04.15 Approved Minutes







Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 5:00 P.M.

Department of the Environment

City Hall, Room 421

San Francisco, CA 94102 


*The Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 5:00 p.m. Regularly Scheduled Meeting of the Commission on the Environment’s Operations Committee that regularly meets at the Department of the Environment, 11 Grove Street, was rescheduled to meet at City Hall, Room 421.


COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Commissioners Matt Tuchow (Chair), Darian Rodriguez Heyman and Paul Pelosi Jr.




1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Operations Committee meeting was called to order at 5:18 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Tuchow and Pelosi Jr.; Excused: Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman.


2.      Approval of Minutes of the February 4, 2009 Operations Committee Rescheduled Meeting. Upon Motion by Commissioner Pelosi Jr. and second by Commissioner Tuchow, the February 4, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Absent:  Commissioner Rodriguez Heyman) (Explanatory Document: February 4, 2009 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)


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


4.      San Francisco Public Library Collaborative Effort with the Department of the Environment.  Speaker:  Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss, Manager of Grants and Fundraising (Informational Report and Discussion) (Explanatory Document: Green Stacks Program Presentation).


Ms. Rosenmoss reported that for approximately eighteen months, the San Francisco Department of the Environment has been in collaboration with all San Francisco branch libraries on the Green Stacks program, a program that will incorporate the Department’s environmental programs with library facilities operations and maintenance, BLIP new facilities, programming, collections, bookmobile, and staff trainings.  The Department is working on behavior change and there is no other entity in San Francisco that has access to this many San Franciscans. Ms. Rosenmoss discussed San Francisco Public Library statistics as it refers to number of annual visitors to the main library and branches, number of library cards, number of library branches, and number of library staff that reflect the City’s multi-cultural and multi-lingual population. 


Ms. Rosenmoss reported that the Department’s green building team is working with the library on new facilities being built, the toxics reduction and zero waste team are working with operations and maintenance, and collaborative programming is in process around environmental issues and to educate branch librarians on environmental topics.  For facilities, a lot of work is being done on energy efficiency, photovoltaic, moving all branches to zero waste, promoting biking and new branch bike parking, establishing a “GreenSpot”, where there is education material, a screen, hands-on exhibits, and material that will make people aware of environmental programming and campaigns going on in San Francisco. 

Efforts are in progress to create a branch report card showing what the library is doing as it relates to the environment and showing what the individual can be doing in San Francisco. 


For programming and collections, there is a Green Stacks website link connecting to the San Francisco Public Library website that contains a green highlights area, a green list of green resources (books, cd’s dvd’s).  There will be speakers, exhibits, events, and other kinds of hands-on activities.  If you look at the website on any given day, there is an environmental event going on in the library.  There is a summer reading program that will have a green theme so people will read and absorb information. The organizing themes for this year have been Food and Agriculture, Big Green Moments, Livable Cities, and Living your Greenest Life.  Ms. Rosenmoss explained that the Stegner Center is the environmental center for the Library and has a big role in this collaboration. Ms. Rosenmoss reported that there is a biodiesel bookmobile that will be implemented, and the library will have access to a plug in hybrid Prius.  The bookmobile will provide education and outreach that will help the Department in their neighborhood program campaigns. The programming collection crosses all different areas of service, e.g., teens, children, adult services. 


Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether the Library is doing book recycling.  Ms. Rosenmoss stated that the Main Library has the book bay where people can drop off their books for the library to sell, and once a month there is a big sidewalk sale. The proceeds benefit the San Francisco Friends of the Public Library.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether you can drop off books at all the branches for reuse.  Ms. Rosenmoss reported that she would report back after researching this question. Ms. Rosenmoss stated that the Friends of the Public Library is also a collaborator with the Department in providing an honorarium for speakers for discussions open to the public at no charge.    


5.      Update on the Department of the Environment’s Fundraising Efforts and Budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10. Speakers:  Acting Director David Assmann and Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss, Manager of Grants and Fundraising (Informational Report and Discussion).  (Explanatory Document:  Fiscal Year 2009-10 Budget Update)


Ms. Rosenmoss reported that it is now government fundraising and grant-writing season and reported on current efforts that include current and future grant proposals to (1) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a regional grant for green building, national grant for Integrated Pest Management and prevention; regional pollution prevention, and diesel mitigation.  Department of Energy grant submissions include: (1) Clean Cities Mitigation to work with the Community College to extend the biodiesel program; (2) energy efficiency funds--applied under the Green Cities program for outreach and education around alternative fuels; (3) research funding for wave and tidal power in partnership with Sonoma County; and (4) funding just received to fund part of one of the Department’s Clean Air Coordinator positions.    


Ms. Rosenmoss reported that applications will also be submitted to (1) the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the Farmers Market and a greening project; (2) Department of Conservation for recycling and outreach efforts; and (3) Air Resources Board for Carl Moyer funding for diesel retrofits.  Ms. Rosenmoss stated that there will be a $15,000 grant received from San Francisco Foundation for urban forest work to connect people who have fruit trees in their yard with volunteers who will glean the fruit and transfer it to food-banks and pantries around the city. 


Commissioner Tuchow inquired about funding for urban forestry in general.  Ms. Rosenmoss stated that an application was submitted to the U.S. Department of Forestry for a tree mapping project that was partially funded by Auto Desk two years ago, but was turned down.  It was explained that funding for urban forest work is difficult to attain because most funding is for tree planting, and not for the Department’s work with coordination and operations. 


Acting Director Assmann presented an overview on changes that were made to the Fiscal Year 2009-10 budget since the last presentation to the Operations Committee in February.  It was explained that the biggest change is to the Impound Account that includes an increase to services of other departments.  The Mayor’s Office has asked the Department to support other general fund departments for their diversion projects in order to take the pressure off part of the general fund.  As a result, the Department had to cut the professional services, grants, and materials and supplies budget. In addition, some of the funding that was expected to be received for the urban forest program was not received, and part of the Urban Forestry Coordinator’s staff time was diverted to environmental justice projects.  That is a temporary solution as that time was from allocated from an employee on maternity leave.  Otherwise the budget is the same as what was presented in the past.


Acting Director Assmann reported that originally the Department was scheduled to be heard at the Board of Supervisors meeting along with enterprise departments, but will now be scheduled with general fund departments.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired about the increase in the budget figures.  Acting Director Assmann explained that the budget has increased mainly because of additional funding received from the Energy Watch program, and that three positions were added to that program.     


6.      Update on the Department of the Environment’s Eco-Center Remodeling Project.  Speaker:  Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss, Manager of Grants and Fundraising (Informational Report and Discussion)


Ms. Rosenmoss reported that she is finishing up a contract amendment with Asian Neighborhood Design, and as soon as that contract amendment is in place, the build-out and some of the main work will start.  It was explained that the budget was cut for this particular project, so a lot of display fabrication is on hold until additional fund raising is completed.


7.      Green Cities Best Practices Website.  Speaker:  Acting Director David Assmann (Informational Report and Discussion). (Explanatory Document:  Website template)


Acting Director Assmann reported that the Green Cities meets with all jurisdictions in the state twice a year, once in Northern California and once in Southern California. One of the exciting projects in process is a website template that shows best practices of all these cities (see explanatory document).  It will be something that anyone from any jurisdiction can download to access work of other cities that have environmental practices.  A lot of the Department’s practices will be added to the website once it is up and running and will focus on the areas that correspond to the Urban Environmental Accords on energy, waste reduction, transportation, environmental health, urban design, urban nature, and water.  Information will include a description, a copy of the ordinance, legal issues, and implementation process.  For example, anyone who wants to access the green building ordinance for California can go to this website and download the documentation and use it in their jurisdiction.  The data is going to be modifiable so the template can be altered to fit that particular jurisdiction’s needs and can be taken to that particular City Council or Board of Supervisors for adoption. The intent is to share work that is being done with each other because so many cities duplicate efforts in putting together ordinances, and there is no place that people can easily access this material. It is available free of charge to any jurisdiction and will be initially primarily aimed at California cities, but can be used by cities across the country. 


Acting Director Assmann reported that grant funding was received from two different foundations to set up this website, and it is projected to go live by June.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether the website is open to the public, and Acting Director Assmann confirmed that it would be.   It was explained that the intent is that it is for local government to use, but a city activist could also access data, e.g., if you are in a city that does not have a plastic bag ordinance for example, you can access a plastic bag ordinance at this site, go to your city council and request adoption.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. inquired who would be responsible for website implementation. Acting Director Assmann reported that Green Cities would be responsible for implementing the website, has a firm on contract who will do the design work, and then there will be a part time person responsible for maintaining the website.  The individual cities are responsible for getting in their best practices.  The Department has submitted three best practices (green building, environmental preferable purchasing, and energy efficiency) and will be submitting many more.      


8.      New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  There was no new business or future agenda items discussed at this time.


9.      Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. 


Mr. Scott Raymond, Finelite, Union City, reported that Finelight does work with energy efficient light fixtures—indoor LED task and fluorescent.  Acting Director Assmann recommended that Mr. Raymond contact the Department’s energy efficiency staff. 


10.  Adjournment.  The Operations Committee meeting adjourned at 5:43 p.m.



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 Committee’s website at https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/operations-committee by following the links with each agenda or meeting minutes, (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or (5) via e-mail at [email protected].



Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

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


*Approved: July 15, 2009 

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