Policy Committee‎ > ‎2011 Meetings‎ > ‎

12.12 Approved Minutes






MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 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 Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:03 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Excused:  Commissioner Prakash.


2.   Approval of Minutes of the November 14, 2011Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: November 14, 2011Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action).  Commissioners Gravanis and Wald complimented Commission Secretary Fish for an outstanding job of condensing the meeting minutes into a shorter format that can be more difficult to accomplish than longer transcripts.  Commissioner Gravanis did point out that a longer format can be beneficial to Commissioners who miss a meeting.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the November 14, 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.  Ms. Lurilla Harris requested a future Policy Committee discussion about the Board of Supervisors proposed legislation opposing the sale of certain rodent control poisons.


4.   Update on America’s Cup Zero Waste Plan. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Zero Waste Plan) Speakers: Michael Martin, Project Director 34th America's Cup, Office of Economic and Workforce Development; Alex Dmitriew Commercial Zero Waste Assistant Coordinator, Department of the Environment, Rich Berman, Utility Specialist, Port of San Francisco. (Informational Presentation and Discussion)


Mr. Michael Martin reported that the Zero Waste Plan is one of nine implementation plans called for in the America’s Cup Host and Venue Agreement.  The initial draft published in March was a broad overview of waste management strategies for the entire event area including spectator areas. The current draft, as required by the Host and Venue Agreement, targets only the Port venues where the events will be held rather than park areas.  An articulation of how these strategies will be implemented along the waterfront will be before the Board of Supervisors as final approvals are sought.


Mr. Martin discussed the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process as it relates to waste management strategies and potential mitigations for environmental impacts.  Public and Policy Committee comments are to be incorporated into a revised Zero Waste Plan to be published in January with a further articulation of implementation strategies and how the City and Event Authority will develop a unified approach to what is called for in the plan.  


Mr. Alex Dmitriew provided historical context to how the Department of the Environment has implemented Zero Waste policies through provision of resources, training, education, and outreach to all City agencies associated with events, event producers, and green event organizers.  He reported on updates contained in the Zero Waste Plan since it was first published in March and presented to the Committee at its April meeting.  The implementation section on responsibilities has been eliminated pending further discussions, and sections on Waterfront Special Event Composting and Waste Reduction Policy, International Waste, Planning for Temporary Toilet Facilities for Event Venues, and estimated event costs have been added.   


Mr. Dmitriew reported on all applicable City Zero Waste ordinances and requirements that the America’s Cup event is subject to, and the Department’s work with America’s Cup event organizers to provide outreach, education and training to event sponsors.  He distributed the Department’s Zero Waste Checklist provided to event organizers, producers, and City agencies to help set up a successful Zero Waste event in San Francisco.  Mr. Dmitriew pointed out that the event contains a significant education and training component to promote marine stewardship and outreach to the public about the marine environment and how to best mitigate the impact of these events and personal actions. 


Mr. Rich Berman reported that based on the Department of the Environment’s recommendations and goals to strengthen the City’s Zero Waste goals, a proposal will be brought before the Port Commission as an informational item on December 16 to add a requirement to the Port’s lease, license and permit agreements with event organizers that would “ensure that food waste streams from large outdoor events can be easily composted, and that marine life in the bay is protected from plastics and other litter.”   The proposal has been added to the Zero Waste Plan Section 3.2.6.  Material will be available for public review on December 13, and plans are to bring the proposal back to the Port Commission for adoption on January 4, 2012.  Director Nutter confirmed with Mr. Berman that it may be possible to integrate the Port Commission’s comments on the proposal into the Zero Waste Plan by December 31, the due date for public comment.


Commissioner Gravanis spoke in support of the Port’s proposed Events Policy relative to the America’s Cup and other future events and suggested that other City agencies adopt similar event practices.  She provided suggestions for language, formatting and content of the Zero Waste Plan as follows: 


·         Correct the Table of Contents and pages with correct page numbers.

·         Add the practice of reduce, reuse, and recycle as a main topic in the Table of Contents.  Reusable products should be advocated for more than compostable and recyclable.

·         Confirmed with Mr. Berman that the Port would be including a blanket prohibition on the intentional release of balloons due to its harmful effect on the marine environment.

·         Insert stronger language in Section 3.2.6 about waste prevention methods changing the term “refrain from” to “prohibit” selling plastics to achieve a plastics-free event.

·         Reinsert information contained in the March draft about implementation accountability and add funding sources and enforceability strategies.

·         Require that compostable items be clearly labeled.

·         Secure a commitment from licensed vendors that waste-prevention measures will be implemented before issuance of a permit.


Commissioner Gravanis questioned whether the Department of the Environment would be providing funding and staff resources to the America’s Cup that would be diverted from other program work.  She suggested that the Commission Operations Committee draft a budget and estimate of how much staff time and resources would be required.  Director Nutter confirmed that the Department does not currently have a separate budget for the America’s Cup. 


Commissioner Wald spoke in support of the Port’s proposal, but also suggested that the Port Commission strengthen the language in order to achieve the objective of zero waste.  She suggested that (1) the Plan reference how the success of reaching the zero-waste goal would be measured and publicly reported on; and, (2) that an analysis be prepared on the period after the first set of races and races next year to determine the success of reaching current goals and setting future goals and expectations. 


Mr. Dmitriew reported on the Plan’s section on adaptive management and current protocols established with Recology to measure and document results of source separation.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested also measuring the amount of waste that will end up in the bay and other locations. Commissioner Wald suggested that a beach cleanup event be scheduled after the America’s Cup event.  Mr. Dmitriew discussed interacting with other organizations involved with cleaning the bay on this effort that may already have existing baseline data to expand on.


Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Event Authority commit to applying the same measures in Recreation and Park Department, state and federal lands and other areas that will be affected by this event.   Commissioner Wald suggested involving other City agencies about what should be done and who would be responsible.  Director Nutter reported that two department-head meetings were held focusing on the America’s Cup as it relates to Port venues and would report back on discussions at future meetings. 


Public Comment:


Mr. Steven Krefting spoke in support of Commissioner’s comments.


Ms. Jill Savery, America’s Cup Event Authority, stated that she recognizes the need for more specifics and metrics in the plan and reported on challenges that are faced due to timing of all the activities to allow the event to move forward, e.g., the Environmental Impact Report certification process, issuance of permits, and working with different agencies on the different venues.     


5.   Committee Review of the Commission on the Environment 2011 Annual Report Draft Content for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. (Continued from the October 24, 2011 meeting) (Explanatory Document:  Commission 2011 Annual Report Draft) (Discussion and Action). Commissioners and Director Nutter reviewed and revised the 2011 Draft Annual Report as will be reflected in the next reiteration of the Draft Report that will be presented to the Policy Committee for review and approval at its January 9, 2012 meeting.  The Commission Operations Committee meeting is scheduled to review and approve its section at its January 18, 2012 meeting for recommendation to the Commission at its January 27, 2012 meeting.


Public Comment: 


Mr. Steven Chiv confirmed that 1.55 million tons of material was diverted from landfill as an addition to the Annual Report. He expressed his gratitude to the Commission and Policy Committee members for their input into the environmental sustainability of the America’s Cup.


Ms. Lurilla Harris (1) encouraged the Department to generate more publicity about its brown bag events as a public education opportunity, (2) to provide more citywide information on the use of toxics products; and (3) provided editorial comments on the Annual Report.


Item 6 was heard before Item 5.


6.   Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion). Director Nutter (1) introduced Mr. Kevin Danaher, Outreach and Communications Program Manager for the Department of the Environment; and reported on (2) Board of Supervisors continuance of the plastic bag ban ordinance to allow for more outreach; (3) the success of the Department’s holiday open house held last week and plans to continue quarterly open houses to continue to strengthen ties with the community and partners from the community;  (4) World Green Building Council’s award to San Francisco for having the best green building city policy; and (5) the Governor’s conference in San Francisco on December 16 on “Climate Risks in California’s Future.”  Commissioner Wald requested that Commissioners be added to the Department’s press release list.


7.   Announcements. (Discussion) Commissioner Gravanis announced (1) the Planning Commission’s certification hearing of the America’s Cup Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on December 15 at 5 p.m., (2) Port hearing on approval of EIR findings scheduled for December 16 at 10:15 a.m.; and (3) her attendance at the Mayor’s Budget instruction meeting on December 16.


8.   New Business/Future Agenda Items (Discussion). Commissioners suggested that the January 9 Policy Committee meeting include (1) the Annual Report revised draft; (2) America’s Cup Zero Waste Plan update and response to Committee suggestions; and (3) Policy Committee focus in 2012 and Department staff input into priorities.  Additional future agenda topics suggested include: (1) Climate Plan update; (2) Department Outreach vision; (3) Community InSight agenda topics to incorporate into Policy Committee agendas; (4) current staff development opportunities and recommendation to the Operations Committee to encourage staff development; (4) Planning Department presentation on the Recreation and Open Space Element revised Draft Plan; (5) Balloon Release Ordinance update; and (6) Biodiversity Resolution implementation plans.


Public Comment: Mr. Forrest Hanson expressed his interest in energy conservation and green energy and finance.


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 7:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

Telephone (415) 355-3709; Fax (415) 554-6393


The next Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 9, 2012 at 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:  January 9, 2012

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