented a written report of all communications and correspondence transmitted to the Commissioners since the March 23rd Commission meeting. A written update on all City legislation since the March meeting was included in the report (see Commission Secretary’s Report explanatory document).
12. Director’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air, Climate Division, Green Building, Outreach and Education Division, Environmental Justice Division, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction Program, and the Urban Forestry Division. (Information and Discussion)
Acting Director Assmann provided a written report on Department operations (see Explanatory Document Director’s Report) and an overview on the Department’s Energy Efficiency program. He explained that energy efficiency efforts are divided into two areas:
· The Energy Watch program that is funded from the public goods charge and is in everyone’s utility bill. This Fiscal year, there will be about $5 million set aside for that program and is running at a wonderful rate. There are kilowatt and therm savings goals attached to this program. The three-year goal for therm savings was met in six months this year and is running far ahead of schedule. Goals are aided significantly by EnvironmentNow staff adding to the program’s capacity by going door-to-door to boost the program. He indicated that one staff person is leaving and there would be recruitment for a replacement.
· There is a series of energy efficiency grants, most of which are stimulus-related that are just starting to get implemented. There are about two- and three-million dollars that will be received for other energy efficiency work. There is a program to replace boilers in the city. An engineer has been hired and two projects have been launched for that program. The rest is in the formative stages since approval has not been received by the Board of Supervisors for all the programs yet. Another five staff will be hired to work on energy programs over the next six to eight weeks. A number of these programs will not be up and running until the fall. There is federal stimulus funding for the Energy Block program and retrofit money through the Energy Commission.
A full report will be provided by Mr. Broomhead at the September 28 Commission meeting.
Acting Director Assmann reported on the growth spurt at the Department. He explained that the department has 19 additional staff members that are in the stage of being recruited or hired. If you include everyone that is now working for EnvironmentNow and current staff, the total is 138 staff members. Acting Director Assmann explained that conference rooms are being converted into work space and basement space is being leased to turn into two conference rooms. The third floor is being reconfigured to make room for more people. The grand total of people at 11 Grove will be 96, the highest number the Department has ever had in terms of staff. He stated that the Department’s budget continues to grow. Last week received word that three new grants are likely to be approved. One is an appropriation from the federal government through Senator Boxer’s Energy Committee that could give another $300,000 + for electric vehicle infrastructure as well as an additional million dollars for electric vehicles. There is another $250,000 grant from the Frank Foundation that would enable the City to reach 100% renewable energy as a target. He explained that there are new projects in the pipeline, growth, and growing pains. The current lease does not expire until May 2012, so the Department is not able to move before then. He stated that he will start negotiations within the next couple of months with the Department of Real Estate for new space to move into by June 2012. At the same time, other contingencies are being looked at in case there is growth in the interim in terms of overflow space.
Commissioner Martin inquired about the news report about a federal lawsuit involving GreenFinanceSF. Acting Director Assmann reported that GreenFinanceSF is a PACE program that would amortize the cost of efficiency and renewables for a homeowner so they could pay it back over the course of years through their property taxes. The issue is that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are concerned that the PACE programs would allocate these as priority items and hold up payments to the mortgage holder or bank, so they put a stop to the program. There are legislative fixes that hopefully will happen in the next month or so. In the meantime, the State Attorney General has sued to try to get these programs going all over the country. It is a big setback and the Department is on hold until alternatives are identified. The Department has a full-time staff person assigned to the program, and funding was lined up (potentially a $150 million program). Commissioner Martin suggested that this message be effectively communicated to people interested in this option and information placed on the web. Acting Director Assmann stated that there is communication with everyone that has applied and he would check to make sure it is on the website.
Commissioner Martin inquired about whether Acting Director Assmann has put together an annual agenda setting list for the Commission. Acting Director Assmann stated that the Operations Committee at their July meeting discussed Commission input particularly into the Strategic Plan development. He explained that the Department has a rolling three-year Strategic Plan for the next three years every year that it is updated. Ideally, the plan is in place every year by July 1 for the next three years. There is currently a plan in place for the next two years after this year, and he has just requested that work be started into the next update with a deadline of late August for a first draft. A Draft Plan will be presented to the Commission for their September meeting for input before the Plan is finalized.
Acting Director Assmann explained that the Strategic Plan is designed to provide input into the budget process, which is submitted to the Mayor every year on approximately February 20 or 21. If the Strategic Plan is presented to the Commission in September, input could be incorporated, and a final Plan could be presented to the Commission in November before the budget is finalized. He would then work on an accelerated schedule for the Plan for the next year and turn it around in the next six months. Commissioner Martin asked for a set schedule for when the Commission/Committees review the Strategic Plan, Budget, and other standing issues on an annual basis. Commission President Tuchow stated that he would work with staff to prepare the schedule.
13. Announcements. (Information and Discussion) There were no announcements made at this time.
14. President’s Announcements. (Information and Discussion) Commission President Matt Tuchow announced that a Department Director selection by the Mayor not been formally announced and understands that a decision would be made soon. He stated that the Mayor indicated that each of the candidates had meaningful meetings with him, and he appreciates the selection of candidates that were sent to him for an interview.
15. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) Commissioner Tuchow stated that the September Commission meeting would include an Energy Efficiency update, the Strategic Plan; and possibly a Bylaws discussion on roles and responsibilities of standing committees with input from Commissioner Gravanis. Commissioner Martin suggested that communication between the two committees could be accommodated within the Committee reports already on the standing agendas, and a discussion could be held on how to use these sections effectively to issue reports. Commissioner Gravanis stated that the Bylaws suggest that the two Committees work together on specific issues and suggested that a separate action agenda item be scheduled to discuss how the two Committees could work together so that recommendations could be made. She suggested that it may be better for the Committees to work together by having one member from each Committee work with staff and then make recommendations to the Commission for further discussion. Commissioner Martin stated that either the Chair could meet with one member of each Committee or the Chair could appoint a member from each Committee to meet. Commissioner Mok suggested that the Committee read each others reports to gain a better understanding of each others issues and then schedule discussions as appropriate. Ms. Fish read the Bylaws section Commissioner Gravanis was referring to that states “The Policy and Operations Committees and Director will work together to develop recommendations about restructuring of environmental programs and activities within the City agencies and departments.” Commissioner Tuchow stated that he is restricted from attending Committee meetings because of quorum requirements and asked to be kept apprised of what Commissioners would like to have placed on the agenda.
16. 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.
17. Adjournment. The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:26 p.m.
The next Meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416.
** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Commission’s meeting website at https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission included with minutes by meeting date; (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: October 5, 2010