07.18.12 Operations Committee Meeting Approved Minutes





WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2012, 5:00 P.M.

Department of the Environment Eco Center

11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA  94102


COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Commissioners Angelo King (Chair), Alan Mok, Heather Stephenson


  1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Operations Committee meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners King and Stephenson; Excused:  Commissioner Mok.


  1. Approval of Minutes of the April 18, 2012 Operations Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document: April 18, 2012 Operations Committee Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner King, the April 18, 2012 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Stephenson and King; Absent:  Commissioner Mok).


  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.  There was no public comment at this time.


  1. Environmental Justice Program Update.  (Explanatory Documents: Environmental Justice Program Overview, San Francisco Environment Announcement of Brownfields Assessment Grant Award, San Francisco Healthy Homes Project Workshop and Newsletter, and Brownfields Assessment Press Event Announcement) Sponsor:  Commissioner Angelo King; Speaker: Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)


Ms. Anne Eng reported on the Department of the Environment’s Environmental Justice Program’s administration of City-funded grant awards to non-profit groups that support community projects in the Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero Hill neighborhoods in the Southeast area of San Francisco.  The focus of the grants are on preventing and reducing air pollution, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, and building community garden projects.  Ms. Eng also reported on the Program’s management of grants from non-City sources that include:


  • $400,000 grant award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to perform brownfields assessments of eight to ten sites in the Bayview Hunters Point area that will help to increase access to the Blue Greenway, a 13-mile open space waterfront corridor which extends along the City’s eastern shoreline. Grant term: October 2012 – September 2015.


  • $35,000 grant award from San Francisco Foundation to promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in public housing units at Alice Griffith and/or Sunnydale Housing development sites. Grant term: April 2012 – March 2013.


  • $500,000 planning grant provided by US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the San Francisco Healthy Homes project.  Grant term: October 2010 - March 1, 2013 (subject to approval of 6-month extension by CDC).


(See explanatory documents for a complete description of grant awards.) 


Ms. Eng announced that there would be a Department and Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Assessment press event and group walk or bike ride before the event on Thursday, July 26 to promote support for the Blue Greenway.  Commissioner King spoke in support of the Department’s management of grand awards and suggested that future events be held on a weekend day in order to increase participation.  Ms. Eng reported that there would be increased outreach and many more public events held to promote the Blue Greenway in the future.


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel requested a report on the San Francisco Healthy Homes Project.  Ms. Eng reported that the Department and the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA hosted a San Francisco Healthy Homes Strategic Planning Workshop to discuss the results of four health assessments and to identify the four strategic issues that will be addressed by the San Francisco Healthy Homes Community Action Plan (see explanatory document).  Mr. Pilpel asked that other City departments be included in collaborations in future presentations to the Commission and Committees.


Commissioner King suggested that the design phase of new development projects take into account best practices and lessons learned.   Ms. Eng reported on work with Integrated Pest Management staff to develop training sessions for HopeSF developers.  Commissioner King requested an extended discussion on this topic at a future meeting.   


  1. Review and Approval of Department of the Environment Funding Recommendations for 2012-13 Zero Waste Grants for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. (Explanatory Documents: Zero Waste Program Grant Funding Recommendations for 2012-13 and Draft Resolution File 2012-04-COE) Sponsor:  David Assmann, Deputy Director; Speaker:  Kevin Drew, Residential Zero Waste and Special Projects Coordinator (Discussion and Action)


Mr. Drew reported on Zero Waste Program grant proposals received and funding recommendations for the 2012-13 fiscal year for six grantees, five of which are for grantees that have existing contracts with the Department, and one for a new program “Loved Twice” that utilizes other City health programs to deliver recovered baby clothes to new mothers in need. 


Commissioner Stephenson inquired about grantees that have existing grants that did not receive funding for an extended cycle.  Mr. Drew discussed grantees that were not funded because of high funding requests or grantees that have changed what they do over time so no longer require funding from the Department.  Deputy Director Assmann and Mr. Drew discussed the grant cycle for grants that started later in the fiscal year and are being extended until January of next year.  It was reported that the grants will all conclude by June 2013, and a new grant cycle will begin at that time.


Commissioner Stephenson inquired whether a quality assessment is performed during the grant cycle.  Mr. Drew reported that grantees that are performing well will score better, and there are grantees that are performing so well that have started their own business or receive sufficient funding from other sources.   Commissioner King reported that many of these organizations provide an added benefit of creating jobs and opportunities for at-risk adults.  He asked that a report be produced listing the number of jobs that are being produced through grant programs.


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested that summaries about the Department’s grant awards be added to the Department’s website at the end of the fiscal year or grant cycle.  The summary should include what the grant has accomplished, experiences, jobs created, and quantitative and qualitative reports as an opportunity to communicate achievements.   Deputy Director Assmann concurred that a website project should be started to list the grants awarded, accomplishments, who has benefitted, and actions that have been achieved for every grant award.  Mr. Pilpel suggested inviting grantees to a Department public event such as the Earth Day Breakfast to recognize the work that they do.  Mr. Drew discussed the Department’s job opportunities that were created through partnerships with grantees. 


Commissioner King asked that grantees who receive an award of $100,000 or more be expected to present on their project to the full Commission in the future.  Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Stephenson, Resolution File 2012-04-COE was approved for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment to consider at its July 24, 2012 meeting.  (AYES:  Commissioners King and Stephenson; Absent:  Commissioner Mok).


  1. Outreach for San Francisco’s Expanded Checkout Bag Reduction Ordinance.  (Explanatory Documents:  Expanded Checkout Bag Reduction Ordinance, Checkout Ordinance Bag Factsheet, and Informational Handouts) Sponsor:  David Assmann, Deputy Director; Speaker:  Donald Oliveira, Grassroots Program Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)


Mr. Donald Oliveira reported that the Checkout Bag Reduction Ordinance requires the Department of the Environment to conduct multilingual grassroots outreach prior to the October 1, 2012 enactment of the Ordinance directed to retail businesses and October 1, 2013 enactment directed to restaurants.  He discussed outreach tools that were referenced for historical ordinances and applied to current strategies.  


Mr. Oliveira reported that EnvironmentNow staff is conducting door- to-door corridor outreach, that vendor bag fairs are being promoted, and multilingual factsheets and information will be mailed to over 18,500 city businesses, beginning with retail establishments.  Incentives are being offered to join the vendor bag fairs and partnerships are being formed with small businesses to work on future events to communicate the goals of the Ordinance.  EnvironmentNow staff has currently visited over 3000 businesses in person and will continue to do so during the course of the summer.  Staff will continue consumer outreach to influence residents to bring their bags, which will have an effect on the success of the Ordinance.  Mr. Oliveira reported on legal challenges set forth by the Plastic Bag Coalition that the City has prevailed over. 


Commissioner Stephenson inquired about consumer outreach plans.    Mr. Oliveira reported on partnerships being formed to create a regional survey to identify people’s actions and behaviors at stores.  There will be additional supermarket-focused outreach closer to the October 1, 2012 enactment date through tabling, canvas bag distribution, and poster distribution directed to city residents.


Commissioner King discussed the shift from plastic bags to paper bag usage and the goal to shift to reusable bags in order to save resources.  He discussed the feasibility of doing a city-wide campaign with limited personnel and resources and suggested starting with an outreach model in one area or supermarket in order to identify whether behavior change has occurred or can be changed.  Mr. Oliveira acknowledged two San Francisco businesses for starting a program where if you bring your own bag back to the store, you receive a ten percent discount. He discussed current incentives being offered through businesses and outreach that is focused on communicating the shift to reusable bags. 


Commissioner Stephenson inquired about the amount of research that is available from other jurisdictions on purchasing behavior by people using various modes of transportation such as biking and public transportation.  She discussed the idea of awarding a grant to a designer to create bicycle grocery bags.  Mr. Oliveira discussed the possibility of designing bags with handle- size variations for people of different heights and various commuter modes.  He reported that the Los Angeles Public Works Department has received a 95 percent reduction in plastic bag usage as a result of their programs.  Surveys based on location and type of supermarket store, have shown that some supermarkets have a high percentage of reuse while others have a low percentage. 


Commissioner Stephenson reported on the success of businesses that do not use bags and reuse their boxes so that recycling fees do not apply.  Commissioner King discussed ideas for enforcing behavior change by eliminating paper and plastic bags from stores. Commissioner Stephenson suggested that there be a citywide giveaway of canvas bags at the enactment of the Ordinance.  Mr. Oliveira reported on a recent bag giveaway by Recology and future plans and partnerships being considered.


Public Comment:


Mr. David Pilpel suggested that the Department’s website publicize business and consumer success stories.  Mr. Oliveira reported that filming is in progress to capture testimonials.


Mr. Andrew More O’Ferrall discussed the idea of offering bicycle-delivery services of products, which would present employment opportunities and replace the need for paper bag usage.  He suggested the use of biodegradable bags as an alternative to plastic bags. Mr. Oliveira reported that compostable bags that meet BPA certification will be allowed, but that any bag at checkout will incur a charge that the retailer will be able to retain. 


  1. Status of the Department of the Environment’s Office Move.  (Explanatory Document:  Office Floor Plan Draft) (Continued Discussion from the April 18, 2012 Meeting) Sponsor: Commissioner Angelo King; Staff Speaker: David Assmann, Deputy Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Deputy Director Assmann reported that the Department’s lease proposal for the office move to1455 Market Street was approved by the Board of Supervisors and finalized on June 27, 2012.  He reported that next steps would be to hire and review a formal proposal from the architect, finalize a construction plan, and then move into the building.  It was reported that the biggest task is to secure donations in the next six to eight weeks on items to integrate into the new space.   Committee members reviewed and discussed the Draft Floor Plan that was presented for review.


Commissioner King inquired about the availability of conference facilities for Committee meetings.  Deputy Director Assmann reported on the availability of four conference facilities, two larger facilities in other parts of the building, and two rooms internally.  He reported on (1) the availability of secured bicycle parking on the ground floor and negotiations in progress for expanded space and (2) discussions being held with other City agencies that are located in the building on joint synergies.  Commissioner King requested additional discussion at a future meeting about Eco Center plans.


Public Comment: 


Mr. David Pilpel suggested that the next meeting of the Operations Committee include an agenda item to discuss scheduling future meetings at the new office location.  He suggested that the Public Utilities Commission, who has recently moved to 525 Golden Gate Avenue, be consulted about their transition into a new space.  Mr. Pilpel suggested that there be a future discussion about security at the new building and ease of public access.


Mr. Andrew More O’Ferrall inquired about the size of the new Eco Center space and whether there would be potential for demonstration trainings.  Deputy Director Assmann reported that the new space is approximately 1000 square feet, and that the conference room can be opened up to expand the meeting space.  Commissioner Stephenson suggested contacting Life Edited, a company that specializes in reducing footprint by reducing space.   Deputy Director Assmann reported that discussions are being held about the flexibility in office space should the need arise.


  1. Fiscal Year 2012-13 Budget Update. Sponsor:  Commissioner Angelo King; Speaker:  David Assmann, Deputy Director  (Informational Report and Discussion) 


Deputy Director Assmann reported that the Department’s Fiscal Year 2012-13 Budget that was approved by the Commission at the January meeting was approved without any substantive changes.


  1. Department of the Environment’s Website Redesign Update. (Continued from the April 18, 2012 Meeting) Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director; Staff Speakers: Zoey Kroll, Internet Communications Manager and Jesse Woltjer, Internet Communications Coordinator Assistant (Informational Report and Discussion).


This agenda topic was proposed for referral to the July 24, 2012 Commission on the Environment meeting.


  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner King reported that discussions of future agenda topics have been discussed throughout the course of the meeting.  He reported on agenda planning sessions between himself and the Deputy Director that are held before each meeting. 


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested that the Department highlight the work that is being accomplished in coordination with other City departments and invite department representatives to attend meetings to discuss coordinated efforts on projects.  Commissioner King suggested that a future agenda topic include structure of partnerships.


  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.  There was no public comment at this time.


  1. Adjournment.  The Commission Operations Committee adjourned at 6:22 p.m.


The next Operations Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 5:00 p.m., at the Department of the Environment’s Eco Center, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA.


Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393


Approved: November 29, 2012