July 28 2015 Commission on the Environment Unofficial Meeting Notes




TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2015, 5:00 P.M.






*The July 28, 2015 Commission on the Environment Regularly Scheduled Meeting is considered to be an unofficial meeting as a quorum of members were not present due to administrative membership issues.  All actions that were taken are to be reconsidered at a future meeting.

COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Joshua Arce (President); Sarah Wan (Vice-President), Elmy Bermejo, Heather Stephenson, Johanna Wald


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

1.    Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 5:08 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson and Wan; Excused:  Commissioner Wald. 

2.    Approval of Minutes of the May 26, 2015 Commission on the Environment Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Documents: May 26, 2015 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action) 

Commissioner Bermejo motioned, second by Commissioner Stephenson to approve the May 26, 2015 Draft Minutes.

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel stated that the header on each page of the minutes has the previous Commission meeting date and asked that it be corrected.  He suggested adding 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place as part of the heading address on future agendas and minutes.

Commissioner Bermejo motioned to withdraw approval of the meeting minutes, second by Commissioner Stephenson.   Upon Motion by Commissioner Bermejo, second by Commissioner Stephenson, the May 26, 2015 Commission Meeting Minutes were approved with amendments.  (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).

3.    Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. 

Ms. Emily Goodwin, Y Green Energy Fund, stated that Y Green Energy Fund is a leading Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) finance company that provides a standard suite of measures and financing for both residential and commercial properties and also offers financing for electric vehicle charging stations and seismic retrofits.   She commended San Francisco for the success of the City’s PACE program and recent expansion for including private firms.  Ms. Goodwin reported that Y Green Energy Fund is looking to enter the marketplace and is working closely with the Department to help explain and answer questions about their program and unique features.  Ms. Goodwin discussed Y Green Energy Fund’s ability to work with the Department in areas of PACE financing in the residential and commercial marketplace, soft story compliance, better roofs, and electric vehicle ready policies. 

4.    Community Outreach Presentation: Achieving Zero Waste in Food Establishments: How SFE helps commercial food establishments implement best practices to maximize their participation in the City’s composting and recycling programs. Sponsor: Commissioner Joshua Arce; Presenter: Vernon Haney, Outreach Associate. (Explanatory Document:  Achieving Zero Waste in Food Establishments Presentation) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Outreach Associate Vernon Haney, Department of the Environment, Environment Now Team, presented a role-play interaction between himself and a food establishment business owner describing the services that the Department of the Environment provides to commercial establishments to achieve zero waste.  He reported on materials that the Department provides such as instructional signs and list of vendors that supply required compostable and recyclable material.  Mr. Haney reported on multi lingual staff training and other assistance that Department staff provides to food establishment employees and customers to establish an ideal setting for composting and or recycling.     


Commissioner Stephenson inquired about the number of businesses that services were provided to and the outcome of the interaction.   Mr. Haney reported that the Department has visited approximately 1000 businesses to date and that results vary, but that the Department usually receives positive feedback.  Recommendations and suggestions are made for future improvements to the program from feedback received.

5.    Director’s Report. Updates on Department of the Environment administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Clean Air/Transportation, Climate, Energy, Public Outreach and Education, Environmental Justice, Habitat Restoration, Green Building, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, and Urban Forestry. (Explanatory Document: Director’s Report) Speaker:  Deborah Raphael, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Director Raphael reported on the success of the Department’s “coffee pop up” pilot program held in Justin Herman Plaza that offers a free cup of coffee to people that bring their own mug, and opportunities to earn a mug for those that did not bring their own. The pilot will be implemented again two more times.   She reported that the Zero Waste team visited 1175 businesses and provided zero waste multilingual-trainings to 1053 employees.   Reports were provided on the City’s efforts to decrease and identify safer alternatives to Roundup use due to a carcinogen found in the product; the adoption of the amended Clean Air and Healthy Air Transportation Ordinance by the Board of Supervisors;  work in progress on Electric Vehicle readiness and solar and better roofs ordinances; the signing of the Landfill Agreement with Recology and upcoming hearing scheduled for the Board of Supervisors on September 29 to review environmental impacts of the agreement; hosting of the 83rd Conference of U.S. Mayors and the Mayor’s Climate Action dialogue and reception; and the success of the Department’s ugliest yard competition and community event.  Director Raphael discussed the Mayor’s meeting with the Pope to showcase the City’s Zero Waste efforts and the intersection between climate change, human trafficking, and environmental justice efforts.  Department staff had been acknowledged for their efforts that led to the success of programs.


Department of the Environment interns introduced themselves describing their background and work on Department programs.


Commission President Arce suggested that there be additional effort made to offer Environment Now graduates a road to employment with the Department.  He asked if Civil Service rules would allow for the addition of bonus points to Environmental Now graduates as a way to continue encouraging matriculation for graduates of the program to a full time position.  Commissioner Stephenson suggested that an opportunity be made to connect graduates to local green businesses.  Director Raphael suggested that a presentation be made at the Commission or Operations Committee by Department staff on efforts to move Environment Now graduates to the next level. 


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel reported that a lawsuit has been filed on the Landfill Agreement and asked that Director Raphael provide the Commission with updates. He stated that most Commissions have contract approval authority, and suggested that contracting limits be established so that contracts exceeding a certain dollar amount or length of time should be approved by the Commission.  Mr. Pilpel inquired whether there was a public hearing held on the use of glyphosate that is found in Roundup and asked to be notified of the next public hearing on approval of the Reduced Risk Pesticide List.  He asked that Dr. Geiger, Integrated Pest Management Manager, make a presentation before the Commission on the status of the use of glyphosate in City departments and elsewhere.  Mr. Pilpel commended the work of Mr. Keith Dews, Department staff member, on his work with the Department.

6.    Presentation on San Francisco’s Zero Waste Textile Initiative and Recology’s Textile Collection Pilot. (Explanatory Document:  Textile Initiative Commission Presentation) Sponsor: Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers: Alexa Kielty, Zero Waste Specialist and Paul Giusti, Community and Government Affairs Manager, Recology. (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

This agenda item was continued to the September 22, 2015 Commission meeting.

6.    Presentation on the goals, strategies, and early concepts for the Step Up Power Down Program, a joint marketing and outreach campaign between PG&E and the cities of San Francisco, and San Jose. Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker: Reuben Schwartz, Principal Program Manager, Customer Care at PG&E (Explanatory Document:  Step Up Power Down Presentation)(Informational Presentation, Discussion and Possible Action)


Director Raphael reported on energy savings opportunities present in existing buildings in order to reach San Francisco’s 0-50-100 greenhouse gas reduction goals. Mr. Reuben Schwartz, PG&E representative, presented an overview of San Francisco’s Step Up and Power Down program, a collaborative partnership between PG&E, San Francisco, and San Jose to work together in reducing energy waste in business.   Mr. Schwartz discussed the energy waste that is present in building infrastructure and their use, and how making smart decisions can make a difference in reducing energy load.  He discussed program goals to enroll 600 businesses in the program and achieve 20 million kilowatt hours of savings.  Mr. Schwartz reported that program objectives include raising awareness and providing methods for making smarter energy decisions with a focus on technology and equipment upgrades and recognition of success. 


Mr. Schwartz discussed areas of program collaboration with the Department of the Environment in the areas of campaign design, marketing and outreach.  Topics of discussion included program components, location and boundaries, behavior change campaigns, facility upgrades, and recognition efforts for the two cities when goals are met.   He discussed how small changes have helped shape our culture, and how a huge impact can be made from collective efforts.  He explained that the program supports San Francisco’s sustainability goals to cut energy consumption in half by 2030.   Businesses are being helped to reduce energy waste through quick win activities, training and education, tracking tools, energy assessments, energy savings engagement campaigns, and marketing and public relations.


Outreach representative, Mr. Luke Easdale, Department of the Environment, reported on the Department of the Environment’s role and participation in the program through development of a marketing plan with PG&E and providing community engagement and leverage expertise to the small and medium-sized business community.    He presented a proposed Draft Resolution for the Commission to consider in support of the program. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution)


Commissioner Bermejo inquired about the length of the campaign.  Mr. Schwartz reported that the campaign was launched last month at the U.S. Conference of Mayors and will be in effect until the end of 2016.  Commissioner Stephenson spoke in support of the program and discussed energy waste she has seen in businesses. She spoke in support of recognition efforts and suggested creating a contest to create more of an impact.  Commissioner Stephenson inquired as to what the one most impactful action that could be taken.  Mr. Schwartz discussed competitions and thresholds that will be set in order to receive recognition.  He stated that the most impactful thing to think about is “that if you are not using it, turn it off.”


Commissioner Wan inquired about the technical assistance and cultural outreach strategies that would be provided to small business owners.   Mr. Schwartz reported that the Department of the Environment would be providing their expertise in the area of outreach to local merchants, associations, and the community.   There would also be shared resources between the two cities to enhance in-house language capabilities and website material translated in at least four languages.  A discussion was held on the importance of the Department of the Environment’s role in providing face to face interaction and developing an outreach plan. Commissioner Wan suggested including the community to help design the outreach campaign.


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel asked that the presentation be uploaded to the website and to improve slides that do not have good contrast.  He inquired whether this program would replace the Energy Watch program or if there would be an integration of both programs.  Director Raphael reported that both programs would be working together in this effort.  Mr. Pilpel stated that he hopes San Francisco will win the competition.  He suggested that a legal agreement be created that clarifies the rules of the program.  Mr. Pilpel discussed the benefits of creating positive partnerships with PG&E to reduce energy demand.  Mr. Easdale reported that a document outlining responsibilities is in the process of being developed.


Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Wan, the Draft Resolution in support of the Step Up Power Down Program was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).

7.    Update on Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budget.  Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker: Joseph Salem, Program Manager, Finance and Administration (Explanatory Document: Update on Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget Presentation) (Informational Report and Discussion) 

Director Raphael reported that the budget will be signed by the Mayor on September 23, 2015 at a ceremony at City Hall.  Department of the Environment Program Manager, Finance and Administration, Joseph Salem, provided an overview of the Department of the Environment’s budget process and results of the process.  He provided a summary of the Department’s proposed expenditures for Fiscal Years 2016-17, 2014-15 and 2015-16.  Mr. Salem reported on reductions and increases proposed by the Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst and approved addbacks, which resulted in a budget increase for Fiscal Year 2015-16.  Director Raphael described programs that received addbacks and future plans for programs.


Commissioner Stephenson inquired whether the Department’s request for General Fund and unfunded-mandates dollars was approved.  Mr. Salem reported that the request has been currently denied, but that there are plans to engage with the Mayor’s Office and Budget Analyst on an alternate path.  Commissioner Stephenson suggested requesting work orders from other departments.    


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel asked that the slide labeled “Recycling” be changed to “Zero Waste.”  He stated that the Department may have to request a release of reserve funds for the carbon reserve fund and identify a plan on how to expend the funds.  Mr. Pilpel asked that a presentation be made on the plan once it has been established.  He inquired whether the Zero Waste Pilot would include establishing a Zero Waste Council.  Director Raphael reported that discussions are being held with the Zero Waste team on program plans, and that next steps would be discussed at the next Commission and/or Operations Committee meeting.  Commission President Arce asked that future requests at budget time for General Fund support include demonstrations of the success of the Zero Waste program.

8.    Update on Better Roofs for SF: Solar Requirement. Sponsor: Commission Joshua Arce; Speaker Barry Hooper, Private Sector Green Building (Informational presentation, Discussion, and Possible Action) 

Mr. Barry Hooper, Department of the Environment Private Sector Green Building team, provided an update on work in progress on the development of a Better Roofs for San Francisco: Solar Requirement policy.  He reported that the ordinance will be based on feedback received from stakeholder groups and through collaboration with City agencies to make sure the policy meets the City’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.  The Department is currently working on a cost-effective analysis for green roofs and addressing potential challenges that may be faced. The Ordinance is scheduled to be brought before the Board of Supervisors for consideration in September.   Director Raphael reported that other City departments would be involved in implementation responsibilities.  She recognized the work of Ms. Terra Weeks and Department staff in bringing departments together in the effort to find solutions to challenges.

9.    Approval of Corrected Guidelines for the Use of Impound Account Funds. Sponsor and Speaker:  Deborah Raphael, Director  (Explanatory Document: Guidelines for Use of Impound Account Memo)(Discussion and Action)

Department of the Environment Policy and Communications Director, Guillermo Rodriguez, presented corrected guidelines for the use of Impound Account Funds as noted by strikeouts and additions on the explanatory document memo.


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel asked that corrections be made to page three of the memo so that it ends with SWIA or Zero Waste and asked that page one include the updated Fiscal Year 2015-16 total budget allocations and how much is Impound Account and how much is percentage. He urged support of the corrected guidelines with these amendments.  Mr. Rodriguez reported that the sentence on page three should end with SWIA, and that the Department’s 2015-16 updated budget figures can be reflected on page 1.


Upon Motion by Commissioner Bermejo, second by Commissioner Stephenson, the Corrected Guidelines for Use of Impound Accounts was approved with amendments without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson and Wan; Absent:  Commissioner Wald). 

10.  Operations Committee Chair’s Report.  Review of the agenda for the August 12, 2015 meeting to be held in City Hall, room 421 at 5pm. (Informational Report and Discussion)

Commissioner Stephenson reported that an agenda has not yet been established for the August 12, 2015 meeting, and that a report would be made at the next Commission meeting.

11.  Policy Committee Report. (Informational Report and Discussion) Chairs Report:  Highlights from the June 8, 2015 meeting and review of the agenda for the August 10, 2015 meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421 at 5pm.

A report on the June 8 and August 10 meetings was not made at this time.  Commissioner Arce suggested that a future Policy Committee meeting include an update from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) on the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.  He stated that he would like to discuss creating a robust program that supports local hiring.


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel reported that SFMTA is scheduled to make an interim report to their Advisory Committee in October or November on the Commuter Shuttle program and suggested that the Commission coordinate scheduling of the meeting based on their presentation schedule to the Committee.  He discussed concerns that have been raised about the large number of buses traveling through Noe Valley with very few passengers.  

12.  Announcements.  (Information and Discussion)

Director Raphael announced that the Mayor launched the 0-50-100 Roots short video competition at the grand opening of the Library’s new teen tech center, and that she and staff member, Shawn Rosenmoss met with directors of the Green Film Festival to screen entries for next year’s festival and on social media.  She urged anyone who has a teen or a young person interested in making short films to join in and engage their peers.

13.  President’s Announcements.  (Informational Report and Discussion)

Commissioner Arce reported that Assembly member David Chiu and Los Angeles Assembly member Gomez, who has a district similar to Assemblyman Chiu’s district in San Francisco, are trading districts for three days a week and will be participating in a tour hosted by the Department of the Environment.  Mr. Rodriguez reported that the Department is hosting Assembly member Gomez, who is the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and providing him with a zero waste tour of Recology’s recycling facilities, which should be a great opportunity to showcase San Francisco’s success in recycling and policies the Department has been working on.

14.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action)

Commissioner Stephenson suggested that even though the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is charged with water use in San Francisco, the Department of the Environment should be provided with an opportunity to discuss water issues such as water conservation in backyards as well as drought and El Nino issues as it relates to environmental policies. Commission President Arce suggested adding this topic to the full Commission or Policy Committee meeting for discussion and inviting the SFPUC to discuss a gap analysis and plans for moving forward.  He asked if there was an opportunity to work together and add a water goal to the 0-50-100 goals.


Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested inviting Ms. Paula Keho and/or a representative of the Urban Watershed group from the SFPUC Wastewater division of the SFPUC.   He asked that a Commission Secretary report tracking written correspondence continue to be provided and asked that the Commission roster correctly include Commissioner Wan as the Commission Vice President.

15.  Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.


16.  Adjournment:  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m.

The next Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416.

** 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 Commission’s website http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary at telephone number 415-355-3700, or via e-mail at [email protected].  The meeting audio can be reviewed at website link http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=165&clip_id=23416.