March 25 2014 Commission on the Environment Meeting Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

*TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014, 4:00 P.M.
APPROVED MINUTES

CITY HALL, ROOM 416
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102

*The Tuesday, March 25, 2014 Commission on the Environment meeting was rescheduled from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Joshua Arce (President); Angelo King (Vice-President), Ruth Gravanis, Nicholas Josefowitz, Heather Stephenson, Johanna Wald, Sarah Wan

ORDER OF BUSINESS

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 4:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners King, Gravanis, Josefowitz, Stephenson, and Wan; Excused:  Commissioners Arce and Wald.

2. Approval of Minutes of the January 28, 2014 Commission on the Environment Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: January 28, 2014 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wan, the January 28, 2014 Commission on the Environment Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners King, Gravanis, Josefowitz, Stephenson, and Wan; Absent:  Commissioners Arce and Wald).

Items 4 and 5 were heard before Item 3.

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. 

Mr. Eric Brooks discussed what he believes to be the Mayor’s Office opposition to CleanPowerSF and support of PG&E.  He reported that Supervisor Avalos has scheduled a hearing on March 31 on CleanPowerSF and asked for the Commission to voice their support of the program so that it can be reinstated back in the Climate Action Strategy.  Mr. Brooks stated that reinstating the program is vital to meeting the City’s and Department’s climate action goals and would provide additional revenue in the budget and create jobs.      

4. Retroactive Approval of the Department and Commission on the Environment’s 2013 Annual Report.  (Explanatory Document:  2013 Annual Report) (Discussion and Action)

Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Gravanis, the Department and Commission on the Environment’s 2013 Annual Report was approved (AYES:  Commissioners King, Gravanis, Josefowitz, Stephenson, and Wan; Absent:  Commissioners Arce and Wald).

5. Review and Approval of the Department of the Environment’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2014-15 Budget.  (Explanatory Document:  FY 2014-15 Budget)  Sponsor:  Commissioners Joshua Arce and Angelo King; Speaker:  David Assmann, Acting Director (Discussion and Action )

Acting Director Assmann reported on the Department of the Environment’s Fiscal Year 2014-15 Budget outlining expenses and revenues for each of the Department’s program areas and variances from the previous fiscal year.  He reported that all program area budgets are balanced for the 2014-15 fiscal year with the exception of a shortfall in the Clean Transportation program area.  A request has been made to the Mayor’s Office for General Fund support for Clean Transportation, and a meeting has been set up with the Mayor’s Budget Director to discuss the request.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the impact to the Clean Transportation program if funding were not to be restored.  Acting Director Assmann reported that the Department would then not be able to work on the electric vehicle program. 

Acting Director Assmann reported that the next steps in the process would be to balance the budget again after labor negotiations are complete and then work with the Mayor’s Office to balance the budget before it is sent to the Board of Supervisors on June 1st. The Board of Supervisors Analyst will review the budget and will then be heard with other General Fund departments at Board of Supervisors hearings on June 16th and 23rd.

Commissioner Josefowitz inquired as to why the Outreach budget increased by ten percent and the Climate and Renewable Energy budget decreased by fifteen percent.  Acting Director Assmann reported on SFPUC Power Division’s budget shortfall that resulted in a decreased work order to the Department, but that there are efforts to fundraise in order to eliminate the decrease.  The decrease would result in a vacancy that would not be filled as quickly and less capacity to do climate work.  Staff is reviewing efficiencies and streamlining work with other Departments on work with annual Climate Action Plans.  

Acting Director Assmann reported that the increase shown for the Outreach area is not really an increase, but a reorganization of how outreach work has been allocated to program areas.   A discussion was held about the differences and similarities between the Green Building and Energy Efficiency program areas.  Commissioner King suggested that there be a discussion at a future Committee meeting on Department staff and program area structure.  Commissioner Stephenson suggested considering the assignment of Outreach program staff to individual program areas.   

Public Comment:  Mr. Eric Brooks representing Clean Energy Advocates, Green Party, and Our City discussed the budget impacts of the CleanPowerSF program not being included in the Climate Action Strategy.   He stated that the program is vital to meeting the City’s climate goals and would provide millions of dollars of energy-efficiency funds that could supplement the Department and City’s budget.  Mr. Brooks reported that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the Mayor’s Office have dropped the issue, but that the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) is proceeding with the installation program.  He urged the Department and Commission to support the program and reinstatement into the Climate Action Strategy.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Stephenson the Department of the Environment’s Fiscal Year 2014-15 Budget was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners King, Gravanis, Josefowitz, Stephenson, and Wan; Absent:  Commissioners Arce and Wald).

6. Commission Secretary’s Written Report. (Explanatory Document: Commission Secretary’s Report and Correspondence Log) (Information) Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
• Communications and Correspondence
• Update on City Legislation

Commission Secretary Fish provided a Commission Secretary’s Written Report on communications and correspondence received and update on City legislation.  She reported that over 300 emails had been received from Sierra Club members requesting the launch of CleanPowerSF and reinstatement into the Climate Action Strategy.

7. Director’s Written 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) (Information).  Speaker: Acting Director Assmann

Commissioner Josefowitz inquired about the success of the Carpool 2 School Week.  Acting Director Assmann reported that this program is a way to encourage schools to influence carpooling to combine trips and as an efficient way for people to get to school.  The program would be launched on a regular basis in order to increase participation.   Commissioner Josefowitz inquired about enforcement for compliance with Zero Waste programs.  Acting Director Assmann reported that fines are an option when voluntary efforts are not successful. 

8. Public comment on all matters pertaining to the subsequent closed session on Department of the Environment Executive Director Interviews.

Mr. Eric Brooks reported that at the March 2013 presentation to the Commission on CleanPowerSF, Acting Director Assmann said that he and his staff were ready, willing and able to do extensive work on the program even beyond energy efficiency.   He urged the Commission to influence Acting Director Assmann consider staying on as the Department’s Executive Director.

9. Vote on whether to hold closed session to hold Department of the Environment Executive Director Interviews.  (Cal. Govt. Code § 54957; SF Admin. Code § 67.10(b).)  [ACTION]

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Stephenson the Commission voted to go into closed session to hold Department of the Environment Executive Director interviews (AYES:  Commissioners King, Gravanis, Josefowitz, Stephenson, and Wan; Absent:  Commissioners Arce and Wald).

Open session recessed at 4:40 p.m. to hold Closed Session Executive Director-interviews.

10. CLOSED SESSION – DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR INTERVIEWS.
Possible closed session to hold Executive Director Interviews.  (Explanatory Documents:  Applicant Résumés and Interview Questions) (Cal. Govt. Code § 54957; SF Admin. Code § 67.10(b).)  [DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION]

Closed session was held to hold Executive Director-interviews.  Commissioner Arce joined the meeting.  The Commission did not report on any possible action taken and was not required to do so.

11. OPEN SESSION
Reconvene in open session:
1. Vote to elect whether to disclose any or all discussions held in closed session.  (Cal. Govt. Code § 54957.1(a); SF Admin. Code § 67.12(b).)  [ACTION]
2. Possible report on action taken in closed session and the vote thereon.  (Cal. Govt. Code § 54957.1(a); SF Admin. Code § 67.12(b).)

The Commission on the Environment meeting reconvened in open session at 9:20 p.m.  Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Wan, the Commission voted not to disclose any or all discussions held in closed session (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Josefowitz, King, Stephenson, and Wan; Absent: Commissioners Gravanis and Wald).

12. Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 9:22 p.m.

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA  94102 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  A photo I.D. is required for entry to the building, (2) on the Commission’s meeting website at http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas included with minutes by meeting date; (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected]  For an audio recording of Commission meetings, access this link http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/audio and select the meeting date.

The next Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416.

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

Approved:  May 27, 2014