05.14.12 Policy Committee Approved Minutes





MONDAY, MAY 14, 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 5:05 p.m.  Present: Commissioners Wald and Gravanis. 


  1. Approval of Minutes of the April 30, 2012 Policy Committee Rescheduled Meeting. (Explanatory Document: April 30, 2012 Policy Committee Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the April 30, 2012 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis).


Item 4 was heard before Item 3.


  1. 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. Franca Gargiulo, Director, Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations, Coca-Cola, introduced herself and extended an invitation to Commissioners and Staff to visit Coca-Cola at their state of-the-art facilities in San Leandro where sparkling products are bottled or the American Canyon facility where still products are bottled.  She discussed highlights of Coca Cola’s business operations that include blow-molding and manufacturing, hydrogen fuel generators, recycling and reuse programs, and plant-bottle products.  


  1. GreenFinanceSF Commercial PACE program -- Presentation by SF Environment Staff. (Explanatory Document: 5-14-12 GreenFinanceSF Commercial Program Update Presentation) Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Director Nutter presented on the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that would allow owners of commercial properties to access a GreenFinanceSF financing program for building-performance upgrades. She discussed the benefits of the program to property owners, tenants, investors, and mortgage lenders and the investment opportunity in San Francisco based on commercial building space and retrofit cost.  A discussion was held on features of the open market PACE program, the application process and requirements, ideal types of projects, marketing and outreach opportunities, and potential projects in the pipeline.

Commissioner Wald suggested (1) bundling projects in order to lower cost; (2) working with banks to organize bonds for people in their neighborhood; (3) consulting with the Planning Department on permitting requirements for wind projects in San Francisco; and (4) tracking the number of jobs that this program generates.  She inquired whether the program was adequately staffed.  Director Nutter reported that the program is staffed by one staff member and would require more support for the program to grow.  Commissioner Wald asked for a presentation on enabling solar rooftops in San Francisco and a briefing on state and local laws as it applies to development projects. Director Nutter suggested that the Department’s Renewable Energy Program Manager present to the Committee on this topic. 

Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Planning Department be asked to speak about the Planning Code and local zoning laws for development projects that may affect solar installations.   She asked if there was a way to evaluate and make comparisons of the overall environmental benefits between solar rooftops and green roofs for water management and habitat programs.  Director Nutter suggested that the Department’s Climate Manager present to the Committee on this topic.   

Public Comment:  Mr. Steven Krefting reported that he has observed that the windmill located in the Mission District seems to be quiet and effective.  He stated that the Board that he is a member of for a nonprofit senior housing facility built in the 1960’s, is researching elevator upgrades, solar rooftop energy, and window insulation and may be interested in this program.  Director Nutter reported that www.GreenFinanceSF.org would have information on the application process and terms.


  1. Policy Committee Recommendations on Commission Goals and Action Items to Achieve Goals for Calendar Year 2012 for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. (Continued from the April 30, 2012 Meeting) Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion and Possible Action)

Commissioner Wald suggested that the Committee select priorities for the Commission and Policy Committee to work on for the remainder of the year so that there can be better synergy between Department and Commission activities.  Commissioners discussed the need to develop an organizing principle for Commission/Committee work similar to what was done in the past with the Urban Environmental Accords.  Director Nutter reported on her participation in the City of Gwangju, Korea’s, Environmental Accords Summit and the Department’s participation in the Urban Environmental Accords Secretariat, which the Department is co-chairing along with the City of Gwangju.  She discussed their plans to hold a conference next year and invite cities from around the world to participate. 

Commissioner Gravanis suggested updating the City’s Sustainability Plan that has sunsetted and using it as the organizing principle for future work. She suggested comparing Strategic Plan goals to Sustainability Plan goals in order to identify gaps. Commissioner Wald discussed the importance of developing a regular process for updating the Sustainability Plan and the need to develop a framework document that can identify a longer-term vision and goals, metrics, and funding for goals that are not in the current plan.  Director Nutter concurred that the Sustainability Plan should be updated and used as a way to articulate the City’s sustainability vision to the Commission, Department staff, and other stakeholders.    She discussed the correlation between the components of the Climate Action Strategy and the Sustainability Plan.  Director Nutter suggested that Mr. Corey Marshall from SPUR present to the Committee on the idea of the Department working with a consulting firm to update the Sustainability Plan.

Commissioner Wald suggested that the Committee prioritize its work in order to help the Department move the Biodiversity Plan forward and identify what should be accomplished on the plan by the end of the year.  Commissioner Gravanis pointed out that biodiversity is a key gap in the Strategic Plan.  Director Nutter suggested that the Committee structure future meetings around the priorities that have been identified in order to have continuity and identify important elements of each priority.   Commissioner Wald suggested climate work and identifying the role that San Francisco can have in educating other jurisdictions about what can be done to address this issue as another priority to work on.  Director Nutter reported that the Climate Action Strategy and Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations would be available for Commissioner’s input into key actions and strategies and suggested continued meetings at the Committee level on this priority.

Public Comment: 

Ms. Lurilla Harris suggested establishing a timeline and deadline for each priority.  She stated that schools should be incorporated into this effort because kids are being taught about biodiversity, and they are the generation who will be making the difference.   

Mr. Steven Krefting former Vice-Chair of the Commission on the Environment, stated that he supports the Sustainability Plan as a framework for work of the Commission and Department.  He explained that there are areas where information and technologies have been developed since the Plan was adopted that should be updated.  Mr. Krefting discussed the challenges that the Plan presents in that it covers a lot of areas that other Departments and Commissions are working on so would require developing good relationships with those agencies.  He advocated for keeping the initial vision broad and tiering the Strategic Plan off the Sustainability Plan.  He discussed Charter requirements to create a State of the Environment Report that would require metrics and ways to measure success that the Sustainability Plan does not have built in.    

Ms. Franca Gargiulo stated that the reason it is difficult to develop agreeable metrics is because technology changes so fast, and what is not easily doable now, may be possible in the future.  Commissioner Wald suggested building adaptable systems for technology changes.

Director Nutter reported that Department staff is reviewing metrics that are in the Strategic Plans for each program area and has worked with the Controller’s Office to develop quantifiable metrics for the state of the city report.  She reported that there are external entities that want to develop Green City Indexes to compare how cities are doing with one another. She suggested that discussions on sustainability metrics include overall sustainability metrics in the city.  It was suggested that meetings around the Sustainability Plan and metrics be held at the full Commission, and that the Committee hold working session meetings around specific topics such as climate and biodiversity, and then provide an update to the Commission. 

Commissioner Gravanis suggested that Commissioners be encouraged to be more active as individuals in the community, with other departments, Commissions, and Board of Supervisors as well as have more of a presence in Department activities and environmental events.  A discussion was held on how to involve Commissioners more by establishing talking points, identifying specific topics of interest to the Commission, and compiling a list of specific types of engagement that Commissioners could be involved in.  Commissioner Wald suggested using the future agenda items topics more strategically so as to inform Commissioners of opportunities in which to be involved.  Commissioner Gravanis discussed proactively inviting people who may have community expertise in a certain area to future meetings.  Commissioner Wald suggested compiling a list of experts as a reference guide.    

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the following four priorities were adopted for implementation (1) Sustainability Plan; (2) Biodiversity Plan; (3) Climate/Renewable Energy; and (4) Metrics. (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis)  Commissioner Wald suggested that a discussion be held at the June 11 Policy Committee meeting to develop implementation plans on the four priorities. The Policy Committee would develop the concept for the Sustainability Plan and metrics priorities before it goes to the Commission.  Commissioner Wald would provide an update to the Commission on Committee discussions during the Policy Committee report on this topic at the May 22, 2012 meeting.


  1. Quarterly Review of Commission on the Environment and its Committees Accomplishments for 2012. (Continued from the April 30, 2012 Meeting) (Explanatory Document:  Commission and Committee 2012 Agenda Topics) (Discussion)


Commissioners selected the following accomplishments to include in the Commission’s 2012 Annual Report (1) Approval Letter for AB 1776 supporting the Endangered Pacific Leatherback as the Official Marine Reptile of California; (2) Resolution urging Congress to permanently establish parity between the parking and mass transit/vanpool portions of the Employee Transportation Benefit; (3) Resolution commending the Port of San Francisco for passage of their Zero Waste Events and Activities Policy; (4) Resolution approving the Department of the Environment’s Integrated Pest Management 2012 Reduced Risk Pesticide List; (5) Approval of 2012-13 Department Budget; and (6) Policy Committee Recommendations on Commission Goals and Action Items to Achieve Goals for Calendar Year 2012.   Commissioner Gravanis suggested that there be consideration given to how much value the Commission/Committees can add when selecting future agenda topics.  This agenda topic would be scheduled for the August 13, 2012 Policy Committee meeting for the next quarterly review of accomplishments.


  1. Director’s Report and Updates.  (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report) Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion) Director Nutter highlighted activities since the April 30 Policy Committee meeting that include (1) holding an annual school awards ceremony at City Hall to acknowledge schools who have shown exemplary work on the environment; (2) Department receiving an award from the San Francisco Conservation Corp for being an outstanding partner in reaching zero waste and for involvement in the EnvironmentNow program; (3) holding the EnvironmentNow graduation ceremony for the first graduation class; and (4) negotiation of the lease to consolidate Department operations at 1455 Market Street and fundraising efforts to reach LEED Platinum at the new office site. 


  1. Announcements. (Discussion)  Commissioner Gravanis reported that she has received communication from a student who is interested in working with Outside Lands in investigating the possibility of supplying tap water to events in Golden Gate Park.


  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner Wald stated that the June 11 Policy Committee meeting would include (1) a discussion of the Commission/Committee work priorities that were approved and strategies for implementation; (2) Climate Action Plan input before the report is finalized; (3) biodiversity plan update; (4) grants approval; and (5) Department of Public Works presentation on the Better Market Streets Plan.    


  1. 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.  Mr. Nick Jasepowitz (phonetic spelling) introduced himself and expressed his interest in the subject of meetings.


  1. Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.


The next regular meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 11, 2012 and will be held in Room 421, City Hall.


Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

Telephone (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 Policy Committee’s website http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas 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:  June 11, 2012