10.28 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

Department of the Environment




Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 5:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 416  

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102


Public comment will be taken before the Council takes action on any item.


Order of Business

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 5:48 p.m.  Present:  Chair Milne, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Hillan (5:50 p.m.), Rodgers, Sherk, Short, Sustarich; Excused:  Member Miller; Absent:  Members Griswold, Habert, Marks, Nervo (One Vacant). 


2.        Adoption of Minutes of the September 26, 2008 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting.  (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Blair and second by Member Rodgers, without objection, the September 26, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved (Absent:  Members Griswold, Habert, Hillan, Marks, Miller and Nervo) (Explanatory Document: September 26, 2008 Approved Minutes)


3.        Urban Forestry Council Membership Ordinance Amendments and the Reapplication Process.  (Continued Discussion from the September 26, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Speaker: Chair Milne 


Council Members discussed the status of their membership applications and their intention for reapplying.   Department representatives reported that their department heads would be issuing or have issued appointment letters. Chair Milne reported that his understanding was that the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) would not be appointing an advisory member to the Council, but that Member Griswold would attend if advice was requested.  A discussion was held on Ordinance requirements as it relates to present Council membership timelines.  It was reported that applications would be considered at the November 13, 2008 Rules Committee meeting and that applications should be received by the Clerk of the Board’s Office ten days before the meeting.  Coordinator Hui recommended that members do outreach for open seats.


4.        Status Report on Agency Reporting Requirements to the Urban Forestry Council.  (Continued Discussion from the September 26, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion)  Speaker:  Coordinator Hui


Coordinator Hui reported that she does not have a status report to issue at this time because the past two monthly meetings with the Greening Director had been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.


5.        Staff Report.  Staff will provide updates on Urban Forestry Council administrative and programmatic operations relating to research, planning, funding, outreach, and other related activities. (Informational Report and Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Staff Report)


Coordinator Hui reported on (1) the status of current and new landmark tree nominations, (2) updates to the landmark tree website; (3) approved seal for landmark tree certificates issued by the Clerk of the Board’s Office; (4) landmark tree criteria introduction at the Board of Supervisors; (5) landmark tree outreach; (6) Board of Supervisors Rules Committee meeting on appointments; (7) arborist certification exam classes; (8) presentation on protected trees at the 311 department; and (9) administrative time allocation to the Council.  Additional information is available by accessing the explanatory document above.


Member Blair asked the Council to consider a City policy and/or enforcement measures that would stop tree companies that do illegal tree pruning.  Member Rodgers recommended that the Urban Forestry Council issue a letter to the Police Department informing them of the tree protection ordinance.  Chair Milne recommended that the Coordinator create a letter directed to the Police Department Chief. Member Cohen stated that she would be willing to create an educational document to present at Police precinct meetings.  


Member Short discussed Department of Public Works fines issued for illegal or extensive pruning and lack of enforcement measures as it relates to licensed and unlicensed companies.  It was explained that the property owner is the legal responsible party that is often times fined, and is the one that has to go to the tree company for reimbursement of fines.  Member Short and Chair Milne recommended that rules be included in the Urban Forest Master Plan to address this issue. Member Short also recommended that the Urban Forest Master Plan contain a list of recommended tree companies that can be given out to the public.  Member Rodgers recommended that this item be scheduled as an agenda item for a future meeting.    


Ms. Fish reported that as a result of the reduced budget allocation to the Council, that the Commission Secretary would no longer be doing quorum checks and that the meeting minutes would be summaries of actions taken instead of summaries of agenda item discussions. Ms. Fish reported that the Commission Secretary would also not be attending Committee meetings in the future.


6.        Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)

Planning & Funding Committee, Chair, Carla Short

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 20, 2008, 4:15 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.


Planning Committee Chair Short inquired about Committee structure under the new Council structure.  Chair Milne explained that the Committee structure would be determined once members are appointed to the Council.  Chair Short discussed the possibility of cancelling the November 20th Committee meeting because of a lack of agenda items and membership considerations. Coordinator Hui explained that (1) Council membership could change by November 20th which would affect Committee membership; and (2) the Committee may not be able to meet before a Bylaws amendment notice is published changing the membership structure, as seven members would constitute more than a quorum of Council members and would not be legal.  Ms. Fish reported that a Bylaws amendment notice would be required ten days before the next Council meeting of December 12th in order to change the Committee structure.


Landmark Tree Committee, Chair, Mike Boss

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 4:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421. (This meeting will be rescheduled or cancelled due to a legal holiday.)


Coordinator Hui reported that the Commission Secretary would not be attending Committee meetings in the future and Committee Chairs would be in charge of noticing the meetings.  Ms. Fish explained that Committee Chairs would now be required to assemble agendas and send them to the secretary a week before the meeting.

Ms. Fish reported that she would work on rescheduling the Landmark Tree Committee meeting to the following week based on members’ and room availability.


7.        Chair’s Announcements: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion) Council Chair Milne reported on the November 11th legal holiday, that the Commission Secretary would no longer be doing quorum checks, and that members should contact someone if they re not able to attend a meeting.  Ms. Fish explained that the Council’s attendance policy requires members to contact the Chair or Commission Secretary if they are not able to attend a meeting in order to be marked as excused; otherwise, it would be marked as an absence.


8.        New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion).  Ms. Fish reported that included in the Council’s packet is a memorandum from the City Attorney’s Office on Political Activity by City Employees, and that members should contact Deputy City Attorney Cabrera if there are questions.  Member Cohen reported that she has a few applicants for the pilot pocket park gardens with a significant or landmark tree, and requested that members submit the form to her at least a week before the December 12 Council meeting so an agenda item could be added to review those sites.  Member Short suggested that a discussion be held on what the Council would like to recommend either on the Urban Forest Master Plan or want to do themselves about the continued problem of illegal pruning.  Member Hillan thanked Council members and Coordinator Hui for approving the landmark tree plaque at a previous meeting and requested that “City and County of San Francisco” that is on the landmark plaque, read from left to right instead of right to left.


9.        Public Comment:  Members of the public may address the Council on matters that are within the Council’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. 


Member Blair inquired how the Department of the Environment Director’s assignment at Recreation and Park Department affects the Urban Forestry Council and the time that Ms. Fish would have toward the Urban Forestry Council.  Ms. Fish explained that the Director’s position at the Recreation and Park Department is not tied in with the time the Commission Secretary is allocated to the Council.  It was reported that Deputy Director Assmann is the Acting Director.  The Commission Secretary’s reduced time to the Council is a result of reduced funding to the Council.  Chair Milne explained that the reduced time allocation is because the City departments funded at a reduced level this fiscal year.  Member Short stated that the Department of Public Works funding was not cut by the department, but by the Board of Supervisors. 


10.    Adjournment.  The Council meeting adjourned at 6:40 p.m.


Copies of explanatory documents are available to the public at the Department of the Environment, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., by clicking on the links by each agenda item above, or upon request to the Council Secretary at the address listed below, telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].


Urban Forestry Council

San Francisco Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco

11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Council Secretary


*Approved:  December 12, 2008

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