January 11 2016 Policy Committee Meeting Draft Minutes




MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 2016, 5:00 P.M.


*If a quorum of the Commission on the Environment is present, it will constitute a Special Meeting of the Commission on the Environment.  The Commission Affairs Manager shall make a note of it in the minutes, and discussion shall be limited to items noticed on this agenda.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Elmy Bermejo, Jacquelyn Omotalade


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

1.     Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting was convened at 5:02 p.m. (Present: Commissioners Wald, Bermejo and Omotalade).

2.     Approval of Minutes of the December 14, 2015 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document: December 14, 2015 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)

Upon motion by Commissioner Bermejo and second by Commissioner Omotalade, the minutes of the December 14, 2015 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting were approved without objection (AYE: Commissioners Ward, Bermejo and Omotalade).

3.     Public Comment:  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.

4.     Safe Drug Disposal Stewardship Ordinance of 2015: Update on Implementation. (Explanatory Document: Safe Drug Disposal Stewardship Ordinance Implementation Update) Speaker: Maggie Johnson, Residential Toxic Reduction Coordinator (15 minutes) (Discussion)

Director Raphael noted that the topic is important to Commissioner Wald and is therefore an example of the partnership between the Department and the Commission.  She said this program is a great example of local government leading the way on policies and that hopefully state and federal policy makers will take notice.  Director Raphael recognized Maggie Johnson of the Toxics Team and Policy Director Guillermo Rodriguez for their work on this issue and pointed out that other counties have looked to San Francisco as part of a regional collaborative.

Commissioner Wald said that this program is an example of the great work of the Department. 

Maggie Johnson, Residential Toxic Reduction Coordinator for the Department of the Environment said that the Department’s Residential Toxics Reduction program develops and implements alternatives for San Francisco residents to safely dispose of toxic and hazardous materials that cannot go into either of the three bins.

Maggie said that safe drug disposal is both a social and environmental issue.  Mishandled chemicals can be released into the environment and opioid abuse has been an increasingly troubling issue.

Until 2005 waste facilities had been accepting medicine for disposal until it was clear that controlled substances were also being disposed of.  In 2006, the Department began doing drug takeback events at pharmacies and from 2009 to 2011 there was a mailback program coordinated by the Department in partnership with the SF Public Utilities Commission.  The San Francisco Police Department had participated in the Drug Enforcement Agency events twice a year.

In 2010, the Department worked with the Board of Supervisors to come up with a solution to the problem of disposing home generated medicine.  The policy called for participation in disposal efforts by any producer profiting from the production of the drug.  The pharmaceutical industry provided grant money to see if residents were willing to dispose safely of unused drugs and that pharmacies were willing to participate.

In April 2012, after meetings with stakeholders, the pilot program launched as a partnership between the Department on the Environment, the Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Police Department.  The Department currently has collection bins for non-controlled substances at 12 independent pharmacies in San Francisco and a City College of San Francisco site in the Bayview that are serviced weekly by a state licensed hauler.  All 10 police stations take back controlled and non-controlled medicines.  The pilot program has collected 1,500 pounds per month and as of November 2015 the program has collected 33 tons of unwanted and expired medicines.

The 2015 Ordinance by the Board of Supervisors required a minimum of 5 drop off sites per supervisorial district.  The DEA has determined that police departments and retail pharmacies are the appropriate drop off locations for controlled substances but the ordinance does not require participation by any organization.  If producers cannot meet the required number of sites then they must host drop off events or provide free mail back envelopes.  Producers and manufacturers must pay for all of the disposal costs including Department oversight activity and may not charge a point of sale or point of disposal fee.

The Department produced a handout with the pilot medicine disposal sites that must be available in all pharmacies.  The Department is responsible for enforcement including issuing civil and criminal penalties for producers that do not participate in disposal.  The Commission on the Environment must approve of fees.

It is a challenge to identify producers – the San Francisco ordinance requires wholesalers and retailers provide information on producers.

The permanent program should be up and running by October 2016 but after a few revision to the plans submitted by producers – the program more realistically may be finalized in March 2017.

Commissioner Omotalade noted that she has a history in the healthcare industry and has been concerned about where unused medications are disposed and thanked the Department for their work.

Commissioner Bermejo asked about the annual cost of operating the program and asked about the objections of the pharmaceutical industry to the program.  Maggie said that the industry does not believe it is their responsibility to provide disposal.  The hard costs for the program is about $65,000 a year.  The Department has spent about another $30,000 for outreach and administration.  There was $13,000 in startup costs.  Director Raphael pointed out that this low cost was why the Court of Appeals asked the industry to pay.

Commissioner Wald clarified that the fees are intended to recover the cost of the program to the City and not for the disposal costs and asked about how the industry polices themselves to have all of their peers participate.

Maggie said the Department is also interested in participating in programs that reduce the waste of medicines.

Public Comment:

Anastacia Glikshtern wanted to make sure the Committee was aware of the Recycled AIDS Medicine Program (RAMP) and said it was wasteful to throw away AIDS and cancer medicines.

Commissioner Wald told Maggie to come to the Commission if there is anything they can do to advertise the program.

Policy Director Rodriguez pointed out that a statewide medicine collection program is expected to come up in Sacramento as a result of local success.  The hope is that any law would include both prescription and over the counter medicines and not to supersede cities that already have a program in place.

5.     Policy Committee Recommendation that the Commission on the Environment Approve Resolution 2016-01-COE Adopting the 2016 Reduced Risk Pesticide List for City Properties. Under the Environment Code, the Department maintains a Reduced Risk Pesticide List identifying those pesticides that may be used on City property, subject to restrictions.  (Explanatory Documents:  Cover Memo, Draft Resolution 2016-01-COE, Herbicide Policy, Informal Alternatives

Analysis of Herbicides, Restrictions on Most Hazardous Herbicides, Modified Posting Sign for Pesticide Treatments, Public Hearing Summary from 12/16/15, 2016 Reduced Risk Pesticide List, Summary of Exemptions Granted to City Departments in 2015) Sponsor: Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker: Dr. Chris Geiger, Ph.D., Integrated Pest Management Program Manager (15 minutes) (Discussion and Action)

Director Raphael noted that the Integrated Pest Management program was established by the Board of Supervisors in 1996 to ban all pesticides but it realized that going to zero was not desirable or possible.  The legislation was changed to say that all pesticides would be banned except those that were consistent with an IPM program and that the exceptions would be established in a list approved by the Commission on the Environment.  Director Raphael differentiated between a list of pesticides and the Department’s programs.  All items on the list are considered a last resort.  In 2015, the herbicide Roundup was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen which moved Roundup from Tier 2 to Tier 1 as a product of most concern.  Additionally, in 2015, there was a contractor in Glen Canyon that posted a vague posting about the application of chemicals that had not been properly trained in the IPM ordinance.  The explanatory documents include the Department’s response to both.

Dr. Chris Geiger, Integrated Pest Management Program Manager, pointed out that the list is to be used as a last resort.  The tier rating is used nationally by other agencies to prioritize how herbicides are regulated.

The Department begins the process each year by evaluating the products on the list by considering new research, considering new safer products and by communicating with other departments on their use and its effectiveness.  The Department then holds a hearing then brings it to the Commission.

Following the Glen Canyon Park situation, Dr. Geiger and representatives from the Department of Recreation and Parks visited the site to find signs that were not consistent with the City’s policies and froze the treatments.  New standard signage was established and standard training policies will be implemented City wide in the coming months.

Upon learning of Roundup classification, the Department moved Roundup from Tier 2 to Tier 1, contacted toxicologist contractors, held a hearing in July about the meaning of the determination then had three meetings with 14 public agencies in the Bay Area to determine public safety and labor issues surrounding this issue.  The public agencies agreed on a general policy which states that there will be no cosmetic use of herbicides.  The policy added a new policy that there will be no use of pesticides on paths, that the treated area be clearly stated and posted, that contactors be trained and that pesticides not be used in playgrounds.

After a public hearing in December, the Department clarified some of their policies and acknowledged that some of the policies depend on professional judgement.

Commissioner Bermejo moved for the Policy Committee to recommend that the Commission on the Environment approve Resolution 2016-01-COE adopting the 2016 Reduced Risk Pesticide List for City Properties and was seconded by Commissioner Omotalade.

Commissioner Wald made technical amendments and asked that the resolution include the fact that the Policy Committee has discussed the matter twice.

Kevin Woolen, Recreation and Parks Department, discussed his department’s participation in the IPM program and their efforts to phase out herbicides.

Public Comment:

Dee Seligman, Interim President of the San Francisco Forest Alliance, is requesting that Recreation and Parks no longer use Garlon on oxalis.

Rupa Bose says that the Natural Areas Program has increased their use of Roundup including in parks where children play and opposes the use of Garlon to fight oxalis. Rupa provided an article to Commissioners.

Tom Borden requested various amendments to Attachment B and Attachment C and provided the committee with written comments.

Ron Proctor opposes the destruction of trees by the Natural Areas Program which leads to weeds and the use of herbicides.

Jill Ferrenbacher is concerned with the spraying of herbicides in Glen Canyon and in playgrounds and surrounding areas.  She thanked the Department for tightening up its policies and asked them to enforce its rules especially with contractors.

Anastacia Glikshtern discussed the impact herbicides have on humans.

David Pilpel offered technical amendments to the resolution and suggested the Department should do a better job telling the 20 year story of the IPM program in the form of a report and believes there should be a mid-year check in of staff requested in a resolution.

Commissioner Omotalade requested an amendment to the resolution to include concerns about children playing in parks that are treated and request an update in six months regarding where the pesticides have been applied.

Commissioner Wald asked the Department to return to the Committee in six months with an update on enforcement.

Commissioner Bermejo withdrew her original motion and moved for the Policy Committee to recommend that the Commission on the Environment approve Resolution 2016-01-COE as amended adopting the 2016 Reduced Risk Pesticide List for City Properties and was seconded by Commissioner Omotalade.  The motion approved without objection (AYE: Commissioners Ward, Bermejo and Omotalade).

6.     Review of Department of the Environment and Commission on the Environment’s 2015 Draft Annual Report and Design for Recommendation to the Commission on the Environment.  Speaker;  Donald Oliveira, Public Outreach Program Manager (10 minutes) (Discussion)  

Donnie Oliveria, Public Outreach Manager gave a history of the Department’s Annual Report and how the Department has worked since 2013 to condense the amount of content and increase the use of graphics and photos.

Donnie said that this year’s Annual Report will include performance measures from each of the Department’s program managers.  The report will begin by discussing the Mayors discussion of 0-50-100-Roots during Earth Day, the hosting of the US Conference of Mayors and COP21.  The report will have a section for 0, 50, 100 and Roots with a description of various programs within each section.

This year there will be an addition of fiscal year financial review.

Donnie recommended that the report be done on a fiscal year basis instead of annually.

Commissioner Wald recommended to have links to a list of all the Department’s programs as a way to have the report be more concise and allow the public to do more research.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel said that the agenda is misleading since it says there would be a draft annual report instead an outline was provided to the Committee.  David said the Charter or Administrative Code does require an annual report but does not say when they must submit and requested a delineation of the program and funding by division.

Mark Nicholas, Graphic Designer for the Department of the Environment said that he was interested in the Policy Committee’s suggestions for the report and will be working on a report that draws people’s eyes to the important information and call outs.

Huy Le, Household Hazardous Waste and Used Oil Program Coordinator, said that he is impressed with the former Annual Reports.

Commissioner Wald asked which departments has a good annual report.  Donnie said that SFMTA has a good report.  Director Raphael said that the Department has been looking at others.

Commissioner Wald said that it is in the Department’s best interest to have a good report to highlight the great work of the Department.

7.     Director’s Update. Deborah Raphael, Director (Discussion)

Director Raphael said that budget is big on the Department’s mind and that the Operations Committee and Commission will be discussing it this month.  The first half of the year the Department will be working on a strategic planning process led by Donnie that will involve the community to discuss the Department’s value add.  The goal is to have it be the strongest strategic plan the Department has seen in years.  The Director also invited Commissioners to a panel discussion on the COP21 hosted by the Business Council on Climate Change and the Green Building Council as well as the Annual Green Business Awards event honoring 70 businesses.

Director Raphael announced that her assistant Ryan Jackson took a job with the SFPUC in green infrastructure work and has been replaced by Anya Deepak from the Toxics Team in the Department.

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

Policy Director Guillermo Rodriguez said that there are a number of future agenda items in the works and welcomed any additional suggestions.  One item is an update on the Sustainable Chinatown project that is being coordinated with the San Francisco Foundation.  Another item is an update on the Commercial Building Benchmark Ordinance and the data that has been collected on the energy use on city properties.  Additionally, there will been an update on residential PACE.  Finally, there will be an update on sustainable fuels for ships that come into port and technologies that SFO is utilizing.

Commissioner Wald informed Commissioner Omotalade that she is welcome to always request a topic to be heard in the Policy Committee.

Commissioner Wald said she is interested in an update on the pollinator friendly program, the CPUC and Environmental Justice’s work on illegal dumping.

Director Raphael said that she would be interested in the items that come from the Environmental Justice Taskforce which Commissioner Omotalade sits on.  Commissioner Omotalade said that she appreciates the Department’s presence in the community at events.

David Pilpel pointed out a typo on the agenda and clarified that the next meeting of Policy Committee was Tuesday, February 9, 2016.  He discussed generally District 3.

9.     Public Comment:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.

Rupa Bose said that the IPM program has been successful and pushed people to reduce their pesticide use. She said that now there is use of herbicides under the guise that it is to protect the environment and that the City is getting to a point where many herbicides are being used unnecessarily.

Anastacia Glikshtern said that the Natural Areas Plan is one of deforestation.  She opposes the Natural Areas Plan and says that it is a major cause of the use of herbicides in the city.

David Pilpel said that items listed on the agenda should be made available to the public before the meeting.  This week will see the last truck to Altamont under the new landfill agreement and requested that Debbie give the Commission on update on the litigation.

Commissioner Wald suggested a field trip to the landfill.

10.  Adjournment.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:31 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, February 9, 2016 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 entry to the building. (2) on the Commission’s website http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas; (3) upon request to the Commission Affairs Manager, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected] within three business days of a meeting. If any materials related to an item on this agenda have been distributed to the Committee after distribution of the agenda packet, those materials are available for public inspection at the Department of the Environment, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94103 during normal office hours or will be made available on the Commission’s website http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas as attachments to the agenda or meeting minutes.


Posted: January 22, 2016