08.13.12 Policy Committee Approved Minutes





MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2012, 5:00 P.M.




COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair)




  1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:02 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis.


  1. Approval of Minutes of the July 9, 2012 Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: July 9, 2012 Policy Committee Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the July 9, 2012 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis).


  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. America’s Cup Sustainability Planning. Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director;  Speaker: Jill Savery, America's Cup Event Authority, Head of Sustainability (20 minutes)  (Informational Report and Discussion)

Ms. Jill Savery presented on the 34th America’s Cup event schedule, participants, race course area and sustainability themes.  Presentation topics:

  • The 34th America’s Cup race schedule for (1) America’s Cup World Series 2 events from August 2012 to May 2013, (2) the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Francisco from July 4, 2013 to September 1, 2013, (3) the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco in August/September 2013, and (4) the America’s Cup Final Race in San Francisco from September 7 to September 22, 2013.  (Presentation page 2)


  • America’s Cup Race Area for 2013. (Presentation page 3)


  • America’s Cup Sustainability Plan themes and strategies on energy and emissions, engagement, natural habitats and wildlife, inclusion, and resource efficiency. (Presentation pages 4-5)

Commissioner Wald inquired about the number of people that are expected to attend the August 2012 event.  Ms. Savery reported that since this is the first event of its kind actual figures are not available, but provided an estimation of approximately 5 – 7000 people on the first two weekdays of the event and approximately 30,000 on the weekend depending on many factors.  Mr. Adam Van de Water, America’s Cup Project Director, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, stated that the August event would be a pilot for events in October and 2013 and discussed the importance of providing adequate community servicing of the event.  Commissioner Wald suggested tracking all identifiable activities so that information is available and published on the website for subsequent race events.    

Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the race course area map for 2012 stating that her understanding was that it would not be farther west than the Marina Green.  Ms. Savery reported that the Coast Guard is monitoring the race area locations, and that it is possible for the course to change slightly within the permitted area. Mr. Van de Water provided a description of the 2012 and 2013 course areas.

Commissioner Gravanis expressed her concern that Treasure Island and Clipper Cove are not included in the San Francisco Bay Area Clean Boating Map, citing that there is a small eel grass bed at the edge of Treasure Island that is not included in the map.  She inquired how the bay and bay delta estuary would be incorporated into the Healthy Oceans project in terms of bay awareness and public education.  Ms. Savery reported that the Aquarium of the Bay is designing exhibits that highlight the three main areas of the Healthy Oceans project and would provide an update on how much of it includes the bay.  She discussed the Aquarium of the Bay’s monthly activity film and lecture series on the bay.

Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether sustainability credits are still part of the Sustainability Plan.  Ms. Savery reported that there has been a delay in launching the plan for the August 2012 events, but that there are discussions with carbon offset partners to help guide and manage carbon credits and local project investment into a sustainability credit for future events.

Commissioner Wald inquired about plans for revision and completion of the Sustainability Plan. Ms. Savery reported that comments from last fall have been incorporated into the latest version and agreed that it would be beneficial to produce a revised version by the end of the year.  Commissioner Wald confirmed with Ms. Savery that starting an Advisory Committee is still being considered.  

Mr. Van de Water reported on the intent to make the 34th America’s Cup the greenest international sporting event and discussed strategies that have been developed for transit ridership, bike valet services, the Boater Information Guide, developing key performance indicators, and gathering data for future events.   Commissioner Wald and Mr. Van de Water discussed the effect of simultaneous events on transit capability and the need to deploy experiences learned from August events to the events in October and next year.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired if the E-Embarcadero Line from the CalTrain Station to Marina Green would be in service for the August events.  Mr. Van de Water reported that he would provide additional information when the E-line would start service.

Public Comment: 

Ms. Becky Evans inquired whether the Transit Map would be available to the public in a paper format.  She inquired if transit services would be shifted to the America’s Cup event from regular lines causing San Francisco residents to lose their transit access, citing MUNI’s loss of 650 runs a day.  Mr. Van de Water reported that the intent is to augment existing MUNI routes, not to impact service to existing routes. He reported that maps are electronically available on www.511.org/americascup, on various websites, and through social media, but because of a limited budget may not be available in paper copy for distribution.

Commissioner Wald suggested utilizing the media to advertise changes taking place during the event.Ms. Savery reported on the commitment by regional agencies and the Spare the Air team to make use of advertising through 511, other websites, the social media network, distribution lists, and incorporating 511 messages into advertising space.

Mr. Steven Krefting inquired how the reorganization of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) has affected the Sustainability Program.   Ms. Savery reported on ACEA’s stability and commitment to the program.  Mr. Krefting spoke in support of the green sanctuary expansion and would assist in publicizing that effort. Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the strategy in working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to ensure that the expansion occurs and becomes part of the outreach that World Oceans is doing. World Oceans could encourage citizens to write letters in support of the expansion.  Mr. Krefting reported that the Healthy Oceans pavilion would be a good venue for publicizing this effort.

Ms. Savery explained that the three key elements of the Healthy Oceans Project are sustainable sea life, reducing plastics in the marine environment, and marine protected areas.NOAA is one of the local partners working with a lot of different partners in expansion of protected areas that are outside of the Golden Gate into the Bay and the process is underway.The America’s Cup Event Authority is leading the Healthy Ocean campaign on this project and will report back on its current status. Commissioner Gravanis stated that taking advantage of the crowd and enthusiasm from the event is a good way to make things happen.Mr. Krefting reported that the scoping meeting for the marine sanctuary expansion is on August 23rd.

Ms. Liz Rogers, Bay Institute and Aquarium of the Bay, reported on the Aquarium of the Bay’s America’s Cup Film and Lecture Series schedule in September and October.

Commissioners asked Ms. Savery and Mr. Van de Water to return in October to report on lessons learned and applied.

Explanatory Documents presented at the meeting: (1) America’s Cup World Series Transit Map and Information and Bike Guide; (2) 34th America’s Cup Boater Guide to San Francisco Bay; and (3) 2012-13 San Francisco Bay Area Clean Boating Map.Web access to information through 511, the hub for transit planning: www.511.org/americascup.

  1. Finalize Commission on the Environment Retreat Agenda.  (Explanatory Document:  Draft and Final Agenda) (Discussion and Action)

Director Nutter provided background information on each of the agenda topics listed in the Draft Agenda.  She reported that the topic on Environmental Priorities for the 21st Century is to identify how Department programs fit into the top ten international environmental priorities as outlined in an article “Top Ten Environmental Concerns of the 21st Century” that is based on a scientific paper from Nature magazineCommissioners suggested that this topic be folded into the Strategic Plan Assessment and New Format agenda topic and requested a summary of staff’s findings. 

Director Nutter reported that each Department program area is working on an assessment of their Strategic Plan goals and categorizing each area as to its status, success, and metrics used to make that determination.  A new format for future Strategic Plans will be created.  Strategic Plan assessment and new format documents will be available for the Commission to review for the retreat. Commissioner Wald suggested that Commissioners consider ways to be more helpful to the Department as it pursues implementation of the Strategic Plan.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan include a reference to the policy that drives the goal.  

Commissioner Gravanis stated that the purpose of having a discussion of Commissioner led initiatives and focus for the coming year is to identify whether fellow Commissioners want to endorse the concept at the Commission level and either select the same issues that the Policy Committee has selected or identify separate issues to focus on.  She pointed out that most action items heard by the Commission in the past are based on mandates, and most agenda items are informational presentations, not Commissioner led initiatives.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that other Commissions have more action items at their meetings, and suggested that Commissioners consider whether they would like to take a more active role. 

Commissioner Wald reported on talking points for the Commissioner led initiatives and focus topic so that Commissioners can be provided with an explanation of what the Committee has been trying to accomplish and why.  Commissioners will be asked to consider the following questions (1) should the Commission have Commissioner led initiatives and focus? (2) does the Commission want to be more proactive, or are they okay with being reactive? (3) if the Commission wants to be more proactive, how to decide what it wants to be more proactive about? The Commission has been proactive in the past and initiated the Precautionary Principle, bottled water, biodiversity, and plastic bag policies and (4) does the Commission have feedback on the four priorities identified by the Committee on (1) the Sustainability Plan; (2) Climate/Renewable Energy; (3) Biodiversity; and (4) Metrics.  Commissioner Gravanis reported that the Committee would continue to discuss selected priorities but would ask the Commission for feedback on how to pursue these priorities.

Commissioner Gravanis suggested that for the Commission Committee Structure and Bylaws agenda topic, Commissioners should consider how Committees can work together as called for in the Commission’s Bylaws.  She suggested that Commissioners review the Charter Section applicable to the Commission on the Environment for this topic in addition to the Bylaws.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that she would like to start the discussion more broadly about the value added of having a Commission and how Commissioners can be more helpful and involved either individually or with staff.  Commissioner Wald agreed that a lot of time should be spent discussing the role of the Commission.

Commissioners suggested that the Commission consider whether one annual retreat is sufficient to continue discussions or if continuing discussions should be held at regular meetings.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about ways to provide feedback on the Commission’s website.  Director Nutter stated that a method should be identified for Commissioners to provide regular feedback.

Public Comment:  Mr. Steven Krefting suggested that the topic on Commissioner led initiatives and focus for the year could possibly inform the discussion on the Strategic Plan and discussed his past experience as a Commissioner on a much smaller Environment Commission.  Commissioner Gravanis explained that the Commission may want to identify goals in addition to staff goals.  Commissioner Wald stated that two of the goals prioritized by the Policy Committee are in the Strategic Plan, and two are independent from the Plan.

Director Nutter reported that there are two Department operational needs that the Commission could be supportive of (1) the Department’s move to 1455 Market Street and (2) the launch of Friends of the Department of the Environment 501c(3) funds which are now official.  Commissioner Wald suggested starting a Commission AdHoc Committee to help with these two operational needs. Commissioner Gravanis requested additional information on how the Friends of is funded, who it is, and the relationship it has with staff.  Commissioner Wald requested that Director Nutter discuss potential Commission projects during the Strategic Plan discussion and provide a document outlining projects prior to the Retreat.    

Commissioners suggested that timelines be expanded for the Retreat agenda topics and to include Next Steps as part of the discussion for each agenda item instead of a separate item.  Director Nutter and Commissioners identified explanatory documents that would be required as reflected in the Final Agenda. 

  1. Identify Action Items to Achieve Selected Goals for Calendar Year 2012.  (Continued from the July 9, 2012 Meeting) Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion and Possible Action). This agenda item was continued to the September 10, 2012 Meeting.


  1. Quarterly Review of Commission on the Environment and its Committees Accomplishments for 2012. (Explanatory Document:  Commission and Committee Agenda Topic Accomplishments) (Discussion)  This agenda item was continued to the September 10, 2012 Meeting.


  1. Director’s Report and Updates.  (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report) Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion).  Director Nutter submitted a written Director’s Report for Commissioner’s review.  She reported on the Construction Management Association of America’s event at the new Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) building and Cole Hardware’s “Shelf Talkers” program to provide information to increase the purchase of energy-efficient products.  Commissioner Gravanis requested a future update and joint meeting with the SFPUC on Eco Districts and anaerobic digestion.  Director Nutter suggested contacting the SFPUC to schedule future joint meetings on additional topics such as Community Choice Aggregation, wastewater treatment, biofuels and biomethane.


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


  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Agenda Items 7 - 8 were continued to the September 10, 2012 Meeting.  No additional discussion was held at this time.


  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 Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:08 p.m.


The next regular meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 10, 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: September 10, 2012