August 11 2014 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, AUGUST 11, 2014, 5:00 P.M.


COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair) and Ruth Gravanis


1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:04 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Ruth Gravanis and Wald. Department Director Deborah Raphael was present.

2. Approval of Minutes of the July 14, 2014 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  July 14, 2014 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the July 14, 2014 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection.

3. 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. 

Unidentified member of the public requested the physical location of the Department of the Environment office and information on the Environmental Impact Report process.  He discussed architectural changes that are scheduled for San Francisco Bethany Apartments and inquired about asbestos control protection that may be offered to tenants.  Director Raphael provided information on the Department of the Environment’s and Planning Department’s office location and EIR responsibility and the Department of Public Health’s role in providing inspections related to asbestos and lead in housing.

Commissioner Arce joined the meeting at this time.

4. Department of Technology (DT) Assessment of Commission on the Environment San Francisco Government Television (SFGovTV) Cablecast and Next Steps.  (Continued from the July 14, 2014 Meeting) Speakers:  Jack Chin, General Manager, SFGovTV and Donald Oliveira, Public Outreach Program Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)

SFGovTV General Manager Jack Chin provided six-month statistics on Commission on the Environment viewership on the San Francisco Government Television (SFGovTV) cablecast. A discussion was held on viewership statistics in comparison to other City Commissions and Board of Supervisors meetings, and Mayor’s Press Conferences.  Topics of discussion included where viewers are accessing broadcasts, issues that draw more viewership, and opportunities for partnerships to produce regular programs. 

Public Outreach Program Manager Donald Oliveira discussed future opportunities to edit meeting presentations to produce Public Service Announcements and produce educational and outreach long-term programming. Commissioner Arce suggested that outreach presentations be run as fill-ins when there is no programming and discussed the possibility of changing the Commission meeting date to allow for live broadcasts. General Manager Chin reported on increased resources that would be available in the next year to meet demand in production services and suggested producing programs for future use rather than reutilizing meeting presentations.

General Manager Chin reported that the Commission is aired on average 4 1/2 times a week on a rotational basis with other Commissions. The regular timeslot is Wednesday after the Tuesday meeting at 1 p.m., as fill-ins, and weekends on a rotational basis.  Commissioner Wald asked how to increase viewership so that the Department can show what a good job it does.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested creating a public survey requesting feedback on what the public may be interested in hearing.  General Manager Chin suggested promoting broadcasting and hot topics on social networks and adding a link on the Department’s main webpage to the SFGTV site to promote programming.  He reported that SFGTV scans agendas and adds hot topics to main feeds and to the main City Facebook page. 
5. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution in support of San Francisco’s Vision Zero program to eliminate vehicle-related bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the next ten years through a combination of engineering measures, education and enforcement.  (Explanatory Documenst:  Presentation, Draft Resolution and Background) Speaker:  Megan Wier, Senior Epidemiologist and Health, Transportation and Equity Lead, Environmental Health Branch, San Francisco Department of Public Health (Discussion and Action)

Senior Epidemiologist and Health Transportation and Equity Lead Megan Wier reported on San Francisco’s Vision Zero initiative that calls for an action plan to eliminate vehicle-related fatalities by 2024 through a combination of engineering measures, education and enforcement. She reported on Vision Zero background, core principles, the current proposal, statistics and high-risk corridors, Committees that have been formed to work on the initiative, and basis for recommendation (Reference Background and Draft Vision Zero Resolution).  Ms. Wier reported that SFMTA has developed and released the 2013 San Francisco Pedestrian Strategy and is reviewing local and state policies and enforcements to move forward with.  

Commissioner Arce left the meeting at 5:50 p.m.   

Ms. Mari Hunter, SFMTA, discussed engineering measures that are being considered for implementation and projects that have been implemented (reference SFMTA website for project descriptions).

Director Raphael suggested noting problematic intersections, as identified under the Vision Zero program to alert pedestrians and to promote the program.

Commissioner Gravanis suggested (1) creating a website to gather public input of traffic related issues; (2) evaluating completed projects to make sure they are working as expected; and (3) educating drivers to not enter the intersection unless they can make it through on time before the signal changes.

Public Comment:

Ms. Lurilla Harris discussed driver visibility issues that are caused by trees that have been planted in the wrong location.  She suggested that measures for protecting seniors when crossing the street should be considered.  

Ms. Tamar Hurwitz suggested educating walkers on safe walking measures, e.g. campaign for defensive walking.

Ms. Nicole Schneider, WalkSF, suggested that SFMTA consider enforcement measures for those that “block the box” and implementing and evaluating results of Vision Zero pilot programs to make sure enforcement measures are working.  She discussed the correlation of how making our streets safer for people to bike, walk, and take transit ties in to the City’s goals to reduce carbon emissions.

Ms. Tyler Frisbee, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, discussed the correlation of San Francisco Environment’s goals to reduce carbon emissions with Vision Zero’s goals of making biking and walking more comfortable.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the Draft Resolution was approved for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment with amendments (AYES:  Commissioners Gravanis and Wald).
6. Discussion on the Department of the Environment’s School Education Program and Community Visibility.  Sponsor:  Commissioner Wald; Speaker: Tamar Hurwitz, School Education Program Manager (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

School Education Program Manager Tamar Hurwitz provided an overview of School Education outreach achievements this past school year reporting on assemblies and classroom presentations offered to schools, with a focus on Zero Waste composting, litter and Giant Sweep assemblies, water conservation and the California drought, and pollution prevention.  She discussed the importance of students sharing what they have learned with parents and others as a way to advance visibility of programs and the communication she has received from parents showing their appreciation.   Ms. Hurwitz reported on methods used to engage children through art contests – that are part of district campaigns – which feature the winning student’s artwork in colorful posters that are placed in community storefronts in an effort to spread the word and influence others to participate. Additional outreach efforts to make programs more visible locally and internationally include sharing teaching materials with other jurisdictions via the Department’s website and social media.

Commissioner Wald suggested providing a way for everyone in the community to be made aware of the value that the Department is adding to the community through its work. Measures suggested include quantifying the 63 percent of waste or compost diverted from the school program and adding the metrics to the Department’s Annual Report, advertising achievements in bus shelters or other ads, sending out direct mailings, advertising the Department as a resource, and creating competitive contests to show what has been learned. 

Public Outreach Program Manager Oliveira discussed plans to integrate the school education program in the outreach campaign and cited the need to find a balance between promotion and actual work.  Commissioner Wald suggested applying strategies to all other Department programs.   Mr. Oliveira reported on the upcoming textile recycling contest.  Ms. Hurwitz suggested that each City agency should be a poster child on an important issue of the month. Commissioner Wald suggested partnering with other agencies in efforts to provide more visibility to programs.  Director Raphael and Public Outreach Program Manager Oliveira reported on efforts being discussed to rebrand the Department’s name and how the Department’s work is being communicated. 

Public Comment:  Ms. Lurilla Harris stated that future students will become 100% recyclers because of the education that is being received now.

7. Director’s Update. Deborah Raphael, Director (Discussion)  Director Raphael reported on an upcoming meeting with CalRecycle in Sacramento to discuss legislative and state policy changes for recycling redemption centers. 

8. Communications.  (Explanatory Document:  Correspondence Log) (Information and Discussion)  Acting Secretary Rachel Buerkle reported on new correspondence received from Ms. Denise D’Anne in which a response is pending.

9. Announcements. (Discussion) Commissioner Gravanis announced that David Assmann will be leading a bird walk at Fort Mason on the third Sunday of the month.

10. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion) 

Future agenda items discussed included (1) consumer education; (2) Strategic Plan timeline; (3) labeling of compostable plastic bags; (4) biofuels update; (5) BPA in receipts; (6) plan for recycling and redemption centers and potential Commission Resolution; (7) Department of the Environment and Recology’s plan for black bin sorting, consumer education, and new technologies; (8) Committee priorities; (9) Green Business program update; and (10) SFUSD EcoLiteracy Program and Biodiversity Coordinator Peter Brastow’s plans for an Ecoliteracy Conference in the fall. 

Director Raphael reported that names are being provided to the Mayor’s Office for a new Commissioner who may potentially serve as the third member of the Policy Committee.  Public Outreach Program Manager Donald Oliveira suggested a report for a future meeting on the Waste Characterization Study that has been recently published.  School Education Program Manager Tamar Hurwitz commended Director Raphael for her amazing work as the Department’s Director.

11. 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.
12. Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:17 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee is scheduled for Monday, September 8, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. in City Hall, Room 421.

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, California, 94103 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Photo identification is required for access to the building; (2) on the Policy Committee’s website, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected]. The meeting audio can be reviewed at the website link by meeting date 

Approved: September 8, 2014