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10.30 Approved Minutes








Monday, October 30, 2006, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102 


*The Monday, October 23, 2006, 5:00 p.m. meeting was rescheduled to Monday, October 30, 2006 at 5:00 p.m.


COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair); Ruth Gravanis and Angelo King


Commission Secretary:  Monica Fish







The meeting was called to order at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis. Excused: Commissioner King.


2.   ACTION:  Adoption of Minutes of the September 11, 2006 Regular Meeting.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Wald the September 11, 2006 Meeting Minutes were approved with amendments. (Absent:  Commissioner King). (Explanatory Document:  Approved Minutes of the September 11, 2006 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.  Ms. Joan Reinhardt Reiss, BCF-BAWG, inquired as to whether a purchasing policy for third party contractors can be written into Requests for Proposals without having to create legislation in order to do so. 


Item 6 was heard before Items 4 and 5.


4.   INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Implementation of the Precautionary Principle-Three Year Review (Explanatory Document:  Precautionary Principle Three Year Report Draft)

SPONSOR:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director

SPEAKER:  Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager


Director Blumenfeld advised that the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) passed its term sheet, which included many references to the San Francisco Precautionary Principle.  Ms. Debbie Raphael reported that the Precautionary Principle Ordinance (Chapter 1 of the Environment Code) requires that no later than three years from the effective date of this Ordinance and after a public hearing, the Commission on the Environment shall submit a report to the Board of Supervisors on the effectiveness of the Precautionary Principle Policy.  A draft report was distributed in Committee meeting.  Ms. Rafael discussed elements of the Draft Report that includes:


·         The report provides a summary of the definition of the Precautionary Principle Ordinance and discusses implementation in the City over the course of three years.

·         Section A reports on the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance.  A more detailed report will be prepared.

·         Section B reports on how the Department used the idea of a Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance and an Alternatives Assessment approach in the issue of pesticide registration.

·         Section C reports on San Francisco Foundation Grant Support to community partners to move the Precautionary Principle beyond the boundaries of the Department.

·         Section G—Ms. Raphael asked for input on Challenges and Next Steps for inclusion in the Report.


Ms. Joan Reinhardt Reiss, Bay Area Working Group (BAWG) reported that BAWG has been involved in passage of both the Precautionary Principle Ordinance and the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance and have now taken on a new challenge to inculcate the culture of precaution throughout a bureaucracy and a system.  Ms. Reinhardt Reiss stated that San Francisco is the best place to take on this effort because of its progressive thinking.  It was stated that with grants awarded by the San Francisco Foundation, the Bay Area Working Group and the Neighborhood Assemblies Network, a project is being embarked on that involves broad community, agency, and City department input using a World Café approach.  The goal is to look at which community problems would be most amenable to a precautionary approach and to look at the culture of precaution without incorporating legislation.


Mr. Kenoli Oleari, Neighborhood Assemblies Network (NAN) stated that Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance Actions Nos. 2-5 are requirements that call for other aspects of public participation and decision making which include a right to know, alternatives assessment, full cost accounting, and participatory decision making and are often overlooked.  Mr. Oleari discussed NAN’s work with the BAWG and the Department of the Environment to bring together San Francisco citizens to review and make decisions about those issues that incorporates all five tenets of the Precautionary Principle.  NAN was described as a non-profit organization with a mission to bring the kind of skills that make it possible for diverse groups to come together and act effectively with communities around the world.  NAN had worked on World Environment Day events to convene 80 people that spoke 40 different languages to talk about the future of their cities around the world.  


Ms. Raphael stated that one way of moving the precautionary idea without legislation is with a focus on education.  It was indicated that there could be future legislation enacted to expand the precautionary approach, but in the short term the conceptual framework has to go out to other City departments and the community.  The San Francisco Foundation Grant is asking other departments to work together and learn about what a precautionary approach might involve and to think about problems they know about that need solving and might benefit from this approach.


Mr. Neil Gendel stated that the Healthy Children Organizing Project is a member of the BAWG and its work is focused in San Francisco.  Mr. Gendel distributed documentation outlining the recent precautionary actions influenced by San Francisco’s Environmental Code Precautionary Principle (Items 1-4).  A discussion was held on SFUSD’s compliance problems with the Precautionary Principle, current status of work being done, and recommendations for a plan for success. 


1.      San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)


·         Environmentally Preferable Janitorial Purchases

·         Adopted High Performance Renovation Design Standards but few renovations at this point are focused on improving the school environment and are mostly focused on ADA compliance.

·         Adopted Integrated Pest Management Plan but having trouble implementing

·         Plan to prevent exposure to lead hazards, improve IAQ in schools.


2.      Ordinance prohibiting sales of toys/child care articles containing BPA/phthalates to children under the age of 3 (San Francisco, Chronicle October 26, 2006-“City Sued over Ban on Children’s Products using Suspect Chemicals”).


3.      ATF Environmental Committee: Healthy Private Homes Initiative-guidelines to follow.


4.      Initiative helping low-income caregivers to learn how to clean homes the non-toxic way.


Ms. Raphael stated that several City Department partners have made use of a precautionary principle approach, e.g. the Department of Public Health letter in reference to applying the precautionary principle to look for potential for harm when cause cannot be proven in reference to cruise ship terminals.


Public Comment:  Mr. Rich Berman, San Francisco Port, stated that the Port has environmental issues and is aware of the Precautionary Principle, but that a greater appreciation and implementation is necessary.


Commissioner Gravanis agreed with Ms. Reinhardt Reiss that service contract RFP’s should include precautionary measures without the requirement for legislation and inquired as to the legality of doing so.  Dr. Chris Geiger, City Toxic Reduction Coordinator reported that there is nothing preventing Departments from putting language in RFPs, and what is needed is for Department staff to discuss this issue with them.


Director Blumenfeld stated that the Department has originated a food policy that prevents anyone who does contracts with or receives grants from the Department from purchasing bottled water, soda, and is required to buy local organic non-meat foods.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that the Commission on the Environment could urge departments to voluntarily adopt the food policy or a similar policy, e.g. City Hall and Public Library concessionaires that are selling food items on City property, that are using drinks with high fructose corn syrup, using Styrofoam, and other products that are unhealthy.  Chair Wald stated that a combination of encouragement by the Commission, the Department, BAWG and NAN’s new avenues of public participation are creative ways of applying external pressure to the various departments to apply the Precautionary Principle.


Ms. Raphael reported that the San Francisco Foundation Grant would help in hiring staff and providing external partners in relaying the message effectively.  It was recommended that joint public hearings be held with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Health Commission, or other Commissions in order for the Commission to be more involved.  Chair Wald recommended that the Commission issue a Resolution commending departments of noteworthy actions.


Public Comment:  Ms. Lurilla Harris inquired if there was a local government central agency that purchases products that all Departments use and recommended consulting with this department first.  Ms. Raphael stated that the Purchasing Department was included when the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance was passed and recommended awarding Ms. Naomi Little of the Purchasing Department with recognition for her efforts.  Director Blumenfeld recommended (1) discussing a recognition process with the Department’s Outreach area; (2) developing a Precautionary Principle Checklist of different options that would meet requirements; and (3) that the Mayor requested that City departments complete a Precautionary Checklist through a program called SF Stat.   


Ms. Jennifer Clary, Clean Water Fund stated that she has created a table for a water plan for the Environmental Justice program area and recommended using the word template instead of checklist. Ms. Reinhardt Reiss stated that a checklist means you are done and is not in the culture of precaution. Director Blumenfeld stated that a checklist is a tool in educating people and call for action, not a finite goal, but a starting point.  Ms. Clary recommended that this issue be brainstormed by NAN and BAWG. 


Mr. Oleari advised that through outreach efforts, it was determined that people in the city have anxiety over any kind of regulation.  Mr. Oleari stated that they are working towards making sure that all voices are heard, including business people and City departments.  It was stated that there is fear and competition between departments when there should be communication, integration, cooperation and collaboration.  Director Blumenfeld cautioned about using the Precautionary Principle to try to solve all City problems.


Public Comment:  Mr. Berman spoke in support of a checklist about process and as a tool for educating people on what they can do to meet the objectives of the Precautionary Principle.


Mr. Gendel stated that the way you help people succeed should be an important element.  It was recommended that a team be set up to provide department training and develop sustainable relationships so those trained can take over the training over time.  Also recommended was that quality should be included into a checklist.  Director Blumenfeld recommended a quality assurance sign off process.  Mr. Gendel stated that department turnover has effects and stressed the importance of sustainability.  Commissioner Wald recommended helping departments succeed by selecting the most amenable departments to the process and asking them to dedicate a project as an experiment.  They can then discuss their successes with other departments.  Director Blumenfeld suggested an incentive mechanism for good behavior and success. 


Public Comment:  Unidentified Speaker stated that she used to be the Deputy Director for Sustainability for New Jersey state and recommended that departments be reached out to, to educate them about the Precautionary Principle, learn more about what they do, and ask them to incorporate an idea for sustainability into their upcoming projects.  Commissioner Gravanis asked for examples of something that has happened and has been applied that could be relayed to other people.  Commissioner Wald stated that purchasing alternatives is an example of a project that has already been done.  Ms. Raphael stated that the Report would outline specific examples that have been adopted.


Ms. Reinhardt Reiss suggested that an interdepartmental and advocates group be set up to share experiences and discuss upcoming projects.  Dr. Chris Geiger stated that a Mayor’s Directive was published that requested that all departments appoint a Green Purchasing Coordinator. 


Ms. Clary asked when the Final Report would be ready and if there would be an opportunity for public review.  Ms. Raphael advised that the Report would have to be approved by the Commission on November 15, a Final Report would be posted on the Department’s website, and an email will be sent out to interested parties.  Ms. Clary also advised that the Policy Committee website should be updated to include current members.  Ms. Raphael advised that additional attachment letters can be forwarded along with the Report to the Board of Supervisors and can be forwarded to the Commission Secretary for inclusion.


Commissioner Wald recommended that within the Challenges Section (1) challenges within the department, e.g. staffing requirements be included and (2) to recommend that there be periodic Report updates.  Ms. Reinhardt Reiss suggested that this report and purchasing reporting be joined so they are happening at the same time.  Ms. Raphael stated that purchasing reporting is done on an annual basis.  Ms. Reinhardt Reiss discussed the work that has been put into the Ordinance and accomplishments since its inception.


5.   INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Department of the Environment Staff Report on Organic Food Priorities (Explanatory Document:  Sustainable Food Policy Next Steps).

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

SPEAKER:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director


Director Blumenfeld stated that in order to operationalize what it means to implement the Urban Environmental Accord on organic food priorities, the Department looked at whom the target markets would be and how it could be done.  Target markets include:


·         City and County of San Francisco: 


o        Hospitals:  the Department of Public Health is providing the lead on working with hospitals.


o        Public Schools:  Department is meeting with Ms. Margaret Brodkin and a parent volunteer that has been working with the School District to advocate for a nutrition food policy.  The Department’s School Education Program has a pre-existing relationship with teachers.  Current issues revolve around agriculture and climate impacts.


o        City-sponsored Events:  State law requires the Department to have recycling plans for City-related large events.  A requirement could be added that a permit will not be issued for an event unless local organic/local food is provided.


o        Citywide Food Contracts:  Contracts for bread and milk are already local, but there is potential to increase organically certified products.


·         Commercial


o        Private Hospitals:  Ms. Anya Fernald who spoke at the September 11 Policy Committee is working with Kaiser who is already involved.  A grant has been received to work with hospitals.  A good relationship is in place with the 26 hospitals.


o        Private Schools:  Department is also working with private schools on other issues.


o        Concessions on City Property:  The City has contracts with concessionaires and could require them to participate.


o        Restaurants/Food-Oriented Businesses:  Meeting was held with a group that will be producing a report that rates restaurants on their locality and organic food they serve.  Restaurants are brought in by congratulating them for doing the right thing, encouraging others, and providing incentives.


·         General Public


o        Farmers Markets:  The Environmental Justice Program is involved in the Bayview Hunters Point Farmers Market.


o        Community Supported Agriculture:  A means for local residents to be delivered local, seasonal and organic food.


Director Blumenfeld stated that the Department would like to do a joint proposal with the Department of Public Health for the Columbia Foundation to work out the critical path to meet objectives.  Efforts would include determining what legislative barriers and opportunities exist in all these different areas, meeting with all food distributors, thinking of linkages between local food distributors and City agencies, and working out what the opportunities are based on that assessment.  The next step would then be to apply for a grant and work with the Commission to initiate whatever legislative changes are necessary. 


Dr. Chris Geiger stated that the interagency working group on sustainable foods and Department staff have been working on this thought process.  It was advised that the Green Business Checklist already includes an item on sustainable foods, but it is a matter of making it more operational.  Director Blumenfeld stated that he is working on establishing a relationship with the Yellow Pages to place green stars next to green businesses.  It was advised that the City Food Council has done a lot and the Department would like to integrate efforts.


Ms. Brice Tencer introduced herself and described her background doing legislative work in sustainable agriculture.  Ms. Tencer started with the Department two months ago to do toxics outreach.  Director Blumenfeld advised that the Outreach program area was reorganized to include program area specific outreach staff, e.g. Recycling Outreach, Toxics Outreach.


Public Comment:  Ms. Leah Rimkus, San Francisco Food Systems Project, spoke in support of an interagency partnership and opening up to areas that include City contracts and concessionaires.  It was stated that the School District is now working with a local farm transitioning to organics in order to supply the schools with 14,000 apples. 


Ms. Raphael stated that Whole Foods has signs that say what is California grown and suggested that Safeway do the same.   


Public Comment:  Ms. Wuerfel inquired as to the definition of organic.  Director Blumenfeld stated that the Department is using (United States Department of Agriculture) USDA, seasonal, and 250 miles as a basis for labeling a food local.  Dr. Geiger stated that the interagency working group is working on pinning down the elements of the definition.  Director Blumenfeld stated that the priority should be in purchasing local foods.  Dr. Geiger suggested that the Commission hold a discussion with the Health Commission on these topics.  Ms. Wuerfel asked if you have the ability to expand the locality when foods are out of season.  Director Blumenfeld responded no. 


Public Comment:  Mr. Stefan Lynch, San Francisco Food Systems, stated that he had worked on a similar policy with the Department of Public Health that had passed around sustainable foods.  It was recommended that the definition be flexible around institutions and jails that are not set up to do cooking and only assemble foods.  Ms. Wuerfel stated that in reference to hospitals, there are people that have specific nutritional needs and have allergies and would need to select from certain food groups that are only available outside of the local area during a certain season.  Director Blumenfeld stated that the Commission is pursuing that 20% of the food that is provided to these institutions in seven years be local and organic, leaving 80% open. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Alicia Culver, EnviroSpec, stated that distributors seem to not be open to or connecting with the effort.  It was recommended that a focus be placed on working on getting them to change, hiring distributors that sell organic food, and implementing a local distribution effort within a competitive bidding process.  It was stated that a conversation should be held with City agencies to see what the opportunities are, surveying which distributors are available, and what they can offer. 


Director Blumenfeld stated that after the September 11 meeting and discussion with Ms. Fernald, it was determined that the Department does not want to reinvent the distribution food wheel and stated that the City is not that well placed to initiate and link different farms with different needs. Mr. Lynch stated that there are fabulous distributors within the City and recommended CAFF as a great option. Commissioner Gravanis discussed the article regarding a local distributor in the Bayview Hunters Point area that is providing produce to a community that would otherwise not have any.


Commissioner Gravanis discussed a member of the public’s concern with food sold in the parks, especially at Golden Gate Park special events.  It was suggested that the Recreation and Park Department’s contracts and leases be researched.  Director Blumenfeld advised creating an Ordinance to include bidding conditions in contracts specific to concessions.  Commissioner Gravanis asked who initiates the contracts for City Hall concessionaires. 


Mr. Lynch discussed San Francisco Food System’s interface with the Mayor’s Shape Up campaign in San Francisco.  It was advised that the group consists of a coalition of many groups in San Francisco that is concerned with public health in the Bay Area. 


6.   DISCUSSION AND ACTION:  Development of Commission on the Environment’s Attendance Policy.  (Explanatory Documents:  Attendance Template, Board of Supervisors Resolution No. 502-06, and Mayor’s Correspondence of September 18, 2006, October 30, 2006 and Attendance Template)


Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes discussed Board of Supervisors Resolution No. 502-06 urging all Boards, Commissions, and Advisory Bodies created by statute to adopt a policy regarding attendance and to submit any policy they adopt by December 1, 2006.  Subsequently, the Mayor issued a directive to Commission Secretaries pertaining to Charter Commissions or Commissions that he appoints members to, that they adopt a policy and make annual attendance reports to the Mayor’s Office.  The City Attorney’s Office has since created a sample attendance policy that meets both the Resolution and Mayor’s Directive requirements.  The Commission should decide whether to include Committee attendance, as it is not addressed in the sample policy.


Chair Wald asked if there are any laws that are applicable to Commission attendance.  Deputy City Attorney Barnes stated that the Mayor is the appointing authority for Environment Commissioners and Commissioners serve for a specific term.  The intent is that Commissioners meet certain understood commitments of the position.  The sample attendance policy requires that a report be made after three consecutive non-excused meetings.  Deputy City Attorney Barnes suggested that the Commission’s policy state what the existing bylaws say regarding attendance requirements and to include language from the existing sample. 


Upon Motion by Member Gravanis and second by Chair Wald, it was recommended that a policy be created and forwarded to the full Commission for adoption as follows: (1) a reference to the Commission’s Bylaw’s attendance; (2) add the City Attorney’s sample language, and (3) include the Commission on the Environment’s standing committees.  (Absent:  Commissioner King)


7.   DISCUSSION:  Programmatic and legislative schedule for Policy Committee one-year calendar for 2006 (Continued from the January 9, 2006 Regular Meeting) (Explanatory Document:  Programmatic and Legislative Schedule)

SPONSOR:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

SPEAKER:  Jared Blumenfeld, Director


This item was continued to the next Policy Committee meeting.

8.      INFORMATION:  New Business.  Commissioner Gravanis advised that the next Commission meeting would be held on Treasure Island on November 15 to replace the November 28 regular meeting.  The focus will be on sustainability and Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands right now and in the future.  Commissioners confirmed their availability for the next Policy Committee meeting on November 13, 2006.  Commissioner Gravanis recommended that the Urban Environmental Accord dealing with Urban Nature would be calendared for the next meeting.


9.   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.


10.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 6:55 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 [email protected].


Respectfully submitted by,



Monica Fish

Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709

FAX: (415) 554-6393



Adopted:  November 13, 2006

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