March 9 2015 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2015, 5:00 P.M.



1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Policy Committee meeting came to order at 5:08 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Arce (5:11 p.m.).  Commissioner Arce appointed himself as a Committee member for this meeting.

Items 3 and 4 were heard before Item 2.

2. Approval of Minutes of the February 9, 2015 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  February 9, 2015 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Arce, second by Commissioner Wald, the February 9, 2015 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce and Wald; Noes:  None).

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. Update on Increasing Recycling Convenience for California Redemption Value Beverage Containers in San Francisco. (Explanatory Document:  South of Market Map of Potential Recycling Redemption Centers) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers:  Kevin Drew, Zero Waste Coordinator and Regina Dick-Endrizzi Executive Director, Office of Small Business (Informational Report and Discussion)

Zero Waste Coordinator Kevin Drew reported on the meeting held with supermarkets in January 2015 to discuss options that the Department in consultation with CalRecycle have put forward to open more recycling sites as required by state law.  He reported on notices that were sent in the last month by CalRecycle to small businesses that are affected by the closure of recycling centers to inform them about state requirements.  Mr. Drew explained that the bottle bill applies to all beverage dealers including supermarkets, small dealers, and anybody that sells a beverage container.  The state requires all beverage dealers that are not served by a recycling center within their service zone to either redeem the bottles or cans themselves in their store, pay a daily in-lieu fee, or find another solution.  The Office of Small Business’s constituency has been affected by the letters distributed to small beverage dealers and supermarkets that require beverage dealers to take responsibility for redemption as effectively as possible. 

Commissioner Arce joined the meeting at this time.

Executive Director of the Office of Small Business Regina Dick-Endrizzi discussed the partnership between the Office of Small Business and the Department of the Environment to work on creative solutions for small business compliance with state law regulations to establish recycling centers.  Ms. Dick-Endrizzi discussed challenges facing small businesses in creating a recycling center that include space issues, absorbing the volume once managed by recycling centers, and conflicting policy and Planning Code requirements.  Ms. Dick-Endrizzi suggested working on creative solutions that are not as land-based and that do not require supporting such a high volume of recyclables as the current recommendations are written. She suggested that larger operators be influenced to provide recycling centers in the convenience zone as one solution.

Mr. Drew provided a map of recycling centers being considered that are located in the South of Market area between Division and 8th and Brannan Streets.  He reported that CalRecycle is working closely on a proposal to Caltrans who owns or controls space that is reflected in the map.  Commissioners held a discussion and provided input.

Director Deborah Raphael reported that the solution being considered is called the “hub model” where the recycling center would be placed outside of the supermarket, but that the supermarkets would all contribute to the costs of locating it at the hub.  The other idea that was considered is for supermarkets to have a rotating mobile site on a certain day of the week; however, there is no legal authority to establish a mobile site at this time.   Mr. Drew discussed challenges faced by the existing law and the need for review of technical aspects of the existing law. He reported that next steps are to set up dates for store managers from Costco, Whole Foods, Safeway and Trader Joe’s to meet and then look at the proposed sites.  A proposal is scheduled to be available by the end of the month.
5. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution 2015-03-COE in Support of Gleneagles Training Academy and Sustainable Golf and Recreation Initiative for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment.  (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution) Sponsor:  Commissioner Joshua Arce; Speakers:  Commissioner Joshua Arce and Jen Jackson, Toxics Reduction & Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager (Discussion and Action)

Commissioner Joshua Arce discussed components of sustainability and environmental responsibility as it pertains to the community and the objective to decrease the use of pesticides associated with golf through the creation of jobs, community engagement, and the involvement of public housing residents and organized labor. He spoke of Commission discussions that were held about trying to increase joint activities between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the Department of the Environment and how this initiative would achieve that goal and also involve other City agencies.  

Commissioner Arce proposed an amendment to the Resolution to add "Whereas, the Gleneagles Academy mission statement also includes a commitment to “developing new best practices for sustainable golf and elevated environmental awareness through decreased water and pesticide usage”. Commissioner Wald proposed technical amendments.  Director Raphael asked Toxics Reduction and Healthy EcoSystems Program Manager Jen Jackson to report on existing resources the Department may be able to contribute and which areas are most important.  Ms. Jackson reported on the high-level orientation meeting that was held to discuss the history of Gleneagles and the potential of a future discussion to discuss the pre-apprenticeship training program.  She suggested that the Department take part in the training that will be held in the classroom and in the field.

Commissioner Arce disclosed that he is a member of Union Local 261that is involved in this initiative.  He reported that program representatives had recently provided an update and requested approval from the Mayor’s Office for the Department of Human Resources to set up training program classifications.  A future discussion will be held about program goals and future opportunities for Department involvement.  Director Raphael inquired as to who would be developing the curriculum for the training program. Commissioner Arce reported that a steering committee and program representatives would be involved in program curriculum. The goal is for graduates of the program to then be able to work for Gleneagles.   Director Raphael asked Ms. Jackson and Dr. Geiger to review goals with the budget in mind and decide what the Department can absorb and what additional resources may be needed to implement a good program.  She stated that it is a good opportunity to inculcate values and train people to maintain properties with a commitment to the environment. 

Commissioner Wald suggested that Commissioner Arce draft language for inclusion in the Resolution for the Commission to consider at its March 24 meeting about the opportunity this program provides to further the values of the Department and to showcase the Department’s job-training programs. Commissioner Arce discussed the potential of linking graduates from the Department’s EnvironmentNow program who may not have a guaranteed linkage to City employment with this program.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner Arce the Resolution was approved for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment with proposed amendments for consideration at the March 24, 2015 Commission meeting (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Arce; Noes:  None).

Public Comment: 

Mr. Alex (no last name provided) was asked for public comment, but indicated that he does not have enough context at this time to provide public comment.

Ms. Anya Deepak inquired why the training program is called a pre-apprenticeship training program.  Commissioner Arce reported that an apprentice is a full-time employee that is accruing wages and benefits and is no longer in training.  The pre-apprenticeship program design is to learn the curriculum, work, and skills that are required, and upon meeting the criteria of the pre-apprenticeship automatically become apprentices and secure employment at the end of the program.

Integrated Pest Management Program Manager Dr. Chris Geiger discussed the challenges in greening golf courses due to the public perception of how the cosmetic quality of a golf course should be.  He discussed the need to provide public education to change the public’s perception of what is necessary to play golf.   Dr. Geiger discussed the specialized skills and education that are required to perform Integrated Pest Management work on golf courses.

6. Committee Approval of the Memorandum of Agreement for Department of the Environment to join the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2).  (Explanatory Documents:  Memorandum of Agreement and Membership Application Form) Sponsor: Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker:  Jen Jackson, Toxics Reduction & Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager (Discussion and Action)

Director Raphael reported that the Department of the Environment was asked by the state of Washington and other states around the country to join the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2), and that a request was made for a Commissioner to approve the membership.  The IC2 is a forum of states along with San Francisco working on creating methodologies for identifying and evaluating safer alternatives to currently banned chemicals to ensure that substitutions that are made are not equally bad or worse than the original chemical. 

Toxics Reduction and Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager Jackson reported that membership helps all of the states provide consistency as they prepare alternative assessments.  The IC2 is guiding how an alternatives assessment can be done and has an extensive database of information that can be accessed by everyone involved.  Another database is available of all of the state’s policies, regulations, and legislation around pollution prevention and chemicals. The IC2 will create a clearinghouse of information so that it is consistent across jurisdictional boundaries so everyone can benefit from the implementation and research. 

Integrated Pest Management Program Manager Dr. Geiger reported on how alternatives assessments are being utilized on a routine basis in the Green Purchasing program in the areas of arsenic treated wood, disinfectants and cleaning products and in the IPM program for the lowest-risk approach to solving a problem.  The idea is to go beyond product substitution and to think of how to fulfill a function in the safest and most effective way.  Ms. Jackson reported that the Green Business program is reviewing what products businesses are using now to identify if changes should be made. Commissioner Wald suggested that the IC2 group be involved in the Department’s pharmaceutical work efforts.

Public Comment: Ms. Lurilla Harris provided suggestions on grammar and punctuation amendments to the Memorandum of Agreement.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner Arce, the Policy Committee approved San Francisco’s membership in IC2 (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Arce; Noes:  None).

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

Director Raphael asked Dr. Geiger to update the Committee on graphs that he has created on pesticide use trends for City properties.  Dr. Geiger presented on drafts of graphs he has developed on pesticide use trends (reference Pesticide Use Trends explanatory document). Director Raphael suggested inviting the Recreation and Park Department and golf representatives to a future Commission meeting to provide a presentation on their activities to reduce pesticide use. 

Commissioner Wald stated that these graphs and other informational documents should be relied on as a way to provide public education.  She suggested that the Department contact the Presidio which may have more stringent requirements on pesticide use and, if they do, to share their information as a way to motivate other City agencies.  Dr. Geiger reported on PGA contractual agreements with the Recreation and Park Department on cosmetic standards for golf courses to be tournament ready.  Commissioner Arce suggested that cosmetic standards be identified, and then have Gleneagles present on how it can be achieved in a pesticide-reduced way. 

Commissioner Arce left the meeting at 6:29 p.m.

Director Raphael reported that the Department has been preparing for (1) Earth Day’s Climate Action bus tour on April 22; (2) highlighting the City’s environmental initiatives at the United States Conference of Mayors, and (3) promoting electric vehicle use.  She reported that Strategica, the consulting firm hired to review the Department’s Energy, Climate, and Green building programs has completed their survey work, and a workshop is scheduled for Wednesday with staff to develop next steps for the organizational structure of the program.  Director Raphael announced that the Board of Supervisors will be voting on the adoption of the pharmaceutical take back program on March 10, which the Board Committee approved unanimously. 

Public Comment: 

Ms. Lurilla Harris stated that different parks have different pesticide use and asked whether Sharp Park should be closed because of floods and endangerment to garter snakes and frogs.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the suggestion be brought to the Recreation and Park Department.  Ms. Jackson and Director Raphael reported that Sharp Park has eliminated the use of pesticides.  Dr. Geiger reported that Sharp Park has a recovery management plan in effect to close off the golf course during floods to accommodate the danger to the two species.

Mr. Alex (last name not provided) inquired about the measurement system used in graphs.  Dr. Geiger reported that the measurement system references pounds of active ingredient.  Unidentified speaker asked if there is a goal for the suitable amount of pesticides that should be in use.  Dr. Geiger stated that a numerical goal is not available because of the different toxicities of different chemicals for different situations. Work is in progress on a toxicity index to be used as a multiplier for those pounds of active ingredients so that there can be a better portrayal of what the actual risk is.  Director Raphael reported that there are restrictions in place of when pesticides can be used in particular situations, and that most toxic pesticides are banned on City properties.

8. Communications.  (Explanatory Document:  Correspondence Log) (Information and Discussion)  Acting Commission Secretary Rachel Buerkle reported on Commission communications received. 

9. Announcements. (Discussion)  There were no announcements made at this time.

10. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  There was no new business/future agenda items discussed at this time.

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 Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 6:37 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee is scheduled for Monday, April 13, 2015 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 access to the building; (2) on the Policy Committee’s website, 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 website link

Approved: June 8, 2015