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06.12 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Monday, June 12, 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 May 16, 2006 Special Rescheduled Meeting.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Desser and second by Commissioner Wald the May 16, 2006 meeting minutes were approved with no objection (Absent:  Commissioner Rodriguez). (Explanatory Document:  Approved Minutes of the May 16, 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.   INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Update on the Supermarket Checkout Bag Agreement.

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

SPEAKER:  Director Jared Blumenfeld, Department of the Environment

 

Director Blumenfeld discussed the Mayor’s Letter of Agreement with the Department of the Environment and the majority of San Francisco supermarkets that calls for the reduction of ten million grocery-checkout bag-use by December 31, 2006 to help meet City government’s landfill diversion goals.  In order to achieve this goal the Progressive Bag Alliance hired an ad company to implement a “reduce, reuse and recycle” campaign and is working to create signage for cash register and checkout employees.  Director Blumenfeld reported that the Department will monitor implementation of the reduction target by collecting information from local supermarkets and apprise the Mayor whether reduction targets were met recommending whether any future modifications should be made to the Agreement.  Commissioner Wald requested a report to the Policy Committee when data is received in the fall.

 

  1. DISCUSSION:  Urban Environmental Accord Actions Implementation Plan: The Policy Committee worked with Department staff, concerned members of the public and others to create a plan for implementing Urban Environmental Accord Action 12: Urban Nature-Pass legislation that protects critical habitat corridors and other key habitat characteristics (e.g. water features, food-bearing plants, shelter for wildlife, use of native species, etc.) from unsustainable development.  A discussion was held on what we should know to develop such legislation and how we can obtain that information.

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

SPEAKERS:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director; Mr. Peter Brastow, Nature in the City 

 

Commissioner Wald introduced Urban Environmental Accord Action 12 as one of the three priority accords that the Commission would be implementing as part of World Environment Day.

 

Mr. Tim Wirth, Trust for Public Land was scheduled to speak but was not able to attend the meeting.

 

Mr. Peter Brastow, Director, Nature in the City distributed and discussed a fact sheet in Committee  that includes information on San Francisco’s natural resources; local, state, and federal agency management of resources; natural areas on public lands; threats and impacts of invasive weeds; and policy analysis of federal, state, city laws and regulations to protect and conserve natural resources. 

 

Mr. Brastow recommended methods to achieve optimization of conservation in San Francisco.  Suggestions included stronger legal protection of natural resources; interdepartmental, interagency and inter-jurisdictional planning coordination; adding strategies for accomplishing goals to the Biodiversity Element of the Sustainability Plan; and cataloging natural resources in San Francisco.  Additional recommendations are contained in the memo link above.

 

Director Blumenfeld announced that the Department is co-sponsoring an event at Yerba Buena Island on Thursday, June 15 at 9:30 a.m. to remove invasive species and to do a sustainability tour of the Island.

 

Commissioner Wald and Director Blumenfeld discussed the importance of an inventory of critical migratory corridors and unprotected undeveloped land in order to protect these lands from unsustainable development.  The importance of an interagency inter-jurisdictional effort was emphasized.  Director Blumenfeld noted that there is a lack of Department funding to create an inventory and suggested (1) making a request to the geology or geography studies programs in academic institutions such as San Francisco State University to take on a GIS mapping effort; (2) to access existing university studies; and (3) start up a countywide inter-organizational scientific effort.  A discussion was held on the need to define what the effort should be, provide definitions of terms and public education, and to create celebratory events about our natural environment.

 

Commissioner Desser recommended convening a working group or other entity that consists of Bay Area scientists, San Francisco State and/or UC Berkeley geography/geology classes, the community, and City government departments and to focus on what their tasks should be to reach goals.  Mr. Brastow recommended creating legislation to create a working group.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Ruth Gravanis recommended that the Accord scope be broadened to include more than the primary focus on prevention of development of unsustainable buildings on critical corridors. The importance of community involvement, public outreach, education and involvement was emphasized.   Other suggestions included (1) researching school curriculums on critical habitats and natural ecosystems remaining in the City; (2) learning what other cities are doing to celebrate and protect their naturally occurring ecosystems; (3) issuing certificates for property owners of backyard habitats, and (4) creating legislation on (a) mechanisms for allocation of surplus property to public entities, and (b) preventing critical habitat corridors from being lost, e.g. the Ansel Adams property. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Steven Krefting, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters commended the Committee for recognizing water ecosystems in San Francisco’s territory and recommended obtaining data from the Marine Mammal Center, the Oceanic Society, and the Bay Institute.  Additional suggestions included (1) obtaining data from the Golden Gate AudubonSociety on birds, their diets as it relates to native or non-native plant species, and their location; (2) to include links to areas outside of San Francisco; and (3) connecting Fort Funston, Golden Gate Park and other areas for quail habitat.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Jake Sigg, California Native Plant Society recommended educating the public on the appropriate plantings suitable for butterflies and birds.  Commissioner Wald suggested identifying species that we want to encourage in San Francisco. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Bill Carlin discussed the San Francisco Chronicle article on the impact of environmentalism on people. Mr. Carlin recommended defining terms, e.g. unsustainable buildings and development, food-bearing plants for whom, use of native species for what and how, or use by native species, and whether critical habitat corridors refer to present or future corridors.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Kay (name unclear) discussed the Oakland Habitat Goals Project of the Bay Area Open Space Council, a science-based process to protect habitats such as the East Bay Hills.  Spoke in support of expanding the wording of Accord 12 to (1) not only protect critical habitat corridors, but to restore them in line with the goals of the Biodiversity Element of the Sustainability Plan, and (2) not just to protect sensitive species but to support their recovery.  Additional recommendations included focusing on land management in addition to ownership and mixing habitat considerations with the City’s watershed plan to promote restoration throughout the City.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Linda Yacobuca recommended defining terms for the general public and emphasized the need for public education.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel recommended allocating funding for this project and not relying on university volunteer efforts.  Director Blumenfeld stated that there are agencies that may be interested in funding non-profit organizations to take on aspects of this project once an action plan has been developed.    

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Lisa Wayne, Recreation and Park Department stated that other City agencies such as Recreation and Park Department may be interested in moving these ideas forward once resources have been identified.

 

Committee members requested a copy of the World Environment Day Nature in the City workshop transcript.

 

6.   INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Overview of Recently Completed Refuse Rate Process.

SPONSOR/SPEAKER:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

 

Director Blumenfeld presented an overview of the refuse rate process and reported that (1) rate payers would be subject to a 28% increase over the next five-year period; (2) a new program would be run by Norcal for universal waste and toxics collection where computers, electronic devices, compact and fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, used oil and paint would now be collected through the bulky item collection process and special trucks would pick up toxic collections; (3) a new system of commercial rates would be implemented whereas the more recycling that is being done, the less the rate would be.  Additional reports made included a discussion on the diversion incentive account that was established for Norcal companies to meet recycling goals of 75% by 2010 and the creation of a conversion incentive account for Norcal to switch to using Biodiesel B20 in new vehicles.

7.      INFORMATION:  New Business.  A discussion was held on the potential of revising the Precautionary Purchasing Principle to include service contracts.  A request was made to cancel the July Policy Committee meeting and to schedule Urban Environmental Accord Action 17: Promote the public health and environmental benefits of supporting locally grown organic foods topic to the September meeting.  Commissioner Wald discussed the Bay Division Pipeline Reliability Upgrade Project (June 2, 2006 Planning Department Notice of Environment Impact Report and Notice of Public Scoping Meetings received in Committee meeting). 

 

8.   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.

 

9.   ADJOURNMENT.  The meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

 

** 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:  September 11, 2006

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