1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force convened at 3:14 p.m. Present: Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members Gerber and Mark (Excused: Member Lundberg).
2. Approval of the March 4, 2008 Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Member Mark and second by Vice-Chair Meyerson, the March 4, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Explanatory Document: March 4, 2008 Approved Minutes)
Items 3 and 4 were heard together.
3. Division of Labor on Final Report in Light of New Appointees (Discussion) (45 minutes).
4. Standardization of Approach to Final Report Content on Peak Oil Preparedness (Discussion) (40 minutes).
Chair Rosenmeier announced that Members Katz and Cheng’s appointments to the Task Force would be heard at the Board of Supervisors meeting today, and new report assignments would be made as a result. Mr. Cheng was asked to work on the Energy section of the report, and Mr. Katz was asked to work on the Transportation section once their appointments become official. Chair Rosenmeier indicated that her section on the Economy as it relates to the City’s revenues and expenses would be discussed at a future Task Force meeting. Vice-Chair Meyerson indicated that his section on Infrastructure would include City departments and facilities, but that the Transportation section should contact the Municipal Transportation Authority as it relates to transportation. It was explained that there would be some overlap between reports.
Member Mark discussed the Board of Supervisors Resolution on peak oil that calls for the Task Force to make recommendations on where City agencies can make a difference. Chair Rosenmeier stated that the Resolution also asks for the Task Force to define where the City’s vulnerabilities are and to make recommendations. Ms. Capria, Department of the Environment Climate Action Coordinator, suggested that the report include timeframes for recommendations. Member Gerber suggested using Portland’s example of scenario planning.
Mr. Cheng stated that the Energy section would require analysis and recommendation sections that would be City and County specific and should include discussions on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and the City’s energy supply. Mr. Cheng suggested that the Task Force hear a presentation on Community Choice Aggregation. Member Mark suggested researching a baseline assessment of the City’s energy mix, where the City is currently getting its energy, how San Francisco can become energy independent through micro-generation, distributed generation, tidal and wave power, and researching positive alternatives. Vice-Chair Meyerson discussed the City’s dependence on hydroelectric power and impacts on power supply if there were extended periods of drought. The importance of securing an alternative form of energy to replace hydroelectric power and addressing related cost issues had been discussed.
Vice Chair Meyerson stated that Committee members would be presenting their section drafts in June and may decide to reorganize the report at that time. Mr. Katz suggested creating an organizational chart to show the report’s structure. Mr. Franz stated that the report should include federal, state and a local analysis of how we are living now, scenario analysis and recommendations.
Mr. Katz stated that he would like to envision and break down the components of what a low- energy functioning City would look like in the future, indicating where we are currently, how we might make this transition, where it needs to go, and how systems fit together. Vice-Chair Meyerson discussed the number of people commuting to San Francisco, either by BART or other transportation systems and noted the influx of cars. Vice-Chair Meyerson discussed the publics’ frustrations with MUNI when there are shortfalls and how MUNI wants to raise fares that may drop off participation and is counterproductive to expanding the use of transportation. Vice-Chair Meyerson asked that consideration be given on providing recommendations for how to get MUNI solvent without raising fares and then considering if people do start riding MUNI more often, what type of hardware requirement impact would there be? It was recommended that telecommuting be considered as a viable alternative to commuting. Ms. Capria explained that Department of the Environment staff members are currently working on transportation demand management programs, and there are pilot programs underway. Ms. Capria suggested that Task Force members review Climate Action Plan Next Step recommendations and would forward a copy for members’ review. Mr. Katz indicated that he would make a presentation on the Transportation Section outline at the April 15 Task Force meeting.
Member Mark stated that each report section should include an assessment of current realities, analysis of vulnerabilities, aspirations and visions for change, a section on alternatives/best case scenarios, and more detailed policy recommendations/changes to meet that goal. It was suggested that five line items be offered on how City codes should be changed to reinforce goals and aspirations. Vice-Chair Meyerson suggested writing a preliminary list of recommendations in each section’s initial draft with a focus on what is actually possible and doable.
Mr. Cheng suggested doing a multi-scenario analysis specifying various timeframes and then listing specific recommendations in priority order. Mr. Cheng recommended that the report contain some sort of consistency. Chair Rosenmeier suggested listing out the recommendations on vulnerabilities that should be done now and those that can wait. Mr. Katz suggested selecting important areas that need to be addressed and then make a personal list of priorities. Mr. Cheng suggested referencing the Hirsch report format and standardizing all sections. Vice-Chair Meyerson stated that it is difficult to make forecasts of when scenarios might happen, but that there should be a discussion of how soon peak oil is going to affect people’s lives. Member Mark suggested ranking vulnerabilities; e.g., short term (5 years) medium, (5-15 years); long-term (15 years+). Mr. Katz stated that peak oil is an immediate challenge and a timeframe may not matter.
Public Comment: Mr. Steve Vitka stated that as telecommuting becomes more popular, the idea of architecture and how to design homes for work at home and mixed-use systems could become more viable. Mr. Vitka discussed reducing the strain on the public transportation system by creating block-based communities that contain a whole economic, social, and political structure. It was stated that there is a need to start modeling these ideas to see how they work now. Mr. Vitka recommended finding pilot new construction projects as an idealized case to learn from, so it can later be applied to retrofitting existing homes. It was stated that it is important for cities to create ideal live work green communities.
Mr. Cal Simone stated that he has thoroughly reviewed how the Oakland Task Force has organized their report and would like to be involved in the organization of San Francisco’s report. Mr. Simone suggested including the increasing demand in developing or industrializing countries such as China. Mr. Simone also discussed trying to find information on if there is a way to estimate peak when you are inside of the peak, and what kind of things could happen and would provide additional information on the topic.
5. 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. Draft Letter Review. (Discussion and Possible Action) (15 minutes) (Continued from the March 4, 2008 Meeting).
Member Gerber discussed a previous discussion about the idea of each Task Force member pairing up with two Supervisors or Department heads in order to have pipelines with various people. At the time, there were six members, and it was thought that each would take two. With seven people, that would add two department heads to the list. Member Mark asked for an explanation of the intent. Member Gerber stated that part of the intent was to start working with the Supervisors now to get their ear and input and to increase the Task Force’s impact so the report would not be put on a shelf. Member Mark and Vice-Chair Meyerson both stated that it would be more effective to establish contact once the report was complete or in July or August when reviewed drafts would be available. A consensus was reached to establish contact at that time and continue this item to the August agenda.
Member Gerber read Member Lundberg’s letter to all department heads that asks departments to report on what they have done in preparation for upcoming energy shortages, informs them of energy savings measures, any land use policies changed in response to the peak oil resolution, and informing them if they engage in any practice that may be inconsistent with San Francisco’s peak oil resolution or have plans that may be predicated on the mistaken assumption that sufficient energy or petroleum will be available for City projects and developments. The letter would give departments a thumbnail sketch of their vulnerabilities in regards to peak oil.
Ms. Capria stated that the Department of the Environment is asking for department Climate Action Plans, which calls for many of the same things the Task Force is requesting. Ms. Capria recommended changing the tone of the letter to be less threatening. Ms. Capria suggested that Task Force members attend upcoming Board of Supervisors hearings on Climate Action Plan legislation and provide public comment that the Climate Action Plan legislation is consistent with the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force mandate, and then if the legislation passes, state through correspondence that the Task Force has been recently tasked with this for climate reasons, it ties in with the peak oil mandate, and give departments an understanding that there are now two reasons for doing it. Member Gerber suggested going to the hearing, waiting until the legislation passes, and then following up with a letter. Mr. Katz recommended rewriting the letter to make it sound less condescending. Member Mark suggested a letter that has more of an offering assistance tone “that the Task Force is studying these key areas, and we look forward to sharing any of the results with you.”
6. Discussion of Task Force Position on City Control of Tidal and Wave Energy Program (Informational Report and Discussion) (10 minutes). Member Gerber reported that PG&E and Chevron and several other organizations that are in the energy business have been staking claims to stretches of coastline that look promising for installation of tidal or wave generation. It was explained that Sonoma County was the first county to declare its entire coastline for purposes of tidal and wave generation. It was explained that there may be litigation, but it appears that Sonoma can win. Member Gerber asked members to follow Sonoma County’s lead and urge the Board of Supervisors to declare San Francisco’s coastline for purposes of tidal and wave generation. Member Gerber stated that she would provide the URL to the Chronicle article on Sonoma County’s activity.
Ms. Capria suggested that Department of the Environment Renewable Energy Program Manager, Johanna Partin, be consulted for an update on tidal and wave generation. Mr. Cheng stated that he would create a Task Force resolution urging the Board of Supervisors to declare San Francisco’s coastline for a tidal and wave energy program. Member Gerber indicated that she would ask Supervisor Mirkarimi to sponsor the legislation.
7. Task Force Membership Composition (Discussion) (5 minutes). Mr. Cal Simone discussed his interest in serving on the Task Force and requested that members consider making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to increase the membership composition of the Task Force. Mr. Simone also requested considering extension of the Task Force sunset date if necessary to finalize the report. Mr. Simone asked about the Board of Supervisors attendance policy for Task Force members. Chair Rosenmeier indicated that if members were to miss three meetings in a row, it would have to be reported to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Simone indicated that expansion of the Task Force would also help meeting quorum.
Mr. Simone reported on his conversations with Supervisor Mirkarimi and his legislative aide on his request for expansion of membership and timing involved for expansion. It was stated that expansion of membership would have to be originate by request of the Task Force or by the Chair. Task Force members indicated that they did not have any obstacles in completing the Task Force work by October and did not feel a membership expansion was necessary at this time, but welcomed Mr. Simone’s assistance and input into the final report.
8. New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion) (10 minutes). Member Mark reported that he would try to set up a meeting at the Main Library on the food section on either May 5th, 6th, or 7th. Three Task Force members would be able to attend, and an invitation would be forwarded to 40 food security activists that are already active in food cultivation and security in San Francisco to share their vision on what a more food secure city would look like and provide recommendations. Vice-Chair Meyerson proposed inviting Mr. Wade Crowfoot to speak to the Task Force on his activities and future work and how the Task Force could assist him and how he could assist the Task Force. Member Mark suggested using featured guest speaker time as a way to create relationships with City departments; e.g. invite Department of Public Works (DPW) Streets and Parks program representative to talk about the vacant land that DPW owns and plans for food cultivation, Municipal Transportation Authority (MTA) staff. Mr. Katz suggested inviting the Mayor’s appointee to Education about communicating the Task Force’s message. April 15 agenda items would include a Transportation Outline and vote on the Resolution on wave and tidal power. Chair Rosenmeier read an email from Ms. Erica Ellison with the Berkeley Oil Preparedness Task Force wanting to know if the Task Force wants to cosponsor a peak oil and gas symposium for Bay Area foundations. Chair Rosenmeier asked that this item be put on the April 15 meeting agenda. Vice-Chair Meyerson suggested talking about this topic with Mr. Crowfoot and his role in researching grant opportunities
9. 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). Mr. Simone asked if the Task Force would like his involvement with organization of the report. Members stated that they would welcome Mr. Simone’s assistance.
10. Adjournment. The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force meeting adjourned at 5:22 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 [email protected], 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 15, 2008