Policy Committee‎ > ‎2012 Meetings‎ > ‎

01.09 Approved Minutes






MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2012, 5:00 P.M.






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




1.    Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:02 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis.  Commissioner Prakash has resigned from the Commission on the Environment and Policy Committee effective January 3, 2012.


2.  Approval of Minutes of the December 12, 2011Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: December 12, 2011Policy Committee Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the December 12, 2011 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis).


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 were no members of the public present at this time.


4.  Community Insight Campaign Ideas for Policy Committee Agenda Planning. Sponsor:  Commissioner Wald; Staff Speaker:  Kevin Danaher, Communications and Outreach Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)


Communications and Outreach Manager Danaher reported that the objective of the first phase of the Community InSight project was to solicit viewpoints from the public on what they feel are the most important environmental issues that the Department should focus on.

He reported that data is being analyzed to identify top ideas relevant to the Department, determine what was learned from the experience, and next steps going forward.   The most popular and relevant ideas received are in the areas of growing the green economy, food issues, urban agriculture, transportation, and street-bike lanes.  Categories that the Department will be focusing attention on include:


·         Commit to growing the green economy and creating local and green jobs.  The Mayor is committed to creating local and green jobs and recuperating the mid-Market Street area.  Existing programs creating jobs include the Commercial Energy Performance Ordinance, Energy Watch, the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance, San Francisco Home Improvement and Performance program, GoSolar SF, Solar@Work, Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, and CleanPowerSF.


Mr. Danaher discussed the idea of resource recovery called “up-cycling” that is to take things out of the waste stream and make products that could be sold in the local economy.  An analysis will be prepared to identify all the things in the waste stream that can be recuperated, made into something useful, and sold in the local economy.  He discussed the economic-enterprise opportunities in reducing environmental problems, referencing the book Climate Capitalism. 


·         Research green enterprise incubation (co-location model) concept referenced in the Green to Gold book.  

·         Research urban agriculture on City-owned lands, golf courses, contracting with groups and utilizing education programs around growing and selling food locally, resulting in improved food security, efficient water use, reduced climate impact, local employment, and access to food at free or reduced prices to low-income people. 

·         Develop youth enterprise around growing, placing in buildings, and taking care of plants that take toxins out of the air as cited in NASA research.

·         Collaborate with Urban Agriculture Alliance on the idea of edible gardens for the public. 

·         Promote healthy food choices throughout the city including vegetarian options, providing more access to fresh fruit and vegetables, resulting in reduced climate impacts of meat-production and transportation.

·         Research and promote SF Recycle IPhone application that lists recycling locations.

·         Promote water conservation ideas and education programs.


Commissioner Gravanis discussed the importance of developing metrics to evaluate the success of the Community InSight project.  She suggested caution when counting the interest that resulted in ideas since input was often times requested specifically of certain groups.   She questioned whether the public knew that comments could be provided into categories that were not included in the website such as nature, biodiversity, and water conservation and questioned if more comments would have been received if these categories were included.  She inquired whether the Strategic Plan would incorporate ideas generated by this process and how the project would influence the Department’s work program.


Mr. Danaher reported that with this project, qualitative metrics such as ideas that may influence job creation, revenue generation and intra-city cooperation would be more important than the number of people voting for a particular idea.   There will be an emphasis on outreach to engage and empower the community as well as connecting people with other agencies using tools such as the Department’s new and advanced website that is due for completion by March, Facebook, Twitter, websites focused on green guardians/green careers and training, and reviving the public film series.    


Director Nutter reported on the limitations of quantitative data because of the audience and how the tool was used.  She stated that project ideas could provide additional support in Strategic Plan areas such as urban agriculture and the green economy, but that there were no new ideas that would radically change the current Strategic Plan.  Next steps are to create a matrix of top ideas in the Department’s purview or that can be referred to other City agencies to act on or form partnerships with.  Plans are to (1) engage the Mayor’s Office about the outcome and relay top ideas; (2) continue to engage the community; and (3) address lessons learned and challenges for the next phase of the project. 


Commissioners Wald and Gravanis suggested using the debriefing process and the Department’s website to help with the Commission’s outreach efforts in assessing what the Commission should be working on and how to connect more with city residents, whether it is by holding neighborhood meetings on specific topics of interest or through some other mechanism.  Mr. Danaher suggested more prominence on the website.  He discussed the use of a “grass tops” approach in connecting with organizational leaders that are active in their neighborhoods and are able to influence their constituents, better use of EnvironmentNow teams to engage the community and participation, and the Department’s future work space that would provide a better event space for face to face interaction.    Commissioner Gravanis requested seeing the matrix of projects that are determined to be in the Department’s and Commission’s purview and ideas that would be referred to other agencies.    


5.  Committee Review of the Commission on the Environment 2011 Annual Report Draft Content for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. Sponsor and Speaker:  Commissioner Wald (Continued from the December 12, 2011 meeting) (Explanatory Documents:  Revised Commission 2011 Annual Report Draft and Amended Draft 010912) (Discussion and Action)


Committee Members reviewed and amended the Commission on the Environment’s 2011 Annual Report Draft content.  Commission Secretary Fish reported that the Commission Operations Committee members would be reviewing and prioritizing their section of the report at its January 18, 2012 meeting.   Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the Commission on the Environment’s 2011 Annual Report Draft was approved with amendments for recommendation to the Commission to consider for approval at its January 24, 2012 meeting (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis).   


6. Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion) Director Nutter reported that the expansion of the plastic bag ban ordinance would be back before the Board of Supervisors on February 7 and reported on the Department’s outreach efforts relaying important information to relevant organizations, the Board of Supervisors and Mayor.  Commissioner Wald suggested that a Commissioner be invited to attend the Board meeting to speak in favor of the ordinance on behalf of the Commission.


7.  Announcements. (Discussion) Commissioner Gravanis reported on a Bay Crossings newspaper article reporting on the Department of the Environment and San Francisco winning the top honor for green building.  She suggested that media contacts be provided with the Department’s web address to add to environmental articles to help with outreach efforts.


8.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Committee members suggested that February 13 Policy Committee meeting agenda topics include

·         Policy Committee recommendations on Commission goals and actions to achieve goals in 2012.  Director Nutter would be asked to report on the Department’s goals and priorities and an organizing principle to help the Commission achieve the Department’s priorities.  Commissioner Wald sponsor.

·         Informational report by Urban Forestry Council Coordinator Hui on the status of the Urban Forest Plan and the Department of Public Work’s plans to transition financial responsibility of tree maintenance to more property owners.  Commissioner Gravanis requested that an assessment be prepared on the comparative cost effectiveness of individual tree owners paying for tree maintenance versus a district approach to tree maintenance. 

·         Biodiversity Resolution implementation plans to include staff training in biodiversity and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and fundraising efforts.  Informational report by Deputy Director Assmann, Commissioner Gravanis sponsor.

·         America’s Cup Zero Waste and Sustainability Plan updates with representation by the Department’s Climate Team and Zero Waste team staff.


Additional agenda topics discussed for future meetings include (1) Climate Plan update; (2) Outreach vision for 2012; (3) staff development opportunities; (4) Planning Department presentation on the Recreation and Open Space Element of the Master Plan, and (5) balloon release ban ordinance.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the Commission prepare a commendation letter to the Port Commission once it has approved its Events Plan to include bans on single-serve plastic water bottles and balloon releases.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Commission leverage the Port’s action to influence the Board of Supervisors to implement the ban citywide.  Committee members and the Commission Secretary discussed additional formats for keeping track of future agenda topics and ways to assist in the future preparation of the Commission’s Annual Report by keeping track of Commission and Committee accomplishments through a quarterly agenda topic. 


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.  Ms. Jeanette Arpagaus thanked the Committee and Commission for the great environmental work they are doing for the city. 


10.  Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 6:32 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, February 13, 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:  February 13, 2012  
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