10.21 Approved Minutes






TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 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 5:02 p.m.  Present: Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members Gerber, Katz, and Simone; Excused:  Member Mark.


2.      Approval of the October 7, 2008 Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Chair Rosenmeier and second by Member Katz, without objection the October 7, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved as written (Absent:  Member Mark) (Explanatory Document:  October 7, 2008 Approved Minutes)


3.      Presentation of the Revised Economy Section of the Report. (Explanatory Document:  Economy Section Revised Draft 101708) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)  Speaker: Chair Rosenmeier


Chair Rosenmeier presented the revised Economy Section and discussed quotes, graphics, and pie charts that would be included. Task Force members provided their comments and recommendations on report topics, e.g. (1) the long term viability of tourism and developing recommendations on how San Francisco can diversity its revenue stream; (2) rising energy prices and intermittent unavailability of energy; (3) current fluctuation in oil prices; (4) referencing federal as well as state funding for enlarging the railway tunnel giving access to the Port; (5) lack of interface in need, availability and funds; (5) formatting and additional report considerations.  Vice-Chair Meyerson inquired whether vulnerable populations would be included in individual sections or in a separate section.  This item would be addressed during agenda item 7.  Chair Rosenmeier was commended on her work on this section.


Public Comment


Mr. Steve Vitka suggested that the Task Force recommend that another Task Force be created to look into alternative currency as a result of liquidity problems that might arise and to research solutions to the subject at large.  Mr. Vitka stated that he does not have any idea what is going to happen with the world financial system and feels that there should be a plan in place if it does collapse because a city would need a means of exchange.     


4.      Presentation of the Architecture Section of the Report.  (Explanatory Document: Architecture Section Summary of Recommendations) (Informational Presentation and Discussion) Speaker:  Member Gerber

Member Gerber reported that the Architecture Section of the Report was organized as a summary of recommendations because of the Task Force’s mandate to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.  Member Gerber discussed this section’s report recommendations that include: 1) update San Francisco’s Green Building Ordinance; (2) retrofit existing building stock for better energy performance; (3) mandate commissioning of all buildings every two years; and (4) adopt best practices from other jurisdictions.  Additional detail on each recommendation can be found in the explanatory document above.  Task Force members provided comments and recommendations.  Member Simone inquired whether all report sections should address the issue of intermittent electricity availability. This item was continued for discussion to the November 4, 2008 meeting.


Public Comment:


Mr. Don Eichelberger stated that he plans to deal with intermittency of production if he is appointed to the Task Force.  Mr. Eichelberger stated that all comments should be aimed at how to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce energy use, and this position should not have to be defended.  Additional recommendations made include (1) the City should be responsible and take a cautious approach because it may be on its own for an extended period of time due to an earthquake or other catastrophe that is going on, and more catastrophes are possible because of aging infrastructure; (2) create a body to implement Task Force recommendations and other recommendations made throughout the years; and (3) create a funding mechanism (issuing revenue bonds, assessing taxes and duties) for the City to implement conservation measures.  Mr. Eichelberger discussed current and future ideas that would be developed within the next ten years and the need to be in a position to incorporate those ideas.  Mr. Eichelberger reported on the Department of the Environment’s SF SolarMap website http://sf.solarmap.org/, a map of solar activity in San Francisco.


Mr. Dennis Brumm stated that fossil fuels would be required for solar, windmills, injectors for cars etc. so there would still be dependence on fossil fuels. Mr. Brumm discussed the future viability and expense of solar panel installations. 


Mr. Steve Vitka stated that we need to build out our solar and renewable energy capacity and discussed financing ideas for solar panel installations.


5.      Recruitment of a Graphic Designer for the Final Report. (Discussion) Speaker:  Chair Rosenmeier  


Member Katz reported that the graphic designer that he had contacted had not yet responded to whether he would be able to work on the final report. Chair Rosenmeier reported that the final report would be delivered to the Board of Supervisors in electronic format, but that she would like several copies printed so it could be handed out to people.  Ms. Fish reported that the Department Outreach Program Manager, Mr. Mark Westlund, could be contacted for additional information on reproduction and transmittal of the final report.  This item was continued to the November 4, 2008 meeting.


Public Comment:  Mr. Eichelberger requested that the report be reproduced in an energy-efficient way so as not to overproduce paper copies.


6.      Brainstorm Ideas for Inclusion of Vulnerable Populations into the Final Report (Continued from the October 7, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)  Speaker:  Chair Rosenmeier


Chair Rosenmeier asked members to consider whether vulnerable populations should be included in each section or in a separate section of the report. Task Force members discussed their ideas for this section on topics that include public housing; women and poverty; life-line rates for the use of MUNI; solar hot water installations; investigating PG&E welfare programs and other existing programs; vehicle transportation services for people who are not able to use public transportation; contacting social welfare agencies dealing with vulnerable populations to provide data; the impact on the expanded vulnerable population as there is a higher degree of unemployment; establishing a percentage of city mitigation dollars allocated to vulnerable populations; subsidized or free transit prices for families with schoolchildren that qualify; state subsidy for weatherizing if tenants are low-income; dedicate public space for community gardens in poor neighborhoods; and food distribution services to vulnerable populations, etc.  


Member Simone asked members to clearly define vulnerable populations and asked for a specific list of questions so he could contact relevant social welfare agencies for data.


Mr. Steve Vitka inquired about the free MUNI idea.  Member Katz discussed a MUNI Assessment report that was prepared a year ago that discusses the financial impact on the system from increased ridership therefore making free MUNI a non-viable idea at the present time.  Mr. Vitka discussed building ideas as it relates to heating and energy conservation issues, e.g. smaller rooms retain heat more efficiently.


Mr. Don Eichelberger concurred with the suggestion to contact the Welfare Department and other agencies dealing with vulnerable populations requesting relevant data.    


This item was continued to the November 4, 2008 meeting.


7.      Presentation on Cell Phone Vulnerability to Energy Interruptions. (Informational Presentation and Discussion) Speaker:  Member Simone


Member Simone reported on his communication on this topic with a member of the public that is opposed to cell phone technology in San Francisco.  It was stated that unlike the regular phone system, cell phones are completely dependent on the power grid.  There are approximately 475 wireless bay stations in San Francisco, and the vast majority does not have backup power generation capability.  Some of them do have battery backup, but the technology is being misused.  Cell phone companies wait for batteries to fail before replacing them because there are no publicly mandated rules and regulations for testing batteries and making sure they meet an effective replacement schedule.  Vice-Chair Meyerson asked Member Simone to research how much power cell phones require, e.g., how many watts per hour. 


Member Simone discussed failure with the battery systems and generation facilities.  It was explained that there are codes that require a weekly test in hospitals and residential structures but there is no legislation for other uses.  It was also explained that backup generation stations are expensive to maintain.  Member Simone stated that cordless phones also require use of the power grid and recommended that everyone in the City have a land line or have access to a cell phone in case of emergency. 


Vice-Chair Meyerson felt that this issue may not be related to peak oil and would pertain more to the work of the Office of Emergency Services. It was stated that the Office of Emergency Services should stabilize a communication network in case of energy interruptions or other disaster.  Member Simone felt that this issue would relate to vulnerable populations because it is possible they would not have a way to actively communicate with anyone during an emergency. Member Katz stated that many people have switched to voice over internet and if the internet were to go down, they would not have a method of communication.


Public Comment:


Mr. Steve Vitka recommended supporting a text messaging infrastructure as it uses less energy.

Mr. Eichelberger recommended encouraging LAN lines especially among vulnerable populations. It was stated that emergency communications is done mostly by radio.  Businesses should use LAN lines and not cell phones to avoid economy downfalls.


Mr. Dennis Brumm stated that keeping the internet functioning is not a San Francisco issue, and there is no way San Francisco can keep the Internet functioning.  Mr. Brumm discussed the large amount of electricity that servers are using.  Member Katz discussed aggregating places for people to go to use the Internet.


8.      Report on the Association for the Study of Peak Oil Meeting. (Continued from the October 7, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Speaker:  Member Gerber  


Member Gerber reported that she had attended the Association for the Study of Peak Oil Meeting and reported on the discussions held on (1) the need for non-reliance on natural gas and (2) subsidies for and feasibility of ethanol and hydrogen.      


9.      Consideration of issuing an invitation to Mr. John Kaufmann of the Portland Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force to present at a future San Francisco Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force Meeting.  (Discussion)  Speaker:  Member Gerber


Member Gerber reported that Mr. Kaufmann could provide useful recommendations on San Francisco’s final report as he was a major contributor to the Portland report.  It was explained that Mr. Kaufmann could attend a Task Force meeting if invited to attend.  Chair Rosenmeier stated that she would be meeting with Mr. Kaufmann on October 27 when she is in Portland and could provide a report at the next meeting.  Chair Rosenmeier also reported that Mr. Kaufmann would be attending a meeting in San Francisco on November 3 and suggested that members could schedule a meeting with him on the evening of November 3 individually or with less than a quorum of members.  


10.  Presidio School of Management Town Hall Meetings--Vote on whether to retain the presentations on the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force web site. (Continued from the October 7, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion and Action) (5 minutes)


Member Gerber motioned to retain the presentation website, second by Vice-Chair Meyerson.  Member Gerber withdrew her motion.  Chair Rosenmeier motioned to retain the website, second by Vice-Chair Meyerson (AYES:  Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Member Simone; NOES:  Members Gerber and Katz; Absent:  Member Mark).  This motion did not pass and was continued to the November 4, 2008 meeting.  A legal opinion would be requested if a vote is required to not retain the website as the motion to retain the website did not pass. 


Public Comment:  Mr. Eichelberger stated that whatever is relevant to the Task Force should be retained on the Task Force website.  


This item was continued to the November 4, 2008 meeting. 


11.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion).  Member Simone would be presenting a Draft of the Societal Functioning section of the report and a discussion would be held on distribution of the Energy Section of the report.  Chair Rosenmeier announced that the Rules Committee would be hearing a new member appointment on Thursday, October 23.


Public Comment:  Mr. Eichelberger requested that the Energy Section that he had previously submitted be considered on November 4.    


12.  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.


13.  Adjournment.  The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force meeting adjourned at 7:31 p.m.



*Approved:  November 4, 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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