Policy Committee‎ > ‎2005 Meetings‎ > ‎

06.23 Approved Minutes





Thursday, June 23, 2005, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102





COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald, Chair, Christina Desser, Arlene Rodriguez




1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The meeting was called to order at 5:10 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Desser.  Excused: Commissioner Rodriguez.


2.      ACTION:  Adoption of Minutes of the April 28, 2005 Special Rescheduled Meeting. Upon motion by Commissioner Desser and second by Commissioner Wald, the Minutes of the April 28, 2005 Special Meeting were unanimously adopted. 


3.      PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  No public comment was heard at this time.


  1. INFORMATION:  Precautionary Principle Update and Future Direction.

Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

Staff:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director and Debbie Raphael, Toxic Reduction Program Manager, Department of the Environment


Environment Code, Chapter 1. Precautionary Principle Policy Statement was discussed and distributed at the meeting.  The document is available at the Commission office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected]. 


Debbie Raphael advised the Commission that the Precautionary Principle Policy was adopted two years ago, and that Sec. 102 calls for the Commission on the Environment to submit a three-year review report on the Policy’s effectiveness to the Board of Supervisors.


The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing for Commodities Ordinance was signed by the Mayor on Friday, June 17 and is an implementation tool for the Precautionary Principle (Ordinance Number 115-05).


A discussion was held with the Commission, Department Staff and the Public on how to effectively implement the Precautionary Principle throughout City agencies and various communities within the City.  Consideration was given as to how to ensure that the five essential elements (Sec. 101) of the Principle’s approach to decision-making would be implemented.  Recommendations on implementation strategies were as follows: 


§         Request that the City Attorney develop internal City agency guidelines to be incorporated into department decision-making processes at the appropriate point in projects;


§         Legally define the Precautionary Principle and assign a CEQA-like process;


§         Develop effective public participation guidelines for meetings;


§         Implement pilot projects with other agencies and hold citywide trainings;


§         Outreach to other City agencies and Commissions/Commissioners in the next year in order to hold them accountable for implementation of the Principle;


§         Develop a multi-agency grid which maps out upcoming decisions and public processes that will help City departments better define their priorities for implementation of the Ordinance;


§         Empower the general public to follow Principle guidelines;


§         Include the Precautionary Principle in City legislation, e.g. the Green Building Ordinance and Clean Air Ordinance involves the Precautionary Principle. 


§         Precautionary Principle should be part of the decision-making and meeting process for the Board of Supervisors and Mayoral meetings;

§         Identify large-scale controversial projects that are being worked on that could benefit from the Precautionary Principle Ordinance and make sure alternatives assessments are done;


§         Get involved earlier on in the project so it could have an effect on the outcome, e.g. in RFPs, etc.


§         Establish goal-setting exercises and concrete examples that implement the Precautionary Principles.  Make it as public as practical;


§         Hold conversation cafes around the City about the Precautionary Principle;


§         Request the Board of Supervisors incorporate the Precautionary Principle into their town meetings as a training session.


Public comment from Lena Brook, Clean Water Action/BAWGPP on (1) meeting public-comment process; (2) setting long-term goals for implementing the Ordinance; (3) setting priorities for concrete projects and involving the public in decision-making to identify priorities; (4) encouraging the Commission to have cross-Commission and Agency collaboration on implicating the Precautionary Principle in their decisions; (5) using the Sustainability Plan as a place to start for setting goals; and (6) focus on City agencies that have impact on the quality of life, physical environment, jobs.  Recommended a pilot project with another agency.  Their group is working with the PUC on the Waste Water side of the Master Plan to implicate the Precautionary Principle in their decisions.


Public comment from Neil Gendel, Healthy Children Organizing Project, expressing concern agencies that are outside the reach of the Ordinance e.g. San Francisco Unified School District and the Housing Authority are exposing children to toxic chemicals/hazardous materials through facility use. He requested help in encouraging these agencies to stop using hazardous chemicals and in making the public aware where the exposures are happening in order to protect children’s health.  A recommendation was made to develop agencies to monitor and educate City and non-City agencies on the Ordinance.


Public comment from Janet Nudelman, Breast Cancer Fund recommending (1) cross agency, cross Commission and cross City community collaboration; (2) a grid on the part of the agencies for them to better define their priorities for implementation; (3) convene community town meetings that include geographic neighborhoods, different constituencies, business communities, and occupational communities to generate priorities for implementation and compare overlap between city agencies and the community; (4) interagency training by key staff who have been involved in the Precautionary Purchasing Principle to help teach implementation; and (5) agencies to take the five tenets of the Precautionary Principle (Sec. 101), put together their ideas for implementation and knit that into their Master Plan; and (6) establish a new Commission with representatives from every agency as well as community members responsible for implementing the Precautionary Principle.


Jared Blumenfeld, Director discussed how the Environmental Accords fit into the Precautionary Principle.


5.      NEW BUSINESS:  No new business was heard at this time.


6.      FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:  The Policy Committee meeting of July 28, 2005 would be cancelled.  The next regular meeting is scheduled for August 25, 2005.


7.      PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  No public comment was heard at this time.


8.      ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,



Monica Fish, Commission Secretary


Adopted:  October 27, 2005

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Mar 1, 2011, 3:15 PM