07.24.12 Commission on the Environment Meeting Approved Minutes






TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2012, 5:00 P.M.



COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Matt Tuchow (President), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-President), Angelo King, Alan Mok, Heather Stephenson and Johanna Wald



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 5:37 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King and Stephenson; Excused:  Commissioners Mok and Wald.


  1. Approval of Minutes of the May 22, 2012 Commission on the Environment Meeting. (Explanatory Document: May 22, 2012 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Gravanis, the May 22, 2012 Commission Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King and Stephenson; Absent:  Commissioners Mok and Wald).


  1. 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.


Ms. Denise D’Anne suggested that the Commission work on influencing product manufacturers to stop using Styrofoam in merchandise packaging.  She spoke in opposition to the California Air Resources Board guidelines that allow cars to idle for five minutes pointing out that new cars do not need to idle, and emissions that result from idling cars cause health problems and damage to the environment.


Ms. Lurilla Harris suggested that future agendas include the date of the next Commission meeting.  She asked that the Department’s offices at 11 Grove Street include postings providing information about the Department’s relocation to 1455 Market Street.

  1. Discussion on San Francisco's Being Named Cleantech Capital of North America by the Cleantech Group.  (Explanatory Document:  Press Release and Presentations) Sponsor:  Commissioner Matt Tuchow; Speakers:  Todd Rufo, Deputy Director, Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and Sara Strope, Cleantech Group (Informational Report and Discussion)


Ms. Sara Strope, Vice President, Cleantech Group, reported that the Cleantech Group, a market- intelligence firm established in 2002 and headquartered in San Francisco,  provides customers, a mixture of corporations, venture capital groups, policy makers, and investors, with access to insight on Cleantech innovation through three primary businesses--research, customer advisory work, and events.  The Cleantech Group produced a flagship event, the Cleantech Forum, which is held in San Francisco and draws an audience of 700-800 Cleantech leaders each year.  At the Cleantech Forum in 2012, San Francisco was named the Cleantech Capital of North America and received the award based on the city being a center for innovation, its access to capital, taking the lead in venture investment, and the number of companies on the Global 100 List.   


Ms. Strope defined Cleantech as any company that has a technology that reduces and has positive impact on the environment, reduces the amount of resources, and is divided into14 primary categories, which range from renewable energy, water, biofuels, recycling, and waste.  Presentation topics included:


  • Most Active Cities by Deal Count--Number of Cleantech Ventures by Metro Area—San Francisco takes the lead (Slide 2). 
  • Most Active Cities by Amount Invested-Cleantech Venture Investment Amount by Metro Area (Slide 3).  San Francisco takes the lead.
  • San Francisco as a Cleantech Hub (Slide 4).
  • Global Cleantech 100 San Francisco Footprint (Slide 5).


Mr. Todd Rufo, Deputy Director, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, reported on what the City has been doing to promote and facilitate the success of the Cleantech industry.  He discussed San Francisco’s Cleantech economy, clusters, and why San Francisco has been successful in growing this industry through its policy leadership, talent, strong cluster, and ecosystem.  He reported on the City’s efforts to provide incentives, outreach and recruitment, engagement, international opportunities, and workforce support. (Slides 1-4)   Mr. Rufo stated that it is important for the City’s environmental leadership that includes the Commission to continue to deliberate and make recommendations on policies that will make sure that San Francisco stays at the forefront of Cleantech.


Commissioner Tuchow commended Mr. Rufo and Ms. Strope for their work and the success of the Cleantech program.  He inquired whether there was any assistance that the Commission could offer in addition to policy development to promote the Cleantech industry.  Mr. Rufo suggested that Commissioners engage their connections in order to promote San Francisco as a leading gateway for global Cleantech companies and jobs.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired about opportunities for permanent employment for those who are engaged in green jobs.  Mr. Rufo reported that the Office of Economic and Workforce Development is working to identify companies that are hiring and connecting these jobs to interested San Franciscans.  He reported on OEWD websites http://www.workforcedevelopmentsf.org/ that have green training and jobs information for TrainGreenSF and HireSF www.HireSF.org programs.   Commissioner Tuchow inquired about areas of focus in the Cleantech industry.  Mr. Rufo reported that the City is leading the way in policy and has a strong business nexus in the areas of renewables, clean transportation, and energy efficiency. 


Director Nutter asked Mr. Rufo if there are additional policies that the Commission can consider in order to increase the Cleantech policy portfolio.  Mr. Rufo reported that he has been receiving more communication at this time about locations for companies to locate to.  Commissioner Tuchow asked Mr. Rufo to share OEWD’s future plans on how to attract green jobs and clean tech companies to San Francisco.


  1. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution No. File 2012-04-COE approving Department of the Environment Funding Recommendations for 2012-13 Zero Waste Grants. (Explanatory Documents: Zero Waste Program Funding Recommendations for 2012-13 Grant Awards and Draft and Final Resolution 004-12-COE) Sponsor:  David Assmann, Deputy Director; Speaker: Kevin Drew, Residential Zero Waste and Special Projects Coordinator (Discussion and Action)


Mr. Kevin Drew, Staff Environment Residential Zero Waste and Special Projects Coordinator, reported that there are six grant awards for programs that the Commission is considering as reflected in the Zero Waste Program Funding Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2012-13 Grant Awards.    


Commissioner Gravanis reported that she had participated in the past in the grant selection process and thanked staff for their thorough and objective protocols for selection of grantees.  She inquired whether the backyard composting program would divert more compost from the landfill than from the green compost bins.  Mr. Drew reported that the program is more efficient in that compost that would normally be transported elsewhere stays closer to home, but it is not necessarily keeping more out of the landfill.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether the Loved Twice program would be providing any more landfill diversion than organizations that currently pick up donated clothes or donation centers.  Mr. Drew reported that Loved Twice would be involved in special outreach for sectors that may not otherwise have been reached and have collection methods for material that may not have otherwise been donated. 


Ms. Kelly Meehan, Environmental Programs Coordinator, Community Housing Partnership (CHP), grantee, reported that CHP is a supportive housing nonprofit organization that owns and operates approximately eleven buildings and works with people who have previously experienced homelessness. In 2007, in tandem with the Department of the Environment, CHP created a recycling and environmental awareness program which disseminates zero waste and sustainability information to forty-seven supportive housing buildings in San Francisco.  Ms. Meehan reported that there are approximately 100 activists that have graduated from the program.  It has been expanded to include other activities such as hiking, trips to the transfer station, and planting a sidewalk garden in the Tenderloin neighborhood.  A volunteer program will be developed to primarily engage at least ten percent of clients with environmental education and to work with other non- profits in the Bay Area in workforce development. Additional activities include working with large street fairs in order to improve diversion rates and providing short-term green waste opportunities. 


Mr. Drew reported that this program provides the opportunity for CHP and its partners to take the sustainability concept further and put it in their own buildings that are located in some of the most densely populated and challenging areas in San Francisco.  Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Stephenson, Resolution File 2012-04-COE was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Tuchow, Gravanis, King and Stephenson; Absent:  Commissioners Mok and Wald). 


  1. New Environment Staff Introductions and Program Update. Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director; Staff Speakers:  Donald Oliveira, Outreach Program Manager and Environment Now Staff (Informational Presentation and Discussion)


Mr. Donald Oliveira, Staff Program Outreach Manager, reported on the history of the original JobsNow program that the Department began participating in in 2009 through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and has since evolved into the Environment Now program.  The Environment Now program continued in 2010 by way of additional funding received from various sources and has evolved into a two-year employment opportunity.  There are now twenty staff and four coordinators assigned to the program that resides with the Department’s Outreach structure and is focused on supporting job skills and targeting grassroots outreach.    


Mr. Oliveira reported on the Environment Now program’s recruitment strategy in partnering with local community organizations and non-profits to send people who are well versed in the sustainability field and have received green-jobs training.  The current group has all graduated from these programs. He reported on the graduation ceremony held for the first group of staff in May of this year.  The strength in the program is the ability for staff to reach small businesses and multilingual communities and provide direct communication about the Department’s programs and policies.   He acknowledged the good work of the team and coordinators that are working on up to twenty-three unique projects with the residential and small business community on programs such as urban forestry, zero waste, toxics reduction, the Healthy Nail Salon program, and the Drug Take Back program,


Mr. Keith Dewes II, Environment Now staff, reported on the project that he and his team are working on with San Francisco Housing Authority residents presenting on energy- efficiency and water-savings measures that are being implemented in buildings.


Mr. DeWayne Scurry Outreach Team Leader, introduced team members, and described his education and background in residential auditing and weatherization.  He discussed his interest in bringing an environmental message to the community in order to make a positive effect for future generations.


Commissioner Tuchow thanked the Environment Now team for their role in promoting the environmental movement in San Francisco and hopes to see an increase in the program in the future. 


Public Comment: 


Mr. Kevin Drew stated that the Zero Waste team has been a beneficiary of Environment Now efforts that have been transformative to the success of the program.  He stated that many Environment Now cohorts have been trained by grantees and have come out of grant programs and that he is hopeful for the future.


Ms. Sala-Hagheen spoke in support of the Environment Now program.


  1. Department of the Environment’s Website Redesign Update.  (Explanatory Document:  Website Presentation) Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director;  Staff Speaker: Zoey Kroll, Internet Communications Coordinator (Informational Report and Discussion)


Ms. Zoey Kroll, Staff Internet Communications Coordinator, reported on the status of the Department’s new website redesign that was launched in April 2012, current focus to launch the RecycleWhere database, and future enhancements to add content and improve usability.Ms. Kroll discussed the benefits, highlights, and responsiveness of the new site, provided stats of website visitors, and what visitors are most interested in, e.g., jobs, About the Department, Zero Waste/recycling and composting, transportation and climate change.The Commission’s link is www.sfenvironment.org/commission.


Commissioner Stephenson inquired how the success of the website is being analyzed.  Ms. Kroll reported on the benefits of the current site in terms of updating, tracking metrics, and mapping to program goals. Commissioner Stephenson inquired whether the website has a visitor tracking mechanism in order to gage interest.  Ms. Kroll reported that visitors are most interested in the Department’s policies and best practices.  Commissioner Tuchow inquired what the website has not been able to accomplish.  Ms. Kroll reported that there is continued communication with program staff to help strategize messaging into the website.


  1. Update on the Commission on the Environment’s Annual Retreat on August 23, 2012.  Sponsors and Speakers:  Melanie Nutter, Director and Commission President Matt Tuchow (Discussion)


Director Nutter discussed Commission retreat topics that would consist of an assessment of Strategic Plan goals and program updates, Commission’s input into Department goals, and Commission-driven goals and projects relative to Department goals.  She reported that the Department is formulating eighteen of its goals into four overarching cross- programmatic goals and requested the Commission’s input.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that the Policy Committee is requesting feedback from the Commission on four of the goals that were identified at Committee meetings. She suggested a discussion of how the Commission can make a difference beyond its mandates. 


Commissioner King suggested that the Commission review the Commission’s Bylaws relative to Committee structure and selection of agenda topics.  Commissioner Stephenson requested background material on past goals and accomplishments. Commissioner Tuchow concurred with suggested agenda topics for the retreat.


  1. Operations Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)

Chair’s Report:   Highlights of the July 18, 2012 meeting.


Commissioner King reported on Operations Committee review and discussions from the July 18 meeting on (1) the status of the Environmental Justice program, grants and funding received; (2) the Department’s 2012-13 Fiscal Year budget that was approved without substantive changes; (3) Zero Waste grants recommendations; and (4) the Expanded Checkout Bag Ordinance.   Commissioner King reported that the Committee made recommendations that at least one grantee present to the Commission on their program in the future and that outreach for the Expanded Checkout Bag Ordinance focus in one area or store in order to initiate behavior change.  Commissioner King reported that the Operations Committee would be discussing working on interdepartmental collaboration and sharing best practices at a future meeting.


Public Comment:  Ms. Denise D’Anne reported on her suggestion to Safeway to offer an incentive program for people who bring in their reusable bags similar to Trader Joe’s raffle-ticket incentive program. 


  1. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)

Chairs Report:  Highlights of the June 11 and July 9, 2012 meetings and review of the agenda for the August 13, 2012 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.


Commissioner Gravanis reported on the June 11 Policy Committee agenda discussions that include (1) Planning Department staff presentation on the Better Market Street Plan to revitalize Market Street from Octavia Street to the Embarcadero. The Committee focused on pedestrian, bike and transit use to make that corridor more ecologically sound; and (2) staff report on climate strategies and the recommendations of the Renewable Energy Task Force goal for achieving 100% renewable energy by 2020 and the importance of the Community Choice Aggregation program in achieving goals. The July 9 Policy Committee consisted of a presentation by Supervisor’s Chiu’s legislative staff on the proposed ordinance to provide drink tap stations wherever drinking fountains are required and briefing from staff on the Biofuels Transportation Planning Study.  The Committee will discuss identifying action items to achieve Committee-selected goals at the August meeting.


  1. Commission Secretary’s Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report) (Information and Discussion)

         Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

  • Communications and Correspondence

·Update on City Legislation


Ms. Fish highlighted City legislation, communications and correspondence received, and reports submitted as outlined in the Secretary’s Report.


  1. 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, Habitat Restoration, Green Building, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, and Urban Forestry. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) (Information and Discussion)


Director Nutter highlighted Department activities that include (1) the hiring of new Environment Now staff, (2) the promotion of Donald Oliveira to Program Outreach Manager, (3) approval by the Board of Supervisors of the Department’s lease at 1455 Market Street and Department’s focus on designing, building and fundraising for the move to the new location in the next six months, (4) the Department’s role in Apple Computer rejoining the EPEAT environmental labeling program; and (5) the Department’s continuing discussions on Extended Producer Responsibility and future direction. Upcoming events that the Commissioners were invited to participate in include (1) the joint press conference with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 26 to announce EPA’s grant award for the Department to identify and assess brownfield sites in the Bayview neighborhood, (2) Open House and Artist Reception on September 13; and (3) legislation at the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee on July 30th to consider the bottle filling legislation. Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the “pay per trash setout” test.  Director Nutter reported that this program would be to test a bi-weekly pickup of the black bin in two San Francisco districts.


Item 16 was heard before Items 13-15.


  1. Announcements. (Information and Discussion)  There were no Commissioner announcements made at this time.


  1. President’s Announcements. (Information and Discussion) Commission President Tuchow asked that Commissioners consider upcoming agenda topics for future meetings and confirmed Commissioner’s acceptance to reschedule the September 25 meeting due to a religious holiday on that date.


  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action)  There was no discussion on this agenda topic at this time.


  1. 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. 


Ms. Sala-Hagheen, Bayview Hunters Point resident, discussed her concern for the broken digesters located at the Southeast Water Treatment Plant that are causing a smell and health problems for residents.  She spoke of community concern and opposition to the Youth Medical Clinic building that is planned for 3450 – 3rd Street, which is five blocks away from the sewage plant and asked that the Commission influence the Public Utilities Commission to close the digesters.  (Explanatory Document:  Public Comment Received “Bayview Hunters Point A toxic area for residents”.)


  1. Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by

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 at http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas included with minutes by meeting date; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or  via e-mail at [email protected].


Approved: September 20, 2012