12.02 Approved Minutes






TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2008, 3:00 P.M.






TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  Jeanne-Marie Rosenmeier (Chair), Bernard Meyerson (Vice-Chair), Patricia Gerber, Benjamin Lowe, Jason Mark, and Cal Simone (1 Vacant)



1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Task Force meeting convened at 3:05 p.m.  Present:  Chair Rosenmeier, Vice-Chair Meyerson, Members Gerber (4:30), Lowe (3:21) Mark, Simone.


2.      Approval of the November 18, 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 November 18, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Absent:  Members Gerber and Lowe) (Explanatory Document:  November 18, 2008 Approved Minutes).


3.      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 November 18, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion and Action)


Chair Rosenmeier (1) inquired if Task Force members in attendance at today’s meeting had received Member Gerber’s email stating her opposition to retaining the site and (2) explained that one of the Presidio School of Management presentations was by Member Lowe.  Upon Motion by Member Mark and second by Member Simone retaining the presentations on the web site was approved without objection (Absent:  Members Gerber and Lowe).


Items 5-8 and 10 were heard before Item 4.


4.      Presentation of the Architecture Section of the Report. (Continued from the November 18, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)  (Explanatory Document:  Architecture Section Draft) Speaker: Member Gerber


Members provided the following comments on the Architecture Section:

1.      Section should be less redundant in areas, condensed, and more details should be provided so that a lay-person could understand concepts; e.g. in the section that states the City and County of San Francisco should require that all new developments be energy positive—explain what an energy positive building looks like.  On the topic of improving efficiency—name four or five ways to improve efficiency, etc.  (Member Mark) Member Gerber stated that she would work on a summary.

2.      Add detailed information about the overall energy use of residential and commercial buildings. (Member Mark)

3.      Add specific policy proposals to the discussion on retrofit of existing buildings and split incentives in a city made up largely of renters. (Member Mark)

4.      Assessment section sounds one sided and negative.  Rework this section in a way that states that there are things that are not good right now, indicating that some things are happening to correct the situation, but not enough is being done. (Vice-Chair Meyerson)

5.      Provide additional information on commercial, multi-family, private and single-family buildings.  They have different needs, requirements and situations.  Separate the buildings out in the assessment. (Vice-Chair Meyerson)

6.      No sense of having energy positive requirements if you can’t add excess energy to the grid. (Vice-Chair Meyerson)  Member Gerber discussed how community choice aggregation would provide for excess energy use.

7.      Elaborate on adopting best practices from other jurisdictions (what to adopt, how to determine what a best practice is, and how to adopt other ideas).  Add examples to an appendix.  (Vice-Chair Meyerson)

8.      Add information in the assessment section about what the current state is in San Francisco in order to assess impacts and where we should be—how many buildings do we have, what percentage are residential versus commercial, what percentage of buildings in San Francisco are energy efficient, then build strata to say how many are inefficient. The scope of how things are today will give context to future recommendations. There must be a supposition that recommendations are based on. (Member Lowe) Member Gerber explained that the supposition is that every building in San Francisco could stand improvement.  Member Mark recommended clearly stating suppositions and adding statistics to support suppositions.

9.      Add statistics on the number of renters in San Francisco. (Member Lowe)  Chair Rosenmeier recommended including a pie chart separating residential and commercial renters.    

10. Include statistics on what amount of energy is going into our buildings (natural gas and electricity) separated by residential and commercial. Mr. Broomhead stated that the national average for residential dwelling units is low. 

11. There are eight or ten different factions that don’t lead to recommendations. (Simone)

12. Strategy for mitigation should be different for municipal, commercial and residential units because they use energy in different forms.  Our energy use is very low per unit so it makes a poor target for efficiency measures because you can put in a lot of money and not save very much.  As a result, other focus areas may be of higher priority. (Chair Rosenmeier)  Chair Rosenmeier indicated that she had provided additional written comments on this section. 


Member Gerber suggested including a section in the Introduction on how to prioritize how much time, energy and money the city should invest in fixing up infrastructure as opposed to transportation and other areas.  Member Gerber inquired about the metrics to base prioritization and in evaluating what has to be done.  Member Simone explained that the legislation states the focus should be on fossil fuels.  Mr. Broomhead recommended structuring recommendations in priority order to explain what is going to have the most impact on fossil fuel use.  Member Simone discussed the importance of the Task Force taking the Richard Heinberg approach, that we have to get things underway that should have been done yesterday and if we don’t do this by a designated time, that bad things will happen. Vice-Chair Meyerson expressed his disagreement with some of these concepts. It was stated that it is important to have a Commission to follow what is happening with the real world on a year-to-year basis.


Mr. Broomhead, Department of the Environment Energy Manager, stated that when reading the document, it can be seen that there are problems, but there is no indication of how big the problems are and how to prioritize them.  There is no discussion on whether we are trying to address electricity or natural gas and where the impact on the built environment is going to be.  What is the impact that is going to be felt by the peak oil program and what are the solutions to fix the problems?  Mr. Broomhead did state that he does agree with the recommendations, and that they are ongoing and in process today. It was suggested that a recommendation be made that the Green Building Ordinance should be updated to add electric vehicle infrastructure to new construction projects.


Public Comment:  Mr. Woody Hastings stated that (1) the use of the pronoun “we” is unclear and it should be stated who “we” is referring to, whether it is the Task Force, the City, society, etc; (2) URL’s should be footnotes or added to the back of the documents; and (3) avoid using references to elected officials and political figures.  Additional details will be provided offline.   


5.      Presentation of the Food Section of the Report. (Informational Presentation and Discussion) Speaker:  Member Mark. 


Member Mark confirmed that the food topic should include assessment of the current situation, vulnerabilities, mitigation strategies, and recommendations for actions.  Member Mark reported that his section would be ready for the December 16 meeting and would forward a copy for review six days before the meeting.  Chair Rosenmeier and Member Mark discussed whether to add a recommendation that the City should investigate the feasibility of vertical farming on roof top gardening.  Vice-Chair Meyerson recommended prioritizing funding for food security. 


Member Mark suggested that each section should have their own recommendations, and the Executive Summary should include the best of the top ten recommendations from each section.  Member Simone reported on his conversation with Mr. Cal Broomhead, Department of the Environment Energy Manager, recommending that it is better to have five core relevant recommendations than fifteen peripheral recommendations.  Member Simone also recommended food security, water, and health issues as top priorities.  Chair Rosenmeier referred to the San Francisco Bay Oil discussion on whether the Task Force should address whether there is a need for energy to maintain the water system, and whether it is necessary to survey the age of water pipes.  Vice-Chair Meyerson discussed the bond issue to upgrade the Hetch Hetchy system.       

Public Comment 


Mr. Woody Hastings reported that he had forwarded written comments on this section to Member Mark.


Ms. Sraddha Mehta, Department of the Environment Environmental Justice program, expressed her interest in the Food and Vulnerable Populations sections of the report as it may relate to the work that is being done in the Environmental Justice program. Member Mark asked Ms. Mehta to send written comments on the Food Section.


6.      Presentation of the Transportation Section of the Report. (Informational Presentation and Discussion) 


Member Lowe reported that he is working on the various subsections of Transportation to find the most relevant information on areas of interest that include public transportation, pedestrian and bicycle access, automobiles, and freight.  Plans that San Francisco currently has in place that will help the Task Force reach its goals are also being reviewed; e.g., San Francisco has a lot of policies in the General Plan that recommendations are being made for, most specifically (1) transit-first oriented policies and (2) energy and environmental goals.


Member Lowe stated that he would like to recommend that San Francisco not incentivize the growth of hybrid and hydrogen-based vehicles if it is at the expense of allocating resources into more sustainable practices such as cycling and walking.  A recommendation was made to create a transportation pyramid of the most sustainable activities being highest on the list.   Member Mark recommended that recommendations be made regardless of available funding because it is not the Task Force’s responsibility to secure funding.  


Vice-Chair Meyerson recommended recovering rail haul in order to get away from truck hauling and that a mechanism for doing so would be to repair the railway tunnel so that it would fit freight cars.  It was explained that there would be stimulus for infrastructure development in the new administration.  Vice-Chair Meyerson also recommended building on water transportation and coastal barging. Member Lowe reported that General Plan objectives and policies have been researched in order to identify which are in the best interest of the Task Force to pursue. 


Member Lowe questioned the viability of large scale biofuel programs and stated that he was in favor only if there were to be a net energy gain.  Vice-Chair Meyerson recommended keeping an eye on scientific development.  Vice-Chair Meyerson recommended telecommuting as an alternative if work can be accomplished that way without a need to commute. Chair Rosenmeier suggested that the Task Force not recommend policies that the economy will do anyway, e.g., when it gets too expensive to drive, people will do it anyway. Member Lowe reported that telecommuting is the largest and fastest growing group, and that there was a 3% rise from 2006.  Member Lowe stated that a draft would be available for comment before the December 16 meeting.


Public Comment:  Mr. Woody Hastings inquired whether the Municipal Transportation Commission’s (MTC) 2009 Regional Transportation Plan was being reviewed and discussed the importance of reviewing regional transportation.  Chair Rosenmeier confirmed that was one of the documents being reviewed.  Mr. Hastings reported that he is on the Municipal Transportation Commission’s Citizens Advisory Council, and explained that a lot of what MTC does is to advance public transit, but does not embrace peak oil.  Mr. Hastings reported that he has formed a sustainable transportation subcommittee that is trying to advance some of the peak oil concepts. 


7.      Presentation of the Societal Functioning Section of the Report.  (Informational Presentation and Discussion) Speaker:  Member Simone reported on his meeting with Mr. Broomhead to discuss how to frame proposing a new Commission to implement Task Force intentions and recommendations.  Chair Rosenmeier stated that societal functioning would not be a separate section and that most of the section would be placed in the vulnerable populations section.  Member Mark suggested putting elements of this section in all sections.  Member Mark also felt that the language in the report is over alarmist .


Member Simone explained that societal functioning is (1) the psychological well being and impact of individual people and groups within the City and what needs to be done to deal with that; and (2) the fabric of society itself.—what types of things do we need to look at as a city in order to prevent, ameliorate, or prepare for certain situations.  Member Mark felt that (1) it may not be the City’s responsibility to deal with this issue, and (2) that most of this section would include government services, schools, and libraries and should be included in Vice-Chair Meyerson’s infrastructure section.  Member Simone stated that he is working on the communication element as it relates to its impact on society.  Member Simone asked members to send him written comments. 


8.      Presentation of the Vulnerable Populations Section of the Report.  (Informational Presentation and Discussion)


Vice-Chair Meyerson stated that vulnerable populations would increase in numbers as a result of peak oil and would bring about an increased demand on the welfare/social services system.  It was explained that one of the major programs funded locally is for homeless care for mostly adult males, and that families with dependent children are covered under state and federal programs. It was explained that state and federal entitlements may change based on an increase in the number of people needing assistance, and local agencies would not be in a position to pick up funding that was being cut.  Funding would also be required for administrative support for programs.  In addition, a rise in fuel costs would impact vulnerable population as food delivery costs may increase, resulting in higher food costs. A discussion was held on how the system might respond if it were to be overloaded. 


Mr. Broomhead stated that rising fuel costs would also have an impact on auto-reliant businesses, e.g. restaurants where people drive into from other parts of the city.  Mr. Broomhead inquired whether a study had been done on sociological fallout from high gasoline prices on the economy.  Member Mark reported that bus ridership went up 8% across the country and people changed their habits as a result.  A recommendation was made to contact the Department of Social Services for additional information.


Items 10 and 4 were heard before Item 9.


9.      Recruitment of a Graphic Designer for the Final Report. (Continued from the November 18, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)  Speaker:  Chair Rosenmeier


Member Mark inquired whether it would be legal for the Task Force to start a collection for a stipend position for a graphic designer.  Chair Rosenmeier stated that she had discussed this possibility with the Deputy City Attorney, and explained that there is a maximum that can be donated without signing paperwork. 


10.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  Vice-Chair Meyerson questioned why the Berkeley Peak Oil Task Force draft document references collaboration with the San Francisco Task Force.  Members stated they would review the draft document for additional information.


The December 16 meeting would be rescheduled from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. to 3:00 – 6:30 p.m. in order for members to present all sections.  Members would send in their sections to the Commission Secretary by the Thursday before the meeting by 9 a.m. for members’ review.  Sections that are not reviewed at the December 16 meeting would be reviewed at the first January meeting.  The February meeting would be focused on report release and press conferences.  At the Chair’s request, Ms. Fish reported that she would contact Supervisor Daly’s office to request that a Rules Committee meeting be scheduled for review of the open seat on the Task Force.  


Public Comment:  Ms. Mehta inquired whether the report sections would be available to members of the public as explanatory documents.  Member Mark reported that the sections that are turned in will be posted to the agenda.


11.  Adjournment.  The Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force meeting adjourned at 5:33 p.m.


*Approved:  December 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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