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03.13 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Monday, March 13, 2006, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair); Arlene Rodriguez and Christina Desser

 

Commission Secretary:  Monica Fish

 

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

Public comment will be taken before the Committee takes action on any item.

 

1.      CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL

 

The meeting was called to order at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Desser and Wald; Excused:  Commissioner Rodriguez.

 

2.      ACTION:  Adoption of Minutes of the January 9, 2006 Special Rescheduled Meeting.

 

Upon motion by Commissioner Desser and second by Commissioner Wald, the January 9, 2006 Special Rescheduled Meeting Minutes were adopted with no objection (Commissioner Rodriguez absent).  There was no public comment at this time. (Explanatory Document:  Approved Minutes of the January 9, 2006 Special Rescheduled Meeting). 

 

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

 

 

4.   DISCUSSION:  Recognition Awards.  The Policy Committee discussed effective ways to recognize the community for their contribution to environmental programs.

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Christina Desser

SPEAKER:  Mark Westlund, Public Outreach Program Manager

 

Mark Westlund, Public Outreach Program Manager discussed awards that are currently offered to the community and City employees that include the Commercial Recycler of the Year (CORY) award, the Integrated Pest Management awards, Green Business Recognition certificate, and awards that the Department of Public Works extends at green summits.  Mr. Westlund advised the Committee of the Mayor’s Office of Greening program “SF Green Connect” that is discussing the idea of community awards and recommended that the potential of additional awards be discussed with the Mayor’s Office.

 

Director Blumenfeld discussed the lack of publicity of awards by the San Francisco Chronicle.  Chair Wald recommended ideas for publishing award winners and linking to programmatic goals of the Department (e.g. signs in bus shelters).  Also discussed was the high cost of advertising and the amount of effort, staff time, and cost required to host award events. The positive aspects of school awards and extending awards to school- children for programs such as composting were talked about.   

 

Commissioner Desser relayed that the purpose of awards should be to recognize good work and to bring attention towards something meaningful that makes an affirmative lifestyle choice that others may take an interest in.  It was suggested that the Department and Commission encourage the Mayor’s Office to host a Green State of the City Luncheon or Dinner or Annual State of the Urban Accords Day that would extend awards on a statewide or international level on selected areas of focus for the environmental accords.  

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Becky Wike recommended making the awards more competitive in order to generate more interest.

 

5.   INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION:  Southeast Wastewater Treatment Facility Master Planning Update from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (Presentation: (PowerPoint)

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Arlene Rodriguez

SPEAKER:  San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Representative

 

Ms. Bonnie Jones, Process Engineer, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Water Pollution Control Division, presented an overview of the San Francisco Sewer System Master Plan Project discussing current updates and improvements that are being worked on.  It was indicated that the Master Plan is updated every thirty years, the last one was completed in 1974 in response to the 1972 Clean Water Act, and a new Plan is being worked on to review facilities and to address problems/issues that include:

 

§         Aging infrastructure

§         Flooding in neighborhoods

§         Seismic reliability

§         Biosolids Disposal

§         Overflows into the Bay and Ocean

§         Southeast Treatment Plant (community impacted by odors)

§         Wet Weather CSO Discharge

§         Regulatory Issues

§         Collection System Odor Complaints (sewer pipes)  

 

A description of three wastewater treatment plants (Southeast plant near 3rd & Evans, Oceanside Treatment Plant, near the San Francisco Zoo, and the North Point Facility near Bay & Embarcadero) was given. Ms. Jones talked about the Plan’s guiding principles that include protection of public health and safety, protection and enhancement of the natural environment, and an open and transparent planning process.  Evaluation criteria e.g. environmental/social/cultural criteria, use of natural resources/sustainability criteria, functional and technical criteria, and economic issues were explained. 

 

Committee Members and Director Blumenfeld discussed programs and infrastructure in other cities and recommended alternatives and possible solutions to problems/issues the Plan is addressing.  The environmental justice issue surrounding the Southeast Treatment Plant where 80% of the City’s wastewater is treated was reviewed.  The community is impacted by odors and opposed to the plant located in their neighborhood.  In response to the problem, SFPUC maintains a weekly odor-monitoring program and is implementing improvements.  The Master Plan is evaluating the possibility of moving the facility and options to treat more wastewater at other locations. 

 

Director Blumenfeld and Committee Members discussed methods for making the water potable.  Mr. Jonathan Loicono, Principal Engineer, SFPUC discussed the feasibility of making the water potable and provided additional details about the Plan. Ms. Bonnie Jones and Mr. Tyrone Jew, SFPUC, discussed the Master Plan and Environmental Review Schedule and indicated that the best apparent project would be selected by the end of this year and the environmental work and framework would be ready by 2007.  Three public workshops would be scheduled on March 23, March 25, and March 28. More information is available on http://www.sfsewers.org.

 

An inter-department working group consisting of the Port, Recreation and Park Department and the Department of the Environment has been set up to discuss next steps.

 

There was no public comment at this time.

 

6.   PRESENTATION and DISCUSSION:  San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance: A Garden in Every School. The Policy Committee discussed how the City could more actively support school greening efforts.

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKERS:  Becky Wike, Staff, Dept. of the Environment; Nan McGuire, SFGSA Chair 

                                                     Arden Bucklin-Sporer, Director, Educational Gardens

 

Ms. Becky Wike requested ideas from the Committee members on how to proceed with supporting school greening efforts through work with other City departments and methods/people to go to secure additional funding.  Ms. Wike advised the Committee of the Department’s involvement that includes the Department’s Steering Committee that is working on programs such as a school food-composting program and the virtual warehouse to tie in with school greening efforts.

 

Ms. Nan McGuire advised the Committee members of the San Francisco Schoolyard Alliance’s program presentation to the San Francisco School Board and directing Proposition B bond funding for the program.  Director Blumenfeld recommended meeting with the Mayor to discuss how to leverage bond funding towards the program.   Ms. McGuire and Ms. Wike described continuing efforts towards getting current Alliance membership and City departments more involved.  A discussion ensued on (1) increasing program visibility by holding more tours of the gardens; and (2) the possibility of obtaining funding by holding a luncheon or breakfast for funders and charging nominal Alliance membership fees.  The “Green Schoolyard Greenhouse Directory” was distributed in Committee meeting.

 

Committee Members recommended contacts and potential funders with an interest in local food systems and sustainable food.  Committee Member Desser suggested engaging architectural students at UC Berkeley to design gardens in schools.  Director Blumenfeld discussed the obstacles involved in discussing greening of schoolyards with school administrators and the PTA and recommended (1) presenting a five-year Green Schoolyard Alliance plan during SFUSD contract negotiations, and (2) developing a PTA resource guide explaining why the program should be done and providing examples of successful programs. 

 

Additional suggestions included:

 

·        Increasing visibility and public relations by advertising in magazines, bus shelters, and the Chronicle Food Section;

·         Tying in Urban Environmental Accord Action 17 with the program: Promote the public health and environmental benefits of supporting locally grown organic foods. Ensure that twenty percent of all city facilities (including schools) serve locally grown and organic food within seven years.

·        Include the program as part of the Mayor’s greening efforts.

 

Ms. Arden Bucklin-Sporer advised that the Alliance is endeavoring to develop an organization that has enough money that will support environmental educators to support the program in schools.  Developing a “Friends of …” was suggested.  A request was made for the Department or the Commission to encourage the Mayor to influence the new SFUSD Superintendent on the merits of the program.  Chair Wald recommended testimonials from program participants.  Member Desser requested a sample budget and program five-year projections/objectives.

 

Public Comment:  Cal Broomhead, Department Staff Energy Manager, advised of the many program funding requests that the PTA receives and that additional requests should be approached in a way where it would not appear threatening to other funding requests. 

 

7.   DISCUSSION:  Urban Environmental Accord Actions Implementation Plan:  The Policy Committee will work with Department staff to create a plan for implementing Urban Environmental Accord actions. 

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Arlene Rodriguez

SPEAKER:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

 

This item was continued to the Policy Committee meeting of April10, 2006.

 

8.   INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION:  Presentation on City policy related to peak oil.

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

SPEAKER:  Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager

 

Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager distributed a report to the Committee at the meeting on peak oil.  Mr. Broomhead defined peak oil and discussed (1) near future predictions and impact to San Francisco, (2) that reducing the impact of peak oil will have a huge overlap with strategies in the Sustainability Plan, Electricity Resource Plan and Climate Action Plan; and (3) peak oil as it relates to re-localization.  The Oil Awareness Group was commended for their efforts on this issue.  Resources were given as noted in the handout, page 4.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. David Fridley, San Francisco Oil Awareness, discussed evidence that peak and global oil production will occur sooner than expected and requires a response.  It was stated that oil depletion is increasing rapidly, that there is a production plateau, new production is not predicted to offset depletion, and reserves are overstated.  Mr. Fridley also discussed ways of removing the high demand for oil, that prices are high and rising, the oil industries’ acknowledgement of peak oil, that oil alternatives are ineffectual, environmentally damaging and not sustainable, and the lack of action by the federal government.  Mr. Fridley encouraged local support. 

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Allyse Heartwell, San Francisco Oil Awareness, discussed the Hirsch Report commissioned by the Department of Energy that points out that in order to avoid a prolonged shortfall in liquid fuels and corollary economic destruction we need to initiate a mitigation crash program 20 years in advance.  Ms. Heartwell stated that (1) we don’t have 20 years—optimistically we only have five years to initiate a program, (2) there is no mitigation or crash program and there is no action being taken on the federal level.  It was recommended that the Precautionary Principle be consulted in considering actions to ensure the future well being of its citizens in reference to this issue.  It was stated that City government’s responsibility is to take action at the local level by making sure that effects of peak oil are felt by the people in San Francisco in a painless and equitable way, that there be planning for the long-term, and making decisions now.  

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Dennis Brumm, San Francisco Oil Awareness presented a Request for Study and Draft Resolution for the Committee’s and Commission’s consideration.  Committee Member Wald asked that Mr. Broomhead study the issues, advise the Committee members of the Resolution content, and suggest next steps.  Mr. Brumm advised that he is continuing to discuss peak oil with the Board of Supervisors and there were a variety of different reactions.  It was explained that the Board of Supervisors considered peak oil last April, but the issue has not been assigned to a Board of Supervisors Committee for discussion.  Director Blumenfeld and Mr. Brumm discussed potential funding sources.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Richard Katz, San Francisco Post Carbon Institute appreciates the Department and Commission focusing on peak oil and spoke in support of efforts by San Francisco Oil Awareness in this area.

 

Mr. Broomhead advised of upcoming re-localization conferences in Willits and the East Bay that a staff member will be attending.

9.      INFORMATION:  New Business.  No new business was discussed at this time.

10.  FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS.  Committee Member Wald advised that she would not be attending the May 8 Policy Committee meeting.  There was no further discussion at this time of future agenda items.

11.  PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.

 

Public Comment:  Unidentified Speaker offered to show a copy of “End of Suburbia” at a Department Brown Bag event.

12.  ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

 

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment’s Policy Committee is scheduled for Monday, April 10, 2006 at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Commission’s website;  (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or (4) via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709

FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

Adopted:  April 10, 2006

 

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