07.26 Approved Minutes

 

 

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Tuesday, July 26, 2005, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 416

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

 

COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Nia Crowder (President); Paul Pelosi Jr. (Vice President); Christina Desser, Angelo King, Alan Mok, Arlene Rodriguez, and Johanna Wald

 

Commission Secretary:  Monica Fish

 

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS 

 

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

 

1.      CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL

 

The meeting was called to order at 5:10 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Pelosi Jr. (Acting President), Desser, King, and Mok. Excused:  Commissioners Crowder and Rodriguez.

 

2.      ACTION:  Adoption of Minutes of the April 8, 2005 Special Meeting Retreat. 

 

Upon motion by Commissioner Wald and second by Commissioner Mok the April 8, 2005 Special Meeting Retreat Minutes were unanimously adopted (Commissioner Desser absent for this item).  There was no public comment at this time.

 

3.  PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time. 

 

4.      INFORMATION:  Update on Supermarket Checkout Bag Issues.  

Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald

Speaker:  Staff:  Robert Haley, Recycling Program Manager

 

Director Blumenfeld advised that a nexus study is in the process of being finalized and that there are legal issues.  Negotiations with grocery stores and plastic and paper bag manufacturers are being worked on to (1) reduce the number of plastic and paper bags that the grocery stores use, and (2) put in place a system for efficient recycling.  A decision is being worked on that the Board, the Mayor, and all involved parties can agree to. No public comment was heard at this time.

 

           5.  PRESENTATION:  Refuse Rate Process Overview.

Sponsor: Commissioner Christina Desser

Speaker:  Staff:  Robert Haley, Recycling Program Manager

 

Robert Haley, Recycling Program Manager, Department of the Environment discussed the Refuse Rate Process.  On July 1, Norcal Waste Systems Company submitted a letter of intent to file a rate application to increase residential garbage rates. The last time a rate application was filed was five years ago and the intent is for another five-year plan of programs and rate increases.  The July 1 rate application is the beginning of an 11-month calendar of events to allow for public involvement.  The events include:

 

§         September 9 (tentative date) public workshop to involve the public;

§         October 11 (tentative date) draft rate application;

§         A second public workshop to discuss the draft application;

§         A completeness determination on the draft application followed by a submittal of any missing information;

§         January 9, 2006 final rate application to be submitted;

§         Another completeness determination, two more public workshops and then a series of Director’s Hearings (Director of the Department of Public Works);

§         Early April 2006, a Director’s Report, a draft staff report, and a recommended Order outlining what the increases will be. If an objection is not filed, the rates will stand;

§         May 2006--If an objection is filed, a series of rate board hearings would be convened in May and a decision made in June;

§         July 2006--final rates would go into effect.

 

It was indicated that this process would require a great deal of staff time for both the Department of the Environment and the Department of Public Works. The City is contracting with a Rate Payer Advocate and creating standardized forms to help ratepayers understand the information. The Commission would be kept up to date of the process.

 

Commissioner Pelosi recommended the following: (1) start the process earlier to better advise the public; (2) meetings be well publicized; (3) set firm meeting dates; (4) ensure ample space in the meeting room for public participation, and (5) limit staff time.  Mr. Haley advised that the process would require at least two full-time Recycling staff members for a few months.

 

Public comment from Ms. Nancy Wuerfel asking when the Commission would be reviewing the five-year budget plan that would become part of the garbage rate fee.  Commissioner Pelosi advised that the Operations Committee would be hearing the five-year budget plan and then would be heard at the full Commission as an agenda item in Fall 2005.

 

      6.  PRESENTATION:  Interim Annual Report for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program (Explanatory Documents: San Francisco Integrated Pest Management Program 2003 Annual Report and Graph--Pesticide Use in San Francisco)

Sponsor:  Director Jared Blumenfeld

Speakers:  Staff:  Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager and

Chris Geiger, City Toxics Reduction Coordinator

 

Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager discussed successes and challenges of the Integrated Pest Management Program and gave highlights of the past year.  A graph was shown on total pesticide use since the Ordinance was enacted in 1996 through 2004 indicating a 74% decrease over time in the pounds of pesticides used.  Future methods to decrease use by increased labor or creative methods would be studied.  A discussion was held on the 91% decreased use of the pesticide Roundup and the exemption to Harding Park Golf Course.  Department of the Environment is working with other departments to achieve goals.

 

Chris Geiger, City Toxics Reduction Coordinator discussed (1) the IPM Advisory Committee that meets monthly;  (2) pesticide tier system for toxicity; (3) rodenticide use; (4) trainings, conferences and special events; and (4) future challenges.

 

No public comment was heard at this time.

 

    7.  INFORMATION:  Implementation Report on the Arsenic Treated Wood Ordinance (Explanatory Documents: Implementation Report on the Arsenic Treated Wood Ordinance; Chapter 13 Environment Code; Supporting Attachments and Cover Letter to Board of Supervisors)

Sponsor:  Director Jared Blumenfeld

Speaker: Staff:  Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager

 

Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager reported that in 2003 San Francisco became the first City to adopt an Ordinance banning arsenic-treated wood in all applications except in marine eco-systems.  The Ordinance required that in 2005 the Commission on the Environment would report back to the Board of Supervisors on the progress of the Ordinance.  An IPM Annual Report was included in the Commission meeting packet.  Ms. Raphael recommended that the Commission be active in City department’s compliance of the Ordinance.  The feedback the Department received from City Departments is as follows:

 

§         Recreation and Park gave a detailed description of their Arsenic Treated Wood Management Plan that included sampling all wood play structures and identifying those that are leeching arsenic.   Sealing and replacement protocols were developed.  This information can be found on their website.  It was noted that the Ordinance calls for notification procedures on these structures that have not yet been developed.  The Department would be reporting to the Board of Supervisors that a recommendation had been made for the Recreation and Park Department to post warning signs on their play structures.

 

§         The Port had submitted a report to the Department on their progress along with photographs showing their inventory.  Not clear whether testing had been done on their sealing protocol and what their schedules would be.

 

Commissioner Desser commended the Toxics Reduction program area for their work and asked to create mechanisms for sharing information with other Cities and Agencies. The following suggestions were made: (1) Commissioner Wald recommended involving child advocacy organizations and environmental organizations with toxic programs to help participate in reducing toxics in the City and the Bay Area and that more effort be made to involve the service providers for the residential community and residents; (2) Commissioner King recommended testing the toxicity of the sealant; and (3) Commissioner Desser recommended developing a Certificate indicating dates of equipment inspection that is user friendly to the public.

 

Public comment from Carol Bach, Project Manager, Environmental Health and Safety, Port of San Francisco Environmental Department reporting that the Port turned in an inventory report of treated wood on Port property that was potentially exposed to public contact and a schedule for sealing.  The Port Maintenance Department has prioritized the sealing program based on their evaluation of people’s potential contact and initiated application of latex paint in all of the high priority areas with an anticipated completion date of August.  The Facilities Management Department has taken over the project.  Commissioner Pelosi asked Ms. Bach to update the Department and the Commission on their schedule of completion dates.

 

Public comment from Ms. Nancy Wuerfel--thanked the Department and Commission for controlling the use of Roundup.  Recommended that this product should be controlled at Harding Park because it affects the health of amphibians and reptiles.

 

Public comment from Mary Tienken, Project Director, Recreation and Park Department reading the language on the warning posting on playground structures that Recreation and Park Department is planning on posting in the next month or two. Commissioner Desser recommended phrasing the posting in a different way so that it would not cause fear to arise.  Ms. Tienken advised that signs were posted and indicated that the phone calls received were not by alarmed citizens, but those requesting more information. 

 

Commissioner King inquired as to the (1) toxicity of the sealants, (2) if the condition of wood would pose a greater risk; (3) if the San Francisco Unified School District had inspected their playground equipment; and (4) the condition of playground structures in low-income areas.  A discussion was held on these issues. Commissioner Pelosi requested that the Toxics Group work on investigating whether SFUSD play structures contain arsenic-treated wood and report back to the Commission at a future meeting. 

 

8   PRESENTATION:  Draft Treasure Island Sustainability Plan (Explanatory Documents:  Treasure Island Draft Sustainability Plan and LEED Gold Standard).

Sponsors:  Commissioners Johanna Wald and Arlene Rodriguez

Speaker:  Staff:  David Assmann, Deputy Director and

Jack Sylvan, Mayor’s Office of Workforce & Economic Development-Base Reuse

 

Director Blumenfeld reported that he is one of the Treasure Island Development Authority Commissioners and that the Board meets monthly.  Michael Cohen, Director of Mayor’s Office of Workforce & Economic Development-Base Reuse provided an overview and provided context for the Sustainability Plan for Treasure Island.  A Treasure Island Redevelopment Project Term Sheet Forward Schedule from October 2004 - November 2005 which includes key issues for the project and the Treasure Island Redevelopment Planning Schedule from July 2005 – December 2006 was reviewed.  

 

David Assmann, Deputy Director presented an overview of the Draft Treasure Island Sustainability Plan that uses LEED as the overarching structure for developing the plan.  A discussion was held on horizontal and vertical developments of the plan.  Horizontal development topics discussed: (1) sustainable sites and hydrology; (2) open space and landscaping; (3) circulation and transportation; and (4) land use.  Vertical development topics discussed: (1) buildings; (2) energy; (3) waste prevention and recycling; and (4) pest management.  The LEED-ND Pilot Project was described.  Deputy Director Assmann advised the Commission that changes to the Plan may occur based on other plans that are in development and a progress report would be feasible in approximately six months.

 

Director Blumenfeld reported that the Department would have to review and edit all related Plans such as the Transportation, Open Space, Land Use Plan and other Sustainability Plans to comply and edit with the Draft Treasure Island Sustainability Plan.     

 

Public comment from Ms. Ruth Gravanis, invited everyone to attend a slide presentation on Thursday, July 28 on the history of Treasure Island.  Commended the Plan and stated that letters had been received from environmental groups that recommended the Plan be strengthened by (1) calling for LEED Platinum or Gold rating instead of Silver and (2) focusing more attention to compact development and smart transportation.  Recommended that the Commission be more involved to ensure that all aspects of sustainability are attained and stated that a six-month progress report is too far in the future.   Urged the Commission to hold a public hearing so the public can comment on the Plan from a sustainability point of view.  Asked the Commission to look at the overall plan and public comment on the EIR and to find out what the public process would be after the term sheet is reviewed.

 

Public comment from Jay Wallace, Development Team, Kenwood Investments, who along with Lenare Communities comprises Treasure Island Community Development and is working with the Department on a Sustainability Plan.  Expressed his support on an integrated approach to the Sustainability Plan that integrates the other Plans.  Looks forward to working with the Department, the Commission and other related Boards on consensus building.    

 

Public comment from Ms. Carolyn Blair requesting that all healthy and mature trees on Treasure Island be protected and urging the Mayor’s Liaison to assure that there is a Green Treasure Island with existing trees.  Requested data on Treasure Island that would indicate tree species, size and how many trees would be affected by development.  Deputy Director Assmann stated that one of the goals is to keep native species in as natural state as possible and indicated that the Urban Forest Council staff conducted a site visit at Treasure Island and Yerba Buena and developed recommendations.

 

The Commission Secretary was asked to look into the feasibility of the Department of the Environment holding a public hearing on Treasure Island so recommendations could be forwarded to the builder.

 

Director Blumenfeld discussed a west span bike lane from Treasure Island to San Francisco and the possibility of the Commission writing a letter in support of the idea.

9.      INFORMATION: Commission Secretary’s Report

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

 

§         Communications and Correspondence:  The Commission Secretary made the following reports:

 

o        The Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Committee regular meeting date of the first Wednesday on the odd numbered months would have to be changed to the second or fourth Wednesday or second Monday because of availability of City Hall meeting rooms.  An email would be sent to Committee members requesting a date and time of their availability.  A Bylaws Change would be required and a notice would be published for a future meeting date.

 

o        Confidential Commission and Staff Phone List.  The Phone List was passed out to Commission members.

 

o        Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Survey:  A discussion was held about the request for filling out a Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Survey and the process for completion.  Copies of the survey and instructions were included as part of the meeting packet.  The survey is available online at http://www.sfgov.org/site/sunshine_form.asp?id=31025. 

 

o        2005 Good Government Guide:  The 2005 Good Government Guide was mailed to Commission members.

 

o        Strategic Plan:  A copy of the 2004-2007 Strategic Plan was included in the Commissioner’s packet.

 

o        Commission Secretary Vacation:  The Commission Secretary would be on vacation from July 29, 2005 through August 22, 2005 and backup information was provided (see the Commission Secretary Report dated July 26, 2005).

 

 

§         Update on Pending City Legislation

Urban Forest Council: Public Works Code - significant trees, landmark trees, and penalties for violations legislation was “Continued to the Call of the Chair” at the June 13, 2005 meeting of the Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee.  

10.  INFORMATION: Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Committee Report

§         Commissioner Pelosi reviewed the agenda for the upcoming Special Meeting on August 29, 2005, rescheduled from August 3, 2005.  The main agenda topic for the next meeting would be to focus on innovative technologies on how Cities are using their voter-approved bond initiatives to work on alternative energy sources.

11.  INFORMATION: Operations Committee Report

§         Chair’s Report:  Commissioner Pelosi highlighted the May 4, 2005 Special and July 20, 2005 Regular Meetings. The next Regular Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 4:00 p.m. at the Department of the Environment, Ground Floor Conference Room.  It was reported that the Operations Committee met to discuss the budget and that the Department is on budget and plan.  The Strategic Plan was requested and received at today’s meeting.  A request was made that each program area keep their Commissioner liaisons informed of their updates to the Plan. The Commissioner liaisons were read for the record.

12.  INFORMATION: Policy Committee Report

         Chairs Report:  Commissioner Wald highlighted the April 28, 2005 and June 23, 2005 Meetings. The next Regular Meeting on Thursday, July 28, 2005 has been cancelled.   The next Regular Meeting will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2005 at 5:00 PM at City Hall, Room 421.  Commissioner Wald reported that the Draft Treasure Island Sustainability Plan, Carbon Trading, and Combustion Turbine issues were heard at the April 28, 2005 meeting.  The Precautionary Principle was heard at the June 23 Meeting and requested an update at the next Policy Committee meeting on August 25.  Commissioner Desser reported that she would not be available for the August and September meetings.  The next Regular Meeting would be held on August 25, 2005, but the September 22, 2005 meeting would be cancelled.

13.  INFORMATION: Director’s Report

         Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment gave updates on SFE administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Climate Division, Outreach and Education Division, Environmental Justice Division, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction Program, and the Urban Forestry Division as explained in the Director’s Report dated July 26, 2005.  

 

Public comment from Ms. Carolyn Blair recommending the Department of Public Work’s Street Park Plan and the idea of Sidewalk Pocket Parks as presented by Jocelyn Cohen at the Urban Forest Council Meeting on July 22, 2005.  Urged the Commission to embrace the use of rubber sidewalks.

14.  INFORMATION: President’s Announcements.   Acting President Pelosi thanked the Department for their work on World Environment Day and indicated that the Commission would reach out to the Department on peaker issues and alternative energy sources.

15.  INFORMATION: New Business:  No new business was heard at this time.

16.  FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:  The following future agenda items were discussed:  (1) Commissioner Mok suggested expanding Green Expo as a yearly event; (2) Commissioner Desser recommended (a) reviewing each of the seven Urban Environmental Accords at Commission meetings and overlay with the Department’s Strategic Plan;  (b) understand the politics of the cancellation of green fuels and what the Commission can do; (c) Commission to send a letter to the Chronicle and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) that most kids exposed to arsenic-treated wood are in low-income neighborhoods and address environmental justice issues surrounding this problem.  Legal counsel advised the Commission that they are not authorized to contact directly with outside agencies, but can make recommendations as an individual. 

Public comment from Ms. Nancy Wuerfel on the Commission inquiring as to whether the SFUSD Master Plan includes removing arsenic-treated wood structures.

Public comment from Ms. Carolyn Blair, Urban Forest Council: Encouraging the Commission to support the Public Works Code - significant trees, landmark trees, and penalties for violations legislation.

 

Public comment from Ms. Ruth Gravanis on the Commission showing support for funding for the west span pedestrian and bicycle pathway and to schedule this topic as an agenda item for a future Commission meeting.

17.  PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  No public comment was heard at this time.

18.  ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.

 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709

FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

** 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 meeting website; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or (4) via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org within three business days of a meeting.

 

Approved:  September 27, 2005

 

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