December 9 2013 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2013, 5:00 P.M.


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


1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting convened at 5:03 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Josefowitz)

2. Approval of Minutes of the October 21, 2013 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  October 21, 2013 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the October 21, 2013 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Josefowitz).

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.

Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern discussed her opposition to the use of Tier 1 and Tier 2 herbicides and reported on the increase of its use by the Natural Areas Program in park lands and other natural areas.  She discussed the damage that Milestone herbicide does to compost and diseases associated with herbicide use.  Ms. Glikshtern asked that the Commission advocate for a ban of these products.  She handed out explanatory documents “Milestone Herbicide Creates Killer Compost” and “Natural Areas Program uses more Herbicides than the rest of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department Combined”.

4. Presentation on the San Francisco Transportation Plan (SFTP) and Early Action Program.  (Explanatory Documents:  San Francisco Transportation Plan Fact Sheet and Presentation) Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker: Rachel Hiatt, Principal Transportation Planner, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Principal Transportation Planner Rachel Hiatt reported on the role of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) in the process of preparing for San Francisco’s long-range county-wide Transportation Plan that for this reiteration spans to year 2040.  The Plan includes investment and revenue strategies and policy recommendations to support strategies for all operators and networks serving San Francisco.  SFCTA’s function is to prioritize and advocate for San Francisco’s needs and resources in the regional Transportation Plan at the regional, state and federal level.  SFCTA works closely with the Municipal Transportation Authority, Department of Public Works, Planning Department, and Department of the Environment on setting up the framework and priorities within the San Francisco Transportation Plan.  She reported that a revised Plan that includes the investment and vision scenarios and policy recommendations is available for public input and feedback.  Presentation topics included:

(Reference San Francisco Transportation Plan (SFTP) and Early Action Program Presentation)
• Purpose of the San Francisco Transportation Plan (SFTP).
• Development of the SFTP.  Identify goals, needs, expected funding, potential investments and policy recommendations.  Request public input and feedback on the Draft and Final Plans.
• The public’s priorities for a transportation system.
• SFTP Revenue Forecast and Investment Plan.
• SFTP Investment and Vision Scenarios:  Uses of Discretionary Funds.
• Recommended projects, investment plan and vision for (1) stability in transit operations and maintenance; (2) coordinated street delivery in neighborhoods citywide; (3) community partnerships for mobility and demand management; (4) system efficiency projects for all modes; and (5) project delivery and revenue strategies.
• SFTP Revenue Strategy for new Federal, State, Regional funds and New Locally Controlled Funds.
• Early Action Program

Ms. Hiatt reported that work is in progress with the Climate Action Plan transportation component on an aspirational scenario to identify what transportation investment would be required to meet the City’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.  Commissioner Wald inquired about the contribution congestion management pricing would make to reducing auto trips and greenhouse gas emissions.  She suggested that the Commission offer its support for reaching the pricing solution because it is so critical to reaching the goal.

Commissioners discussed project and public engagement costs, funding scenarios and responsibilities, revenues, recommended-projects, implementation, investment and vision plans, and expected improvements that projects are expected to make.  Commissioner Josefowitz inquired whether a line item budget would be made available for each project.  Ms. Hiatt reported that line item budgets would be required for every project funded by Prop K funds.

Commissioner Josefowitz inquired whether the SFTP lists what the new transportation demand management projects are.  Senior Commute Smart Program Coordinator, Ms. Krute Singa reported that the Transportation Demand Project team is in the process of strategizing what the projects will be for the next five to ten years.  A set of recommendations is scheduled for release in approximately April 2014.  Commissioner Wald asked that recommendations be brought to the Committee before they are finalized.  She suggested that the Final SFTP include a list of activities, responsible agencies and their contact information, and that these agencies be encouraged to provide information about their activities is ways that relate to the report.

Commissioner Josefowitz inquired about goods movement in order to prevent traffic blockage and air pollution.  Ms. Hiatt discussed the parking management aspect for goods movement and identified key needs and concerns.  Ms. Singa reported that the Transportation Demand Management working group is considering goods movement time of day management and parking management.  Deputy Director Assmann discussed efficiencies that can be achieved by using the same truck for delivery and backhaul of material.

Commissioner Josefowitz inquired whether a strategy for electric vehicle infrastructure would be included in the SFTP.  Ms. Hiatt reported that including a shared fleet of electric vehicles has been considered as a strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emission goals but the role for public sector in electric vehicle infrastructure provision is not included. 

Ms. Hiatt reported on the Early Action Program (1) represents the first five years of SFTP transportation investments and use of Prop K half-cent local transportation sales tax to start implementing ideas and leverages federal, state, regional and local funds; (2) advances SFTP policies; and (3) that the Authority Board would concurrently adopt the SFTP and Early Action Program early next year.   She recommended that the Committee request regular reporting back on the progress of the plan. 

Commissioner Wald asked whether a protocol has been established for showing whether the adopted recommendations would produce the same results in a faster and more efficient way.  Ms. Hiatt suggested asking for regular reporting on success of projects.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether the metrics that agencies plan to use to evaluate effectiveness of projects would be included in the SFTP.  Ms. Hiatt reported that the SFCTA uses a performance framework and metrics in evaluating investment scenarios and how they would help achieve goals.  Agencies would be able to monitor progress toward goals at a citywide, area and corridor level, and some projects may have more specific goals that metrics could be established for.

Public Comment:

Mr. Frank Mason suggested contacting the Valley Transportation Authority on metrics that were used for high occupancy toll lanes on Highway 237 between Highways 880 and 101. He suggested initiating monitoring for CO2 at the freeways, access points to the freeways, and by pass-through traffic that goes through San Francisco.   He discussed the need to create a metric that connects the impact to the environment from travel choices that are made.  Mr. Mason stated that the University of Texas has an annual report on the cost of congestion.   He suggested engaging more businesses to establish flex-time and housing programs for their workers to reduce transportation impacts.  He also discussed credibility problems with funding mechanisms such as bonds and Prop K for paving streets and the need to think through plans more effectively before implementation.

Ms. Lurilla Harris inquired about SFCTA’s relationship with MTA and with the planning of the SFTP.  Ms. Hiatt reported that SFCTA’s governing Board is the County Board of Supervisors, and its geographic boundary is the CCSF.  Its responsibilities are to oversee and administer the delivery of the Prop K half cent local transportation sales tax program and for long-range planning.   Funds are received by SFCTA for projects that may be allocated to the Municipal Transportation Authority and other agencies.  SFCTA works closely with the Municipal Transportation Authority, Department of the Environment, and Department of Public Works in this role.

5. Discussion of Restart of GreenFinanceSF Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE). Sponsor:  Commissioner Nicholas Josefowitz; Speaker:  Richard Chien, GreenFinanceSF Program Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)

Commissioner Josefowitz discussed San Francisco’s efforts in 2010 to implement the PACE program, which is a program designed for homeowners to finance energy-efficiency upgrades of their homes and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  He explained that the federal government was not supportive of the program in 2010 which led to it being shut down.  Since then the Governor and other cities and counties in California have taken the lead to restart the residential PACE program that creates jobs, retrofits homes to be more energy-efficient and comfortable, and lowers energy bills.

GreenFinanceSF Program Manager Richard Chien reported that Governor Brown recently sent a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director in September discussing the importance of the program and offering state funding to support and insure the program.  He discussed the success of programs that were implemented in 2010 in Riverside County and prior to 2010 in Sonoma County.  Mr. Chien explained that program administrators have thought of ways to ease any uncertainty that property owners may have about the program.

Mr. Chien reported that Supervisor Farrell and the Mayor recently introduced legislation calling upon the Department of the Environment to restart the residential PACE program.  Working group meetings are being convened to develop a work plan to solicit proposals from PACE administrators to create a marketplace for residential PACE financing in San Francisco.  The state will finalize its rules for the $10 million dollar reserve fund in January.  The goal is then to issue a Request for Proposals that will conform to the state’s rules and address operational issues surrounding the work associated with the program.

Commissioner Wald asked how the Commission can help support the program.  Commissioner Josefowitz stated that the January Commission meeting may be an appropriate time to discuss actions that could be taken to support the program.  The next step is for the Governor to issue his policy guidelines on the insurance part of the program.   Commissioner Wald suggested having interested people available to take advantage of the program as soon as it starts.  Mr. Chien reported that work is being done to identify what is needed operationally, resources required, and how to interact with key stakeholders.  There will be discussions with the Department’s Energy Efficiency team on energy efficiency measures, utility rebate programs, and leveraging the process so that it can be an efficient process for homeowners and contractors.

Energy Program Manager Cal Broomhead reported that there is a parallel program in development through the Bay Area Renewable Energy Network.  He discussed efforts to bring the PACE and Bay Area Renewable Energy Network program efforts together in working with and educating contractors and contacting professional organizations to discuss outreach efforts.

Commissioner Wald suggested that efforts be made to locate financing for programs within public housing.  She discussed public comment received at the December 3 Bayview neighborhood community meeting on the public benefit that could be achieved from installation of solar panels in public housing.  Mr. Chien discussed the PACE enabling legislation that contemplates financing improvements on publicly-owned properties.  Commissioner Josefowitz suggested adding an agenda item to the February Policy Committee meeting to discuss how the Department can catalyze these types of investments in public housing and better understand financing options that may be available through the state and federal government.   Mr. Broomhead suggested describing activities and research already being done in the area of public housing.  Commissioner Josefowitz stated that it would be an opportunity to bring together Housing Authority staff and Mr. Broomhead’s Energy team to identify opportunities and create a joint Department Task Force to work on these efforts.

6. Discussion of the Commission on the Environment and Policy Committee Future Meeting Schedule.  Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion)

Commissioner Wald reported that the Commission President has suggested that the Commission consider meeting on a monthly basis and discussed the implications that might have for the monthly Policy Committee meetings.  Alternative methods of holding additional meetings were discussed.  An option discussed was to continue to use the Committee as a vehicle for items that have to be addressed sooner than the full Commission or to publicize it in a way that the Committee meeting could turn into a full Commission meeting when needed.  Deputy Director Assmann suggested that the Commission consider not only monthly meetings, but meeting nine times a year or holding special meetings as needed.  He suggested that the Commission hold a meeting in February a week prior to the budget submittal to the Mayor’s Office on February 20 or 21 in order to review and approve the final budget.  The Commission could then review the Operations Committee budget recommendation made from their meeting held in the second week of February.

Commissioner Gravanis spoke in support of holding monthly meetings if the time for each meeting would be held at no more than two hours.  Committee members discussed the efficiency of having agenda items come to the Committee first and then for recommendation to the full Commission.  A discussion was held on the feasibility of reports and presentations at Commission and Committee meetings versus action items whereby Commissioners are able to weigh in and are consistent with the Commission’s role as a policy-making body.  Commissioner Josefowitz pointed out that ideas and direction to staff often times come out of reports and presentations.  Deputy Director Assmann reported that Committees are a place to have presentations that are in depth and then to forward to the full Commission any actions the Committee feels are justified.   Commissioner Wald suggested that the Commission discuss prioritization of agenda items in order to insure that the activities of the Committees and full Commission are directed to previously-agreed upon goals.  Commissioner Gravanis asked that the Commission also be used as a vehicle for when staff would like direction and to also better understand Commission priorities.

Mr. Broomhead suggested developing a meeting schedule based on busy times and season as well as the Department’s budget schedule.  A discussion was held on types of meetings that can be held, whether to amend the Bylaws to allow for additional meetings, and meeting room reservation protocol.  Deputy Director Assmann reported that he would be meeting with Commission President Arce so that he can review considerations discussed at the Committee. Commissioners expressed their recommendation that at the very least, an additional Commission meeting should be held in February to review and approve the Department’s budget.

7. Director’s Report and Updates.  (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report) Speaker: Deputy Director David Assmann (Informational Report and Discussion)

Deputy Director Assmann reported that the written Director’s Report of Department activities was included in the Committee meeting informational packet.  He discussed the pending departure of members of the leadership team, what it means for the Department, and next steps.  A discussion was held on the search process that includes the advertising, recruitment, interview, and hiring process and timeline. 

8. Communications.  (Explanatory Document:  Correspondence Log) (Information and Discussion)  Commission Secretary Monica Fish reported that the Correspondence Log reflects all communication received and status of communication to date.

9. Announcements. (Discussion)  Commissioner Gravanis announced that on January 11, 2014, 10:00 a.m., she would be giving a presentation on Yerba Buena Island as part of the lecture series sponsored by the Treasure Island Museum Association.

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

Commissioner Josefowitz suggested a future agenda item to explore what the City is doing to bring its housing stock up to the highest standard with energy-efficiency, comfort and affordability measures.   He suggested that the Commission act as a convening body and provide direction to the Department in moving an initiative forward and becoming a lead in this effort.  Mr. Broomhead suggested that a discussion be held with the Housing Authority on creating a partnership to move toward zero net energy buildings as a goal and to establish a policy to work with other City agencies on this effort.   Commissioner Josefowitz asked that the Housing Authority and Mayor’s Office of Housing brief the Committee on what the barriers to greater implementation are so as to help inform next steps.  Deputy Director Assmann suggested coordinating this effort with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.   Mr. Broomhead would report back on when it would be feasible to schedule the discussion.
Commissioner Josefowitz suggested that the January Committee meeting include a presentation by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on its new effort on storm water. Commissioner Wald discussed non-compliance with City composting requirements at an event she had attended and suggested holding a discussion on enforcement measures that can be established for compliance with environmental laws.   Commissioner Gravanis requested an update on the single-serve water bottle legislation at the January meeting.  Deputy Director Assmann reported on the enforcement mechanisms established for the Commuter Benefits Ordinance. 

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 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 13, 2014, 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:  January 13, 2014