*RESCHEDULED LOCATION MEETING
CITY HALL, ROOM 263, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
*The location of the Tuesday, September 27, 2011Commission on the Environment meeting was changed from Room 416, City Hall, to Room 263, City Hall.
COMMISSION MEMBERS: Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Angelo King, Alan Mok, Rahul Prakash, Heather Stephenson and Johanna Wald
ORDER OF BUSINESS
Public comment will be taken before the Commission takes action on any item.
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 5:15 p.m. Present: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Prakash, Stephenson and Wald; Excused: Commissioner Mok.
2. Approval of Minutes of the July 26, 2011Commission on the Environment Meeting. (Explanatory Documents: July 26, 2011Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Wald, the July 26, 2011 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Prakash, Stephenson and Wald; Absent: Commissioner Mok).
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. Approval of Draft Resolution File No. 2011-04-COE commending Mark Westlund for his service to the Department and Commission on the Environment. (Explanatory Document: Draft Resolution File No. 2011-04-COE and Approved Resolution 004-11-COE) Presenter: Commission President Matt Tuchow (Discussion and Action)
Commission Secretary Fish read Resolution File 2011-04-COE commending Mr. Westlund, Department of the Environment Public Outreach and School Education Program Manager, for his service to the Department and Commission on the Environment into the record. Commission President Tuchow on behalf of the Commission thanked Mr. Westlund for his service and success in raising the profile of the Department. Mr. Westlund accepted the commendation and thanked the Commission and Department. Commissioners, Director Nutter, and Deputy Director Assmann congratulated and thanked Mr. Westlund for his service and wished him good luck as Deputy Communications Director for the Sierra Club. Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, Resolution File 2011-04-COE was approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Prakash, Stephenson and Wald; Absent: Commissioner Mok).
5. 34th America's Cup - Presentation and Discussion of AC34 Draft Sustainability Plan. Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker: Tom Huston, Chief Operating Officer, America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA) (Explanatory Document: America’s Cup 34 Draft Sustainability Plan Link to Plan http://www.americascup.com/Documents/AC34%20Draft%20Sustainability%20Plan_19%20Sept%202011.pdf, Presentation, and Public Comment) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)
Mr. Huston discussed the July 26, 2011 presentation to the Commission made by the America’s Cup Event Authority, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and the Port of San Francisco on America’s Cup event plans and activities on the Draft Sustainability Plan. He reported that the Draft Sustainability Plan was developed by ACEA in consultation with the Department of the Environment, other City agencies, and the America’s Cup Organizing Committee. He reported on the philosophy and commitment to deliver a sustainable event and improve sustainability performance over the course of the events in partnership with Sailors for the Sea, a global organization that actively promotes environmental responsibility and ocean health and the certifier of the America’s Cup Clean Regatta program.
Mr. Huston defined sustainability as a way to optimize the social, economic, and environmental impacts of activities in delivering the America’s Cup in order to enrich communities that are visited and protect and support natural ecosystems. He reported that there will be a public comment period on the Draft Plan through October 21, and that the Environmental Impact Report is scheduled for completion in December 2011. The Draft Sustainability Plan will mature over time with input from stakeholders and will comply with regulatory requirements. It fulfills the Host and Venue Agreement and is one of eleven implementation plans being developed.
Mr. Huston reported on event sustainability themes that include energy and emissions, resource efficiency, natural habitats and wildlife, inclusion and engagement to align with local priorities and international best management practices in delivering major sustainability events. This plan is designed to support San Francisco’s existing policies of zero waste, sustainable food, transit, reducing emissions, and plastic reductions and will bring legacy benefits and guidelines for future sustainability events as well as bring national recognition to San Francisco for being the deliverer of one of the greenest major sporting events. The Healthy Oceans project will use the platform of the America’s Cup and global media platform to raise awareness and voice issues of ocean health, communicate the importance of the marine environment, highlight challenges and inspire actions. An overview was provided of the World Series programming of events that are scheduled to begin in San Francisco in August 2012.
Commissioner Gravanis stated that she is pleased with the commitment to the sustainability concept and measures outlined in the Draft Plan. She suggested that (1) the language be strengthened throughout the document in order to better enforce measures; and (2) sustainability goals should include implementation measures and a reference to the Plans that would show how the goal would be enforced, monitored and implemented; e.g. People Plan, Zero Waste Plan. She stated that she does not see how strategies will be implemented to protect natural areas and habitat and expressed her concern with the noise made by helicopters on many species of wildlife. She also asked that a control on fireworks be added. Commissioner Wald suggested that metrics and standards be identified to determine whether there has been success in achieving goals.
Mr. Huston reported that implementation measures are being worked through in order to provide specificity and will be refined over the course of the next two years with new partnerships being formed to help implement plans. He explained that specificity amounts to what can be controlled through mandates and agreements with vendors, and achieving goals will require community involvement and outreach. In reference to Commissioner Wald’s comments, metrics and statistics will be available through event monitoring. Commissioner Wald requested that a future discussion be held about the metrics that have been identified and how accomplishments will be portrayed in order for the Commission to provide suggestions, and so that future events can utilize these same metrics and there be a basis for comparison.
Commissioner Prakash stated that there are a number of local companies that could benefit from a partnership with the Event Authority and provide meaningful ideas. Ms. Ariel Ungerleider, America’s Cup Event Authority Community Outreach Manager, reported on a recent outreach event that was organized along with the Department of the Environment to the clean-tech community to discuss solutions for specific ideas and address technical needs for the overall scope of the project. She stated that a follow-up event would be held and asked Commissioners to provide a list of additional contacts they may have.
Commissioner Tuchow inquired about the Sailors for the Sea certification of sustainable practices and what was and was not achieved. Mr. Huston reported on Clean Regatta checklist sustainability practices that were used to achieve bronze status for the first event in Portugal and silver status for the second event in Plymouth, England. It is expected that the full checklist of requirements be met for future events. The Clean Regatta checklist can be accessed on the Sailors for the Sea website.
Commissioner Stephenson suggested that an assessment be produced for review and comment on the World Series event in San Francisco so that changes can be made for 2013 events.
Ms. Teri Shore, Program Director for Turtle Island Restoration Network, www.seaturtles.org stated that she is a member of the Environmental Council that is overseeing the America’s Cup environmental review process. Ms. Shore stated that she is impressed with areas identified in the plan such as the Healthy Ocean’s Project, energy emissions, natural habitats and wildlife, zero waste, and carbon neutral goals and is looking forward to engaging with ACEA and the City on how her organization can participate. She spoke of her concerns with (1) marine habitat, sea turtles, marine life, and air and water-quality impacts in the bay that will be generated by the marine vessels that will be supporting the race vessels; and (2) the utilization of Pier 27 by the America’s Cup and displacing the existing shore-side power installation funded by public funds. She suggested the use of a clean non-diesel solar or other ferry and a water taxi, stating that it is a good opportunity to pilot clean ferries that the City has been committed to but not able to do.
Mr. Joshua Arce, Executive Director of Brightline Defense Project, stated that his organization does policy advocacy and work around sustainable communities particularly in environmental justice and green workforce development. He suggested that the Sustainability Plan include an environmental justice plan to mitigate the negative impact on environmental justice communities by utilizing the City’s mandatory local hiring policy to connect these communities with green jobs.
Ms. Jacqueline Flin, Executive Director of A. Philip Randolph Institute, spoke in support of Mr. Arce’s comments. She stated that 18,000 jobs would be created by the America’s Cup event and suggested that these jobs be filled by local residents and vendors so that the money that is spent remain in San Francisco and local residents can have a better future. Ms. Flin stated that San Francisco is a union town and that the jobs should be union jobs with union-prevailing wages.
Mr. Steven Krefting, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters and America’s Cup Environmental Council stated that he appreciates that the Plan will be a work in process even after its adoption and is encouraged with its overall goals. He reinforced Commissioner Gravanis’s concerns about wildlife and habitat both in the water and in the land. There is great potential with this event to do environmental education and set a good example. He is encouraged that the Plan emphasizes gathering baseline data and measuring the outcomes and levels of success. He expressed his concern whether the funds that are anticipated to be needed to achieve the goals of the Plan would fit into the amount the America’s Cup Organizing Committee has pledged to raise.
Mr. Peter Lollo expressed his concern with whether the single-use compostable products that vendors may be required to use are actually compostable because they often times are not easily identifiable as such by the composting facility. He asked whether the Event Authority has been in communication about this issue or could use the leverage that such a large event would have to pilot a program with compostable product vendors to make the products more identifiable and to ensure that compostable items are actually being used. He also suggested hiring or sponsoring vendors that use reusable items.
Mr. Christy Rocca, Director of Crissy Fields Center, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, distributed public comment on the Environmental Impact Report from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Crissy Fields Community Partners, and Philanthropies in Support of Crissy Field (included in explanatory documents). She expressed her concerns that (1) the $36 million investment to restore Crissy Field is protected; (2) access to Crissy Field visitors during the America’s Cup is not jeopardized; and (3) that the public school programs serving a majority of students from underserved communities continue to be accessible during the event. She suggested that a partnership be formed between the National Park Service, America’s Cup Event Authority, Department of Children Youth and Families, and the Department of the Environment to create green jobs for youth with a connection to the environment.
Ms. Utuma Belfrey discussed her understanding of a Sustainability Plan and its association with economics, the environment, and social equity. She discussed San Francisco’s local hiring law, stating that the Sustainability Plan would only be sustainable if it impacts the environment and economics by raising the standard of living in underserved communities and creating green jobs in areas in addition to recycling. Ms. Belfrey suggested that the framework of the Plan should include recommendations about the sustainability of the event once it leaves San Francisco.
Ms. Karen Nemsick inquired about the extent of the dredging along the Embarcadero for racing boats and tourist visitor boats, and which local and environmental organizations would be reviewing the dredging plans and monitoring the work.
Mr. Eddie Ahn, Brightline Defense Project, complimented the America’s Cup Event Authority in taking important first steps in engaging community and labor advocates in building out the environmental justice portion that has been talked about earlier in public comment. He stated that one of the lenses of review of the Environmental Impact Report is workforce development and jobs, making sure that jobs are union jobs and local San Francisco residents are hired. There are a lot of economic opportunities presented in the America’s Cup, part of which is making sure that local hiring applies not only to publicly-funded portions of the project but to privately-funded portions.
Commission Secretary Fish reported that Ms. Linda Shaffer, California Native Plant Society, provided written public comment on the Draft Sustainability Plan included in explanatory documents.
Commissioner King stated that local hiring is an investment in reducing San Francisco’s carbon footprint and should be part of LEED certification. He asked that Department staff prepare an analysis of best practices for the Commissioner’s review. Commissioner Wald stated that it is important to ensure that the important issues addressed in the Plan are enforced, and that there be accountability and communication as to what is being achieved and where more work is needed as the Plan evolves over time.
Mr. Huston reported that he would bring comments made at today’s meeting to the ACEA planning group to address and discussed the three main points of what this program stands on: social (education and creation of jobs), environmental (maintaining the event areas in good shape if not better and identifying a better way to deliver large events), and economic (working with businesses and leveraging partnerships). He discussed how commitments would be implemented through relationship-building with community leaders and organizations so the event will have a positive legacy, attract other events to San Francisco, and export jobs.
Mr. Mike Martin, America’s Cup Project Director, Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, reported on the Workforce Development and Youth Plan that is called for in the Host and Venue Agreement and was heard at the September 26, 2011 meeting of the Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee. A Draft of the Plan will be posted in October. He discussed the transitory nature of the America’s Cup events and construction pointing out that only a minority of jobs would be directly related to Event Authority activities. The majority comes through indirect spending, people who come to see the events, the sponsors and race teams. He reported that the Workforce Plan would address local hire issues, and the Youth Involvement Plan would tie in youth internships. Mr. Martin stated that these plans would be cross-referenced with other plans and legal agreements in order to make things happen and to draw a clearer picture of what the events mean to San Francisco.
Commissioner King suggested that opportunities be provided for kids to experience the bay by providing free ferries or additional ways so that the message of bay health and ocean safety is more closely related to their personal experience. He suggested reaching out to the community advisory committees, southeast commissions, and neighborhood merchant associations to brainstorm ideas.
Director Nutter reported that Department of Environment program staff has provided a lot of input into the Sustainability Draft Plan, and the Event Authority has been very responsive and open to staff feedback. She suggested that next steps would include a report to the Commission about what strategies have been added to the Plan based on Commissioner-comments as well as suggestions that were made and cannot be integrated.
6. Introduction of a Draft Resolution that would adopt as Commission policy an acknowledgement of the importance of protecting, restoring and enhancing San Francisco’s biodiversity and would encourage development staff to seek funding for biodiversity staffing and programs. Sponsor: Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speakers: Commissioner Gravanis and David Assmann, Deputy Director (Explanatory Document: Draft Resolution Language and Background and Public Comment) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)
Commissioner Gravanis discussed the importance of biodiversity as an essential element of a Sustainability Plan. She reported that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Sustainability Plan, which calls for five-year updates, includes a very good section on biodiversity, but is now out of date. At this time, there is no biodiversity policy to guide the work of this Commission, and San Francisco could use a more comprehensive policy and plan. Many cities do have biodiversity policies, programs, and staff, but San Francisco does not. She stated that she would like to introduce the concept to align with The Year of Biodiversity.
Commissioner Gravanis stated that without appropriate management and ecological restoration activities, the sustainability of San Francisco's plant and animal life would face serious decline. Our efforts need to include not only natural areas but also naturalistic landscapes, including some non-natives with value to local wildlife. Preserving biodiversity is complex and involves a lot of different actions that need to be taken, such as addressing light pollution, reflective building facades and pesticide use. She suggested that an effort be made to find staffing resources to prepare a plan in order for San Francisco to become a leader in biodiversity as it is in so many other aspects of sustainability.
Deputy Director Assmann reported that the Department of the Environment has been supportive of biodiversity initiatives. Since the City does not allocate General Fund money to the Department, the projects and programs that it is able to take on reflect the funding that is received from special funding and grants specific to programs. He discussed what could be accomplished without financial support such as creating a web portal on biodiversity, identifying volunteer resources to build a program and provide research assistance, working with non-profits that work on biodiversity issues, and research innovative ways to raise funds to hire a staff person to work on biodiversity. He explained that establishing a biodiversity program would require consistent staff support.
Commissioner Wald spoke in support of the Resolution, the objectives of the presentation of the Resolution, and the benefits of passing the Resolution including increased education activities by the Department on issues relating to biodiversity, and also the Department’s commitment to do fundraising on this effort in order to have a more robust program on biodiversity. She commended Commissioner Gravanis for her commitment to this issue and bringing it to more prominence before the Department and the Commission and her identification of this Resolution as a vehicle in solving some of the problems that she has tried to educate the Commission about.
Commissioner Tuchow inquired whether creating a website and identifying volunteer resources are actions that can be taken now and would not involve reprioritization of activities within the Strategic Plan. Deputy Director Assmann stated that action can be taken on those two items at this time and would not divert from other activities. Commissioner Gravanis reported that the Strategic Plan section on 2013 and beyond included information on the need to engage in more activities related to nature, and she is proposing advancing the schedule.
Mr. Steven Krefting, prior Commissioner, representing California League of Conservation Voters, reported on discussions held at League meetings about the need to raise the subject of biodiversity to a higher profile for both the City and its elected officials. He reported that the League would be holding an art contest focused on San Francisco’s biodiversity at its fundraiser next month. As a past Commissioner, Mr. Krefting reported that he helped draft the first Sustainability Plan and State of the City Report, and that it was difficult to raise people’s awareness about the need to protect San Francisco’s biodiversity. He stated that we are in a region that is recognized globally by the United Nations as a biodiversity hotspot. There are more species of bees here than anywhere else on Earth, and Bayview Hill has amazing plants that have survived intrusions and need to be preserved.
Mr. Jake Sigg, Conservation Chair, local chapter of California Native Plant Society, retired gardener and botanist, reported that volunteers have been working in natural areas in San Francisco since the late 1970’s and had convinced the Recreation and Park Department to manage these areas as well as organizing community groups to adopt an area. He spoke of the hard work and staff that is needed to supervise and coordinate volunteers, and urged people to volunteer. Mr. Sigg stated that the value of biodiversity would not be understood by the public without education about what biodiversity is and its value. He expressed his concern with the influx of weeds and fewer native plants and damage that may be caused by large crowds of people attending the America’s Cup event in areas such as Bayview Hill, Angel Island, Marin Headlands, Yerba Buena Island, Treasure Island, and Twin Peaks.
Mr. Greg Gaar, Nature in the City, thanked Commissioner Gravanis for tackling this issue, and stated that it should be a primary concern for the Department of the Environment. He stated that those people that volunteer with groups such as the National Park Service, Yerba Buena Chapter, Native Plant Society, Natural Areas Program, and Audubon Society to do habitat restoration know how important this subject is and are aware of what is happening in San Francisco’s wild areas. Weeds are advancing and displacing the biological diversity of San Francisco. He spoke of the importance of saving what nature has created in order to preserve what is there for future generations of people and wildlife. Mr. Gaar spoke of the importance of native plants to native wildlife and to the earth’s eco-systems. Saving biological diversity is crucial for the livability of San Francisco and to the health of this planet. Without a healthy eco-system in the Bay Area, there would be no point in having other sustainability measures.
Ms. Fish announced that Ms. Jan Blum provided written public comment in support of the Resolution and is included in explanatory documents.
Commissioner King suggested reaching out to plant lovers and arborists to build support for this issue. He discussed the importance of having a base of people that are able to communicate the importance of these issues to the public and elected officials so recent issues such as saving a Manzanita would not receive an adverse reaction.
The Resolution was forwarded to the Policy Committee to finalize for recommendation for approval by the Commission at its November 22, 2011 meeting.
7. Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chair’s Report: Review of the agenda for the October 19, 2011 meeting to be held at the Department of the Environment Eco Center, 11 Grove Street.
Commissioner Tuchow reported that an agenda would be finalized in the near future and reported on agenda items scheduled for the October 19, 2011 meeting. Topics to date include (1) Environmental Justice Program update on environmental justice grants and special projects; (2) San Francisco Healthy Homes, a project to address health disparities in San Francisco; (3) City and County Bike Fleet Grant Proposal. Tentative topics include (1) Status of the Department’s move to another location; (2) preliminary discussions on the 2012-13 Department budget, (3) the Department’s website redesign; (4) and the Department’s outreach priorities.
8. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chairs Report: Highlights of the August 8, 2011 meeting and review of the agenda for the October 24, 2011 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.
Policy Committee Chair Wald reported that the August 8 meeting included a discussion evaluating the Commission Retreat held in June and updates received from Department staff on the Climate Program and InSight Campaign. The September 12, 2011 meeting was cancelled due to a lack of quorum. The agenda for the October 24, 2011 meeting will include a discussion to finalize the Outreach List and an informational report by Deputy Director Assmann on litter clean-up fees and Extended Producer Responsibility. Additional topics will be finalized at a later date.
9. Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion) Monica Fish, Commission Secretary. Commission Secretary Fish reported that a written report on City legislative updates and communications and correspondence received since the last meeting has been provided to Commissioners.
10. Director’s Report. Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air/Transportation, Climate, Energy, Public Outreach and Education, Environmental Justice, Green Building, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, and Urban Forestry. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) (Information and Discussion)
Director Nutter provided a written report and highlighted (1) a press conference at California Academy of Sciences, a double LEED platinum certified institution. There are only five such institutions in the world, and the Department was there to celebrate that award with the Academy; (2) Green Building—Department’s participation in Green Build 2012, the International Conference for the Green Building Industry, is going to be in San Francisco next November and will be a huge opportunity for the Commission, the Department, and the City to bring about 30,000 green building professionals to San Francisco. (3) Discussion with Mayor Nutter from Philadelphia on Department’s work in green building and tour of the Public Utilities Commission building and Hayes Valley Farm; and (4) recognized Ms. Eng for her work in the Environmental Justice Program area. Literacy for Environmental Justice just completed construction of the Eco Center at Herons Head Park and will finally receive a Certificate of Occupancy.
11. Announcements. (Information and Discussion) There were no announcements made at this time.
12. President’s Announcements. (Information and Discussion) Commission President Tuchow asked Commissioners to provide him and Director Nutter with agenda item requests they may have for future meetings at least a couple of weeks in advance of meetings. He suggested that a report be provided to the Commission either at its next meeting or through the Director’s Report on the Department’s involvement and critique of the America’s Cup Sustainability Plan. Commissioner King suggested holding a meeting in the southeast neighborhood about the Commission’s role in the America’s Cup in order to gather input and build rapport in the community. Commission President Tuchow suggested that the Commission discuss the Department’s revised America’s Cup Zero Waste Plan at either the November Commission meeting or hold a special meeting.
13. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) This agenda item has been addressed in Item 12, President’s Announcements.
14. 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 made at this time.
15. Adjournment. The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m.
The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416.
** 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 at https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission included with minutes by meeting date; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.
Respectfully submitted by,
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
Tel: (415) 355-3709, Fax: (415) 554-6393
Approved: November 22, 2011