July 8 2013 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013, 5:00 P.M.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Nicholas Josefowitz
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 meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Arce, Gravanis, Josefowitz and Wald. A quorum of the Commission on the Environment was present for Items 1 – 5 with the attendance of Commissioner Joshua Arce.  As a result, it constituted a Special Meeting of the Commission on the Environment.  The meeting reverted back to a Regular Policy Committee meeting at the time that Commissioner Arce left the meeting during agenda item 5 (6:00 p.m.).

2. Approval of Minutes of the June 10, 2013 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  June 10, 2013 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Josefowitz, the June 10, 2013 meeting minutes were approved without objection.

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. Review and Possible Approval of Draft Resolution 2013-10-COE in Support of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (VNBRT) Project for Recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. (Continued from the June 10, 2013 Meeting) Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director; Speaker:  Michael Schwartz, Senior Transportation Planner, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (Explanatory Documents:  Draft and Approved Resolutions) (Discussion and Action)

Mr. Schwartz reported on amendments recommended by the Policy Committee that were incorporated into the Draft Resolution in support of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (VNBRT) project.  A discussion was held on adding a reference to the methodology used in the City’s Fiscal Year 2014-2023 Capital Plan to estimate the number of new construction jobs that would be created (page 2, line 11) and how this single project would reduce citywide emissions by about 1.3% (page 1, line 17).  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Josefowitz, Resolution 010-013-COE was approved with amendments unanimously (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Gravanis, Josefowitz, and Wald).  Mr. Schwartz reported that the San Francisco Country Transportation Authority and Municipal Transportation Authority Boards are scheduled to take action on the VNBRT in September.

5. Advanced Discussion of Options for the Commission on the Environment’s Annual Retreat. Sponsor and Speaker:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis (Discussion)

Commissioner Gravanis discussed the definition and origin of the word ‘retreat’, what it means to an organization, and what it can include.  She stated that topics previously discussed at Commission retreats included staff presentations on timely and important topics that have been valuable, but not correlating to what a retreat should be about.  A discussion was held on the limitations that are imposed by public meeting laws in holding a “true retreat.” She reported on the May 2012 full Commission and June 2013 Policy Committee discussions on recommendations for a focal point for the retreat and potential date (reference May 2012 Commission and June 2013 Policy Committee Minutes). 

Commissioners and Deputy Director Assmann discussed holding a priority setting exercise at the upcoming retreat in which the status of the Policy Committee’s selection of priority goals would be reviewed and a decision would be made as to whether action plans to address these goals should be established if in fact these priorities would add value to the work of the Department.  An outcome that is hoped to be achieved from priority goals and strategy for achieving goals would be set.  Staff would be asked to identify activities in the coming year that the Commission could help with or leverage. An additional topic of discussion would be to hold a two-part discussion on Departmental and Commission challenges, lessons learned, additional resources required, policy setting, and how the Commission can help to meet challenges. 

Priority topics of discussion that were suggested include:
1. Developing strategies for advancing the City’s green purchasing goals;
2. Working with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on the Department’s role in the CleanPowerSF program and in advancing 100% renewable energy goals;
3. Identifying actions for reaching 100% zero waste diversion goals;
4. Updating or creating a new Sustainability Plan;
5. Bottled water;
6. Department’s Biodiversity program;
7. Establishing performance metrics for specific Department programs to better evaluate their effectiveness, to help decide which programs to continue and which to expand, and to make a better case for additional funding by demonstrating the Department’s achievements;
8. Climate Action Strategy update;
9. Ensuring that large development and construction projects meet the Department’s and the City’s sustainability goals;
10. Discuss next year’s requirements and enforcement of the Healthy Air and Clean Transportation Ordinance, the effect it would have on the City’s fleet, creating a centralized shared City fleet, and tracking City vehicle usage;
11. Reprioritization of the Mayor’s Renewable Energy Task Force report;
12. Establishing other City department allies as a way to create more buy-in and leverage influence;
13. Large events and sustainability -- take lessons learned from events such as America’s Cup and other activities. Discuss a Sustainable Super Bowl San Francisco;
14. The Department’s relationship with the General Fund; and
15. Establish strategies for upcoming community and broadcasting of Commission meetings.

Commissioners agreed that the focus of the retreat should be on challenges faced to both the Department and Commission in the coming year.  That would include a two-part discussion, one that focuses on challenges to the Department that the Commission can help resolve and challenges to the Commission.  Priorities and opportunities would be identified. Staff would be asked to create written material that would help guide a decision in selection of priority goals and criteria for the coming year to be discussed at a future Commission Committee meeting.  It was suggested that staff provide input on priorities and help that is needed from Commissioners and then create an agreed upon action plan.

Commissioner Arce left the meeting at 6:00 p.m. during discussion of this topic. The Commission on the Environment Special Meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m. due to loss of quorum. The Policy Committee meeting convened at 6:00 p.m. with Commissioners Gravanis, Josefowitz and Wald present.

6. Quarterly Review of Commission on the Environment and its Committees Accomplishments for 2013 for inclusion into the Commission’s 2013 Annual Report.  Sponsor and Speaker:  Commissioner Johanna Wald (Explanatory Document:  List of 2013 Commission and Committee Agenda Topics) (Discussion)

Commissioners selected Policy Committee and Commission second quarter accomplishments for inclusion into the 2013 Commission Annual Report for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment (Explanatory Document:  Commission and Committee 2013 Second Quarter Selected Accomplishments for Annual Report).

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

Deputy Director Assmann reported that the initial rate process was concluded and recommendations were made by the Department of Public Works. Refuse Rate Board hearings started this afternoon on five appeals that were received, mostly on the amount of the increase. There was no appeal received that affected the Department’s portion of the Impound Account. The Senior Staff will be holding a retreat on August 21 to discuss the Department’s Strategic Plan. Individual program areas are working with a consultant on individual work plans.  Commissioner Josefowitz inquired about the Commission’s involvement in the Strategic Plan process.  Deputy Director Assmann reported that the Strategic Plan could be a topic of the discussion for the Commission Retreat.  Commissioner Wald suggested that it be listed as one of the Department’s challenges.  Commissioner Gravanis requested that the Strategic Plan be brought to the Commission for review early in the process.  Deputy Director Assmann reported on upcoming new hires, upcoming events, and shortages in funding for intern furniture. 

Commissioner Josefowitz requested systematic communication on Department events that would be worthwhile for Commissioners to attend.  Deputy Director Assmann reported on the Department’s calendar of public events on the website http://www.sfenvironment.org/events that is coordinated through the Public Outreach Team. Commissioner Wald suggested that Commissioner’s attendance at events be filtered through the Commission President.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the appropriateness of Commissioners attendance at Climate Adaptation meetings.  Deputy Director Assmann suggested including events that are appropriate for Commissioners to attend in the Director’s Report categorized with a star.

8. Communications.  (Explanatory Document:  Correspondence Log) (Information and Discussion) 

Commission Secretary Monica Fish reported on the status of communications received as listed on the Correspondence Log.  Communication had been received today from SCRAP on Zero Waste Grant funding awards that is being addressed.  Commissioner Wald suggested scheduling a discussion on car idling as communicated in correspondence received by Ms. Denise D’Anne.
9. Announcements. (Discussion)  Commissioner Gravanis reported that there are two San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Local Agency Formation Commission meetings scheduled on July 9 to discuss CleanPowerSF.

10. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Rescheduling July 23rd meeting to August 6 meeting date. 

Deputy Director Assmann discussed the possibility of rescheduling the July 23 Commission meeting to a date in early August.  August 6 was discussed as a potential date that Commissioners stated they would be available to attend. Commissioner Josefowitz suggested creating a Commission Resolution to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission stating that if there is no plan to meet the City’s carbon goals through a robust CleanPowerSF program, another option should be identified that would have similar carbon impacts. 

Commissioner Josefowitz suggested a briefing by Department staff at the August 12 Policy Committee meeting on the Healthy Air and Clean Transportation Ordinance situation, possible solutions, and how the Commission can be helpful in moving it forward.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Budget Analyst provide a report on budgetary implications of the Ordinance and a report be provided by Supervisor John Avalos’s office.  Deputy Director Assmann suggested that a report could also be provided by the Mayor’s Budget office. It was suggested discussing the idea of establishing a citywide fleet car usage tracking system.  Commissioner Wald suggested updates on EcoDistricts and the Strategic Plan process at the August meeting.  She would inquire about the status of renewable energy pass-throughs for potential inclusion into the August agenda.
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 were no members of the public present at this time.

12. Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

** 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., (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 http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/audio.

Approved: August 12, 2013