February 11 2013 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2013, 5:00 P.M.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Joshua Arce.  Commissioner Nicholas Josefowitz was appointed to the Committee during the course of the meeting in place of Commissioner Joshua Arce.

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

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Gravanis, Arce, and Wald.

2. Approval of Minutes of the January 14, 2013 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document: January 14, 2013Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action).  Secretary Fish reported that a correction had been made to the Draft Minutes to change the name of the solar installation program name on page 5 from “San Francisco Sunsheers” to “San Francisco SunShares.”  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, the January 14, 2013 Policy Committee Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Gravanis and Wald).

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.  There was no public comment at this time.

Items 5 – 6 were heard before Item 4.

4. Review and Approval of Resolution File 2013-04-COE to Propose Amendments to Commission Resolution 006-12-COE in support of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Expansion. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution File 2013-04-COE) Sponsor/Speaker:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis (Discussion and Possible Action)

Commissioner Gravanis provided background information on the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) consideration of expanding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary area to include the designated exclusionary area.  She reported that the main reasons for the exclusionary area was that the Public Utilities Commission wanted to continue to discharge sewage that was less than secondary treated into the ocean outfall, (2) the Army Corp of Engineers wanted to mine sand in the outer bar; and (3) shipping channels through the Golden Gate did not want to be interfered with by having a sanctuary designation. 

Commissioner Gravanis reported that NOAA recently stated that some of the conditions have changed so there is no longer a conflict, and exceptions can be made so there no longer needs to be an area that should be excluded from the sanctuary.  An Environmental Impact Statement is being prepared on the expansion.  The Commission adopted a Resolution in support of NOAA’s proposal, but subsequently concerns were voiced by the SFPUC on infrastructure issues and SPUR’s ability to do sand replenishment as part of the Ocean Beach Master Plan.  

Commissioner Gravanis reported that amendments were drafted to the Resolution to satisfy concerns that were raised.  Committee members discussed possible options for amended Resolution language or creating a scoping letter to address concerns.  Commissioner Josefowitz suggested drafting a letter urging the City and County to re-examine what it can do to reduce combined sewer output (CSO) events.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that a discussion on concern about combined discharges could be an agenda topic for a joint Commission meeting with the SFPUC or at a future Committee meeting.  

Public Comment:

Mr. David Pilpel discussed confusion about Ocean Beach discharges or CSO events as opposed to the southwest ocean outfall (SWOO) and its ongoing discharge into the exclusionary area.   He suggested sending a draft Resolution to Ms. Laura Pagano of the SFPUC and the City Attorney’s Office so that language could be provided that would help advance goals without impacting SFPUC’s general permit and SWOO operations.  Mr. Pilpel reported that there are strategies to reduce the number or severity of CSO events as part of the $6.9 million dollar sewer improvement program, but that it is over a 20-year period, not in the near term.
Ms. Kelsey Bennett suggested providing specific NEPA language as to what impacts the aquatic environment in the bay and local ocean. 

This agenda item was continued to the March 11, 2013 Meeting.

5. Review of Current Policy Committee and Commission Priorities. (Explanatory Document: Policy Committee Priority Goals Discussions) Sponsors/Speakers:  Commissioners Wald and Arce (Discussion and Possible Action)

Commissioner Wald reported on the Policy Committee’s adoption of work priorities in order to better coordinate work with Department staff and be more proactive in Committee deliberations that were adopted prior to Commissioner Arce’s appointment as Commission President.  Those priorities included work on (1) the Sustainability Plan; (2) Biodiversity; (3) Climate and Renewable Energy; and (4) Metrics.  She asked that Commissioner Arce as Commission President provide his opinion on Committee and Commission work priorities. 

Commissioner Arce discussed his priorities that includes (1) educating and engaging with the community on Department work priorities, creating awareness of Department programs either through community meetings or televising meetings, and developing new partnerships particularly in the environmental justice arena with low-income communities of color and limited English speakers; (2) Climate Change--coordinating with City departments on a citywide approach to an adaptation plan; (3) Clean Energy-- increase access to and program funding for the GoSolarSF program; (4) Biodiversity—prioritizing work on the new Biodiversity Plan tapping into community expertise; (5) Green Purchasing and Metrics—develop interrelationships with City departments on green purchasing metrics;  (6) Urban Agriculture—involvement in program and advocate for legislation; and (7) Job Creation and Metrics--continue partnership with the Mayor and develop linkages between environmental programs and sustainable job creation. 

Commissioners discussed opportunities for other Commissioners that are not part of the Committee to provide input into Committee priorities by agendizing items requested by Commissioners, providing reports at full Commission meetings, and holding selected Committee meetings as a Committee/Commission of the whole.  Commissioner Arce suggested holding a discussion at the March Commission meeting on individual Commissioner’s priorities.  

Director Nutter suggested considering how the Commission’s and Department’s priorities can complement each other either through the Commissioners taking a lead and capacity building on issues that the Department is not currently working on or working with the Department on programs that the Department is currently involved in and Commissioners are interested in.   She reported that the City Administrator is coordinating a number of city agencies and community stakeholders on an Urban Agriculture Strategic Plan for San Francisco.   She suggested that the Commission play a leadership role in reaffirming the Department’s interest in being a leader in urban agriculture.  Director Nutter discussed the Department’s core competency and strength in working with and outreach to communities and suggested that more of an effort be put into communicating and celebrating the work the Department does in this area. 

Commissioner Arce appointed Commissioner Nicholas Josefowitz to the Policy Committee at this time and discussed his experience in the renewable energy field and integrating renewable energy into the Committee’s priorities.  Commissioner Josefowitz joined the meeting at this time, and Commissioner Arce left the meeting at this time.  Commissioner Wald reported on Commissioner Arce’s priorities and prior Committee priorities to Commissioner Josefowitz.  

Director Nutter reported on the Department’s perspective on Committee and Commissioner Arce’s priorities for future work.  Commissioner’s provided their suggestions and scheduling requests. 

• Sustainability Plan. The citywide plan was crafted in 1996.  Since that time, a number of agencies have created their own sustainability plans, and the Mayor’s Office has a plan called SFForward that includes environmental priorities.  She suggested that a coordinated effort be made with all stakeholders on a future plan or citywide strategy.

Commissioner Wald suggested scheduling a discussion on what form the Sustainability Plan should take and identifying expectations with the input of staff. Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Strategic Plan and Sustainability Plan be compared, consulting other agency plans, issuing a report card on implementation strategies, and discussing the possibility of hiring a consultant firm or non-profit agency to work on updating the Plan.  Director Nutter suggested connecting this effort to the Climate Action Strategy update by requesting community feedback and then identifying the outcome whether it becomes a sustainability policy or plan, or more of a concept, process, and vision.  Commissioner Josefowitz discussed the correlation of a Sustainability Plan and metrics.  Discussion on the Sustainability Plan was scheduled for the April Committee meeting. 

• Biodiversity.  The Department has hired Mr. Peter Brastow from Nature in the City to create a Biodiversity Plan.  There is a need for additional support working with City agencies to grow the program and develop a larger citywide strategy that could connect with work on the Sustainability Plan.  Commissioners suggested that Mr. Brastow present to the Committee in April on how the Commission can play a role in priority setting and implementation strategies. 

• Climate and Renewable Energy.  Climate and renewable energy is a Department priority, and there is a need for a citywide plan or strategy around adaptation and resiliency. Renewable Energy Program Manager, Danielle Murray, will be asked to present at the March Policy Committee meeting an overview of the Renewable Energy Task Force Plan recommendations and her recommendations as to the best areas for the Department and Commission to engage in.  The Commission can take a lead on identifying policies and programs of interest from the Plan that are actionable in the next year.  A presentation on the updated Climate Action Plan Strategy recommendations will be ready for a discussion at the April Committee meeting.      

Commissioner Gravanis requested a staff report on what the Commission’s role could be in helping staff implement Department priorities on the Renewable Energy Task Force Plan recommendations.  It was suggested that a report be provided on limitations, opportunities, and political roadblocks.  Commissioner Wald discussed the importance of the Commission’s affirmation of Department priorities and advising staff that this type of guidance would be provided.

• Metrics.  An Intern is working on a review of identifying which Department programs have stronger or weaker metrics and what other cities have done in this area. The City Controller’s Office has a system for tracking Department sustainability performance metrics that are being reviewed.  Commission support is needed on how to incorporate metrics into Department work.

• Urban Agriculture.  The City Administrator is evaluating which City agencies have staff or resources committed to urban agriculture work as well as those who have city property being used for urban agriculture.  Supervisor Chiu is sponsoring legislation to create an Urban Agriculture Plan for San Francisco.  Urban Agriculture staff member, Mei Ling Hui, would be asked to craft a letter to the City Administrator for the Committee’s review and recommendation to the Commission on the Department’s recommendations and next steps.  Urban Agriculture would be scheduled for the March Policy Committee meeting.

• Community and Jobs.  Community is an expertise that the Department excels in, but a greater effort must be made to communicate these efforts that the Commission can play a role in.  The green economy has been integrated into the Department’s mission through a green jobs program, Environment Now.  There are policies and programs that create direct and indirect jobs that are being tracked, but the Department is not a workforce development or economic development department.  The idea is to create stronger partnerships and alliances with those agencies and community members from the economic and workforce development area to expand the program.  

• Eco Districts.  The Planning Department is taking the lead on two Eco Districts programs with the Department’s support.  The Department is taking a lead on the third type of program that includes neighborhood work to engage communities around adaptation and resiliency.  The Operations Committee has been charged with identifying neighborhoods to start holding meetings in.  Mr. Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager, would be asked to present on program plans at a future meeting.

Commissioner Josefowitz reinforced the selection of Committee priorities and suggested prioritizing or limiting the priorities so that they can be handled more effectively through the limited number of Committee meetings.  Commissioners discussed the relationship of many of the selected priorities such as climate and renewable energy, the sustainability plan, metrics, and community. 

Public Comment:

Ms. Kelsey Bennett suggested that (1) the metrics priority be added to each of the priorities and not as a separate item; (2) Eco Districts should be connected to the Sustainability Plan; and (3) the Climate Action Plan could be added as an appendix or incorporated into the Sustainability Plan.  She suggested that whoever would be charged with creating the Sustainability Plan should provide an outline and detailed table of contents for the Commission’s review and comment.  She discussed Sustainability Plans of other City agencies that have mandates for regular updating of the plan, creating reports on metrics, and status reports on goals.  Ms. Bennett stated that her top priorities are Climate, Renewable Energy, and the Sustainability Plan and discussed the importance of engaging with the community on a priority system.  She discussed her personal priority of moving buses toward an electrical grid or running on 100% biodiesel that is an environmental justice and health issue that overlays all neighborhoods. 

Mr. David Pilpel suggested structuring the new Sustainability Plan so that it should contain specific actionable steps that can be accomplished now and/or within the next three to five years.  He discussed this effort as a way to create meaningful measurement for metrics.  Mr. Pilpel spoke in support of selected priorities and discussed his interest in scheduling zero waste discussions after the rate process completion on what program changes the rate process accomplished, new steps to reach zero waste, or other correlated goals.   He discussed his interest and lack of progress in establishing a food waste digester and suggested advancing that effort.  Mr. Pilpel also suggested that an update be provided on a citywide fuel strategy as it relates to biofuel use.  Director Nutter reported that this information is contained in the Climate Action Strategy update.  Commissioner Wald suggested holding joint meetings with the Public Utilities and Public Health Commissions to discuss topics discussed.

6. Commission on the Environment Correspondence Process.  Sponsor/Speaker:  Director Nutter (Discussion and Action)

Director Nutter discussed the need for the Commission to establish a formal process for Commission correspondence in order to be effectively responsive to the community and constituents.  Secretary Fish discussed the current process for receiving and transmitting public correspondence and proposed process.  Committee members and the Director provided input into the process.   Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Josefowitz, the Committee recommends to the Commission on the Environment adoption of the following policy regarding how to manage correspondence (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Josefowitz):  This policy will be considered for adoption at the Commission’s March 26, 2013 meeting.

• Commission Secretary receives public correspondence or communication either by mail, fax, email, telephone, or at a public meeting. 

• Commission President and Director are empowered to respond on the Commission’s behalf or assign the communication to the appropriate program area to provide input into a response to be drafted by the Department’s technical writer. 

• The communication is transmitted to Commissioners and the Director by email.  An acknowledgement of receipt of communication form letter is transmitted to the communicator by the Commission Secretary.  The response letter would include (1) a timeframe that the communicator can expect to hear back from the Commission and/or Department as soon as possible and not more than 30 days and (2) would include information on upcoming Commission and Committee meetings whereby public comment can be provided. 

• If the correspondence is an inquiry, Commissioners would receive a message in the correspondence transmittal that the Commission President and Director would be formulating and coordinating a response to the communicator in consultation with program staff and technical writing staff.   Commissioners are provided with the opportunity to suggest that the topic be scheduled for a public meeting or an opportunity to weigh in on the response. If the communication is thanking the Commission or does not require a response, the Commission Secretary will prepare an acknowledgement letter thanking the communicator for the correspondence with a copy to the Director and Commissioners.

• The Commission Secretary is copied on all staff responses and transmits responses to Commissioners and the Director via email.   The Commission Secretary includes a record of the communication in the Secretary’s Report for each meeting and provides status updates of communication received and responded to through email and in subsequent Secretary’s reports.  The correspondence and responses are kept in an electronic chronological public correspondence file by meeting date.

• Create Standing Rules of the Commission to include this and other Commission processes.

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested being aware of seriatim meetings when transmitting correspondence to the full Commission.  He stated that he envisions two types of letters that the Commission receives either (1) a thank you letter to the Commission whereby a standard form letter could be drafted that does not require input by staff but is copied to the Director; and (2) an inquiry letter whereby a response from staff would be required.  He suggested that program staff could be referenced in the response letter, but that it should be signed by the Director.  Mr. Pilpel stated that the communication process raises the profile of the Commission and its relationship with the Department and staff as well as providing more topics for discussion. 

7. Director’s Report and Updates.  (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report) Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Director Nutter highlighted (1) the safe medicine disposal appreciation event for five local pharmacies and the Police Department who are hosting bins to take back unwanted pharmaceuticals.   Five tons of medicine was collected in a ten-month program.  Additional funding is being sought from the pharmaceutical industry; (2) the Green Business team held the seventh annual Green Business Reception on February 7.  Two hundred people attended, 45 new businesses were recognized as green businesses.  A bus shelter recognition program is being tested that is getting a lot of interest and support.  Commissioner Wald suggested asking the SFPUC to publicize the program in one of their mailers to the public; (3) What’s your Watt meter community project in collaboration with the Public Library; and (4) strategic planning grant for a community health program (Healthy Homes Project) to address health inequities in the southeast sector of the City.  The Community Action Plan is now available on the Department’s website.  Commissioner Wald suggested scheduling this topic at a community meeting in the Bayview with a presentation by stakeholders, community workers, and Department of Public Health staff.  It was suggested that the Operations Committee discuss this topic during its discussions on the community meeting process at its February 13 meeting.

Public Comment: 

Mr. David Pilpel stated that he attended the Green Business event and that he hopes to see Commissioners at future events.

Ms. Kelsey Bennett suggested including increased biodiesel usage as part of the discussion at the community meeting with the Department of the Public Health. 

8. Communications.  (Information and Discussion) Secretary Fish reported on communications received and pending (1) Mr. Michael Russom on environmental problems at Park Merced; (2) Ms. Denise D’Anne opposing water bottle usage; (3) Urban Forestry Council letter to the Commission requesting additional administrative support.  Deputy Director Assmann is scheduled to attend the Urban Forestry Council’s Planning and Funding Committee meeting to present on the issue on February 12; and (4) communication was received by True2O that was addressed to Commissioner Gravanis and Zero Waste staff member Julie Bryant who had responded on Commissioner Gravanis’s behalf.

9. Announcements. (Discussion)  Commissioner Josefowitz stated that he is honored to be part of the Commission on the Environment and was welcomed to the Commission.

10. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  New business and future agenda items were discussed throughout the meeting.

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 7:25 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 11, 2013 at 5:00 p.m., in City Hall, Room 421.

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, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) may be available 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].  The meeting audio can be reviewed at this website link by meeting date https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission/audio-archives.

Approved:  March 11, 2013