February 10 2014 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2014, 5:00 P.M.


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

Public comment will be taken before the Commission takes action on any item.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The February 10, 2014 Policy Committee Meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Excused:  Commissioner Josefowitz. 

2. Approval of Minutes of the January 13, 2014 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  January 13, 2014 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the January 13, 2014 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Gravanis and Wald; Absent:  Commissioner 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.  There was no public comment at this time.

4. Outcome of America’s Cup events as it relates to the Zero Waste and People Plans.  (Explanatory Documents posted on website only:  America’s Cup People Plan, People Plan Assessment Presentation, Zero Waste Plan, and Sustainability Report) Sponsor:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speakers:  Peter Albert, Manager, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) Urban Planning Initiatives and Alex Dmitriew, Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator (Informational Report and Discussion)

Manager of SFMTA Urban Planning Initiatives Peter Albert presented an overview of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s People/Transportation Plan for the 34th America’s Cup race events discussing guiding principles, multi-modal transportation strategies for sustainability and reducing emissions, Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures, and key indicators for the post-event evaluation.  He reported on the five organizing principles of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s strategies for the Plan that includes safety, efficiency, environmental sustainability, strategic adaptability, and leaving a positive legacy. 

Mr. Albert discussed topics that include public transportation services for the event, preferred bicycle and pedestrian routes and way-finding locations that were established, alternative transportation strategies, outreach and communication methodologies, and an assessment of ridership comparisons and mode splits.  He discussed lessons learned from the event about the importance of partnerships, marketing, and enlisting support from everyone.  He stated that the success of the America’s Cup event in reaching an 83 percent non- automobile mode split is an example for work in progress on the Waterfront Transportation Assessment to review the next 25 years of growth on the waterfront. (Reference Presentation)

Commissioner Gravanis reported on the work that the SFMTA, the City, the Department of the Environment, non-profit groups and many others accomplished in making the America’s Cup an environmentally sustainable event.  She asked if Mr. Albert could report on lessons learned from the event that could be applied to future events.  Mr. Albert reported on challenges that were experienced with outreach to neighborhood residents and advocates in such a short amount of time.  He stated that having more time for outreach would have led to better communication with all that were involved.   He reported that the value of the People Plan could be applied to future events in and around San Francisco such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics. 

Commissioner Wald suggested that lessons learned continue to be integrated for future events.  She commended the good job of transit agencies in providing access to the event and asked if people were surveyed on visitor-ship and transit effects in other areas of the city. Mr. Albert reported that there was a Special Events Team working on transit issues so that other areas of the city would not experience reduced service. Commissioner Gravanis inquired about excess costs incurred by MUNI.  Mr. Albert reported on the $5.5 million in costs allocated to City services for the event, the $360 million generated in business, and the intent to negotiate costs for future events. 

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested that (1) Mr. Albert’s name be included in the credits for the People Plan; (2) the post event analysis include total numbers for MUNI ridership, and that automatic passenger counters on all vehicles be installed for special events; (3) to isolate the cost of revenues incurred and ridership from special events; (4) allocate sufficient resources to special events so the rest of San Francisco is not affected; and (5) consider whether too many resources are allocated to big signature events at the expense of day to day improvements that could be made.  Mr. Pilpel commended the Grove and Market terminal that was put in place and suggested applying methodologies that worked well to future events.     

Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator Alex Dmitriew reported that the Department of the Environment funded and provided technical assistance for development of the America’s Cup Zero Waste Plan and acknowledged agencies involved in this effort.  Mr. Dmitriew reported that the Department provided guidance for compliance with City Zero Waste Ordinances such as Construction and Demolition Recovery, Food Service Ware Reduction, Plastic Bag Ban, Event Policy and the Port’s Bottled Water Policy.  The Zero Waste Plan reiterated these policies, outlining best practices for implementation, and providing guidance to the America’s Cup Event Authority on what the ordinances were and its expectations.  The principle of highest and best use was incorporated in the document.   The Department also provided technical assistance that resulted in the creation of green jobs in the areas of source reduction and product specifications. As a result, the event diverted 85 percent of its waste from landfill.

Mr. Dmitriew reported on achievements and challenges that were faced.  He credited America’s Cup Event Authority Sustainability Director Jill Savery, Recology, and event “greeners” for their efforts.  Challenges and lessons learned included better communication strategies/signage for an international audience, allocating resources to janitorial sorting services in place of other expensive methodologies, reducing the large amount of food waste, and mandate that event producers request commitments from vendors on product use and reuse.  Commissioner Wald suggested that lessons learned should be added to event Request for Proposals.   She suggested that the Department capture job statistics attributable to Department work in greening the industry.

Notable achievements included (Reference Memorandum to Director):

• Largest sporting event to eliminate all single-use plastic food service ware and bottles – exceeding Port Policy
• Provided green jobs by hiring event Greeners and adding sorting responsibilities to the janitorial contract scope of work
• AC custom sorting station designs were later adopted by the National Park Service for use at their facilities
• All food service ware was either compostable or recyclable
• Durable food service ware was provided at all permanent food service areas
• Extensive training for staff, race crews and janitorial crews on proper sorting procedures
• Vendor merchandise and products were vetted for end of life options
• Free tap or bulk water was provided at all events
• No single use plastic bags were provided by vendors
• Worked with vendors to reduce merchandise packaging
• Re-used or recycled post event materials to extent possible

Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the legacy that was created by the event. Mr. Dmitriew discussed the design of collection stations and PUMA’s plexi-glass bin where plastic packaging was being collected to make into park benches.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested better trash monitoring efforts be identified for future work on prevention. 
Mr. Dmitriew reported on lessons learned from the expense incurred in providing tanks for drinking water when a potable water source was available.

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel acknowledged the disproportion of staff time allocated to big events, but stated that benefits can be achieved from these events that can be applied to day-to-day activities.   He suggested that all event activities be operationalized and should regularly use Zero Waste practices so it is part of normal activity either through permits issued, a checklist of requirements, City involvement, or preplanning.    He suggested adding a section to the Department’s website on strategies for greening an event with references to event planners, organizers and promoters and what participants can do or should be thinking about when attending an event.

5. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution 2013-14-COE in support of Solar Policy for New Development in the City and County of San Francisco.  (Explanatory Documents:  Draft Amended Resolution and Stakeholder Memo Solar on New Construction) Sponsors:  Commissioners Arce and Josefowitz; Speaker: Danielle Murray, Renewable Energy Program Manager  (Discussion and Action)

Renewable Energy Program Manager Danielle Murray reported that since the Resolution was introduced at the December 3 Commission meeting, a memo had been sent to stakeholders about the Solar Ordinance and solar policy development. She stated that staff would attend the Building Owners and Managers Association’s (BOMA) Sustainability Subcommittee meeting in the future to provide information on the solar policy.  She reported on a meeting that was held with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and their support of the proposal for municipal buildings and discussion on alternative compliance methods, ways to get engaged, and how it could work with their own build-out plans.  A meeting would be held next week with other stakeholders (property developers, owners, consultants, and designers) to request feedback. 

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested adding a first resolved clause stating that “the Commission on the Environment establishes as policy that it wishes to expand the development of solar energy and renewable sources in the city.”  He stated that the Commission should ask the Department to draft legislation with the inclusion of input by stakeholders to support and recommend to the Board of Supervisors.

Committee discussion was held to amend the Resolution.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, Resolution File 2013-14-COE was approved with amendments for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment for adoption (AYES:  Commissioners Gravanis and Wald; Absent:  Commissioner Josefowitz).

6. Staff Report on Enforcement Measures that can be established for Compliance with Environmental Laws.  (Explanatory Document:  Environment Ordinances and Enforcement Requirements) Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald; Speaker:  David Assmann, Acting Director

Deputy Director Assmann reported on City Environment Ordinances that have an enforcement mechanism and enforcement agency action for compliance.   He discussed the status of current actions that have been taken for non-compliance of ordinance requirements.  (Reference explanatory document) 

Mr. Alex Dmitriew reported on the success of the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance and staff work on compliance and response to complaints.  He reported that there is 80 percent compliance with the Ordinance.  Challenges faced with compliance by smaller stores and restaurants were discussed.  Commissioner Wald suggested using neighborhood groups as ambassadors and identifying a way to get bags made and then stamped with the small store logo so stores can sell them to their clients for a nominal fee or give away as a way to incentivize participation.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that many people do not comply because they do not remember to bring their bags. 

Mr. Dmitriew provided additional information on current enforcement actions and challenges for the Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery, Food Service Waste Reduction, and Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinances.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the Policy Committee hold a discussion on implementation strategies for the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance at a future meeting.  

Commissioner Gravanis requested information on the status of action taken for enforceability of the anti-idling law.  Acting Director Assmann stated that he would provide a report.  Commissioner Wald suggested reviewing and changing established laws that do not have enforcement actions.  Commissioners Gravanis and Wald suggested reviewing future laws to make sure enforcement actions are included.

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel inquired why the Department is able to do program development but not take enforcement action, but the City Administrator can.  Deputy Director Assmann stated that other departments have enforcement capability and staff, but that the Department of the Environment does not do routine enforcement.  It would have to be added to someone’s job description.  Mr. Pilpel stated that for zero waste or litter related enforcement, the Department should have the ability to bring an action to the Department of Public Works that has enforcement officers to adjudicate enforcement matters.   He stated that other programs should have a department liaison and process to comply with ordinance requirements and not use staffing changes as an excuse for not carrying out the assignment.  Mr. Pilpel reported on a bag he received that says recyclable and contained a red dye that was not adhering to the bag.  He suggested that stores contain information on what ingredients are contained in bags because they may potentially contain harmful ingredients. 
7. Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: David Assmann, Acting Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Acting Director Assmann provided an update on the Director-search, recruitment, interview, and peer panel process and plans to bring candidates to the full Commission at the March 25 meeting and final screenings to the Mayor on March 26.  He reported on personnel developments, recruitment efforts and timeline for the Deputy Director position, Department budget hearing scheduled for the February 19 Operations Committee, and reorganization of staff reporting.  It was announced that the Climate Action Strategy would be released February 11, and a workshop would be held on February 20th with BC3.  Other items highlighted included the composting campaign in Chinatown, upcoming hearings at the Board of Supervisors, and events such as the Earth Day Breakfast on April 22.   Commissioner Wald suggested that communication be sent to Commissioners on upcoming Board of Supervisors hearings so they are able to attend. 

Acting Director Assmann suggested reformatting the Policy Committee Director’s Report from a written report of Department activities to a verbal report highlighting major projects and activities.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that items highlighted be policy related, include upcoming events, and a follow-up on prior activities and policies.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the report also include information on Department campaigns, such as recycled textiles. 

Public Comment:  Mr. Pilpel suggested that a presentation be made to the Committee on the textiles campaign.  He spoke in favor of the current format for the Director’s Report because it captures information that the public would not see otherwise.  He suggested adding a section on Committee activities for the Committee and Commission reports.  Mr. Pilpel announced that Mr. Douglas Legg, Department of Public Works point person for rate and refuse issues, has accepted a position at the Assessor Recorder’s Office, and that a new staff member would have to be trained.  He suggested that Mr. Legg be thanked for all of his good work.

8. Communications.  (Explanatory Document:  Correspondence Log) (Information and Discussion) Commission Secretary Fish presented a written Correspondence Log of all communication received and status to date for the Commission.  Commissioners spoke in support of the benefits of the log in keeping Commissioners informed and the opportunity it provides to weigh in on communication received.

Public Comment:  Mr. Pilpel stated that the Correspondence Log is a good practice for others to use.

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

10. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Future agenda item requests included a follow up on the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance; informational report on the textile campaign; and follow-up on plastic water bottle discussion between Commissioner Wald and Supervisor Chiu.  Commissioner Wald suggested that Commission Secretary Fish send an email to Committee members and the Commission President a week before each agenda planning session requesting agenda item ideas.

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 adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 10, 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 http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas, 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 http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/audio. 

Approved:  March 10, 2014