CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2010, 5:00 P.M.
CITY HALL, ROOM 408, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
COMMISSION MEMBERS: Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Angelo King, Jane MarieFrancis Martin, Alan Mok, Rahul Prakash, Johanna Wald
*NOTE: The Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 5:00 p.m. Commission on the Environment Meeting was rescheduled to Friday, December 10, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. and was held at City Hall, Room 408.
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 5:10 p.m. Present: Commission President Tuchow, Commission Vice-President Gravanis, Commissioners King, Mok and Wald; Excused: Commissioners Martin and Prakash.
2. Rescind March 23, 2010 Commission Approved Meeting Minutes and Readopt with Amendments. (Explanatory Document: March 23, 2010 Corrected Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Commissioner Gravanis stated that the Meeting Minutes should be approved with “corrections”, not “amendments”. Deputy City Attorney Owen provided an opinion that “amendments” or “corrections” could be used interchangeably. Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Mok, the March 23, 2010 Commission Meeting Minutes were rescinded and approved with corrections (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioners Martin and Prakash).
3. Adoption of Minutes of the October 5, 2010 Commission on the Environment Rescheduled Meeting. (Explanatory Document: October 5, 2010 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Gravanis, the October 5, 2010 Meeting Minutes were adopted without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioners Martin and Prakash).
Public Comment: Ms. Lurilla Harris stated that the term “approval of minutes” should be used instead of the term “adoption”. Deputy City Attorney Owen stated that either term would be correct.
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. Staff Presentations on Draft Strategic Plans for Energy and Climate Programs. (Informational Report and Discussion) Sponsors: Commissioner Johanna Wald and Director Melanie Nutter; Speakers: Cal Broomhead, Energy and Climate Program Manager; Ann Kelly, Energy Efficiency Program Manager; Danielle Murray, Renewable Energy Program Manager (Explanatory Documents: Climate and Energy Plans Drafts for 2011-2013)
Director Nutter reported that Department of the Environment program staff are in the process of updating their Strategic Plans for 2011-13. In response to Commissioner’s requests to provide input throughout the process, the first plans that have been completed for the Energy and Climate programs are being presented today for Commissioner’s questions and input. A number of other Draft Plans will be coming to the Commission in the coming months.
Mr. Broomhead presented on the Climate Action Strategic Plan. He stated that there has been a lot of activity in the climate field since the last discussion at the Commission in the last year, everything from stimulus money that has now been received to an increase in staffing. A review of community numbers for 2008 shows that San Francisco has achieved 7% reductions below 1990 levels, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the country that is at about 11 to 14 percent above 1990 levels. There are many uncertainties about why this is happening, some of which are included in the Strategic Plan Draft. There are other activities going on in the private sector that is difficult to quantify or quantifiable data is not available for, so there are unknowns. In-city activities have led to emissions reductions, the largest portion of which is due to the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, the closing of the Hunters Point Power Plant, and Hetch Hetchy’s clean power. (Strategic Plan Draft narrative, paragraph 2)
Mr. Broomhead reported that the 2012 objective requires emissions reductions by another 13% or 975,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases and discussed current programs, activities, and policy solutions that would help meet this goal as well as the need for expansion of programs. A discussion was held on challenges that will be faced and future opportunities to reduce emissions (Strategic Plan Draft narrative, paragraph 3). He reported that the City has the responsibility to plan and prepare for the effects of climate change and can advocate for strong action by federal and state governments as well as effect change globally. A discussion was held on changes that can be made to all levels of the system through individual, private business and government, and the framework that local government should create to shape daily choices. (Strategic Plan Draft narrative, paragraph 4)
Mr. Broomhead reported on Climate Action Plan goals, objectives and actions as outlined on pages 2-3 of the Climate Action Strategic Plan Draft. He reported that for Goal 1, Objective A, Ms. Ostrander and the Climate team have been working with departments to implement departmental Climate Action Plans. Departments have now turned in Plans and assigned department liaisons who are personally invested in making these greenhouse-gas reductions and are working with their departments to identify solutions and opportunities for reductions. The team is working on developing an enterprise-wide data management system to support community-wide inventories so they can spend their time on community education and outreach in the future.
Goal 1, Objective B is to calculate and certify San Francisco’s community greenhouse-gas emissions. Work is being done to identify emissions sub-categories within the emissions inventory and strategically identify where to make improvements. Natural gas savings is becoming a focus and is addressed in the Energy Strategic Plan. Goal 1, Objective C, is to develop internal infrastructure and external strategic relationships to inform and support climate policy and community education. Methods of program funding are being explored through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in order to perform a community-based Climate Action campaign to start to relay public participation. The second goal is to develop and implement a Climate Adaptation Plan in partnership with the Mayor’s Office. He reported that a discussion was held at the Policy Committee about not only focusing on adaptation of infrastructure, but to also include adaptation of the natural environment.
Director Nutter thanked Mr. Broomhead for his work leading the Energy and Climate programs. She reported that a new Program Manager would be hired to lead the Climate program due to its growth. Commissioner Gravanis commended Ms. Calla Ostrander, Mr. Broomhead and the Climate Team for their work establishing a positive collaborative collegial relationship with City departments. Commissioner Wald thanked Mr. Broomhead, Ms. Ostrander, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Murray for their informative discussion on the Strategic Plan at the Policy Committee meeting. Commissioner King commended Department staff for identifying ways to work with other departments so the work does not become the burden of one department. Mr. Broomhead reported that discussions are being held on adding how Climate Acton Plan goals are being met as a category in performance evaluations for staff being identified for this work.
Commissioner King stated that the Climate Strategic Action Plan Draft talks about San Francisco’s progress and gives a number of reasons why we have advantages over other places. He asked where San Francisco ranks in comparison with other cities pursuing this goal. Mr. Broomhead reported that in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, San Francisco is always battling with Portland to be one of the leaders, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t another small town somewhere that is doing better than all of us, but does not have the press coverage to get the word out. Portland usually ranks #1 with San Francisco as #2, but San Francisco has ranked #1 in the past.
Commissioner King suggested advocating to the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the Department’s work with other City departments so it could be used as a model program. Mr. Broomhead stated that nationally the EPA and United States Department of Energy consider San Francisco a leader. Commissioner King stated that he hopes that data collection is being recorded in a way that can be shared with others. Mr. Broomhead stated that staff is working on a data collection and recording system and is working with other cities on this effort.
Commissioner Tuchow stated that he would like to communicate more broadly that San Francisco is seven percent below 1990 levels to show what a fantastic job the Department and City are doing. He does not think that most San Franciscans know this information. It would be good politically and create pride in San Francisco for people to understand the value of what the Department is creating. Mr. Broomhead stated that the first part of the campaign is a thank-you to everyone in the city that has composted, installed a compact fluorescent lamp, walked a trip instead of driving a car, and whatever action is being taken that has led us to achieve the Kyoto agreement two years ahead of schedule. Commissioner Tuchow stated that the Climate Strategic Plan indicates that a fifth of the greenhouse gas reduction comes from sequestration from the urban forest. He stated that the urban forest is an important part of this plan, but is one of the budget items that has been constantly cut back and does not have a home in any City department. He asked what efforts could be made to focus more on urban forestry in this challenging budget time.
Ms. Murray reported that urban forests are often times seen as just planting trees and caring for them. This strategic plan as well as some of the others demonstrates the other benefits of having an urban forest program. She stated that efforts are in progress in the grants program to connect these ideas to a possible creative funding source that would address establishing a tree cover and include sequestration of carbon and other related benefits. Commissioner Tuchow stated that there may be ways of thinking about working with other departments on urban forestry work. Ms. Murray stated that the Department does discuss urban forestry work with the Department of Public Works and the Recreation and Park Department. Department staff has put together a proposal with a number of departments on a citywide tree plan.
Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the Climate Adaptation Plan. Mr. Broomhead stated that the Climate Adaptation Plan would deal with the consequences of climate change. There are a series of impacts that may include sea-level rise, impact to wildlife and infrastructure, etc. It is a plan being worked on by multi departments that include the Department of the Environment, Public Utilities Commission, Airport, and Port. There are more stakeholders that will have to be brought in to be involved as well as the public.
Public Comment: Ms. Lurilla Harris asked whether any other cities have inquired about what San Francisco is doing. Mr. Broomhead reported that inquiries are made almost daily from people wanting copies of documents, asking how we do things, delegations coming through, people coming to visit, etc.
Mr. Broomhead reported on the Energy Strategic Plan (see Energy Strategic Plan Draft for 2011-13 explanatory document for a narrative and list of goals, objectives, and actions). Mr. Broomhead reported that a lot of stimulus money has been provided into the Energy program area for activities such as marketing, incentives for home residential retrofits and installing boilers in multi-family buildings, and the home-performance program. He discussed Strategic Plan goals and objectives in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in buildings. One is to increase the focus on natural gas reductions with both efficiency measures and renewables through the solar program that is focusing on solar water heating and heating systems. He reported that there was one possible setback with the termination of financing for the Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing program by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Staff’s programmatic response was to redirect efforts to identify other financing by working with multiple cities and with the California Energy Commission to identify financing options.
Mr. Broomhead reported that the two objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in buildings to twenty percent below 1990 levels by 2012 include maximizing energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings and developing renewable energy resources (Energy Strategic Plan Draft pages 1 -2). He highlighted Strategic Plan Objective A energy efficiency actions that consist of continuing the implementation of programs such as Energy Watch, the Commercial Lighting Efficiency Ordinance, passing and implementing the Commercial Energy Benchmarking Ordinance which is before the Board of Supervisors, implementing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus programs to retrofit residential units and educate tenants, and advocate for conducive California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) rules on Community Choice Aggregation which can provide a great opportunity for doubling or tripling the energy efficiency that can be achieved in the City.
Ms. Danielle Murray reported on Objective B actions to develop a renewable energy action plan to meet 100 percent of electricity demand in San Francisco by 2020. She highlighted actions outlined in the Energy Strategic Plan Draft page 2, 1-11. Commissioner Tuchow asked for a definition of Feed-in Tariff. Ms. Murray reported that a Feed-In Tariff, through a utility, the State Energy Commission, or California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), would insure that there will be twenty-year contracts offered for renewable energy generation at set rates so that developers are enticed to actually develop these projects knowing that there will be a steady income stream for twenty years. Right now, the rate structure does not favor renewable energy and is liable to change at any point. This tariff would provide for those assurances and lead to greater investment by the private sector. An example of a successful Feed-In Tariff that has been in effect for several years is in Germany. Germany has the highest rate of renewables in the world as a result of a Feed-In Tariff and has had many renewable-energy, solar, wind and other companies locate there because that is where projects are going in and industry has decided it is best to locate. It is also one of the key ways to achieve a green economy. Ontario, Canada has successfully accomplished the same last year and has a lot of projects going in. That is the first time it has been done in North America at that level. Ms. Murray stated that she would like California to implement the same type of program.
Commissioner King stated that one of the incentives for pursuing carbon footprint reductions besides saving the planet and reducing potential harmful health effects is the potential for creating an economy that is led by these principles. He asked how work is being achieved with other City departments on stimulus-funded projects to create employment and contract opportunities. A lot of people were sold on the stimulus idea on the basis that it would create jobs. He asked Mr. Broomhead whether the six new hires that were hired for the TrainGreenSF program are being paid through stimulus money. Mr. Broomhead reported that there are three people still to be hired, but that all six hires would be paid through stimulus funding. He explained that TrainGreenSF is a City-sponsored job training program that is being operated by Good Will. Anybody hired through that program would not be City staff and would be hired by private contractors after completion of the program. Mr. Broomhead reported that he also serves on the Green Jobs Advisory Committee of the Workforce Investment Board and has attended several meetings of the Emerald Cities group.
Mr. Broomhead explained that many people believe that stimulus funds will be creating thousands of jobs, which is not the case. The current program that costs five million dollars a year is distributed evenly between incentives and technical assistance and has produced 175 jobs in the private sector. Something on a similar scale will be done in the next year and a half that may create another 100-150 jobs depending on the market sector and measures. One of the reasons that the stimulus money has been structured toward the residential market is because in doing a home performance retrofit, more money is spent on labor and less money on materials. This program would create professional jobs for people of a fairly high level of development. Somebody coming out of a workforce training program or someone who would have a high school diploma and has had a chronic problem with finding employment would be the occasional helper on some of these jobs, so there won’t be dozens of these jobs, only a handful.
Commissioner King stated that the Bayview community has agreed to certain land use projects based on the idea that it would provide employment for a population that is much like the latter that Mr. Broomhead described. It is relevant that since we are at the forefront of creating the policies that end up creating the jobs, that we need to start stating what is being produced. Some of the programs that are producing fine work should be promoted and quantified in our work because a lot of people are more interested in a better financial future for the country than saving the planet. Another objective should be added that our activity produces a certain amount of employment in order to justify what is being done for people that are more interested in the jobs that are being created. This would also account for the stimulus money that the President has provided to produce jobs.
Director Nutter reported that the Department is moving in this direction and has been putting together presentations on this issue. When talking about the future of the Department in the Chronicle last week, she had stated that the objective is not only about continuing to convince folks that the programs that we have are good for protecting our urban environment, but that they are a critical component of creating jobs in our city and stimulating the economy. She has asked every Department program area to report and track as a metric how many jobs are being created through each of our programs. Director Nutter stated that the Commission will be hearing from the Environmental Justice and EnvironmentNow program staff that is solely focused on Department work on the green jobs sector and green economy, so there will be other opportunities to discuss this topic at length since dedicated staff is looking at these issues.
Commissioner King stated that since staff has this information already, he would like to quantify the economic impact. If we can’t prove to people that this makes dollars and sense, a lot of people who don’t believe we have a greenhouse problem will find more reason to oppose programs. Mr. Broomhead stated that it can easily be integrated into the Strategic Plan discussion. He discussed current hiring that would not have been achieved without stimulus funding. Director Nutter reported that discussions have been held at senior staff meetings about adding in metrics once drafts have been completed, and this would be one of the key metrics for each of the programs. Ms. Murray reported that the GoSolar SF incentive program has hired 66 people from disadvantaged communities in San Francisco for full-time work in the solar industry.
Commissioner Wald discussed the importance of including metrics or measures that can be used to tell Commissioners and other San Franciscans about the progress being made in achieving these goals. The overall goal will be somewhat difficult to quantify and some are self-explanatory or inherent in the item itself, but others will need some other measure identified to see whether the objective has been achieved. As important as it is to have those objectives, it is also important to accomplish the tracking and reporting in a way that would not overburden staff. It is important to decide what the metrics are, develop materials to show the progress that has been made, and identify a way to report that information to San Francisco residents so that they have an appreciation of what is being accomplished and in their own role in meeting those objectives as well as a sense of pride in living in the city and in what the Department is accomplishing.
Commissioner Tuchow congratulated the work that is being done in energy efficiency and renewables and on the inspirational projects. He stated that his concern is that there are a lot of action items that the Department is working on and asked whether there should be more of a focus on doing just a few items well as opposed to such a large quantity. Mr. Broomhead agreed, but explained that there is a small team of people who are dedicated to achieving each of these actions. He and Ms. Kelly work on shielding staff from a lot of the confusion in the marketplace and providing them with resources and clear goals so they can do their job.
Commissioner Mok commended the goals in the Strategic Plan. He asked what would happen if budget priorities change next year. Mr. Broomhead stated that a change in Mayor could have an effect on policy decisions and funding being sought. However, all of the funding sources in the climate and energy area are from dedicated sources such as rate-payer money that comes to the Department under orders from the CPUC to PG&E who then contracts to the Department. It is not controlled by the Mayor or subject to what happens to the budget at the Board of Supervisors.
Commissioner Tuchow stated that from a strategic perspective it is important to think about goals that cross over all of the different program areas as a whole. He stated that he was thinking about Commissioner King’s comments about certain communities and their need to understand the green movement, which seems to transcend renewables and a lot of these different projects. Director Nutter stated that the current solution is to create a Strategic Plan that is the cover document for all of the program areas that highlights cross-program area themes and where the focus strategically is in the Department. She asked Commissioners for their input and ideas. Commissioner Tuchow suggested identifying three or four broad goals and strategies for the Department and for each of the Strategic Plans to fit into the whole.
Mr. Broomhead reported that the Energy Program has 2.5 auditors going out to small businesses on a daily basis to support the green business program, but they do not currently promote it. The goal is to cross-train them in the areas of toxics reduction and water so they can do preliminary assessments at every business they go to. It would only take a small amount of time to make a preliminary green business assessment and start promoting the program and green everything they do. He explained that there is a small percentage of energy-efficiency achieved from this effort because they are small facilities. You have to go in several times to talk to somebody, and they may have 12 light-bulbs and one refrigerator that need replacing. You are not getting a lot of savings as opposed to making the same level of effort to contact and convince a larger business who has capital to invest. However, it is still important to do this for small businesses because utilities do not offer this service, and it is unique for local governments to provide this service.
Public Comment: Ms. Lurilla Harris stated that on the Energy Strategic Plan, Objective A, Action 3, the Department has a plan to reduce 35,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Somebody made a comment that it was for buildings over 10,000 square feet. Does that mean that buildings under 10,000 square feet would not come under this ordinance? On Action 4, the goal is to reduce 3500 tons in residential units, which is ten percent of the commercial. Is there a size limit on residential buildings? In Objective B, Action 6, for a public outreach campaign to market the state incentive program. She stated that she had received a discount from the federal and state government for installation of photovoltaic panels, and that San Francisco is behind on this incentive program. Will there be a local incentive program? On Objective B, Action 11, to develop pilot projects for large-scale wave power. We have already had a pilot project and it was decided that it was going to be too expensive for the amount of energy that would be produced because of the cost of construction, etc.
Mr. Broomhead reported that buildings under than 10,000 square feet are small in terms of commercial buildings. The expense of sending an auditor out, somebody to go through the benchmarking process would not be a useful activity in this case. The Department’s small business program does a good job of reaching the smaller buildings. On Action 4, there is no size limit on residences--it is a limit on the amount of funding available. We could easily do ten times that amount, but ten times the amount of money would be needed. If the block grant program is refunded in another program cycle, more tons could be done. On Action 6, there is a local solar photovoltaic incentive being funded from the SFPUC that has the Hetch Hetchy project that produces electricity. It is more cost-effective for the City to get solar in San Francisco by handing cash over to residents or businesses that are going to turn that into solar projects than for the City to do it and pay for the project.
Mr. Broomhead reported that on Action 11, the City did have a project working with the SFPUC and other localities around the Bay looking at tidal current energy where machines would be placed somewhere at the Golden Gate Bridge area underwater that would capture the tidal current. It proved to be too expensive for the amount of energy produced. Currently, ten times that amount of energy could be accomplished for the same amount of dollars through energy efficiency than by tidal. Now we are trying wave energy, which is not the flow of the tide based on the moon, it is the flow of waves that come from wind-power generated in storms off the Antarctic Coast. Those storms make their way here, and those winds produce waves that energy can be captured from. That needs to be studied, and we don’t know how many megawatts it may produce. It may prove to be a small amount of power for the cost. The biggest point to be considered on the cost for wave is how to bring the power in. All of the power lines that go out to the western side of the city are small and for residential use. There is no heavy power line going there. It would not be inexpensive to put a big field of generators on the sea floor and bring it in through a major transmission line.
6. Review and Approval of Commission on the Environment’s Annual Report for inclusion into the Department of the Environment’s 2011 Annual Report and Efficiency Plan. (Explanatory Document: Annual Report Draft and Final) Sponsor: Commissioner Johanna Wald; Speakers: Commissioner Johanna Wald and Monica Fish. Commission Secretary (Discussion and Action)
Commissioner Wald reported that Policy Committee members and Ms. Fish have identified a plan for preparing the Annual Report on a regular basis that would allow for a review of the Draft by the Policy Committee for recommendation to the Commission on a timely basis. Ms. Fish reported that the Draft Annual Report that is included in the Commission packet has been approved by the Policy Committee for recommendation to the Commission. Commissioner Wald urged the Commission to approve the Annual Report Draft. Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Mok, the Annual Report Draft was approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioners Martin and Prakash).
7. Planning for the Commission on the Environment’s 2011 Annual Retreat. Speaker: Monica Fish, Commission Secretary (Discussion) Ms. Fish reported that the Commission’s 2010 Annual Retreat was held in February of this year and that it is time to plan for the 2011 Annual Retreat. She announced that the topic of discussion at the last retreat was Green Jobs and asked Commissioners for their suggestions for agenda topics and for their availability in February. Commissioner Mok stated that the topic of discussion at the last meeting was strictly about the JobsNow program and asked that the Retreat discussions go back to a previous format of including more agenda topics. Commissioner Gravanis stated that she values the opportunity of having an in-depth discussion of an item, but would like to see more time for what is more traditionally considered a retreat, e.g., to see where the Commission came from, where it is going, to assess accomplishments, and set goals as a Commission for the coming year. She would like time for introspection. Commission President Tuchow asked Commissioners to consider appropriate topics and structure for the meeting. Ms. Fish asked that Commissioners send in their suggestions before the January 25, 2011 Commission meeting so an additional discussion could be held at that meeting. Commissioner Tuchow asked that all ideas be communicated to the Director and Commission President.
8. Review and Approval of Resolution amending the Commission on the Environment’s Bylaws Article IV – Officers, Section 3A: Nomination and Election of Officers. (Explanatory Documents: Notice of Proposed Bylaws Amendment, Draft Resolution File 2010-08-COE, and Approved Resolution No. 007-08-COE) Sponsor and Speaker: Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion and Action)
Commissioner Wald reported that the current Bylaws allows for a bifurcated election process under which the Commission has one meeting for nominations of officers and a subsequent meeting where officers are elected. She stated that Deputy City Attorney Owen has assured her that it is not a required process. She explained that it is a process that has caused problems in the past nominating and electing officers at the right meeting. The goal of this amendment is to simplify the process by which the Commission nominates and elects its officers by ending the bifurcation and would allow for nomination and election of officers at a single meeting, which is the way that many Commissions operate.
Commissioner Wald stated that if rules allow, she would like to propose an additional amendment to include to the same section after the term “practicable”, “that those officers elected shall serve until their successors are elected.” Commissioner Gravanis proposed an alternate amendment to Article 4, Section 2: Term of Office of the existing Bylaws that would state that “The term of each office shall be one year or until the successors are duly elected.” Commissioner Wald asked Deputy City Attorney Owen if Commissioner Gravanis’s proposal could be adopted at this time under the current Notice of Bylaws Amendment. Deputy City Attorney Owen confirmed that because the amendment is to the same section, the current notice would be adequate for either amendment. Commissioner Wald deferred to the amendment proposed by Commissioner Gravanis. Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner King, Resolution File 2010-08-COE amending the Commission on the Environment’s Bylaws Article IV- Officers, Section 2: Term of Office and Section 3A: Nomination and Election of Officers was approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok and Wald; Absent: Commissioners Martin and Prakash).
Public Comment: Ms. Lurilla Harris stated that she does not believe that adequate notice was issued for the amendment to Section 2: Term of Office.
9. Nomination of Commission on the Environment Officers. This agenda item will be considered if Agenda Item 8 does not pass. (Discussion and Possible Action) This agenda item was tabled until the January 25, 2011 meeting.
10. Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chair’s Report: Highlights of the October 20, 2010 meeting and review of the agenda for the January 19, 2011 meeting to be held at the Department of the Environment Eco Center, 11 Grove Street.
Operations Committee Chair Mok reported that at the October 20, 2010 Operations Committee meeting, Mr. Mark Westlund, Department of the Environment Outreach Program Manager, discussed outreach program priorities and website development. Deputy Director Assmann discussed changes to the budget process and the need to expand office space due to increase of staff. The budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 is scheduled for review at the January meeting.
11. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chairs Report: Highlights of the October 25 and November 8, 2010 meetings and review of the agenda for the December 13, 2010 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.
Policy Committee Chair Wald reported that at the October 25 meeting, the Policy Committee discussed the Climate Action Plan and the Commission’s Draft Annual Report. At the November 8 meeting, the Policy Committee discussed and heard a presentation on Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings by Mr. Mark Palmer, Department of the Environment Municipal Green Building Coordinator and Ms. AnMarie Rodgers, of the Planning Department. The Planning Department is in the process of adopting these standards. The Committee agreed, after a detailed discussion, to recommend a Resolution to this Commission supporting the standards but ultimately did not do so. At the November 8 meeting, the Committee also discussed the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs that were discussed at this meeting. At the next Policy Committee meeting, there will be continued review of Draft Strategic Plans that will be forwarded to this Commission.
Commission President Tuchow reminded Commissioners of San Francisco Charter Section 4.118 that states that the Commission shall have the authority to review and make recommendations on any policy proposed for adoption by any City agency regarding conformity with the long-term plans for environmental sustainability except for those regarding building and land use. It goes on to say that the Commission can make recommendations on a list of nine different areas, but it does not list land use. He asked that Commissioners be aware of this Charter restriction because this issue has come up previously with the Golden Gate Park soccer-fields agenda topic and now with the Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings. In the case for the bird issue, it was a Planning Department staff member asking for Commission support of the proposal because their Commission will be hearing the item. Commissioner Tuchow stated that he believes that the intent of this Charter restriction is so that one Commission is not telling another Commission what they should be doing. There are different alternatives so as not to breach the intent of the Charter. He explained that with the bird issue, there was a possibility to speak generally over the Commission’s jurisdiction over preservation of habitat, but not to go into specific building code or land use issues. Another way would be to defer the issue and say that the Commission does not have jurisdiction over the issue.
Commissioner Gravanis stated that this is a topic that could be discussed at a retreat or as a new business item at a future meeting. The Commission and Department spends a lot of time talking about buildings, whether it is the Green Building program, LEED, energy conservation, GreenPoint Rated, Bay Friendly, etc. The whole Climate Plan talks about how most of our greenhouse gases are from transportation and buildings. She suggested that a discussion be held in the future about what this restriction really means. She stated that her impression is that the restriction refers to discussions about building heights, footprints, and floor area ratios or land use issues such as zoning, e.g., where to put residential and retail buildings. Commissioner Gravanis stated that if we want to do a good job about transit development, we would want to talk about it. The Charter indicates that the Commission may consider natural resource conservation. So in this case, the indication is that it is okay to talk about window treatments that conserve energy, but not window treatments that conserve wildlife. She stated that it seems inconsistent, and proposed a more detailed discussion at a future meeting.
Commissioner King stated that he wants to give credit to the work that the Department and Commission does. He stated that he has attended Board of Supervisors Land Use and Planning Commission meetings in which the Department and Commission’s policies are often times cited and represented in debates.
12. Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion)
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
· Communications and Correspondence
· Update on Pending City Legislation
Commission Secretary Fish reported that she has included a written report for the Commissioners listing updates on pending City legislation and communications and correspondence received and distributed since the last meeting. She stated that the Commission’s 2011 Meeting Schedule was also included in the meeting packet.
13. Director’s Report. Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air, Climate, Energy, Public Outreach and Education, Environmental Justice, Green Building, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, and Urban Forestry. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) (Information and Discussion)
Director Nutter reported that a written report is included in the meeting packet for the Commissioner’s review. Highlights of the report were provided as follows. Director Nutter stated that in relation to the budget, the Department of the Environment has been traditionally been considered with General Fund departments. Since the Department does not receive any direct general fund money, it has received preliminary approval to move all of its records out of the City’s general fund categories. In the next budget cycle, the Department will be considered an enterprise department, which will be beneficial to the budget process. In reference to an administrative general item, the Department is hosting a holiday open house this Thursday, December 9 from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. at the Eco Center as a way to invite the public, volunteers, community partners, and anyone who would want to see where the Eco Center is, meet staff, and celebrate the holidays with us. An invitation was extended to the Commissioners to join in.
In reference to legislation and policy, the landfill hearing that was anticipated for December has been postponed until January. Director Nutter reported that she took a tour of the Recology Ostrom Road landfill site with Supervisors Mar and Avalos and met with activists in the area to get a perspective of what their concerns are. There has been some urgency to move some legislative items quickly through the process since they have pending for some time. One is the Commercial Buildings Performance Ordinance that was heard in Land Use Committee this Monday and was continued. It is unclear whether it would be completed with this administration or postponed until next year. The Department has been working closely with Supervisor Mirkarimi and his office, the Mayor’s Office, and the Public Utilities Commission on the drug disposal pilot program scoping out a potential industry pilot program and reviewing potential legislation. This item was continued for one week.
In reference to community events and outreach activities, there is an extensive list in the written report for Commissioners to review on staff activities. Program milestones and achievements are segmented by program area. Under the Zero Waste section, there is a lot of work going on with implementation of the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance. There has been a lot of staff out in the community insuring that residences, businesses and multi-family buildings are complying with the Ordinance and providing trainings on zero waste. The Outreach program has launched a fall recycling campaign. The fall mailer went to all San Francisco residences and P.O. boxes on guidelines for how to comply with the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance. Director Nutter announced that the Department was one of the winners of the Great Race for Clean Air competition that was announced at the Board of Supervisors today. A certificate was received from Supervisor Mar. The Department was one of the two department winners selected out of 18 departments for staff participation in using alternative transportation during the challenge. Additionally, the Director’s Report includes information about grants that were received and awarded and four new hires
Commissioner King reported that he is a member of a Committee who has talked about following up on the recycling program at the Housing Authority. He stated that if this model program succeeds, it would permeate through the rest of the other housing authorities. He asked that Director Nutter connect with Supervisor Avalos and relay support for the program and report back to the Commission at a future meeting on how this program’s waste reduction goals were met.
Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the November 1 deadline for the Cell Phone right to know ordinance and when consumers would see SAR values next to the products. Director Nutter reported that the implementation deadline has gone forward and come and gone. Even though the legislation is being litigated, implementation deadlines are moving forward with the exception of one deadline that was adjusted for next year. Director Nutter stated that she believes consumers would see the SAR values on February 1, but she would confirm and report back.
Commissioner King inquired about the status of the potential legislation for the downtown traffic congestion loop. He stated that this legislation was heard at the Commission at one time, and he thought there would be further discussion. Commissioner King stated that he is not in agreement with the legislation as a way to influence people to use public transportation. Director Nutter stated that she believes that the congestion pricing for downtown issue was being led by the Mayor’s Office, but it is not moving forward at this time. A report would be provided on the status.
14. Announcements. (Information and Discussion) There were no announcements made at this time.
15. President’s Announcements. (Information and Discussion) Commission President Tuchow asked Commissioners to bring forward requests for Commission meeting agenda items to his attention approximately three weeks before meetings so they can be added to the agenda. He explained that agenda planning sessions are held approximately two weeks before the meeting with the Commission President, Department Director, and Commission Secretary. He asked that Commissioners give some consideration to a meaningful agenda and format for the retreat and to report back before the January meeting.
16. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) Commissioner King requested a review of the impact of the bag law. He discussed his concerns that initially there was a move to use plastic instead of paper bags in order to save trees. Now, everyone is receiving and using more and more paper bags. He reported that when he goes to the grocery store, he does not see a huge proliferation of people bringing bags. He thinks that more should be done to encourage the use of and give out reusable bags. Pricing people out of using bags is short-sighted because they are now adding the cost of bags to their cost of groceries. Commissioner King requested that recommendations be made for some type of program to help people use reusable bags because it is not happening. Director Nutter stated that there would be a review provided by the Zero Waste team of where we have been and where we are today. She stated that she would make a request of Supervisor Mirkarimi’s Office to join in the discussion, because he is proposing additional legislation next year that relates to the bag law that may address some of these concerns. Commissioner Tuchow asked that this item be placed on the next Commission meeting agenda.
17. 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.
18. Adjournment. The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary; TEL: (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393
The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 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: January 25, 2011
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