03.22 Approved Minutes







TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2011, 5:00 P.M.



COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Jason Elliott, Angelo King, Alan Mok, Rahul Prakash, Johanna Wald



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:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Elliott (5:22), Mok (5:20), Prakash and Wald; Excused: Commissioner King.


2.      Approval of Minutes of the January 25, 2011 Commission on the Environment Meeting. (Explanatory Document: January 25, 2011 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the January 25, 2011 Commission on the Environment Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, Elliott, Mok, Prakash 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.


Mr. Ed Dunn, Executive Director of Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Recycling Center (HANC), Native Plant Nursery, and SF Community Recyclers, and operator of the recycling center on Market Street and Building Resources, San Francisco’s reused building materials yard.   Mr. Dunn provided history and background on the system of recycling centers in the city.  He explained that five percent of recycling in San Francisco happens in a recycling center, and fifty-one percent of the beverage containers that are recycled in the city go through a recycling center. He stated that San Francisco is underserved by recycling centers in the central and northeastern portions, and that downtown is served by bootleg/black-market recyclers because there are no certified recyclers available.  Mr. Dunn stated that the notion that if you closed HANC to reduce scavenging or homeless activities in the park is undercut by the notion that there is the black-market/bootleg recycling activity downtown, and that people would lose the benefits provided by recycling centers.  He stated that there is a complicated well thought out system for recycling centers in the city that is administered by the state in cooperation with the Department of the Environment recycling program that is being upset by what is happening in the Haight Ashbury, the Market Street area, and other neighborhoods.           


4.      San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) Presentation on the San Francisco Transportation Sector Climate Action Strategy.  The Commission will acknowledge receipt of SFMTA’s Draft 2011 Climate Action Strategy for San Francisco’s transportation sector. Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald; Speakers: Calla Ostrander, Department of the Environment Climate Action Coordinator (5 minutes) and Peter Brown, Project Manager, SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division (Explanatory Documents: 2011 Climate Action Strategy Draft 03.22.11 and Presentation) (Informational Report and Discussion) 


Mr. Timothy Papandreou, Deputy Director of Planning, SFMTA, stated that the Draft 2011 Climate Action Strategy has been updated in the past year with new information and data, and that new information has been received by SFMTA in the past couple of weeks that relates to SFMTA”s carbon footprint methodology that will result in a revision to the Plan.  He thanked and acknowledged the work of the Transportation Authority, the Department of the Environment, and other agencies that helped prepare this information and introduced Mr. Peter Brown, Project Manager of SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division, to present on the Climate Action Strategy.  


Mr. Peter Brown presented a summary of SFMTA’s Climate Action Strategy discussing (1) what is being considered for San Francisco; (2) City goals set forth by Proposition A transit-reform that was passed by voters in 2007; (3) defining sustainable transportation; (4) six strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco; and (5) key findings.


Presentation topics discussed include:

·         Climate Planning Strategies Mitigation and Adaptation: Focus of 2011 Climate Action Strategy and Future Updates (Slide 4).

·         Impact of Global Recession on Emissions (Slide 5).

·         2010 Citywide Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Transportation Sector and Built Environment (Slide 6).  Differences between the 2004 Plan and 2011 Plan.

·         Relationship of the 2011 Climate Action Strategy to other City/Regional Transportation Investment Plans (Slide 7).

·         San Francisco - Projected Change in Intra City and Regional Commute Trip Volumes, 2000-2030 (Slide 8).  A lot of emissions come from San Francisco, where a lot of the trips begin and end.

·         Transportation to Work (SF Residents). Relative Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Transportation Mode, Average Trip Lengths by Mode in 2010, and SFMTA mode split goals (Slide 9).

·         Proposition A Transit Reform, Parking Regulation and Emissions Reductions (Slide 10).

·         Driving Shifts into Reverse. Relationship between driving habits and gasoline prices and effect of recession on driving habits (Slide 11).

·         Sustainable Transportation—Needed Mode Shift to how people travel around the City by 2035 (Slide 12). 

·         Sea Level Rise Data from Fort Point – San Francisco Annual Mean Sea Level Rise from 1840 - 2020 and Impacts (Slide 13).

·         Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions and Projected Goals – Significance of automobile travel on greenhouse gas emissions in comparison with transit (Slide 15)

·         Social Equity, Sustainability and Cohesion (Slide 16). 

·         Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Strategies—Sustainability Mobility Policies: Energy Conservation and Demand Management. Strategies include travel choice, demand pricing, transit-oriented development, complete streets, and electric vehicles. (Slides 17-32)

·         Key Findings by Strategy (Slide 33).

·         Government and Community Roles (Slide 34).


Ms. Calla Ostrander, Climate Action Coordinator, stated that the City will not meet its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals unless everything that is outlined in the Climate Action Strategy is accomplished.  Even if everything is done, these aggressive emission reduction goals may not be met.  However, we are ahead of the country in many ways.  People take pride in San Francisco’s system and will be asked to engage in these strategies.  There are a lot of challenges in changing our transportation infrastructure.  This document shows all of the different strategies that need to be looked at and is technically well done.  A public panel has been reviewing and critiquing the plan over the past two months. It should have good buy-in from the public and will be a good starting point for aggressive policies that need to be followed.


Commissioner Tuchow suggested looking at opportunities to work regionally and collaborate with other communities as a way to produce the best results. The presentation indicated that San Francisco has a 50 percent reduction goal while others have a 15 percent per capita reduction goal.  Mr. Brown stated that San Francisco is ambitious in its goal setting and can do a great job, but can still fall short as a region in making a significant impact.  Strategies to work regionally include outreach with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) as well as holding forums on policies in the East Bay.  Showing others how programs can provide a source of revenue for them and leading by example are key strategies.


Commissioner Gravanis stated that the Climate Action Strategy document, page 27, states that people who don’t own a car in San Francisco save approximately $9400 each year.  Transit Oriented Development Strategies also allude to the importance of getting rid of parking requirements.  She asked how it would be possible to get rid of parking requirements in new developments if reducing car ownership per household or capita is not a stated goal.  Mr. Brown stated that he does not know if the City is doing anything actively to reduce car ownership.  There is a transit-first policy which addresses that issue and pointed to page 12 of the Plan where it states that 30% of San Franciscans have a no-car household and 40% have a one-car household.  He stated that he would highlight reducing car ownership throughout the document.  The best way to accomplish this goal is through Transit Oriented Development policies that would include changing parking policies for new development and other strategies such as the residential parking permit program and car-sharing.  


Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the coordination between “Complete Streets” and “Better Streets.”  Mr. Brown reported that Better Streets is a program that the City is developing now.  Funding is being sought from the region to form regional partnerships and help fund planning and implementation efforts for the Better Streets Program.  Complete Streets is a general term for transforming how streets are designed.  Traditionally they have been designed for how to move automobiles quickly and efficiently, which increases pedestrian safety issues and discourages bicycle riding.  With Complete Streets strategies, many components of which will also be in the Better Streets Program, a review will be made on how streets can be retrofitted to have better pedestrian crossing, more landscaping, and removing travel or parking from certain streets in order to have transit exclusive lanes so that transit service is a better alternative.  One is a category that is a nationwide term, and the other is our specific program to improve our local network.


Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether consideration is being given to the demographic of our aging population who may have difficulty taking public transportation and would not be able to reduce their trips in private cars. Other cities have vans that will take people with mobility problems to a specific location.  He suggested a focus in this area in the current Plan.  Mr. Brown stated that the current Plan is a high-level type of document that does not include opportunities to address these types of issues.  The Transportation Demand Program looks at how people get to work and all demographics are being looked at such as school and community transportation demand and will include outreach on other successful nationwide programs.  He discussed a program where the aging demographic has been able to trade in their car for a dial-a-ride service.  The value of your car determines how many trips you can get from a dial a ride service.  These types of programs can be reviewed more with the implementation plan, as the demographic shift nationwide will impact the transportation system.


Public Comment: Ms. Zabe Bent, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA), discussed the collaboration between the two agencies on the Climate Action Strategy and the Transportation Plan. She stated that there is a lot of good information included in the Climate Action Strategy, and there will be more information to include in next steps.  Work is in progress with regional agencies, MTC and ABAG, on the regional question and what is happening in San Francisco to try to advance some of the strategies that have been identified. There will be a detailed review of the costs and benefits.  She looks forward to working with SFMTA, the Department of the Environment, and regional agencies on next steps and combining the Climate Action Strategy with the Transportation Plan.


5.      Review and Approval of the Department of the Environments 2011-13 Strategic Plan.  Sponsor and Speaker:  Melanie Nutter, Director (Presentation Time: 30 minutes) (Explanatory Document:  Draft Strategic Plan) (Discussion and Action)


Director Nutter reported that the Commission has before them a final draft of the Department’s Strategic Plan for 2011-13.  This Plan has been a work in progress over the past six months and includes each Department program area of focus as well as an overall plan that compiles the themes, visions, and goals of the Department. 


Director Nutter provided a description of the Department’s overall mission and objectives that will be carried out with guiding principles that include engaging in multi-departmental, multi-stakeholder actions and initiatives in order to achieve our City’s sustainability goals; quantifying and achieving measurable performance metrics; involving the public in environmental decision-making; embracing innovation and technology; and providing incentives for behavior change.  She discussed Departmental goals, visions, and programs to insure that San Francisco is a global leader in sustainability and departmental projects that will continue to forward innovation at the local level; employs a holistic view toward reducing our carbon emissions, saving energy, conserving resources, reducing pollution, and the consumption of resources; is expanding the green economy and promoting green jobs through our environmental policies and programs; and is addressing many of the environmental issues we face by promoting producer and consumer responsibility.   She discussed Department wide initiatives and impact opportunities for the Community Wide Climate Action Plan; Community Insight Project; Cleantech Coordination; and America’s Cup Sustainability Plan. (Reference Strategic Plan pages 1-5.)


Commissioner Tuchow commended the Strategic Plan cover document and requested more time for review of the Plan before the Commission issues approval. Director Nutter indicated that her intent was to provide the document as an informational document, and for the Commission to take action at the next Commission meeting.  Commissioner Tuchow asked if the Department has too many projects to work on or could be working on additional projects. Director Nutter reported that all programs outlined in the Strategic Plan have the required resources and funding. The goal of the Strategic Plan is to insure that the right decisions are being made with the allocated resources and to provide focus. She asked Commissioners to provide their input into program area priorities for the next meeting.


Commissioner Gravanis commended the Department’s Strategic Plan.  She stated that the Strategic Plan has always included goals that funding and resources have been made available for.  She suggested that the Plan set priorities for goals that the Department may want to work on once funding does become available, e.g., America’s Cup, water or wastewater management, low-impact design, biodiversity.  She suggested that the Plan also acknowledge other great work that staff does such as reviewing Environmental Impact Reports and Sustainability Plans.  She asked that the Strategic Plan reference to goals be changed from the present to future tense.  Director Nutter reported that at the next Commission meeting and possibly at the next Policy Committee, a document could be created on future work priorities if resources were to become available.


Commissioner Wald thanked Director Nutter for preparing this Plan and for making it possible for the Policy Committee and Commission to participate in the development of the various program plans in what she hopes has been a useful way for staff.  She appreciates the emphasis on metrics.  Commissioner Wald suggested more emphasis on prioritizing Department activities, which is an important element in Strategic Plans.  Director Nutter explained that each program plan includes bolded action items that are tactical priorities.  She will rework the cover document to include more information on Department priorities. 


Commissioner Elliott suggested that the Department ensure that America’s Cup event planning locks in improvements such as transportation and infrastructure that can be sustained indefinitely and not just a one-time improvement.  He stated that San Francisco may be hosting the America’s cup every other year for the next decade or more, and improvements should be locked in.  Director Nutter thanked Commissioner Elliot for the reminder to work in long term elements with the America’s Cup Event Authority knowing that some of the infrastructure could be permanent as well as the presence of the America’s Cup at least for a couple of decades. 


Commissioner Mok asked that the Operations Committee discuss the status of past Strategic Plan goals in order to move forward with the new Plan.      


Commissioner Tuchow stated that he likes the fact that the Strategic Plan states that San Francisco is a global leader in sustainability.  It is critical because it defines where we want to be and stay.  One aspect of being a global leader is reflected in our ability to be a local convener in environmental and sustainability issues for the America’s Cup event.  He discussed World Environment Day and how that put San Francisco on the map as a global leader.  He also asked that more emphasis be placed on securing better funding for the urban forestry program area, which has always been underfunded. Director Nutter thanked the Commissioners who had provided input over the past six months and stated that she looks forward to finalizing this Plan in the next two months.  Commissioner Wald inquired how often the Plan would be updated. Director Nutter reported that this is a two-year plan and would work to revise it six months before the closure of this plan.


This agenda item was continued to the May 24, 2011 Commission meeting for approval of the Plan.


6.      Commission on the Environment’s 2011 Annual Retreat.  The Commission will consider alternative meeting dates. Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Speakers: Melanie Nutter, Director and Matt Tuchow, Commission President (Discussion).  Commissioner Tuchow reported that the Retreat originally scheduled for February was cancelled because of Commissioner un-availability.  Previous retreats have been beneficial to address issues of the Department and City in depth and allows for time to interact. Director Nutter suggested early April or May as a possibility.  Commissioners were asked to provide Commission Secretary Fish with their availability for the first and second week of May.  The topic of discussion would be on the Community Insight Project.    


7.      Annual Appointment of Members to Commission on the Environment Committees. Sponsor and Speaker: Commission President Matt Tuchow (Discussion and Action) Commission President Tuchow reappointed Commissioner Wald as Chair and Commissioners Prakash and Gravanis as Policy Committee appointments.  He reappointed Commissioner Mok as Chair and Commissioners King and Elliott as Operations Committee appointments.


8.      Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)

Chair’s Report:  Review of the agenda for the April 20, 2011 meeting to be held at the Department of the Environment Eco Center, 11 Grove Street.  Commissioner Mok reported that at the January Operations Committee meeting, a request was made for the April 20 agenda to include a review of economic impacts of Department programs as requested by Commissioner King and a report on the Department move process. 


9.      Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)

Chairs Report:  Highlights of the February 14 meeting and review of the agenda for the April 11, 2011 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.


Commissioner Wald reported that on February 14, the Policy Committee heard Draft Strategic Plan presentations from Public Education and Outreach and Clean Transportation programs, and an update was provided on the Treasure Island Draft Sustainability Plan.  She reported that the March meeting was cancelled due to lack of quorum, and that there would be a carryover from the March 14 meeting on the America’s Cup Sustainability Plan, acknowledgement of a written update on the Global Tap program, and one or two additional items for the April 11 meeting.  The presentation on the Climate Action Strategy and the Director’s Summary of the Strategic Plan would not be carried over because they were heard at today’s meetings.  Director Nutter explained that Global Tap is a company that is doing a pilot project to install water bottle filling stations at locations throughout San Francisco and the San Francisco Airport.

Ms. Fish reported that an informational report would be provided on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) at the April Policy Committee meeting.   Commissioner Elliott expressed his interest in attending the Policy Committee meeting to hear this topic and asked to be informed if one of the Policy Committee members were not able to attend.


10.  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


Ms. Fish reported that Commissioners have in their packet a written Commission Secretary’s Report for all correspondence received and legislative activity since the January 22 meeting.  She reminded Commissioners of their requirement to submit Statement of Economic Interest Form 700’s, Sunshine Declarations, and Certificate of Ethics Training to the Ethics Commission on or before April 1. Ms. Fish announced that the Statement of Incompatible Activities (SIA) has been transmitted to Commissioners, posted on the Department website, and at the Department’s legal notices posting site as required by the Ethics Commission. 


11.  Director’s Report. Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air/Transportation, 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 Commissioners have in their packet a written Director’s Report outlining activity in all Department programmatic areas.  She reported that the Department’s budget has been submitted to the Mayor’s Budget Office and because it does not receive General Fund dollars will now be considered with Enterprise Departments.  The budget hearing should be scheduled some time in late May. The Department has a number of new hires that are listed in the Director’s Report. 


Director Nutter announced that she attended a signing of the Existing Commercial Building Energy Ordinance with Mayor Lee.  The Ordinance is now law and work will be done to move forward on implementation.  She attended a press conference in San Francisco with Ms. Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality, to highlight electric vehicle infrastructure.  The Yellow Pages Ordinance, which is an excellent zero waste measure that the Department has been supporting, passed the Land Use Committee on March 21 and will be going to the full Board next week.   Director Nutter attended the Arbor Day event with Department staff, the Mayor, Department of Public Works, and Friends of the Urban Forest.  There were about 350 volunteers in attendance, and it was a great day for doing planting and maintenance of tree work in our urban forest.


Commissioner Tuchow inquired if there is an update on the Recology landfill contract.  Director Nutter reported that the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee postponed the landfill contract for two months approximately six weeks ago, so it is expected to be heard some time in April.  Staff has been actively meeting with interested Board of Supervisors members, as well as with the Port of San Francisco, which has become active in the discussion.  There were questions raised at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting about whether there would be an opportunity for the Port of San Francisco to either house a transfer facility for our waste or transport waste through the Port in order to generate additional revenue for the Port.  Those options are being explored.  There are no short term options regarding waste, but there is a short term option regarding barging recyclables, which Recology is willing to pilot.  A study has been commissioned to look at the feasibility of a Port location for consolidating the entire Recology facility in the next seven to ten years.  It is not believed that this is connected to the passage of the landfill contract.  If the Port option becomes feasible in seven to ten years, an offer has been made to potentially renegotiate the landfill agreement to include the Port. Because it is such a long timeline and the landfill contract has to be approved shortly, those two items will be considered separately.


Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the status of the cell phone notices listing SAR’s that will be placed in cell phone retail locations.  Director Nutter reported that those notices that will be distributed to cell phone retailers have been temporarily suspended.  There are discussions going on now about the Ordinance which is being litigated. The City Attorney has been engaging with the Mayor’s Office and the Board of Supervisors regarding the lawsuit.  Commissioner Elliott reported that the Board held a closed session today with the City Attorney on this topic, and another closed session is scheduled in another couple of weeks.  There were questions that were asked by the Board to the City Attorney that is privileged information, so an answer may not be available for another couple of weeks.


Director Nutter referenced Mr. Ed Dunn’s public comment to the Commission regarding the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Recycling Center (HANC).  She reported that there is a positive development in this situation that the Department is actively working on with HANC.  It is a redemption strategy for San Francisco that would potentially make it easier for San Franciscans to redeem their bottles and cans.  A potential transition plan is being worked on with HANC off of their existing site in which they would still be able to play a role in our recycling infrastructure in San Francisco.  


12.  Announcements.  (Information and Discussion) Commissioner Tuchow asked Commissioners to send him any thoughts they may have for future Commission meeting agendas at least two weeks in advance of the meeting.  Director Nutter announced that Commissioners will be receiving an invitation to the annual Mayor’s Earth Day Breakfast on April 20 from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. to be held at City Hall North Light Court.


13.  President’s Announcements.  (Information and Discussion). President’s announcements were made under Agenda Item 12.

14.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action)


Commissioner Gravanis asked that the water bottle filling stations campaign be called something other than Global Tap, which is a profit-making venture and a limited liability corporation.  She suggested not naming one of the Department’s and Commission’s efforts or campaigns after a particular private enterprise, especially since there are other manufacturers of jug fillers who would be interested in being involved in this venture.  She suggested giving it another name such as the “tap water campaign.”

Commissioner Gravanis suggested a future agenda discussion to ask that our permits for events on city-owned lands include a requirement that single serve plastic water bottles not be sold or given away.  She stated that now with the America’s Cup event, it is more important to review what regulatory hooks we have to make sure that vendors involved in America’s Cup don’t sell these bottles or that promotional entities are not going to be giving them away so they don’t become part of our waste stream. She asked what can be done legally to require that vendors do not sell or give away single serve plastic water bottles.


Public Comment: Mr. David Pilpel suggested asking the City Attorney to draft an Ordinance similar to the Styrofoam ban and various other bans that have been enacted by Ordinance.  The City could require or prohibit certain activities by lessees, vendors, and others who receive licenses or permits on City property.  He suggested that the City Attorney draft an Ordinance for Policy Committee review and for Commission approval that would ultimately go before the Board of Supervisors.


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


16.  Adjournment.   The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.


The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, 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:  May 24, 2011

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