May 1 2013 Operations Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2013, 5:00 P.M.


*The Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 5:00 p.m. meeting of the Commission on the Environment Operations Committee regularly scheduled to meet at 1455 Market Street, San Francisco, CA, had been changed to meet at City Hall, Room 416, San Francisco, CA  94102.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Commissioners Angelo King (Chair), Alan Mok, Heather Stephenson

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 5:03 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners King, Mok and Stephenson.

2. Approval of Minutes of the February 13, 2013 Operations Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document: February 13, 2013 Operations Committee Meeting Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)

Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Mok, the February 13, 2013 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES:  Commissioners King, Mok and Stephenson).

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 Approval of Department of the Environment Grant for Brownfields Outreach Services for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. (Explanatory Documents:  Draft Resolution File 2013-05-COE) Sponsor:  Commissioner Angelo King, Speakers:  Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager and Meredith Thomas, San Francisco Parks Alliance (Discussion and Action)

Commissioner King reported on his participation on the Committee to review the finalists for the Brownfields outreach services grant award and as chair of the Project Area Committee, an advisory committee on the redevelopment process for the Bayview neighborhood.  He reported on the selection of San Francisco Parks Alliance, an authority on the Blue Greenway, as the grant recipient. Commissioner King suggested that San Francisco Parks Alliance reach out or sub contract with organizations with different networks to provide an additional outreach and education component to the project.

Ms. Anne Eng reported on her commitment to the Commission and the Bayview community to be inclusive in the project and build green connections to make sure local residents have access to the shoreline and to develop support for the Blue Greenway and the work that will be accomplished through the Brownfields grant.

Ms. Meredith Thomas, Policy and Stewardship Director for San Francisco Parks Alliance, reported that San Francisco Parks Alliance is a non-profit that seeks to meet the needs of parks and park users, not only the parks that exist today, but those of the future.   She reported on work to be accomplished on the Blue Greenway project to acquire new land and transform brownfields sites into world class waterfront parks and a connected network of trails.   Ms. Thomas stated that San Francisco Parks Alliance has the capacity to work across agency restrictions and will work with San Francisco communities and neighborhood leaders to build trusting lasting relationships that are grounded in real projects and outcomes.  She spoke of the opportunity through the work of this grant to include leaders of the Bayview to participate in the Blue Greenway Steering Committee and asked Commissioners for their input on connections to make in order to grow deeper networks.  Ms. Thomas stated that additional efforts will be made to establish a committee to work on supplemental fundraising to expand this project.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Mok, Resolution File 2013-05-COE was approved for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment for consideration at its May 28, 2013 meeting.  (AYES:  Commissioners King, Mok and Stephenson)

5. Process for Commission on the Environment’s Community Meetings and Outreach Component.  (Continued from the February 13, 2013 Meeting) Sponsor: Commissioner Joshua Arce; Speakers:  Commissioner Angelo King and Donald Oliveira, Public Outreach Program Manager (Discussion and Possible Action)

Commissioner King proposed that Department Outreach staff first identify and connect with a group to host a special Commission or Committee meeting (e.g., Merchants, Homeowners, Neighborhood Associations) in an identified neighborhood (e.g., Visitacion Valley Asian American and immigrant population) and find out what topic they may be interested in being educated on.   He suggested that the group be asked to bring in interested parties and interpreters to the meeting.   Next steps would be to select a meeting time (potentially by the end of June) and ADA-compliant location for the meeting.  Commissioner King suggested that the Commission vote on whether to host a Commission or Committee special meeting.

Mr. Donald Oliveira reported that the Outreach team has identified over 144 neighborhood associations and community groups to direct outreach to in the summer of 2013. As part of that effort, a request will be made that one of the associations host a Commission/Committee meeting to discuss a topic of interest.  Commissioner King suggested that the group be selected based on its engagement with the Department and willingness to do outreach.  

Commissioner Stephenson stated that her understanding that the reason for holding a community meeting was to help in reaching out to different constituencies on Department and Commission’s messaging.   She asked that the Commission be provided with input as to what neighborhoods care about.  

Mr. Oliveira reported that he would start with outreach to Visitacion Valley groups to find an ideal organization.  He suggested meeting topics such as the Healthy-Homes initiative and best practices for the household composting program.  Ms. Fish reported that a special Committee or Commission off-site meeting would require a 15-day noticing requirement.  Mr. Oliveira reported that he would provide additional information on the project timeline directly to Commissioner King.  

6. Review of City and County of San Francisco Purchasing Software to Help the City Buy Green. Sponsor:  Commissioner Stephenson; Speakers:  Chris Geiger, Ph.D., Integrated Pest Management Program Manager and Jessian Choy, City Toxics Reduction Specialist (Informational Report and Discussion)

Commissioner Stephenson requested further discussion on ways to further the mandate to make sure that City departments are purchasing green products through an upgrade of the City’s purchasing systems.  Ms. Jessian Choy reported on past and current efforts by her and Dr. Geiger to increase green purchasing by City departments.  She discussed the difficulty that City staff have in complying with the Buy Green Ordinance because of the difficulty in locating green products and purchasing through the outdated City’s ADPICS/FAMIS purchasing and finance system.  City staff are able to access the website to find a City-approved vendor or a green product, but there is no direct interface with the City’s ADPICS/FAMIS purchasing system.  The Office of Contract Administration and Controller’s Office have discussed upgrading the City’s purchasing system, which could helpsteer people to buy green; however, it does not appear to be within the City’s priorities and budget at this time. 

Dr. Geiger reported on discussions held with the Office of Contract Administration manager about their desire to upgrade the City system who indicated that there are no current plans in the near future because of the multi-million dollar expense involved.  He explained that the problem with the current system is that it keeps track of encumbrances, but not of the actual product being purchased.  Some departments do have internal inventory management systems, but the central system does not.  A web interface is being worked on, but it won’t include the ability to track what is being purchased.   Dr. Geiger discussed efforts to incorporate a commodity-code system to categorize green products within ADPICS and FAMIS, but explained that the commodity codes are widely misused or not used at all. At this time, vendors are being relied on to keep track of purchases and provide data on products purchased. Commissioner Mok suggested that the City investigate a new software product and bar codes system that contains all product information and is currently on the market.

Commissioner Stephenson discussed the enormous responsibility from an outreach perspective to educate everybody to make sure they are all going to the website, which is a separate system from where they are purchasing the product.  She asked if there is a budget to encourage more vendors to provide green purchasing interfaces to make ordering simpler and result in more green products purchased.   Ms. Choy reported that Staples has a dedicated website for City staff that does not contain prohibited products, but that not all products listed are green.  It has been proposed that the Office of Contract Administration give preference to bidders or vendors that can offer an online City-dedicated ordering system.  Dr. Geiger reported that there may be issues of fairness for small local businesses that are not set up for this type of service.  He stated that there are interim approaches such as sending forth messages that web interfaces will be encouraged in the future.  Commissioner Stephenson discussed her conversations with business community members that have inventory issues that are transitioning to a digital environment in the next two to five years.  She suggested that vendors be made aware that is what is being sought in the future.

Ms. Choy suggested that Commissioners reach out to the Office of Contract Administration so that new voices are heard on the topic.   She reported that in 2010, $500,000 products purchased were not green and discussed the potential for savings.  Dr. Geiger discussed the behavioral change required.  He reported on current vendor outreach and training efforts in progress on the new lighting and lamps contract.  Commissioner Stephenson stated that vendors should be held accountable to make sure that the right products are being purchased.  She asked if outreach material is targeted to the specific product the vendor is supplying.  Ms. Choy discussed outreach material that is available that is sent to vendors and City staff responsible for purchasing those products.  Initial trainings with new vendors and their staff are planned.

Ms. Choy discussed the feasibility of providing extra points or bonuses to vendors for selling the right products and performance recognition for meeting green goals.   Commissioner Stephenson and Ms. Choy discussed the Green and Blue Business Awards recognition for green purchasing and potential to issue awards to City departments.  Commissioner King suggested that recognition be given to City staff that meet green goals by the Mayor and Department of the Environment Director during Earth Day.   Dr. Geiger suggested that the Office of Contract Administration also be acknowledged for their efforts in including environmental criteria in their purchasing contracts.

7. Update on Department of the Environment Budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14 and Potential Shortfalls. Sponsor:  Commissioner King; Speaker:  David Assmann, Deputy Director (Discussion)

Commissioner King reported that there are Department areas that were not fully funded for the fiscal year and asked Deputy Director Assmann to inform the Committee of the status of those programs.  Deputy Director Assmann reported that grant funding has been identified for two of the three program areas that were short of funding for Clean Transportation/Clean Air and Renewables.  The remaining shortfall is in Climate and work is in progress to eliminate the gap.  An additional area that funding is being sought for is the Biodiversity program.    
8. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner King asked for a discussion and a list of services that the Department is mandated to do, but is not provided funding for.  Commissioner Stephenson requested a presentation on the Urban Agriculture Plan.  Ms. Fish confirmed with Commissioners and Deputy Director Assmann that a revision to the Committee schedule to change the Committee May, August and November meetings to the second Wednesday due to meeting room availability at City Hall, Room 421 would be acceptable.  A Notice of Proposed Bylaws Amendment will be issued.  Deputy Director Assmann reported on public accessibility issues for the meeting space at 1455 Market Street, 12th Floor, and the fee involved with the meeting space on the ground floor.

9. 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.   

Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern discussed her opposition to the use of pesticides and herbicides in the City’s Natural Areas program that is detrimental and toxic to the environment and asked that the Department of the Environment become involved.  She reported on the banning of Milestone herbicide in New York and fines issued in France to Monsanto Corp., manufacturers of Roundup, for false advertising.  Ms. Glikshtern reported that the Environmental Impact Report has cost the City more than a million dollars.  She discussed the plan to cut down 3,500 trees in San Francisco and another 15,000 in Sharp Park. 

10. Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment Operations Committee meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) may be available on the Operations Committee meeting website as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes , (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

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

Approved: August 14, 2013