CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
CITY HALL, ROOM 416, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
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 5:10 p.m. Present: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson, and Wald; Excused: Commissioner Prakash.
2. Approval of Minutes of the September 27, 2011Commission on the Environment Meeting. (Explanatory Document: September 27, 2011Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Stephenson, the September 27, 2011 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald; Absent: Commissioner Prakash).
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 the 2010 San Francisco Buy Green Program for City Staff Annual Report. (Explanatory Document: 2010 Buy Green Annual Report and Summary of Purchases 2008-10) Sponsor Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker: Chris Geiger, Green Purchasing Manager (Discussion and Action)
Commissioner Wald reported that the Buy Green Program for City Staff Annual Report was reviewed and approved by the Policy Committee at its October 24, 2011 meeting. The report details the successful actions that the Department has taken to encourage other City departments to change their behavior and buy green products. The Policy Committee is impressed by the accomplishments of this program and recommends that the report be approved by the Commission.
Dr. Chris Geiger reported on the accomplishments of the Buy Green Program in 2010 that include expanded outreach in the form of consultations to City department purchasing staff, implementation of the SF Approved website (a web portal that contains an approved list of environmentally preferable products), the ability for departments to provide input on products, and establishing a rewards program to recognize green purchasing leaders in City departments. Challenges include receiving vendor and sales reports that are required to produce metrics for the program, working with contract schedules and delays, and creating a systematic approach to documenting the effectiveness of products.
Dr. Geiger described the role of the participating agencies such as the Department in selecting targeted product categories that are best suited for developing green specifications for City purchases, the Office of Contract Administration in establishing citywide contracts, and green teams that provide input on product efficacy and types of products that are needed. Dr. Geiger reported that from 2009-10 purchases of green products as a percentage of total products purchased in particular categories increased from approximately 80% to 91%. A discussion was held on increases and decreases in purchases of particular product categories.
Commissioners Wald and Gravanis commended program staff for their collaborative approach in influencing people to change their behavior and suggested that the Department reference this program as a model for other Department programs. Commissioner King acknowledged City departments that are championing the cause for using more green products. He pointed out that replacing one product with another may present unanticipated consequences and suggested focusing more on product reuse and natural methods whenever possible.
Public Comment: Mr. David Pilpel spoke in support of the Buy Green Program and encouraged the Commission to approve the report. He commended program goals of buying less and buying greener products.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner King, the Buy Green Program for City Staff Annual Report was approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald; Absent: Commissioner Prakash).
5. America’s Cup Sustainability Plan Update. (Explanatory Documents: Draft Sustainability Plan http://www.americascup.com/Documents/AC34%20Draft%20Sustainability%20Plan_19%20Sept%202011.pdf, Summary, and Presentation) Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker: Jill Savery, America's Cup Event Authority, Head of Sustainability (Informational Report and Discussion)
Ms. Jill Savery presented the Commission with an update on the America’s Cup Draft Sustainability Plan and introduced team members. (Explanatory Document: America’s Cup Presentation to the Commission.) Topics of discussion included event timeline and venues; sustainability commitment; Draft Sustainability Plan development timeline, objectives, partnerships, and themes; and America’s Cup World Series sustainability practices in San Diego, California. She commended support received from Department of the Environment staff to improve America’s Cup Event Authority office operations in the areas of procurement and zero waste.
Commissioner Gravanis asked that the Event Authority provide an update on when comments from the Commission and members of the public will be integrated into the next version of the plan. Topic areas discussed included (1) accounting for the large number of bike racks that will be required; (2) adding an environmental justice component; (3) specifying how local-hiring provisions will be implemented; (4) mitigating provisions for shore-side power; (5) protecting wildlife and ecosystems; (6) accountability relating to project financing, metrics, types of reporting for the 2012 event that will allow adaptive management for 2013; (7) protecting whole eco-system and habitats in viewing areas. Commissioner Gravanis requested additional information on event implementation strategies that will be used in order to achieve goals.
Ms. Savery reported that the Event Authority will be reviewing and incorporating constructive comments into the plan in December, and highlights of the Workforce Development and Youth Involvement Plans scheduled for publication next week will be incorporated into the Sustainability Plan in the next version. The Global Reporting Initiative guidelines with an Event Organizer Sector supplement will provide the framework for reporting mechanisms for the 2012 and 2013 events. Metrics tracking and a sustainability report on accomplishments made for the Cascais, Plymouth and San Diego events is in process and will be available in the near future.
Commissioner Wald reported that she is encouraged by the progress in planning and operationalizing best practices and provided suggestions to make the event a truly sustainable one that will achieve its announced objectives. She asked that the Sustainability Plan (2) discuss options to mitigate air-quality impacts of NOx emissions that will result from shore-side power shut- off; and (2) include a commitment to protect the marine environment from sonic impacts of construction using best available technology, and provide clear guidance about speeds and avoiding areas of marine congregation both by visiting ships and racing vessels.
Commissioner King asked (1) that information be provided to the Commission about the makeup of the Youth Involvement teams so recommendations can be made as to who to connect with in order to insure that all areas of the city benefit from the plan; (2) include a local hiring plan in the Workforce Plan; and (3) that the Commission and Department be included in providing recommendations about maritime sustainability and operations at the conclusion of the event.
Ms. Teri Shore, program director, Sea Turtles.org, reported on concerns with the excess emissions, particulate pollution, and reactive organics that will result from the event, cruise ships coming in, and shutting off of shore-side power. She reported on outreach that her organization and others have been involved in with the City and the Port in order to reduce or offset those emissions and discussed the lack of opportunity to collaborate to this effect in the CEQA document. She asked that (1) the Department, City agencies, and the Event Authority work together on specific mitigations for fuel alternatives, shore-side power, and other areas of concern; (2) that the Sustainability Plan contain specific measures with specific timelines that goes beyond CEQA; and (3) that the Commission set up a subcommittee to work on this plan between now until the end of December.
Ms. Leila Monroe, staff attorney, Oceans Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, reported on her work with the Environmental Council reviewing and tracking the development of the Sustainability Plan, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) plans. She asked that the Event Authority and the City pay particular attention to two areas of concern that involve reducing impacts to air-quality and all marine-life and eco-systems. She suggested updating outdated information in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) about the status of marine mammals, indicating how visiting vessel traffic will be corralled, insuring no ship strikes, that sonic impacts are minimized, and that available technologies be utilized to do so. Ms. Monroe also discussed the impacts and costs associated with the unplugging of tax-payer funded shore-side power.
Commission Secretary Fish announced that written public comment was received and is included in the Commission’s packet from the Brightline Defense project in reference to local hiring for the America’s Cup event.
6. Approval of Draft Resolution File No. 2011-05-COE 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 File No. 2011-05-COE, Background, and Adopted Resolution 005-11-COE) (Discussion and Action)
Commissioner Gravanis reported that background information and the Resolution were reviewed by the Commission at its September meeting and the Policy Committee in October. She proposed that the Commission approve the Resolution so the Department could be well known in its leadership in biodiversity and resource protection as it is in other areas. Deputy Director Assmann reported that the Department is prioritizing fundraising in order to start a robust program and taking steps with the current limited resources to develop a section on the Department’s website.
Mr. Jake Sigg, California Native Plant Society, spoke in support of the Resolution and the importance of preserving the unique assemblage of plants and animals in San Francisco. He stated that it is especially urgent to secure funding for Yerba Buena Island because of the long and cumbersome process of adding it to the Natural Areas Program.
Mr. Liam O’Brien, Nature in the City, lepidopterist, reported on his work studying butterflies and moths in San Francisco. He discussed the existing and endangered butterfly population in San Francisco and opportunities that exist to protect, restore and enhance preservation and the nature experience in San Francisco. Mr. O’Brien reported on the discovery of a very dense community of native creatures when pulling out ice plants and discussed efforts that should be made to bring back the endangered Blue Xerces butterfly to San Francisco.
Mr. Greg Gaar, Nature in the City, reported that he created the Native Plant Nursery at the HANC Recycling Center to propagate native plants, the foundation of the earth’s eco-systems. He discussed his experience growing up in San Francisco and his witness to destruction of open space over time. He endorsed the Resolution in its effort to preserve biological diversity and spoke in support of the work of the Natural Areas Program, National Park Service, and environmentalists in restoring habitat.
Mr. Steve Krefting, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, spoke in support of the Resolution and discussed the importance of educating people and enhancing the experience for children about the wildlife that exists outdoors. He pointed out that the Presidio located in San Francisco has more endangered species than almost any national park in the system.
Mr. David Pilpel spoke in support of the Resolution and the importance of adding biodiversity to Department and school education programs.
Mr. Damian Raffa, San Francisco resident, spoke in support of the Resolution, the addition of urban nature language to the Department’s website, and the importance of San Francisco and the Department paying more attention to its local nature and extraordinary biodiversity that represents its living natural history. He discussed his appreciation of the native plants in San Francisco stating that urban nature, open spaces, vegetation, and animals that live in and around the city make one city more livable than another.
Commission Secretary Fish reported that written public comment was received and is included in the Commission packet from Ms. Rebecca Evans, Sierra Club, in support of the Resolution.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner Mok, Resolution File 2011-05-COE was approved without objection (AYES: Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King, Mok, Stephenson and Wald; Absent: Commissioner Prakash) (Explanatory Document: Resolution 005-11-COE).
7. Commission Input into Organization and Content for the Commission 2011 Annual Report. (Explanatory Document: Department of the Environment’s 2010 Annual Report and Efficiency Plan—Commission Annual Report Section and Priority Selection Chart) Sponsor and Speaker: Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion)
Commissioner Wald reported on Charter requirements for the Commission to produce an annual report about its accomplishments. She reported that the Policy Committee and members of the public discussed last year’s format at its November meeting and provided suggestions into the content and organization for this year’s report. It was suggested that the Commission be given an opportunity to provide input at today’s meeting and consider whether the report should be prepared on an annual or fiscal year basis.
Commission Secretary Fish reported that the report, which is a section of the Department’s Annual Report and Efficiency Plan, is to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors and Mayor, posted on the Department’s website, and a copy is sent to the Main Library. Commissioners were provided with a chart of topics that the Commission addressed at its meetings in calendar year 2010, and were asked for suggestions for what to include in the Annual Report.
Commissioner Wald suggested that the report should show the value that this Commission has added to the accomplishments of the Department and should focus more on major accomplishments. Commissioner Stephenson suggested a thematic approach as opposed to an operational approach. Commissioner Wald suggested considering the Department’s Strategic Plan as a thematic approach to how the Commission’s activities further the goals and objectives of the Department’s plan. Commissioner Gravanis suggested differentiating between what the Commission took action on as opposed to what was reviewed and elaborating on the actions taken and significance of the review process. She concurred with the idea of organizing the Plan thematically, and the Strategic Plan serving as an outline to help with the thematic organization. Commissioner King suggested delineating the issues that the Commission provides oversight on as opposed to issues that were driven from the Commission or its Committees. Commissioners discussed policy areas and topics that the Commission provided significant input into.
Commissioner Tuchow suggested (1) adding the administrative tasks the Commission has worked on and focusing on a thematic approach; (2) a review be made collectively of how much testimony over the course of the year was provided on key issues in order to measure key engagement with the public; (3) call out the difference that the Commission is making, how it can continue to do so presently and in the future focusing on two to four major accomplishments that the Commission has played an important role in; and (4) reviewing the role of the Commission as stated in the Commission Bylaws and using those duties to make statements about the Commission’s oversight role and strategic value added.
Commissioners discussed creating an Ad Hoc Committee to work on the report. Commissioners were instead asked to send in written feedback to the Policy Committee Chair and Commission Secretary by December 7 so a draft could be prepared for the Policy Committee’s review at its December 12 meeting for recommendation to the Commission at its January meeting. Commissioner King suggested that the Operations Committee be given an opportunity at its January meeting to provide input into the report.
Public Comment: Mr. David Pilpel provided suggestions for Commission review of the Annual Report at Committee and Commission meetings and provided suggestions into the report organization and content. He suggested (1) using existing structures and people to call out important issues instead of forming an Ad Hoc Committee; and (2) that language be added about challenges the Commission faced this year and future plans for 2012.
8. Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chair’s Report: Review of the October 19, 2011 meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for January 18, 2012 to be held at the Department of the Environment Eco Center, 11 Grove Street.
Committee Chair Mok reported that the October 19, 2011 meeting topics included updates on the Department’s (1) 2012-13 fiscal year budget, (2) office move; (3) Outreach program, and (4) new website.
9. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chairs Report: Highlights of the October 24 and November 14, 2011 meeting and review of the agenda for the December 12, 2011 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.
Committee Chair Wald reported that the Policy Committee at its October 24 meeting (1) discussed and approved the Green Purchasing program report; (2) proposed for approval to the Commission the Biodiversity resolution; and (3) discussed local opportunities to drive product stewardship. At the November 14 meeting, the Committee (1) received an encouraging update about zero waste legislation, (2) discussed the past draft balloon release ordinance and potential next steps; (3) conversed about the outreach list project; and (4) discussed the annual report. The agenda for the December 12 meeting will include a discussion on the Annual Report.
10. Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion)
Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
· Communications and Correspondence
Commission Secretary Fish provided the Commission with a written report on Board of Supervisors legislative updates and communications and correspondence received. She reported that Commissioners are required to take Mandatory Harassment Prevention training by December 31. Instructions and course requirements were provided.
Commissioner Gravanis reported on a presentation that Mr. Jack Macy of Department staff provided to the Policy Committee on state legislation that included a sense of staff’s involvement in influencing the passage of legislation. She asked that a future venue be considered on how the Commission can be made aware of what Department staff worked on, what legislation was initiated by the Commission or was sponsored by a Board of Supervisors member with or without staff’s involvement. Deputy Director Assmann provided information on the Department’s involvement in local legislation listed in the Commission Secretary’s report.
Commissioner King questioned the effectiveness of the plastic bag ban from his experience at supermarkets and suggested that funding directed toward the legislation be directed to supplying the public with canvas bags. He suggested that (1) more be done to influence a change in behavior and (2) that stores should be asked for an analysis about the effectiveness of the program. Commissioner King pointed out that there is now an expanded use of paper and the quality of the paper is not effective for those traveling by public transportation.
Public Comment: Mr. David Pilpel commended the report that was provided. He inquired about the status of the expansion of the plastic bag ban and D-con rodent control legislation that were heard at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Deputy Director Assmann reported that the plastic bag expansion was postponed until next week and believes the rodent bait legislation passed.
11. 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)
Deputy Director Assmann reported on (1) the hiring of a Public Outreach Manager and Grassroots Coordinator and two vacancies scheduled to be filled; (2) Board of Supervisors Committee review on potential purchases of buildings as it relates to the Department’s new office move location; (3) the announcement of a 78% diversion rate for 2010; (4) press conference held about the rodent control bait legislation; (5) implementation of the GreenFinance SF program; and (6) approval of Green Building Ordinance amendments by the Board of Supervisors. He discussed the press controversy questioning the methodology used to calculate carbon emissions.
Public Comment: Mr. David Pilpel announced that Recology held a press conference about a composting milestone of one million tons that was reached. He expressed his support for the rebuilding of the Outreach Team.
12. Announcements. (Information and Discussion) Commissioner Gravanis commended Deputy Director Assmann for jumpstarting biodiversity efforts on the Department’s website and said that there are now two shelves of biodiversity literature in the Department’s Eco Center. She announced that Deputy Director Assmann has supplied the photographs for a new brochure about birds in Glen Canyon Park.
13. President’s Announcements. (Information and Discussion) Commission President Tuchow asked Commissioners to provide him and Director Nutter with suggestions for future agenda items that may attract members of the public.
14. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) Commissioner King requested an analysis of the effectiveness of the plastic bag ban legislation.
15. 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.
16. Adjournment. The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:18 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
TEL: (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393
The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 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.