01.24 Approved Minutes





TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012, 5:00 P.M.



COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Angelo King, Alan Mok, Heather Stephenson and 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 5:14 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson, and Wald.

2.      Approval of Minutes of the November 22, 2011Commission on the Environment Meeting. (Explanatory Document: November 22, 2011Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Mok, the November 22, 2011 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald). 


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. 


Ms. Lurilla Harris requested that she be added to the Department’s brown bag events agenda mailing list and inquired about the status of the program.  Director Nutter reported that the brown bag events will be restarting in February of this year with a presentation by Ms. Dorka Keehn, author of Eco Amazons and confirmed that Ms. Harris would be added to the mailing list.   


Mr. David Pilpel announced that he is a newly-appointed member of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Citizens Advisory Committee.  He spoke of his participation in public meetings held on the 2012 Revised Reduced Risk Pesticide List and urged the Commission to approve the list as well as the Fiscal Year 2012-13 Budget and 2011 Commission Annual Report.  He commended Mr. Jesse Woltjer on his work on the Department’s website redesign project and thanked the Commission for their good work.


4.      Resolution approving the Department of the Environment’s Integrated Pest Management 2012 Reduced Risk Pesticide List.  Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker: Chris Geiger, PhD., Green Purchasing Program Manager (Explanatory Documents:  2012 Reduced Risk Pesticide List, Draft and Approved Resolution File 2012-01-COE) (Discussion and Action)


Dr. Chris Geiger reported on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Ordinance requirements to hold an annual public hearing to review modifications to the previous year’s Reduced Risk Pesticide List, and for the Commission to approve a revised list for the ensuing calendar year.  He reported on the work session that was held on November 2, 2011 between the IPM Technical Advisory Committee and City stakeholders to identify the safest product alternatives for use in the management of City properties.  A public hearing was held on January 17, 2012 that was well attended by members of the public who expressed an interest in the Natural Areas Program under the Recreation and Park Department and that Department’s use of herbicides in controlling invasive species in Glen Canyon in particular.  The list modifications resulted from these discussions and background screenings on use of products. 


Dr. Geiger provided a summary of products that were added, removed and replaced with safer products, the pesticide-hazard tier, use limitation type, and exemptions requested by Departments that were either approved or denied.  He explained that the majority of exemptions requested were for golf-course use primarily to improve the aesthetics and playability of the field.  Dr. Geiger announced that the tier system for screening pesticides that is used nationally by the United States Green Building Council for selection of products for green buildings is currently being reviewed.  LEED credits are issued when IPM practices are added.  Information on the program and products can be found at www.sfapproved.org.


Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether there were controversial areas of concern reported.  "Dr. Geiger reported that the use of “Garlon” and “Roundup” products to control invasive species in park areas is an area of concern by the public and is being addressed." An Environmental Impact Report for the Natural Areas Program is in the process of being finalized. 

Commissioner Gravanis discussed her concern with exemptions granted to golf courses and the PGA’s influence to use these products, especially in Harding Park near Lake Merced.  She suggested exploring the use of less harmful substances especially for aesthetic purposes, and inquired whether water-quality monitoring is taking place in the lake.  Dr. Geiger reported that the Recreation and Park Department is an active participant in the program and is committed to reducing pesticide use.  He reported on the PGA contract with Harding Park that requires the Recreation and Park Department to maintain the cosmetic and playability perfection of the golf course up to PGA standards, which is in conflict with pesticide reduction.  The IPM Plan at Harding Park is in the process of being revised and will be reviewed by a third party.  The Public Utilities Commission monitors Lake Merced for a variety but not all chemicals used at Harding Park, and monitoring results found no adverse outcomes.


Commissioner Stephenson inquired about the length of the contract with PGA and suggested revisiting the contract discussions at the time the contract is being negotiated.  Dr. Geiger reported that a conversation was previously held with PGA to influence setting a green example related to chemical use, but did not progress at that time.  Commissioner King suggested that the Department and Commission request approval authority and negotiation rights in the environmental practices of and contract negotiations with PGA.  Commissioner Wald congratulated Department staff on progress made toward issuing LEED credits based on the IPM rating system, stating that it is an example of San Francisco taking the lead for the entire country. 


Public Comment:  Mr. Jasper (last name unidentified), suggested that in addition to the use of IPM as a replacement for pesticides, that herbicides and gas-powered equipment could be replaced with a hired labor force to handpick or remove weeds, and such policy would promote sustainability and create jobs that are important in this financial time.


Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Gravanis, the 2012 Revised Reduced Risk Pesticide List was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald) (Explanatory Document:  Res. 001-12-COE). 


5.      Department of the Environment’s Website Redesign Update. Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director;  Staff Speaker: Jesse Woltjer, Internet Communications Coordinator Assistant (Informational Report and Discussion)


Mr. Jesse Woltjer presented a tour of the Department’s new website redesign project and discussed the improvements made from the previous design.  He explained that content is placed into directories that reflect how Department programs are organized to the public.  The new site will contain a search function, public request ability for translation into other languages, social bar, policy directory, events calendar, video directory, solutions directory, and related news that will serve visitors with pertinent content quicker.  There will be an internal launch of the new website for quality assurance and an end of February public-launch target date. 


Commissioners congratulated Mr. Woltjer on his work improving the website from the previous design.  Commissioner Tuchow stated that the new website accomplishes the goal of acquiring metrics that the Commission is interested in and requested seeing reports on analytics as they become available.  Commissioner Wald expressed her concern with site navigation for those people who are not City employees or do not have an in-depth knowledge of environmental issues.  Mr. Woltjer reported that the search technology would help in this effort.  Director Nutter reported that selected staff members would be reviewing the complexity of the content so it is presented in a way that is accessible to a wide range of visitors. 


Commissioner Stephenson discussed the importance of allowing for the public to interact with the site by adding comments and sharing information through social networking.  Mr. Woltjer reported that the site would contain a social bar in the events calendar and feedback tools on posted articles.  Commissioner King inquired if the site would provide the capability to track the top three most popular categories that are being accessed and suggested promoting the use of the website for those that are interested in being environmentally conscious.   Mr. Woltjer reported that at this time the front page, the about us page, eco-finder searches, employment page, and energy program pages are more frequently accessed.  Commissioner Mok inquired about the ability of the Department’s server to accommodate video-streaming.  Mr. Woltjer explained that videos would be referenced through other servers that would provide the ability to gather metrics from videos the Department owns.


Director Nutter commended Mr. Woltjer and the Outreach Team and encouraged Commissioners to participate in the launch of the new site.   


6.      Review and Approval of the Department of the Environment’s Fiscal Year 2012-13 Draft Budget. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Budget) Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker: David Assmann, Deputy Director (Discussion and Action)


Deputy Director Assmann provided an overview of the Department’s Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget for each program area explaining revenue sources, expenses, reductions, declines in grant funding, and fundraising efforts. He reported that the 2012-13 budget is balanced contingent on assumptions made, but increased fundraising efforts will be required to maintain the current level of service in future years, particularly in the Energy Efficiency area due to the conclusion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant funding.  The Department has been asked for the first time to present a two-year budget and discussed the difficulties in projecting grants received two years in advance.  A similar budget will be submitted for both fiscal years, and revisions will be made as information is received.  Direct Nutter commended Deputy Director Assmann on his work on the budget and reported on fundraising efforts and opportunities to fill the short and long-term gaps.


Commissioner King suggested holding discussions with other agencies in order to anticipate how their budget shortfalls may affect the Department.  Director Nutter and Deputy Director Assmann confirmed that discussions are being held with other Departments to make this determination.   Commissioner Wald requested a Policy Committee discussion about the future of the Environmental Justice program now that grant funding has concluded.  Commissioner Mok requested that a discussion be held at the April Operations Committee on Department fundraising efforts.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the Department’s gift acceptance policy from corporate grants.  Deputy Director Assmann explained that the Department is careful to solicit funding only from corporations that meet the goals of the Department.   Commissioner Tuchow stated that Commissioners can play an important role in fundraising and asked that Commissioners provide leads to pursue from the private or public sector and foundations.   


Upon Motion by Commissioner Mok, second by Commissioner King, the Department’s Fiscal Year 2012-13 Budget was approved without objection.  (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald)  


7.      Approval of the Commission on the Environment’s 2011 Annual Report. (Explanatory Document: 2011 Commission Annual Report Draft) Sponsor and Speaker:  Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion and Action)


Commissioner Wald reported that the Commission at its last meeting requested that the Policy Committee work on the Annual Report so that it reflects the accomplishments and added value that the Commission makes to the City and County of San Francisco.  The current draft is a product of the work of the Policy Committee from its last two meetings, Commissioner Wald, and the Commission Secretary.   The Operations Committee Members reviewed and approved their section of the report.  Commissioner Wald asked that the Commission and its committees keep a list of actions that are important for inclusion in next year’s report.  Commissioner Tuchow suggested that future reports include the number of people that attend meetings in order to strive for more involvement by the public.  Commissioner Wald reported that the Annual Report would be added to the Department’s website and would be submitted to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors.  Commission Secretary Fish reported that the Commission’s report was a section in the Department’s Annual Report and Efficiency Plan in prior years.


Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Stephenson, the Commission’s Annual Report was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald).  


8.      Director Presentation on South Gwangju Korea Summit on Urban Environmental Accords.  Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald; Speaker:  Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)  


Director Nutter presented on the Department’s participation at the South Gwangju, Korea Summit on Urban Environmental Accords in October, which is a follow-up to the 2005 World Environment Day hosted by the City and County of San Francisco.  South Gwangju, the United Nations Environmental Program, and the Department of the Environment were co-hosts of the event with participation by over 100 cities from around the globe.  The summit theme was “Green City, Better City.”


Director Nutter reported that the summit was documented as the next step to look at progress made on sustainability internationally, to discuss goals, what is and is not working at the local level, and next steps.  Featured topics included a discussion of metrics for tracking how cities in developing nations can develop a standard methodology for tracking success.  This resulted in the development of an Urban Environmental Evaluation Index and Urban Clean Development Mechanism.  Next steps for San Francisco include the possibility of a leadership role on the Urban Environmental Accords Members Alliance and possibly setting up a summit in 2013 to host many of the cities that attended the summit in San Antonio, Texas.


Commissioner Tuchow suggested that San Francisco consider hosting the 2013 summit in order to exercise its convening power to promote best practices.  Director Nutter reported that San Francisco could offer to host the event based on the Commission and Mayor Lee’s interest. Commissioner King suggested that the choice of participants for future summits be considered to provide an opportunity for either the Commission President or more senior members of the Department to attend. 


9.      Nomination and Election of Commission on the Environment Officers.  (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Mok, Commissioner Tuchow was nominated and elected President of the Commission (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald).  Upon Motion by Commissioner Mok, second by Commissioner Wald, Commissioner Gravanis was nominated and elected Vice-President of the Commission (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald).


10.  Public Notice of 2012 Subscription and Renewal of Commission on the Environment and Committee Notices and Agendas as required by the Commission on the Environment Bylaws. (Explanatory Document: Subscription Request Form) Staff Speaker: Monica Fish, Commission Secretary (Information and Discussion).  Commission Secretary Fish reported that the notice on the agenda fulfills the Commission on the Environment’s “Bylaws, Article XIII-Requests for Notice and Agendas” requirement to reaffirm agenda subscribers desire to continue receipt of Commission meeting agendas and agenda packets.  The notice will also be sent to subscribers.  Commissioner Stephenson asked that the public be given an opportunity to sign up for agendas on the Department’s website.


11.  Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)

Chair’s Report:  The January 18, 2012 meeting was cancelled.  The next meeting is scheduled for April 18, 2012 to be held at the Department of the Environment Eco Center, 11 Grove Street.  Committee Chair Mok reported that the April 18, 2012 Operations Committee meeting would include discussions on the Department’s outreach priorities, the Department’s budget report, website redesign status report, Department move update, and a fundraising report.


12.  Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)

Chairs Report:  Highlights of the December 12, 2011 and January 9, 2012 meetings and review of the agenda for the February 13, 2012 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421. 


Committee Chair Wald reported that the December 12 meeting included discussions on the America’s Cup Zero Waste Plan and the draft Commission Annual Report.  In January, discussions were held with the new Outreach and Communications Manager, Kevin Danaher, on the Community InSight Campaign and the Commission’s Annual Report, which was approved today.  The current agenda topics for the February 13 meeting include an overview of changes to the Commuter Benefits program, an update on the Department’s plan for implementing the new biodiversity program, and discussion of the Commission’s and Policy Committee goals and action items for achieving those goals for this year.  


13.  Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion)

         Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

·         Communications and Correspondence

·         Update on City Legislation


Commission Secretary Fish provided a written report on all communications and correspondence received and City legislation updates since the November 22 meeting.  Two additional correspondence items were received (1) from Ms. Denise D’Anne regarding her opposition to motor idling; and (2) a notice of availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public comment that will close on February 13 for redevelopment of the Alice Griffith Housing site as part of the HopeSF program.   Ms. Fish reported on Ethics Commission requirements to submit Commissioner Statement of Economic Interest Form, Sunshine Training and Declaration, and Ethics Training and Certificate to her by the March 27 Commission meeting for submittal to the Ethics Commission or directly to the Ethics Commission on or before April 2. 


Commissioner King reported that the Board of Supervisors would be considering the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program at its February 1 meeting, and that he would be attending the meeting to request continuance until the Commission has had an opportunity to review the program.  Deputy Director Assmann reported on efforts in progress to work with the Public Utilities Commission on grassroots outreach to help promote energy work through CCA.  Director Nutter has requested that PUC staff present on the program to the Policy Committee on February 13. 


14.  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, Habitat Restoration, Green Building, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, and Urban Forestry. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) (Information and Discussion)


Director Nutter provided a written report and highlighted recent activities that include:

·         The success of the San Francisco Home Improvement Performance (SFHIP) and Boiler Retrofit programs.  Funding is almost fully obligated for these two programs. Department Energy staff will be presenting to the Commission on program results soon.  

·         The World Green Building Council awarded San Francisco and New York with the best green building policy award.

·         Green FinanceSF has been revived for commercial properties.  San Francisco is one of the first cities to set up the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for commercial properties.

·         The success of the sixth annual Green Business Awards reception that was held last week with the recognition of 40 new businesses.

·         PG&E allocated $2.4 million for the Energy Watch program.


Commissioner Wald suggested seeking press coverage for the SFHIP and Boiler Retrofit programs to report on human interest stories of people who benefitted from the programs and to show government money well spent.  Commissioner King suggested focusing efforts on smaller newspapers that would like to highlight local celebrities from their community. 


15.  Announcements.  (Information and Discussion)  There were no Commissioner announcements made at this time.


16.  President’s Announcements.  (Information and Discussion) Commission President Tuchow announced the resignation of Commissioner Prakash and thanked him and former Commissioner Elliot for their service to the Commission.  He asked Commissioners for their ideas on potential candidates to fill the Commission vacancy, and discussed the importance of representation on the Commission from the clean and green tech sectors in order to help promote the Mayor’s jobs agenda for San Francisco.  Condolences were offered for the passing of Commissioner Mok’s father and Commissioner King’s grandmother. 


Commissioner Tuchow reported on the importance of adhering to the Commission’s attendance policy in reporting absences in advance of the meeting to the Commission Secretary.  Commissioners were asked to express their interest in serving on a Commission Committee and as Committee Chair.  Appointments would be scheduled for the March Commission meeting.  Commissioners would be asked to discuss the role they can play in fundraising and reaching out to underserved communities who have not been traditionally involved in the environmental movement.  Commissioners were asked to send in agenda item requests for the next meeting.


17.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action)  There was no discussion on this agenda item at this time.


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


19.  Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:20 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, March 27, 2012, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416. 


Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393


** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Commission’s 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].


Approved:  May 22, 2012 as amended


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