08.19 Approved Minutes






TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2008, 5:00 P.M.






TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  Jeanne-Marie Rosenmeier (Chair), Bernard Meyerson (Vice-Chair), Patricia Gerber, Richard Katz, Jason Mark, Cal Simone; 1 Vacant.



1.      Call to Order and Roll Call. The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force meeting was called to order at 5:05 p.m.  Present: Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members Gerber, Katz, and Simone; Excused:  Member Mark.


2.      Approval of the August 5, 2008 Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.   (Discussion and Action).  Upon Motion by Member Gerber and second by Vice-Chair Meyerson, without objection, the August 5, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved with amendments. (Explanatory Document:  August 5, 2008 Approved Minutes)


3.      Discussion of Developing Better Coordination Efforts between Task Force Members.  Speaker:  Chair Rosenmeier (Discussion)


Chair Rosenmeier suggested that Task Force members treat each other respectfully even if there is disagreement on what the goals are and how to achieve them. 


4.      Report on the Meeting with Peter Dailey, Deputy Director, Maritime Operations, Port of San Francisco on the Impact of Rising Fuel Costs on Planning for Port Operations. (Informational Report and Discussion) Speakers: Chair Rosenmeier and Vice-Chair Meyerson


Chair Rosenmeier reported on a meeting with Mr. Dailey that she and Vice-Chair Meyerson had attended.  Topics discussed included:


·         Infrastructure problems with using San Francisco’s Railyard near Pier 80 as a way to transport freight into the city (the tunnel is too low for modern freight operations). In order to use it as a freight yard in the way that modern cities do, you would have to rebuild the tunnel, which could happen if the high-speed rail proposal is approved.


·         There are three sets of piers that are working piers with rail service: (1) Pier 70 (has a big dry-dock which is being expanded—could be a working pier and tourist attraction; (2) Pier 80 complex which is where the barges with the aggregate come in—it is the biggest non-truck import; and (3) Pier 90 complex where the recycling center at Pier 96 is located and is where the biggest non-truck exports go out. Pier 90 is basically empty, but because of its unstable construction, it would have to be renovated before it can be built on. 


·         Vice-Chair Meyerson reported that a plug-in facility would be set up at Pier 27 so when cruise ships dock; they can plug in and not create emissions that come from the bunker fuel that is being used by most of the ships.  Chair Rosenmeier reported that the current cruise ship terminal at Pier 35 would be the terminal for smaller cruise ships, and Pier 35 would serve the bigger, more modern cruise ships.


·         Vice-Chair Meyerson stated that it was important to include a recommendation in the report that the Port should sustain their maritime operations against real estate interests. 


5.      Presentation of the Transportation Section of the Report. (Explanatory Document: Transportation Section) (Informational Presentation and Discussion) Speaker: Member Katz


Member Katz presented a draft of the Transportation section of the report that included a discussion of topics that included:


·         Part 1: An assessment of current transportation realities: commuter transport: inter-regional and City; City-Service Vehicles; Inter-Regional and In-City Delivery Vehicles; Vehicles by City Agency (MUNI, Airport, Police, Department of Public Works, etc.).

·         Part 2: Analysis of Vulnerabilities: supply chain disruptions; natural disasters; political: international; public transit funding; transportation loads; public transit cost constraints; delivery systems; hospital vehicles.

·         Part 3: Recommendations on: bicycles, e.g. safety, accessibility, road-rules enforcement; vehicle tax based on type; commercial vehicle solutions as it relates to roadblocks; parking; city vehicle replacement; light rail on bridges; promoting telecommuting by creating neighborhood work centers, free or low cost city Wi-Fi; and demonstration projects.


Member Katz distributed additional documentation on an assessment done by Sharon Green and Associates on what impact a free MUNI program would have on MUNI system-wide due to increased ridership. It was explained that increased ridership would increase system expense (Explanatory Document: MUNI System Wide Assessment).  Member Katz explained that MUNI does not have stats on ridership, which is essential information that is needed.  A discussion was held on how rising gas prices would lead to an increase in transit use and if transit system capacity were not available, there would be impacts to the community and the economy.


Mr. Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager, Department of the Environment, provided recommendations that included:


·         Inter-City Vulnerabilities grid on Page 10: using a high, medium and low category instead of a number ranking category.  The ranking would be determined by the ones that are the most vulnerable and are going to have the biggest impact on the City being able to function.  It was recommended that a criteria list be created which would be brainstormed and then sorted as to highest, medium, and lowest value.  It was recommended that focus be given to the vulnerabilities that would be strategically most important, and then if time allows, work on less important issues.


·         Bicycles:  A plan should be created in the case of more people wanting to ride bikes: (a) plan for how to set up the corridors so a street can be dedicated to bicycles; (b) educate people on what bike lanes are; and (c) plan to expand bike lanes.   


·         Telecommuting Policy: The City has a telecommuting policy, but the issue is about tracking productivity, which may be easier to do in some fields than others.  Consider City and private-sector policies on telecommuting and try to promote telecommuting on a programmatic level for the city.


·         Planning should address the treatment of two scenarios (1) a gradual price-increase scenario and (2) one where something quickly happens.  Consideration should be given to what actions you need to take today to be better prepared for the future.


·         Review 911 emergency plans.  


Vice-Chair Meyerson provided the following comments:


·         Vulnerability: In addition to vulnerability based on the energy source or fuel source, the systems are vulnerable based on maintenance and capacity. 


·         Telecommunicating: One way to minimize transportation is by telecommuting. The city has to influence San Francisco big businesses to start investing in their own workforce to determine how much of that work can be done completely or partially off-site. 


·         MUNI: Recommend a plan for expanding the capacity of the bus system when there is an increase in ridership.


·         Bicycles: San Francisco is getting older age-wise, which should be a consideration for planning for transportation as older people may not be able to or want to ride bicycles.


·         Detail the specifics on number of vehicles, fuel, etc. in an appendix.  It is more important to discuss the general principles and plans that have to be established and the impact on the City fleet.


·         Create a list of the unknown and unanticipated items that are not based on prior knowledge and history.  Flexibility should be given to what is happening on the ground in addition to the formal plan. 


·         Plan and have a government or public structure that can respond more quickly and aggressively that is not bound to a 20-year timeframe to get things done.


·         Consider Venice, Italy model of having large garages in the periphery of the city and anyone wanting to commute to the City goes as far as the garages and then get bused to their location.


·         More aggressively push tourist transit passes.


·         New York’s “easy pass” where they take money out of your account similar to Fastrak—you never have to buy another one. 


Chair Rosenmeier provided the following comments:


·         The Analysis of Vulnerabilities (Part 2) should be part of the Introduction. 


·         Detail is needed for City government--what departments are the most vulnerable.


·         Identify essential data to produce a coherent report and add the detail to an appendix. Use figures from other jurisdictions if San Francisco data cannot be obtained. 


·         Page 2, important to estimate the number for “Public transportation moves xx%”.


·         Provide recommendations on what to do with UPS and DHL freight coming into the airport.


·         Everyone in his or her section should assume the same set of vulnerabilities. 


·         MUNI—page 9—MUNI is in a bind because they only get 20 and 25 percent of their budget from fare receipts so getting more people gives them more financial problems.  BART gets 60% from their receipts.  At a Joint Transportation Commission Meeting, the Sierra Club made a recommendation that they raise fares, but make the fast pass less expensive—add this as a recommendation and recommend that vulnerable populations have free or reduced fast passes and be provided with more education that this option is available. 


·         Run a trolley bus across the Bay Bridge—easy to electrify it; however, electricity may not be available during an earthquake.   


·         Recommendation made at the Joint Transportation Commission meeting on enforcing fees on newly created car parking spaces.


Member Gerber (1) requested that another category be added to page 11, “SF connect to the grid—vulnerability in receiving electricity from PG&E”; (2) discussed the Bicycle Coalition’s plans for the Balboa Street Bicycle Corridor; and (3) to reference literature on using horses for transportation.


Member Simone inquired about how the report would be presented and how to manage all of the four pages of recommendations.  Member Katz stated that the information would be condensed and would be using graphs or scatter charts similar to what the New York Times uses.  Member Simone discussed the possibility of blocking off certain downtown streets to cars.


Public Comment


Ms. Friedemann discussed the possibility of gas rationing on a local, state and national level.  Discussion was held on the possibility of electricity rationing.  Ms. Friedemann recommended (1) looking at what is absolutely essential first and pull from that data figures to justify the desired conclusion; and (2) anticipate what is going to happen and whether the City should expedite or discourage it and how to do it.


Dr. Parsons commended Member Katz on his work on the report. It was suggested that there should be recommendations to say what would happen if the top three recommendations were not addressed. 


Mr. Brumm stated that the timeframe needed to do a new project such as putting light rail across bridges would take at least 20-25 years of planning.  It was suggested that a recommendation be made to put something in on a fast track, as 20-25 years would not be useful for light rail and you would have to make infrastructure available for when people actually need it, e.g. MUNI.


6.      Inclusion of Land Use Section in the Report. (Discussion) Speaker:  Chair Rosenmeier


Continued to the September 2, 2008 Meeting.


7.      Brainstorming Recommendations Regarding Vulnerable Populations. (Discussion) Speaker:  Chair Rosenmeier


Continued to the September 2, 2008 Meeting.


8.      Discussion of Contents of Societal Functioning Report Section. (Discussion) Speaker:  Member Simone


Member Simone reported that (1) he was working with other individuals on identifying social and psychological issues; (2) is reviewing neighborhood community solutions and looking at models, one of which is the Mr. Rob Hopkins model of energy descent pathways, which led to a Transition Towns model being adopted by 50 small towns in the United Kingdom; and is researching models that can be used in cities as close to San Francisco’s size as possible; (3) he has talked to Mr. Daniel Homsey, who works on emergency planning that uses the Neighborhood Empowerment Network and would like to know if the Task Force would like to request a future presentation; (4) in today’s MBA Presidio webinar, Mr. Ben Lowe, Oil Drum, talked about how over-planning can serve against you and how people would have to be prepared for the unknown; and (5) requested members’ input into evaluation criteria for a neighborhood committee plan.  


9.      New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  Chair Rosenmeier reported that Supervisor Mirkarimi offered to provide assistance in acquiring information Task Force members would need in order to complete the report.  Task Force members were asked to provide a list to the Chair. Mr. Broomhead stated that he would provide a report of the information that he has available and information that the Task Force would need help acquiring.  Chair Rosenmeier stated that Supervisor Mirkarimi would request a six-month extension and would consider whom to appoint for the vacant seat.  Member Simone inquired about holding special meetings.  Task Force members indicated that special meetings may not be required if there is a six-month extension.  Member Katz recommended that the Task Force complete their work in two months, before the six-month sunset date.


September 2 agenda item requests included:  (1) Member Mark’s presentation on the Food section of the report; (2) Vulnerable populations—discussion about parameters as well as details about actual recommendations; and (3) Land Use inclusion in the report.  Chair Rosenmeier suggested that Mr. Ben Lowe, who has worked on emergency management, attend a future meeting to present on personal preparation for emergencies. Vice-Chair Meyerson reported that he would not be available for the next meeting.


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 adjourned at 7:25 p.m.


Approved: September 2, 2008


** 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.


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