03.04 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

PEAK OIL PREPAREDNESS TASK FORCE

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2008, 3:00 P.M.

 

CITY HALL, ROOM 421

ONE DR. CARLTON B. GOODLETT PLACE

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102

 


TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  Jeanne-Marie Rosenmeier (Chair), Bernard Meyerson (Vice-Chair), Patricia Gerber, Jan Lundberg, Jason Mark; (2 Vacant).

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS 


1.       Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force convened at 3:08 p.m.  Present: Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members Gerber, Mark, and Lundberg (3:10 p.m.).  

 

2.        Approval of the February 5, 2008 Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  (Explanatory Document:  February 5, 2008 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action) (5 minutes).  Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Meyerson and second by Member Mark, the February 5, 2008 meeting minutes were approved with corrections (AYES:  Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members Gerber and Mark; Absent:  Member Lundberg).

 

3.        Amendment to Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Bylaws.  Vote to approve amendments to the Bylaws to revise the regular meeting schedule from once monthly to twice monthly (Explanatory Document: Bylaws Amendment Notice and Draft Resolution amending Bylaws) (Discussion and Action) (5 minutes).

 

Task Force Secretary Monica Fish explained that members would be voting on a Resolution to amend their Bylaws to include a second monthly meeting date of the third Tuesday monthly from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, Room 421.  Upon Motion by Member Gerber and second by Vice-Chair Meyerson, the Bylaws amendment was approved (AYES: Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members, Gerber, Mark, and Lundberg) (Explanatory Documents:  Final Resolution 001-08-POPTF and Bylaws adopted on 030408).

 

4.   Timeline for Final Report (Discussion) (20 minutes).  Task Force members agreed to prepare a draft report of all sections to turn in to the Task Force Secretary on June 10 so that members and the public could review the report in preparation for a discussion and public comment at the June 17 meeting.  Member Mark recommended that the rest of June and July be spent reading the report, holding peer reviews and preparing edits.  In August, September, and October introductions and conclusions would be written that would overlap with community and town hall meetings to initiate public comment and participation.  Member Lundberg asked that the second Task Force meeting that was added could be held in community centers in order to involve and reach the public on the final report.  Member Gerber recommended that the draft report be posted on the Task Force website in order to initiate public feedback.  Vice-Chair Meyerson suggested that a paragraph be added to the report’s website posting requesting public comment on the report that would be automatically forwarded to Task Force members to respond to or incorporate into the report 

 

Member Gerber indicated that part of her section of the report would depend on the completion of European Union architectural standards that is scheduled to be available in June but may be late.  Member Gerber stated that she could detail parameters, but may not have all the technical information available by the June timeline.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. Jim Hein stated that if the Task Force intends to accomplish anything with the report, that sections should be geared towards those people who would be responsible for taking action; e.g., Board of Supervisors members.  It was stated that oftentimes reports are reviewed and people agree with the findings, but there is no action taken.

 

Mr. Steve Vitka recommended that the report be a means to introducing legislation.

 

Mr. Cal Simone recommended that the report be discussed at the Task Force’s first meeting in June as opposed to the second June meeting and referenced Oakland’s report submission experience.  Member Gerber indicated that Oakland had been granted an extension.

 

Mr. Richard Katz stated that there would be a moment when the report is complete and the press would be interested for just that moment, so having a plan in place for press coverage is valuable.  Members indicated they would be scheduling a discussion with Supervisor Mirkarimi on holding a press release on the report.

 

4.        Community and Town Hall Meetings Schedule (Discussion and Possible Action) (15 minutes). Chair Rosenmeier reported on her discussion with the Deputy City Attorney who indicated that meetings do not have to be recorded because the Task Force is not a policy-making body, but meeting rooms do have to provide disability access. Chair Rosenmeier stated that the Task Force could hold non-official community meetings on specific topics with less than a quorum of members and invite the public for input. Community meetings could be advertised on the website to initiate public involvement.

 

The Task Force Secretary Monica Fish recommended selection of locations that provide meeting room setup; e.g. library locations.   Member Lundberg suggested that the community meetings be part of an official meeting because of his availability and so that people would know that it is an official city event and would be helping to make policy. The Task Force Secretary explained that official meetings held in locations other than regular meeting locations would require a 15-day meeting notice.

 

Vice-Chair Meyerson suggested co-sponsoring meetings with other interested groups. Chair Rosenmeier stated that the Deputy City Attorney indicated they could sponsor a meeting with another group without formal notice as long as there was not a quorum of members present.  Member Lundberg stated that co-sponsoring a lot of meetings and events would be a good idea to create awareness.  The Task Force Secretary explained that speakers could also be invited to present on topics at meetings. Department of the Environment staff member, Melissa Capria recommended providing the public with a format for submitting recommendations that would be useful to the Task Force. 

 

Member Mark stated that he and Chair Rosenmeier would be holding a meeting on the food topic either at City Hall or a library location in order to provide background on the Task Force and for participants to break into groups to address two questions (1) what do you envision a food sustainable San Francisco looking like? (2) How would we dramatically increase food production in San Francisco and what are the opportunities and obstacles to getting there?  There would be scribes for each small group and information would be taken back to include as part of the public comment section of the report.  Member Mark stated that he would like to hold the meeting in late March or early April.  The Task Force Secretary Monica Fish indicated that City Hall may not have a meeting room that has a table large enough to accommodate many work groups.  Member Gerber suggested that Member Mark contact the Main Library about reserving a meeting room. It was explained that the Main Library is next to a bus stop, is handicap accessible, and has a big basement.  Vice-Chair Meyerson recommended the Pacific Energy Center as a possible alternative.  Ms. Capria also recommended the library as they post notices. The Task Force Secretary indicated that the Library has a website that contains meeting room information http://www.sfpl.org/librarylocations/mtgrms/mtingrms.htm

 

Member Gerber reported that she wants to do a mini film series in the public library showing room on documentary films and would like two members to field public comment and answer questions.  Member Mark stated that meetings should also be held on the transportation and energy sections as there is an existing constituency on these topics; e.g., the cycling and MUNI-rider community.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. Richard Katz offered his assistance on the transportation section of the report.

 

Mr. Andre Angelantoni suggested creating a website for online virtual meetings that could be used in addition to regular meetings so that people who want to provide their input and are not physically able to attend meetings have a way to do so.  It would also serve the community to understand the work of the Task Force and give people more time for discussion other than that allowed during public comment time at meetings.  Member Lundberg stated that the website could also provide resources and additional opportunities to share information and to interact. Mr. Katz indicated that the Deputy City Attorney had previously indicated that online meetings would pose accessibility issues.  The Task Force Secretary stated that this issue had been previously presented at a Task Force meeting, and it was explained that it could pose a seriatim meeting issue.  It was recommended that the Deputy City Attorney be consulted about the recommendation to hold online meetings and how that would work with Sunshine laws.

 

Item 6 was heard before Item 5.

 

5.        Improvements to Task Force Web Site (Discussion and Possible Action) (10 minutes).

 

Ms. Thea Hillman, Department of the Environment, Outreach Team Communications Manager reported that the Department website had been recently redesigned to serve many audiences so that people can find quick facts and resources and use other facets for more in-depth information.  Ms. Hillman indicated that her job is to make sure that the material is being communicated to people using methods they are familiar with. 

 

Members discussed the inability to readily find the Peak Oil Task Force on the Department of the Environment website.  Task Force Secretary Monica Fish reported that to access the Peak Oil Task Force site through the Department of the Environment website, you would have to navigate through the far right tab on the top of the page called “Our City’s Policies“ .  Ms. Hillman stated that there is one set of navigation tabs on the Department’s website which is across the top of the page.  Committee members made the following requests:

 

·        Add two URL’s (1) SFenvironment.org/peakoil and (2) SFEnvironment.org/peakoiltaskforce that link to the same page.

·        To be able to “google” search and get directly to the Task Force web page. 

·        Add a section that lists the report categories that members are assigned to and an option to email public comment to that person without revealing their email address.

·        Publish links to resources on peak oil so that people can learn more about peak oil; e.g. books or documents on the topic, related meetings, and articles. The Chair was delegated to direct approved member requests to the Task Force secretary to forward to Ms. Hillman.

·        Add an option for additional public comment with a line that says: To send us email, click here and it would be directed to the Chair’s email address.

·        Add meeting audios to the website in MP3 format.  The Task Force Secretary would make copies of tapes available to Member Lundberg to translate into MP3 format.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. Andre Angelantoni did a “google” search on his laptop for “Peak Oil Task Force” and located the Peak Oil Task Force as the second topic on the “google” list.       

 

Mr. Cal Simone recommended that a second URL be established that is not just “Peak Oil,” but is Peak Oil Task Force pointing to the same page.

 

Unidentified Speaker asked if it was allowable for the Task Force to have a “blog.” Chair Rosenmeier reported that there would be legal restrictions. 

 

6.        Report back from Meetings with the Public (Discussion) (10 minutes).  Chair Rosenmeier reported that SF Oil Awareness held a meeting with the public, and discussions were held on the economy, MUNI and pilot projects. 

 

7.        Progress Reports by Sections (Discussion) (10 minutes each, total 50 minutes) (Continued from the February 5, 2008 Meeting).

Economy

Food

Buildings

Infrastructure

Societal Functioning

Economy: Chair Rosenmeier reported that she (1) would take the lead on the Economy section of the report; (2) had met with Chief Economist Dr. Ted Eagan of the Controller’s Office; and (3) discussed her request for information from Mr. Robert Hirsch who prepared a report, Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management, which examines the likelihood of the occurrence of peak oil, the necessary mitigating actions, and the likely impacts based on the timeliness of those actions.

Members discussed the Regional Economic Model Inc. that was purchased by the City and County of San Francisco, an economic and policy-analysis model that members believed might be insufficient to predict rising prices.  It was explained that Canada Community Imperial Bank of Commerce is the only entity that had researched oil prices a year ago.  Member Gerber suggested looking at other parts of the world today for a preview of what might happen here.  Member Mark reported that there is a decent economic model from the Iran oil shock of the late 70’s, early 80’s.  Vice-Chair Meyerson recommended using the increase in prices that exist today as part of an analysis for an economic model. Chair Rosenmeier verified that the economy section would include information on City tax revenues.

 

Food:  Member Mark reported that he is arranging a public meeting and has started an assessment of current food production in San Francisco and the Bay Area.  Member Mark described the challenges in reviewing the Bay Area counties data as the information is so different.  Chair Rosenmeier asked if Member Mark would be assessing the impact of oil shortages on production.  Member Mark asked for suggestions on how this can be done.  Vice-Chair Meyerson suggested looking at the delivery system which is oil based, equipment used in operation, and chemicals being used in growing and assessing how much of that is oil based.  Ms. Capria suggested requesting data on work that is being done by University of California (UC) Berkeley students and professors on a database of greenhouse gas emissions associated with different products that is based on a consumer price index.  Member Mark stated that about 18% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the agricultural sector. 

 

Member Gerber suggested working on scenarios on (1) how San Francisco would compete for food with other areas and (2) how many people can be supported on the amount of food we are likely to receive.  Member Mark stated that this information is not readily available so it would be hard to calculate.  Member Gerber discussed the capability of planting top soil in abandoned buildings in order to grow food.  Committee members discussed methods of growing or creating top soil if it were not readily available (e.g., composting).  Member Lundberg discussed the need to be completely honest and provide coverage of the comprehensive range of scenarios for San Francisco local food supply needs. Ms. Capria reported that public discussions would be held as an update to the General Plan about how the City would grow food, and it would ultimately be the community’s decision as to the direction that should be taken.

 

Buildings and Architecture:  Member Gerber reported on (1) two legislative initiatives on green building pending before the Board of Supervisors that she will be providing a draft critique and recommendations for.  One has no mechanism for amendment; the other does; (2) will be filling in details on the parameters of green architecture and sustainability; and (3) is working on integrating factors as soon as she can reference the work that is being done by the European Union.  Chair Rosenmeier asked if Member Gerber would be including land use.  Member Gerber indicated that land use should be part of all sections and would not have a lot of information to include on this topic.

   

Infrastructure:  Vice-Chair Meyerson requested input from the Task Force whether oil should be the focus of this category.  It was reported that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) power supply is not from oil; it is hydroelectric, natural gas, and a small percentage of coal.  It was stated that there does not seem to be an incentive for City agencies to reduce their power load as PUC pays for most of the power load directly, and some agencies such as City Hall do not pay for any power.  In most instances, PUC has to buy additional power from PG&E by the end of each year and not generating enough for their own needs.  Vice-Chair Meyerson indicated that there is a basis for starting a program to try and lower City-agency power usage.

 

Vice-Chair Meyerson reported that there is good news in terms of transportation in that every City diesel-operated vehicle is now running on B20 biodiesel.  It was explained that PUC is working on developing programs to generate the 20% biodiesel locally as most of it is currently purchased in the Midwest.  However, almost every Police Department vehicle runs on gasoline due to a safety exemption, and there is very little incentive to change to alternative fuel, especially for police cars.  Vice-Chair Meyerson stated that he is looking into whether specifications have been drafted to consider other alternative fuel vehicles.  It was reported that the New York City Police Department is using electric motor vehicles.  Member Gerber indicated that biofuels may not be part of a long-term solution.  Member Gerber suggested focusing on both oil and water as water will be a critical element for food. 

 

Societal Functioning:  Member Lundberg explained that societal functioning is the matrix of all the other six categories.  Member Lundberg reported that he has been looking at the public education/involvement aspect of the Task Force’s work.  He stated that a report to the Supervisors could be a really insightful and informative job, but he sees his responsibility as to try to move on a process.  Member Lundberg indicated that he had rewritten a letter that he had drafted to civil society, non-profit groups, religious organizations and people who would be participating and getting active, but is waiting for the Task Force to have a better website to direct the public to. 

 

Member Lundberg presented ideas for involving the public in order to gather more input and to share information and proposals.  One idea was to create a speaker’s bureau list so that if someone is interested in peak oil, the Task Force could immediately suggest people who can speak publicly to a community group, etc. or could take inquiries from the press.  Member Lundberg discussed the need to represent disadvantaged populations and for disadvantaged populations to be more involved with the issues in order to better network and learn sustainability tools.

 

Member Mark recommended creating neighborhood advisory councils as a level of neighborhood decision making beneath the Board of Supervisors that would hold monthly meetings and send information to entities that could take action such as Board of Supervisors members, the School Board etc. Chair Rosenmeier indicated that there are neighborhood advisory councils that also participate in budgeting.  Member Lundberg suggested that a recommendation to create neighborhood advisory councils be included in the report. 

 

Transportation:  Chair Rosenmeier reported that the Mayor funded a free MUNI project and prepared cost estimates of increased ridership.  Member Mark recommended that whoever takes over this section of the report should contact the Bicycle Coalition who has feasibility studies and many reports available.

Public Comment:

 

Mr. Franz Cheng stated that water that is used for pumping and irrigation is the biggest user of electricity in the entire state of California.  Mr. Cheng addressed Member Mark’s comment that there was insufficient data available for the food section of the report and indicated that even bad data can be useful to analyze how much food is produced within 100 miles of San Francisco.

 

Mr. Andre Angelantoni reported that he has a website www.InspiringGreenLeadership.com that contains an index of all of the articles from the beginning of the oil drum, called “Best of Index.”

 

Mr. Woody Hastings recommended that the food component of the report should address worst case scenarios and responses to a potential threat of an oil shortage rather than solutions.  Mr. Hastings stated that being better prepared for problems with food production and avoiding dependence on large-scale agriculture would allow people to be more self-reliant.

 

Mr. Steve Vitka explained that the optimal response in the area of food is pretty much the same no matter what scenario unfolds.  Vice-Chair Meyerson recommended that an appendix be added to the end of the report or a last chapter to develop an image of San Francisco in a post fossil fuel world so it is a society that people may aspire to. 

 

Unidentified Speaker suggested considering food production methods that are not reliant on soil e.g., fermentation. 

 

Unidentified Speaker asked if the Task Force was considering how to handle disaster cleanup in a post peak oil world.  It was explained that if gasoline was not available to run the bulldozers, it would be harder to do a cleanup after an earthquake.  It was reported that Vice-Chair Meyerson would be addressing this topic in the infrastructure section of the report.  Member Lundberg explained that every county has Emergency Preparedness staff and a disaster response that should be considering a peak oil scenario.

 

Mr. Cal Simone discussed the need for preparedness and absorption instead of prevention.

 

9.        Establishing Contact with City Departments, Supervisors and Mayor.  How to make contacts with City Departments, Supervisors, and the Mayor in particular regarding interim actions in keeping with the Peak Oil Preparedness mandate. (Discussion) (15 minutes) (Continued from the February 5, 2008 Meeting).  Member Lundberg indicated that he would be drafting a letter to present at the next Task Force meeting.  Continued to the March 18, 2008 meeting.

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10.  New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion) (10 minutes).  Member Lundberg reported that he would not be able to attend the March 18 meeting.  Chair Rosenmeier suggested focusing on scenarios and the food and infrastructure sections of the report for the March 18 meeting.  Member Mark suggested not discussing scenarios and instead focusing on food and infrastructure.

 

11.  Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Task Force on matters that are within the Task Force’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda (15 minutes total).

 

Unidentified Speaker recommended private company sponsorship as a means of fostering change.  It was explained that a corporation such as Chevron could be asked to pay for any City department to implement one or two of the Task Force’s suggestions.  Vice-Chair Meyerson explained that the Task Force could recommend that the Board of Supervisors consider developing corporation grant proposals.

 

12.     Adjournment.  The Task Force meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Task Force office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) upon request to the Task Force Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org, or (3) at the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force meeting website as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Task Force Secretary

 

Approved: April 1, 2008

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