Policy Committee‎ > ‎2011 Meetings‎ > ‎

08.08 Approved Minutes







MONDAY, AUGUST 8, 2011, 5:00 P.M.






COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Rahul Prakash




1.    Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Excused:  Commissioner Prakash.


2.   Approval of Minutes of the June 13, 2011 Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: June 13, 2011 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald the June 13, 2011 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Absent:   Commissioner Prakash).


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.   Climate Program Update. Sponsor: Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speaker: Adam Stern, Climate Program Manager (Explanatory Document:  Climate Program Presentation to Policy Committee) (Informational Report and Discussion) 


Mr. Stern reported on the Department of the Environment’s reorganization to bring together three program areas: climate, renewable energy and green building.  He provided an overview of goals, objectives, progress, timelines, and next steps for each (Presentation Slides 2 – 6).


·        Climate: assess progress on 2012 greenhouse gas reduction goals; update Climate Action Plan in consultation with other City agencies and expand web presence; revitalize 2009 Carbon Fund to support new carbon-reduction projects in San Francisco; and initiate adaptation planning with assistance of a consultant, involving key city agencies, and working with the Mayor’s Office on developing a scope of work.


·        Renewable Energy: work with Mayor’s Renewable Energy Task Force to develop plan for generating 100% of electricity used in San Francisco from renewable sources; launch Solar@Work program enabling small and medium-size businesses to benefit from group solar purchase discounts; streamline the solar permitting process; expand online renewable energy maps; and reduce natural gas use.


·        Green Building: legislation before the Board of Supervisors to require LEED Gold for all municipal projects; work with the Department of Building Inspection to monitor private-sector compliance with green building codes; implement the existing Commercial Building ordinance to benchmark and track energy performance focusing initially on the city’s largest buildings; implement Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for commercial buildings and reestablish residential program; and work with Business Council on Climate Change to distribute a Green Tenant toolkit.


Commissioner Gravanis inquired about new carbon fund projects being considered and suggested that projects be made available for the America’s Cup event so that it can be as carbon-neutral as possible.  Mr. Stern reported on three carbon fund projects under review: (1) expand tree planting efforts and improve our urban green park areas to show carbon benefits and improve the environment and quality-of-life for city residents; (2) accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations; and (3) expand the use of biodiesel especially with City fleets by accelerating the development of the necessary fuel tanks.  It is hoped that a strong Carbon Fund program will be in place in time for the America’s Cup organizers to consider and serve as an opportunity to build support for carbon-reduction efforts. Director Nutter reported that the America’s Cup Organizing Committee committed to offsetting its travel to Cascais, Portugal for the current round of races through the San Francisco Carbon Fund.           


Commissioner Gravanis stated that the America’s Cup event provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the San Francisco Bay Delta estuary.  A discussion was held about sea-level rise and greenhouse gas emission impacts to our wetlands and shoreline habitat and the importance of providing places for habitats to retreat to.  She stated that in addition to tree-planting projects, wetland restoration and other restoration projects be considered as carbon fund projects and suggested consulting with Literacy for Environmental Justice, the Port of San Francisco, and other City agencies toward these efforts. 


Commissioner Wald suggested that an effort be made to advise people on opportunities to help realize Climate Action Plan goals.  She asked whether there is a way to use people’s interest in the America’s Cup to encourage participation in the development of the plan or adherence to its goals.  Mr. Stern reported that San Francisco’s progress toward achieving reduction goals that will soon be shared and validated with other City agencies who will be encouraged to develop new recommendations and strategies for the City to adopt for goals beyond 2012. A completed strategy and updated Climate Action Plan will be available towards the end of the year.  Work is currently in progress on how to best present this information on the web for the public to access and act on.  The America’s Cup event provides an opportunity to fit into this process.  Mr. Stern said he expects that San Francisco’s progress in reducing GHGs would exceed goals set by the U.N. Kyoto Protocol and California’s Assembly Bill 32 (AB32), and that this progress would motivate people to continue San Francisco’s leadership in this area. 


Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the locations being considered for implementation of district heating.  Mr. Stern reported that an opportunity exists at the Transbay Terminal development site.  Director Nutter reported that three additional potential sites to evaluate are Treasure Island, Bayview Hunters Point, and the 4th Street Corridor.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested holding discussions with developers of Seawall Lot 337 (San Francisco Giants Ballpark A, Mission Rock).  Director Nutter reported on a Vancouver policy requiring assessment of district heating and cooling opportunities for all developments that meet certain criteria as a way to accelerate district heating and cooling.  Commissioner Wald suggested that more incentives are needed for this program and inquired whether LEED points would be issued. 


Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the role that Commissioners can take toward these efforts.  Mr. Stern reported that as progress is made in these initiatives, he would like to return to the Commission for their guidance and experience on strategies being considered.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the Commission have a more active role as appropriate and possibly be asked to participate in meetings as needed. 


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested that (1) as a way to integrate activities, staff should issue regular reports to the Committee on efforts by other bodies that the Department staffs, e.g., the Urban Forestry Council, Resource Efficiency Building Task Force, and Biodiesel Access Task Force; (2) direct the Climate Action Plan not only to City departments, but to businesses and individuals who also impact results; (3) localize the manufacturing and production of America’s Cup souvenirs, manufactured goods, and food products to reduce transportation impacts of offshore products.    Commissioner Wald suggested that Mr. Stern develop and encourage partnerships with non-profit and environmental organizations to further program goals. 


5.   Commission on the Environment Retreat Follow-up--Evaluation of Retreat and Recommendations for the Future.  The Committee may make recommendations to the full Commission.  Sponsors:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis and Director Nutter; Speaker:  Director Nutter (Discussion and Possible Action)


Commissioners and Director Nutter discussed the June 9, 2011 retreat topics that focused on the Department’s outreach and communication methods to the public in the areas of Commercial and Zero Waste, EnvironmentNow, San Francisco Home Improvement Performance (SFHIP), Toxics Residential Shade Tree Mechanics, and Greening the Dry Cleaning Business.  Commissioners relayed the importance of communications metrics and reporting in order to monitor success of Department programs. The agenda topic of reviewing the Commission’s accomplishments and policy goals was not heard at that meeting and was continued for discussion. 


Commissioners provided their recommendations for future retreat and/or meeting/workshop topics, format, and content.  Key points of discussion included:


·        The amount of information presented should be structured in a way that Commissioners are better able to express their opinions and provide suggestions, e.g. not too much or too little information.  


·        The Department has so many programs and projects that the Commission could be apprised of.  In an effort to prioritize staff time, differentiate between report formats to the Commission, e.g. written or oral.


·        Consider discussing traditional retreat topics such as assessing Commission accomplishments of the past year and plan for future goals.  Consider scheduling retreat topics at regular meetings of the Commission.


·        Discuss the Commission’s and Committee’s role in identifying, implementing, and setting policy for inclusion in the Strategic Plan.  Review Commission Charter provisions and identify what Commissioners would like to see as Department goals once resources become available and if not available, establish policies and identify fundraising opportunities.    


·        Discussion was held on the evolution of the Department from identifying policies and policy setting to management, communications and implementation of policy.  How the Commission can play a role in current and future policy making; e.g., America’s Cup, Commercial Building Ordinance, Yellow Pages Ordinance, identifying campaigns and policy around consumption and zero waste.


·        Consider focused in-depth workshops on particular topics and publicize the agenda to a targeted audience; e.g., environmental organizations that are interested in that topic. 


·        Create Department programs and discussions around the natural environment.


Public Comment:  Mr. Pilpel expressed his agreement with comments and observations.  He suggested that the Committee (1) hold a discussion about establishing a campaign encouraging people to make conscious choices about consumption; (2) identify a roadmap for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and zero waste;   (3) discuss creating more Department programs around the natural environment; and (4) hold discussions with City agencies on how land management policies relate to environmental values.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested formulating collaborative relationships with City agencies around environmental goals and issues such as land management. Commissioner Wald suggested that the InSight campaign interview people about what they think about when they decide to make a purchase. 


6.   Update on InSight Campaign.  Sponsor Director Nutter; Speaker: Maggie Weiland, Public Relations and Outreach Assistant


Ms. Weiland, InSight Project Coordinator, reported on the InSight retreat that was held with the Director, the Outreach team, and InSight program staff to discuss the campaign’s top priorities and action plan.  Main elements of the action plan included (1) continued maintenance and promotion of the campaign within Department staff, other City departments, and the community through the online forum Ideas4SF; (2) a door-hanger project directed to San Francisco residents to engage ideas through another medium other than the internet; and (3) continued community outreach and in-person communication with the public.  On-line forum statistics were provided on the number of users and number of ideas generated, and success of the campaign will be quantified using those metrics.  She reported on her work managing the forum and reading and delegating ideas to appropriate Department staff in order to formulate concise replies.


Commissioners provided suggestions on the online forum as follows:


·        Manage expectations.  Provide users with instructions on how to use the online forum, if and when a response will be issued.  Provide quality assurance of responses by managing or cross-referencing duplicates.
*    Provide direction on the forum about what the Department plans to do with the ideas provided, whether responses will be shared with other agencies, and when appropriate, refer people to the appropriate agency. Inform participants how many votes total they would be allowed to make; how many different ideas they would be allowed to vote for.

·        Share comments and work with other City agencies on formulating responses. 


·        Structure the website in a way to provide regular updates and gage progress on ideas.


Director Nutter reported that the objective of the campaign is for the Department of the Environment to facilitate and create a forum for the community to share their sustainability ideas, and ideas will be responded to whenever possible.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that this information be added to the online forum in order to manage expectations.  Ms. Weiland stated that another objective of the forum is to generate topics around innovative ideas and connect users back to existing programs. 


Ms. Weiland discussed the door hanger project that will serve as an opportunity to generate interest and attain a wide scope of feedback.  It will help reach out to individuals who do not use the internet, underserved neighborhoods, increase participation in programs, and increase the number of people on mailing lists and newsletters.  Commissioner Gravanis discussed safety and security concerns of door hangers and asked that training be provided to ensure that door hangers are not placed on residences that have “Post No Bills” signs.  Commissioner Wald stated that it is important to tell people what will be done with the information provided and to integrate the number of door-hanger responses into the website.  She suggested adding InSight campaign information to water bill or Recology bill inserts as an alternative. 


Ms. Weiland discussed the in-person communication campaign to generate interest and participation in Department programs.  She reported that she along with four staff/interns attended thirty community events in the past two-and-a-half months, conducting 500 surveys asking the same questions that the online forum asks. Success of this campaign is being quantified, and more community outreach is planned.  


Director Nutter discussed plans to engage the new Mayor’s administration in this campaign by relaying top ideas, holding an event with the new Mayor and the community on plans for ideas; and working with the Mayor to adopt and implement ideas. Commissioner Gravanis cautioned against making any suggestion that the number of votes an item got should indicate the value of that idea.  Commissioner Wald suggested that Department staff provide the Mayor with an expert opinion on ideas and show the level of community support as well as a roadmap for implementation. 


Public Comment:  Mr. Pilpel stated that (1) he appreciates the door hanger and web campaign, and that it would be interesting to compare response rates from different communication channels to different communities; (2) spoke in support of the handout developed for the Earth Day breakfast that has information on all of the Department’s programs and suggested adding the Ideas4SF campaign to that handout and distributing it at all events that staff attends; (3) discussed the Public Library’s referral to the Department as part of the BagIt film as an effective overall communication strategy that other City departments should engage in; and (4) reported that Mr. Westlund, Program Outreach Manager, is leaving the Department to work at the Sierra Club as the Deputy National Communications Director and asked that the Department review its outreach organizational structure.


Agenda Items 7 – 9 were continued to the September 12, 2011 meeting.


7.   Commission Outreach List Project Update.  (Continued from the June 13, 2011 Meeting) Sponsors: Commissioners Wald and Gravanis (Explanatory Document: Memo to Policy Committee and Commission Outreach Draft List) (Informational Report and Discussion). Continued to the September 12, 2011 meeting.


8.   Purposes of Commission Outreach List and Criteria for Inclusion. Sponsor:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speakers:  Commissioner Gravanis and Director Nutter (Discussion). Continued to the September 12, 2011 meeting.


9.   Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion) Continued to the September 12, 2011 meeting.


10.  Announcements. (Discussion)  This agenda item was not heard at this time.


11.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Agenda items discussed for the September 12 meeting included the Outreach List discussion; Committee review of the America’s Cup Sustainability Draft Plan if complete; and Commissioner Gravanis will speak on biodiversity.  Director Nutter reported that the Zero Waste team has asked that the Committee hold a discussion on the use of Impound Account funds for litter cleanup.  Commissioner Wald stressed the importance of receiving explanatory documents at least a week before the meeting on this item.


Public Comment:  Mr. Pilpel stated that there is a requirement that there be a public process around the use of the Impound Account for Department of Public Works litter collection costs.


12.  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.


13.  Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.


The next Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 12, 2011at 5:00 p.m. in Room 421, City Hall.


** 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 Policy Committee’s website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/policy-committee with each set of minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].  


Approved:  October 24, 2011

Unknown user,
Aug 22, 2011, 5:34 PM
Unknown user,
Aug 22, 2011, 5:34 PM
Unknown user,
Aug 22, 2011, 5:34 PM