CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
PEAK OIL PREPAREDNESS TASK FORCE
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2008, 3:00 P.M.
TASK FORCE MEMBERS: Jeanne-Marie Rosenmeier (Chair), Bernard Meyerson (Vice-Chair), Patricia Gerber, Richard Katz, Jan Lundberg, Jason Mark, Cal Simone.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force meeting convened at 3:09 p.m. Present: Chair Rosenmeier, Members Gerber, Katz, Mark, and Simone; (Excused: Members Lundberg and Vice-Chair Meyerson).
2. Approval of the May 20, 2008 Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Mark and second by Member Katz, the May 20, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved with amendments without objection (Absent: Vice-Chair Meyerson and Member Lundberg) (Explanatory Document: May 20, 2008 Approved Minutes).
3. Planning for Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Informational Table at “The Big One” Sustainability Event at Golden Gate Park. (Discussion) (Continued from the May 20, 2008 Meeting)
Chair Rosenmeier reported that she had spoken to one of the event sponsors who indicated they would like a Task Force representative to speak and would schedule a time after hearing from the Task Force. It was reported that Vice-Chair Meyerson indicated that he could attend part of the event to staff a table. Member Mark reported that he may attend on Saturday in conjunction with the Alemany Farm and could staff the Task Force table for part of the day. Member Simone reported that he would try to attend on Sunday afternoon.
Chair Rosenmeier recommended that Task Force members consult their calendar and report back on their availability at the June 17 meeting. It was recommended that a handout be available for distribution to the public listing the meeting schedule of report topic discussions so the public could attend future meetings and provide input. Member Katz offered to create the handout if members would provide him with the message content. This agenda item was continued to the June 17, 2008 meeting to determine members’ schedule for attendance and to create a handout message.
4. Report on Food Security Design Charrette and Plans for Public Outreach. (Discussion) (Continued from the May 20, 2008 Meeting) Speakers: Member Jason Mark and Chair Jeanne Rosenmeier.
Chair Rosenmeier commended Member Mark on the success of the Food Security Design charrette that was held on May 3 at the Main Library and asked for guidance so other Task Force members could coordinate a similar event on their section of the report. Member Mark reported that the event was well attended by approximately 18-19 people, and that there was successful group interaction. Member Mark stated that the Executive Director of American Farmland Trust is posting his report assessing food production in the Bay Area and Northern California, and in order not to duplicate efforts, he would be accessing that information for the assessment of current activities section of the food report. The comments received from the design charrette on peoples’ visions and recommendations would be the second part of the food security report, which is on how to dramatically increase food production in the City and County of San Francisco.
Member Mark reported that there is a big grassroots community in San Francisco on transportation and recommended doing something similar on that topic. Member Mark offered names of several people who may be interested in attending. Chair Rosenmeier recommended localization as another topic. Member Mark suggested electricity because of the community choice aggregation movement. Member Katz recommended keeping the charrettes focused as to whom the Task Force wants to affect and to put together a list of invitees. Member Mark stated that he sent an invitation well in advance, a month before the meeting and was persistent about follow-up by sending two reminders.
Member Simone asked how Member Mark would determine what information was useful from the large amount of information received. Member Mark stated that the first task would be to identify overlaps. It was stated that if there were ten key ideas received by most groups, there would be obvious grounds for consensus, and the rest would be left up to discretion. Member Mark stated that he was considering adding a footnote identifying the list of attendees so if anyone wanted additional information, they could follow up with those individuals. Member Mark reported that one of the key ideas that came out of every group repeatedly was to turn golf courses into farms.
Mr. Don Eichelberger suggested the possibility of outreach through a blogosphere because there is a lot of discussion about peak oil, and there may be interest in hearing about what the Task Force is doing in San Francisco. Mr. Eichelberger stated that there have been many recommendations on various aspects of this topic, and how much of that has been done still needs to be assessed.
Mr. Steve Vitka reported that there is an existing frisbee golf course in Golden Gate Park that could simultaneously serve as a garden.
5. Approval of Peak Oil Task Force member co-sponsorship of peak oil topic online presentations to be prepared by student interns sponsored by the Presidio School of Management Masters of Business Administration Program. (Discussion and Action) Speaker: Chair Rosenmeier
Chair Rosenmeier reported that there would be ten students and one administrator preparing presentations as part of the Presidio School of Management Green MBA program; that they are not getting paid; they would be receiving course credit through a student internship; and they are hoping to receive a letter of recommendation that Chair Rosenmeier stated she would sign as an individual. It was explained that the presentations would be given in the first three weeks of August, and that presentation topics had been previously distributed to members.
Chair Rosenmeier reported that the idea is for the students to work under the mentorship of someone knowledgeable in the area, and they would prepare a one hour online “webinar” presentation (20 minute presentation followed by 40 minutes of questions) which involves hearing the presentation on the phone and seeing the slides on the screen (a combination phone conference and PowerPoint). Chair Rosenmeier stated that she has been involved in this effort as an individual and proposed that the Task Force consider sponsoring the presentations and serving as mentors for the students. It was also stated that the online presentations could be an appropriate venue for public outreach.
Member Katz stated that the Task Force should be careful about who they allow to use their name since public positions have not yet been developed. Member Mark stated that the Presidio School of Management is a fine organization and would be comfortable having the Task Force’s name attached to this effort; however, he may not have the time to volunteer to be one of the mentors. Member Simone stated that he is ambivalent on this issue as the Task Force does not have a say on the content and are only serving as guides for the students. It was stated that one of the issues is that the Task Force may lose control of the content and where it goes after completion. Member Gerber stated that the students would be working on their presentations regardless of whether the Task Force attaches their name to the work or not.
Mr. Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager recommended (1) inviting somebody from the school to present an outline to the Task Force on what the content of the presentations would be; and (2) felt that the content probably would be documentary and factual and not something that the Task Force may have to worry about changing significantly. Chair Rosenmeier stated that she would work on scheduling a presentation for a future meeting.
Mr. Steve Vitka asked if the Task Force members could review the final presentations and then decide whether to attach their name. Chair Rosenmeier stated that she would ask that question.
Mr. Eichelberger stated that he sees the advantage of sponsoring the presentations, but that it sounds like a lot of work and hopes that it does not take away focus from other program areas.
6. Reassignment of Draft Resolution on City control of shoreline for tidal and wave energy programs. (Discussion) (Continued from the April 15, 2008 meeting) Speaker: Cal Broomhead
Member Gerber reported on her concern that the City and County of San Francisco should own rights to its own waters and coastline for purposes of tidal and wave generation. Chair Rosenmeier asked if a copy of Sonoma County’s resolution was available for review. Member Gerber reported that Sonoma County tried to claim about 12 miles from their coast, but could not claim that amount immediately, so they are re-filing to target the areas that are most promising. Member Simone reported that for San Francisco, Golden Gate Energy holds a three-year permit to do research and create a feasibility study, which expires on September 30, and that no one can apply until after that date. The three-year permit is not renewable and has to be reapplied for each time. Member Simone indicated that he has a copy of the Golden Gate Energy interim report that basically states that they need more money to do more studies. It was explained that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) stated that the City could file a permit.
Mr. Broomhead reported that his understanding from the Deputy City Attorney who was working on the tidal project and application was that it would not be impossible for the City to lay claim to the permit partly because Golden Gate Energy has not accomplished very much. The City would have three years to take action before having to reapply all over again, so it would not be a good idea to submit an application unless the City is certain that progress would be made during that time towards a real project.
Member Gerber reported that Mr. Heinberg stated that the most important thing that the City and County of San Francisco should do to get ready for peak oil is tidal. Member Gerber stated that in response to whether the City would be wasting time on this project, there is a six-knot current under the Golden Gate Bridge, and the project could be worked on with experienced partners in the three-year timeframe. Member Gerber stated that her concern is that San Francisco should be able to have rights to its own energy as opposed to having energy generated for people who are not San Franciscans. It was stated that other projects in the world are moving forward, and the Golden Gate Bridge may be the stellar location of tidal generation in all of North America.
Member Katz stated that the City has an agreement and established relationship with PG&E and Oceana Energy who owns Golden Gate Energy. The question is who takes the lead in the relationship, and then there is responsibility and blame with the lead, and the City following through which might be a challenge. Member Gerber felt that as a junior partner, the City would have no say, and in theory, 100% of the energy could be shipped to other counties so it is important for San Francisco to decide whether the energy stays in the City. Member Katz stated that since the partnership already exists, the requirement that San Francisco make the determination about the disposition of energy generated in and around San Francisco should be added in the next reiteration of the contract.
Mr. Broomhead suggested inviting the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) project manager to hold a discussion with the Task Force, or for a Task Force member to schedule a meeting to request additional information and then present a report. Mr. Broomhead reported that he felt that the outflow of the tidal program may not be economically feasible, and that wave energy may be more feasible.
Member Mark asked Member Gerber if she has reason to believe that the Task Force must absolutely send an interim recommendation on tidal over the next four months or if it can wait and be included in the final report. Member Gerber stated that she was unsure, but reported that PG&E has a state-mandated requirement to generate 20% of electricity as renewables by 2012, and that if San Francisco wants to have Community Choice Aggregation (CCA); they have to have an energy source, especially if they have to compete with PG&E.
Member Simone reported on projects in the British Channel where there are huge undercurrents, and only a small percentage of energy was produced. It was stated that there are a number of other projects around the world and there is a risk factor as some are successful and some are not.
Member Mark suggested that a presentation be made to the Task Force about this project and instead of sending a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, to include a recommendation in the final report. Member Gerber indicated that October 1 would be the prime day to do the application, and the Task Force final report won’t be complete by then. Mr. Broomhead explained that electricity is not the most important thing to consider in having an impact and as it relates to the Task Force Plan.
This agenda item was “Continued to the Call of the Chair.”
7. Task Force members' potential recommendations to include in the final report (Discussion) (Explanatory Document: Recommendations).
Chair Rosenmeier asked members and the public for their suggestions on recommendations to include in the final report and provide their comments on the current list created by Vice-Chair Meyerson and Chair Rosenmeier. It was requested that Task Force members send their recommendations to the Task Force Secretary by email, and she would produce a second draft to bring to a future meeting. Chair Rosenmeier also suggested considering what the Task Force’s top three recommendations would be. Task Force members discussed their requests for revisions and additions to the current list.
Mr. Broomhead recommended elements to include in the plan to make it more robust and stronger that include (1) adding a planning horizon and how immediate recommendations should be. It was suggested to look at what people are doing today and to evaluate responses; (2) in terms of a plan, there is a goal that is set in the ordinance. The next step would be to list objectives and strategies that include estimates of how much is going to be accomplished through each so there is a clear idea of goals and objectives; (3) developing tasks to attach to strategies; and (4) determining who should be brought in as stakeholders for each of these different sections to create a plan. Mr. Broomhead stated that as far as just developing a list of ideas, there is already a Sustainability Plan, Electricity Resource Plan, and Climate Action Plan, etc. where many actions have already been taken.
Chair Rosenmeier stated that she has been trying to contact the Department of Emergency Management director to discuss including what to do in case of oil interruptions as part of their Emergency Plan. Mr. Broomhead recommended issuing a Sunshine Ordinance public information request if Chair Rosenmeier was unsuccessful obtaining information. Member Gerber recommended a future agenda item to discuss useful actions that could be taken in instances of mayhem that the Task Force might include in the report.
Mr. Vitka stated that in regards to the recommendations list Section A2 regarding neighborhood councils--these neighborhood councils are essentially going to exist whoever volunteers. It was suggested that the councils be small enough to serve a small enough area so that anyone that wants to sit on the council can do so, and membership not be decided through an election. Mr. Vitka suggested that if you do have a case where more people want to sit on a council so it becomes problematic, to use the spokes-representational system used by activists that is to indirectly giving your proxy to someone else to speak for you.
Ms. Friedemann stated that she is interested in the food issue, is a member of the rare fruit growers, and offered to provide a list of food cultivars that do well in this environment. Ms. Friedemann provided the following additional comments: Existing neighborhood councils or groups would be a good way to do outreach. Japan has a recycling system of over 100 items and as garbage collection becomes more difficult because it is so energy intensive, looking into local neighborhood recycle and reuse systems similar to Japan that would also provide jobs would be a good idea.
In response to disaster preparedness, Ms. Friedemann stated that she had contacted the State of California emergency department who indicated they did not have adequate resources such as blankets, food, water, etc. for situations of earthquake and fire. Ms. Friedemann stated that their response was that it would require another level of bureaucracy, which funding is not available for and the public would be unwilling to pay for. It was indicated that the state also does not have a plan for what to do in case of oil interruptions. Ms. Friedemann recommended involving people to brainstorm ideas on what to do during peak oil interruptions in order to empower them.
Mr. Eichelberger discussed and distributed his comments on the “Mission of the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force”.
8. Strategies for developing local economy to include in the Economy Section of the report (Discussion).
Chair Rosenmeier discussed the subject of neighborhood councils and the idea of asking the Planning Commission to designate neighborhoods so that they would know whom to contact if something was happening in each of these neighborhoods.
Mr. Broomhead stated that a good year one recommendation would be to ask each supervisor to hold a series of neighborhood town hall meetings to discuss neighborhood issues. Chair Rosenmeier recommended that the Task Force do more neighborhood level planning with stakeholders. Member Gerber suggested reviewing the difference of issues that may affect neighborhoods based on their geography. Member Mark stated that a lot of the local economy topic is about how to create bioregional economies. Chair Rosenmeier explained that this agenda item is more about the creation of community and public spaces in our communities.
Member Mark discussed how to revitalize the manufacturing sector that has been decimated in the City. Chair Rosenmeier reported that she had tried to contact the Back Streets Business Advisory Board without success. Member Mark discussed strategies for developing local sustainable economies such as developing tax breaks/incentives. Mr. Broomhead suggested contacting Mr. David Pascal, Clean Tech Energy Manager, who is working on developing the clean tech industry in San Francisco.
Mr. Vitka suggested developing a vision paper that the Board of Supervisors could use for neighborhood meetings that would include information on how these neighborhood councils might operate and how they would relate to the wider city. It was suggested that the vision include a recommendation to create neighborhood global citizens centers dedicated to reinvigorating local economies and where discussions are continuously held on neighborhood activity. Mr. Vitka explained that neighborhood councils should be able to identify such a building within their neighborhood that could eventually hold small local enterprises, such as local recycling, community based composting. Buildings such as closed schools or an underutilized church for a shared use were recommended. Mr. Vitka recommended influencing people to have this interaction as an essential part of their lifestyle through community dinners, by bringing more life to the community, and having it financially supported at the citywide level and then for it to become a self-generating economic engine over time.
Mr. Eichelberger stated that government should hold more local facilitated community meetings to discuss various issues and set up work groups to bring about actual proposals. It was suggested that each supervisor create a district liaison to set up facilitated discussions about various issues and create proposals to move forward on a continuous basis. Mr. Eichelberger recommended that the Board of Supervisors should empower local groups to form, work on proposals, form actions, and get support from the City to carry those actions out. Mr. Eichelberger discussed what the Task Force could do to recognize that there will be economic dislocation due to recession and ways to offset this problem through job retraining or other methods. It was suggested that there be a way to make the community understand that they have to slow down in what they are consuming as a result of recession.
9. New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion)
Future agenda items that were recommended include: (1) June 17 member progress report check-in on section report status; (2) discussion of time horizons; (3) Economic Section of the Report—July 1 meeting; (4) presentation by Mr. David Fridley, research scientist, Lawrence Berkeley Lab on energy and to address Task Force questions on their report sections; (5) SF Post Carbon review and comment on the Peak Oil Task Force material; and (6) methods to manage public comment on the report.
Chair Rosenmeier announced that Member Lundberg stated that he may be resigning from the Task Force. A discussion was held on resignation procedures and on the Task Force attendance policy as it applies to Member Lundberg’s membership.
Ms. Friedemann recommended asking Mr. Fridley to discuss PG&E’s role in natural gas, the timeline, and how that would affect the City.
Mr. Eichelberger stated that he has access to excerpts from a presentation that Mr. Fridley created on peak oil and biofuels that the Task Force could reference. Mr. Eichelberger referenced an article published in May, ”The Green is the New Neurotic” that discusses how people try to avoid the overwhelm that they get from thinking about things like global warming and peak oil and methods to work around those things.
10. 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. There was no public comment at this time.
11. Adjournment. The Peak Oil Preparedness 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 [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: June 17, 2008