May 26 2015 Commission on the Environment Meeting Approved Minutes



TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2015, 5:00 P.M.



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


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

2. Introduction of New Commission Member. (Discussion) Commission President Joshua Arce welcomed new Commission member Elmy Bermejo to the Commission on the Environment.  Commissioner Bermejo introduced herself and spoke of her background as a long-term resident of San Francisco and her work in public service positions.

3. Approval of Minutes of the January 21, 2015 Special Commission and Operations Committee Meeting Draft Minutes and March 24, 2015 Commission on the Environment Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Documents: January 21, 2015 and March 24, 2015 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner Stephenson, the January 21, 2015 and March 24, 2015 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson, Wan and Wald).

4. 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.

5. Why You Should Visit a Healthy Nail Salon in San Francisco. (Explanatory Document:  “Pretty Shouldn’t Stink” Presentation) Sponsor:  Commissioner Joshua Arce, Speaker: Anya Deepak, Commercial Toxics Reduction Associate (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Commercial Toxics Reduction Associate Anya Deepak discussed the harmful chemicals that are found in certain nail products that may cause adverse health effects, especially for those working in nail salons.  She reported that the toxic three chemicals that should be avoided when purchasing nail polishes are formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate.  Ms. Deepak reported that the Department of the Environment is working on a campaign to train nail salon workers to become a healthy nail salon by using safer toxic-free products and practices and having proper ventilation. 

Ms. Deepak reported on a New York Times expose on the nail salon industry showing the poor health of nail salon technicians.  All technicians in the Healthy Nail Salon program have been trained on the health effects of these chemicals and how to keep themselves and their clients away from extensive chemical exposure.  Ms. Deepak reported on bus shelter ads that encourage customers to check out healthy nail salons.  Nail salon customers can find a healthy nail salon by looking for the healthy nail salon logo or logging into 

Commissioner Stephenson inquired as to the number of healthy nail salons there are in San Francisco and how to provide information to salon workers on the program.  Ms. Deepak reported that out of the 250 nail salons located in San Francisco, 25 are healthy nail salons with five to ten in process.  She reported that 95% percent of nail salon workers are Vietnamese, and that there is a dedicated hotline in Vietnamese that explains the program.  The hotline phone number can be found by visiting the Department’s healthy nails website.

Public Comment: 

Mr. David Pilpel commended the Healthy Nails salon presentation and suggested that the Department revise its guidelines to include healthy nail salons in the Green Business program.

Ms. Lurilla Harris inquired where someone who has no access to the internet can receive information on the program and request a list of healthy nail salons.  She suggested that there be a phone number included that people can call to request information on the program.

6. Nomination and Election of Commission Vice President.  (Discussion and Action) 

Commission President Arce reported on the vacancy for Commission Vice President due to the resignation from the Commission by Commissioner King.  He discussed the idea of sharing leadership roles and the display of leadership potential by Commissioners.  Commissioner Wald suggested giving thought to succession of officers and sharing officer responsibilities of this Commission.  She suggested calendaring a discussion on what other Commissions do in this area.  Commissioner Arce motioned to nominate Commissioner Wan as Vice President.  Commissioner Wan accepted the nomination.  Commissioner Stephenson seconded the nomination (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson, Wan and Wald).

7. 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 acknowledged Commission Secretary Monica Fish, who will be retiring in June 2015, for her service to the Commission on the Environment.  She discussed the Department’s work with the author of the New York Times article providing information on San Francisco’s program and identifying safer alternatives to the toxic three chemicals found in nail polishes.  Director Raphael reported that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy attended the Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and was impressed with the Department’s work on the campaign.

Director Raphael reported that the Department’s Zero Waste team has converted all 31 U.S. Postal Service facilities to the three-bin system in an effort to improve their diversion efforts, and training will be provided to all workers.  She reported that the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the pharmaceutical industry’s appeal to overturn Alameda County’s Pharmaceutical Take Back program, which means the Department can legally start their own program.  A report was provided on pharmaceutical take back program efforts in other Bay Area jurisdictions and counties. 

Additional highlights reported on include (1) the success of the Energy Watch corner store campaign, which is a focused effort in the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods targeting approximately 110 small businesses on energy-efficiency measures and next steps; (2) the Governor’s alignment with the Department’s climate goals by increasing funding allocation of composting facility grants and creating the Healthy Soils initiative that will help in carbon sequestration; (3) the Department’s work with the Air rrd, Water Board and CalRecycle to review the regulatory environment around composting systems; and (4) San Francisco’s hosting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors between June 19th and 21st.  The Commission was invited to attend a climate action dialogue on June 18th that the Department in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and City department heads will be putting together.   

8. Electric Vehicles as Part of the 0-50-100-Roots Strategy for Climate Action.  (Explanatory Documents:  Presentations:  EVs in the context of the 0-50-100 Climate Action Strategy, Getting to Zero, and Equity and Clean Transportation) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers: Robert Hayden, Manager, Clean Transportation Program; Roland Hwang, Director, Energy and Transportation Program, Natural Resources Defense Council; Sekita Grant, Legal Counsel, Environmental Equity, Greenlining Institute; Damian Breen, Deputy Director, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Informational Report and Discussion)

Director Raphael reported that the Electric Vehicles presentation is focused on the ‘50’ roots strategy for climate action, which is a goal of 50 percent or greater of trips in sustainable modes of transportation.  She explained that ‘50’ is minimizing the gasoline miles traveled and maximizing the electrical miles traveled by promotion of electric vehicles. Director Raphael reported on efforts to look at various levels of electric vehicles and have a robust discussion on this aspect. 

Manager of the Clean Transportation program, Robert Hayden, reported on the large amount of activity in process to expand the infrastructure for electric vehicles in multi-family buildings and work with car-sharing companies and the City’s municipal fleet in this effort.  He reported that activities have resulted in San Francisco and the Bay Area becoming the leading market and infrastructure for electric vehicles.  Success will be measured when the pool of vehicles has decreased and the portion of the remaining pool to transition from gasoline to electric drive has increased.  He discussed the importance of this program and how it fits into city, state, and national climate initiatives. 

Mr. Hayden introduced speakers who would be speaking on future steps and solutions in the electric vehicle area, the concept of electric vehicles and its importance on a regional level, how electric vehicles fits into the regional strategies for climate change and the regional projected growth and penetration of electric vehicles within the vehicle market, and how to make sure that the program is done in an equitable manner so everyone is able to benefit from clean transportation activities.  

Commissioner Wald inquired as to what sector of vehicles would be the focus of the discussion, e.g., electric vehicles, private automobiles, buses, trains, etc.  Mr. Hayden reported that the short-term focus would be on the passenger vehicle sector; but the long-term goal is to focus on electrification of all sectors of transit. Commissioner Arce spoke in support of community inclusion and access as part of the focus in this effort.

Director of Energy and Transportation Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Roland Hwang, commended the City of San Francisco for their leadership in this area, and stated that the City has NRDC’s support in moving this market forward.  He reported that the context of his work is focused on reaching zero when it comes to carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and that the same vision to get to zero when it comes to transportation for carbon pollution is the same in reaching zero when it comes to conventional air pollutants. 

Mr. Hwang reported that California’s goal is to move to zero carbon electricity to power our transportation fleet, and if this goal is not met, air quality and carbon goals will not be met.  He provided recent quotes from a peer review paper on key strategies to decarbonize the energy system and an overview of the national vision on how to get passenger vehicles, which are the primary source of emissions in the transportation sector, into alignment with an 80 percent reduction goal by 2050. He discussed how utility policies, leadership, and commitment from industry will provide an opportunity to push the electric vehicle market to the next level in the next two or three years.  Mr. Hwang discussed the critical role of utilities in meeting goals and moving the market forward by providing publically available infrastructure, incentives for grid value and services, and information.

Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer of Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Damian Breen, provided an introduction to BAAQMD discussing its mission, regulatory and enforcement duties, and jurisdiction.  He presented a regional perspective on electric vehicles in the context of 0-50-100 Climate Action Strategy.  Mr. Breen stated that in efforts to improve public health and air quality, the agency has improved ozone conditions since regulation in the 1970’s and discussed the need to enact policy to address the increasing regional vehicle fleet, which is the major cause of particulate matter and precursors to ozone.  He discussed the opportunity that electric vehicle technology presents as key to reducing emissions from motor vehicles and addressing climate change impacts. 

Mr. Breen reported on BAAQMD regional and state electric vehicle and zero emission goals for emission reductions to be reached by 2020 and 2025 and current statistics relative to those goals.  He discussed the success of current efforts in the region to foster electric and zero emission vehicles forward and reported on additional efforts that can be made by decreasing pricing, offering electric vehicle rebates, dealing with multi-family issues, and increasing access to impacted communities.  Mr. Breen discussed regional electric vehicle ecosystem and stakeholder roles.  He reported on the availability of Air District funding for electric vehicle infrastructure, incentives for new zero-emission vehicles and for public agencies, and the availability of additional funding from other agencies.  Mr. Breen reported on Air District initiatives for planning, Bay Area Plug-in Electric Vehicles ready implementation, and outreach and education.  Contact information for BAAQMD electric vehicle programs was provided

Legal Counsel for the Greenlining Institute, Sekita Grant, presented on methods to build in equity to policy-making particularly around the environment, energy and clean air with the understanding of the importance of reaching climate change goals, and that all Californians benefit from these goals.  She reported that the Greenlining Institute is a social justice non-profit that brings economic advancement opportunities to low-income and communities of color throughout California.  Ms. Grant discussed the need to understand the problem and impact on these communities and create solutions and key strategies that should be considered by policymakers. 

Mr. Grant discussed program areas for 2014 and 15 funding for Senate Bill (SB) 535, a policy that requires that 25 percent of funding from the cap and trade program benefit disadvantaged or underserved communities and reported on the 2015-16 proposed state budget cap and trade expenditure plan.  Ms. Grant reported on her role, programs, and goals of the “Charge Ahead” Coalition (Senate Bill 1275) that makes sure that clean technologies are accessible to disadvantaged communities.  She discussed the importance of ensuring that all Californians have access to the new clean energy economy by creating policy goals to increase supplier diversity and inclusive hiring.  Mr. Grant discussed next steps to provide education and influence policies that lead with equity for all Californians.

(Reference explanatory document presentations for additional information.)

Mr. Breen responded to Commissioner Stephenson’s inquiry about the difference between the cost of an electric and internal combustion engine car when incentives are provided and the price difference between filling a car with gasoline versus electricity.  Mr. Breen reported on the substantial offset to lease or buy an electric vehicle through incentives and grants, and that it is a quarter of the cost to charge an electric vehicle.  Commissioner Wald spoke in support of the investments in this area and organizations working collaboratively together on programs.  She asked presenters to report on a few areas that would help San Francisco reach its goals. Presenters presented their ideas that include; e.g. utility installation of infrastructure, hiring effective funding facilitators, mandating electric vehicle infrastructure in all new building construction, and for the City to take advantage of available funding to attain electric vehicles.  Commissioner Arce suggested that new construction ready electric vehicle and zero waste infrastructure be discussed as a new business item.   In response to Commissioner Stephenson’s inquiry, Mr. Hayden and Director Raphael presented statistics on the City’s fleet and future plans to increase purchases through incentives that are offered.

9. Review and Approval of Resolution 2015-04-COE Approving Funding Recommendations for Department of the Environment Zero Waste Grant Awards for the 2015-17 Funding Cycle. (Explanatory Documents:  Approved Resolution 004-15-COE and Funding Recommendations) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers:  Shawn Rosenmoss, Senior Environmental Specialist, Development, Community Partnerships, SF Carbon Fund and Alexa Kielty, Zero Waste Specialist (Discussion and Action)

Director Raphael reported that Zero Waste grant awards are specifically directed toward zero waste diversion programs with the goal of tons diverted.  She reported that sixteen proposals were received and funding that was allocated to selected programs.  Senior Environmental Specialist Shawn Rosenmoss reported on the Request for Proposal(s) (RFP) process and efforts directed toward promotion and outreach of the RFP.  She reported on bidder’s resources, the interview, evaluation, and selection process.

Zero Waste Specialist Alexa Kielty reported on bidder selection criteria, the review process, and grant funding sources that earmark diversion through reuse, recycling, composting, and waste prevention.   She reported that organizations that were selected provide outreach to communities and include co-benefits to the proposal.  Ms. Kielty provided a summary of selected grant recipients and their waste-diversion programs.   Grant recipient representatives expressed their gratitude for the City’s support and presented on their organization’s mission, programs, goals, and success of their work to promote waste diversion.  Grant recipients were thanked for their effort to promote the City’s programs. (Reference Funding Recommendations explanatory document for information on grant recipients and programs.)

As requested by Commissioner Arce, Ms. Rosenmoss reported on the number of new and returning grantees for the 2015-17 funding cycle.  Commissioner Arce suggested thinking of ways to expand funding sources for grassroots community driven program ideas and to encourage Department staff to work with the San Francisco Conservation Corps and other community based organizations to host events that create jobs.  In response to an inquiry by Commissioner Wan, Ms. Kielty reported on grant awards that are two- and one-year grants and those that target disadvantaged communities.  In response to Commissioner Arce’s inquiry, Ms. Kielty reported on coordination efforts to recycle textiles.  Drop off locations are listed on the Department of the Environment’s website.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Wald, second by Commissioner Bermejo, Resolution 004-15-COE was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson, Wan and Wald).

10. Approval of Proposed Amended Guidelines for the Use of Impound Account Funds.  (Explanatory Document:  Draft Amended Guidelines for the Use of Impound Account Funds, Commission 2006 Resolution approving Department of the Environment Development of Impound Account and General Grant Guidelines, May 21, 2007 City Attorney’s Memo on the Use of Impound Account Monies for Environmental Justice Programs ) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker:  Joseph Salem, Program Manager, Finance and Administration (Discussion and Action)

Director Raphael reported that this agenda topic is for the purpose of reviewing guidelines for the appropriate use of Impound Account funds that are derived from refuse rates.  She explained that there needs to be an appropriate nexus between the funding source and what funds are being used for.  The amendments reflect the need to update numbers to make them accurate to the current budget season, reviewing discrepancies from changes over time, and establishing a nexus between climate and zero waste.  Program Manager of Finance and Administration Joseph Salem reported on revisions to the guidelines as Director Raphael reported on and added that the guidelines section on Biodiversity program funding will be removed.

Commissioner Wald stated that percentage allocations with the exception of zero waste were conservative and suggested reviewing actual future allocations for multiple years.  Policy and Communications Director Guillermo Rodriguez reported that the lens that Department staff reviews and proposes for the climate program is conservative in order to make sure that there is a direct nexus between funds and being able to quantify activities that each of these program areas are doing in reducing the overall amount of waste that is being generated out of San Francisco and sent to landfill.

Public Comment:

Mr. David Pilpel emphasized that solid waste issues are complicated and are issues that people in the City care a lot about and do not have an opportunity to talk about except when there is a rate process.  He encouraged the Commission and the Department to have interested persons meetings once a year so people have an opportunity to talk to staff about activities in this area so an agreement can be made on a path forward before it goes to the adversarial rate process.  Mr. Pilpel suggested developing guidelines for how often review of Impound Account guidelines following a rate process takes place. 

Mr. Pilpel stated that it would be helpful for the guidelines to show either the whole Department’s budget or how much of that program area is actually funded notwithstanding the limit that staff is suggesting.  He asked that the administration budget allocation to pay for former Deputy Director Assmann’s activities in solid waste planning be reduced because the function has now been transferred to Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator Jack Macy.  Mr. Pilpel suggested that these types of documents be made available to the public earlier than it has been in the past.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Stephenson, second by Commissioner Wald, the Amended Guidelines for the Use of Impound Account Funds were approved with the amendment to the Biodiversity section as noted (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Bermejo, Stephenson, Wan and Wald).

11. Update on Agreement for Disposal of San Francisco Solid Waste at Recology Hay Road Landfill in Solano County.  (Explanatory Document:  San Francisco Solid Waste Disposal Agreement and Memorandum from the Department Director to the Commission on the Agreement and Process Going Forward) Sponsor: Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker:  Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste Senior Coordinator (Informational Report and Discussion)

Policy and Communications Director Rodriguez reported that this agenda item is to provide the Commission and the public with an understanding of the actual agreement that the Department has been negotiating with Recology, next steps to move the Agreement forward, and the process.  He reported that the Altamont Contract from 1987 expires when the cumulative total of 15 million tons of waste has been generated to landfill.  The Department has prepared an estimate that 15 million tons of waste will be generated in early 2016, exhausting the capacity at the Altamont Facility. 

Mr. Rodriguez reported that in anticipation of the end of the contract, the Department went through a comprehensive competitive bid process that resulted with the identification of an alternative site selection of Recology’s Hay Road as the destination for San Francisco’s solid waste.  He reported that the presentation and agreement will provide information on what is new in the agreement, timeline, and next steps for moving it forward that includes authorization by the Board of Supervisors.  A memorandum from the Director to the Commission on the Landfill Disposal Agreement and Process Going Forward was distributed in Commission meeting.

Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator Jack Macy presented background information on the original proposals received by Recology and Solid Waste Management and a subsequent proposal by Recology to change the landfill site to the Hay Road location.  Mr. Macy reported on the public process, cost criteria and environmental considerations that were considered to identify the best bidder that resulted in the selection of Recology as the successful bidder based on cost criteria.  He discussed the environmental review process, appeals that were heard on the Negative Declaration, and Planning Commission decision that the environmental review was appropriate.  Mr. Macy described the contract proposal describing timelines, rates, fees, and allocations, goals, and contract specifics.  Deputy City Attorney Thomas Owen reported that some of the fees that Mr. Macy was discussing that would go into the Zero Waste Account would not be directly imposed through this agreement and would require a separate approval by the Board of Supervisors. Commissioner Arce and Mr. Macy discussed opportunities for supporting local hiring in Recology’s hiring process. 

Public Comment:

Mr. David Pilpel stated that there is litigation over the prior landfill agreement that may be litigated further, and an appeal decision is pending at the Court of Appeals.  He stated that he is unsure whether the Hay Road agreement is the best approach because there are closer landfills to San Francisco that would minimize transportation impacts, but spoke in support of rate payers not paying more than necessary.  Mr. Pilpel discussed his concerns that the current agreement suggests that various City agencies should recommend and approve various components of future rate applications, which he believes may interfere with the powers and duties of the original ordinance.  He spoke in support of the sustainability fee and zero waste reserve fund.  Mr. Pilpel suggested holding public meetings on these issues as a way to alleviate public concerns.  He suggested that the Commission consider having approval authority for contracts over a certain limit.

12. Introduction of New Department of the Environment Staff Members.  Sponsor and Speaker:  Deborah Raphael, Director (Information and Discussion) 

Director Raphael introduced new Department of the Environment staff member Imma Dela Cruz of the Department of the Environment’s Energy Efficiency team.  Ms. Dela Cruz introduced herself and reported on her internship working with the Energy team’s multi-family residential program and Energy Watch energy efficiency programs and transition to a full time position.

13. Operations Committee Chair’s Report.  Highlights of the May 13, 2015 meeting and review of the agenda for the August 12, 2015 meeting. (Informational Report and Discussion)

Commission Operations Committee Chair Heather Stephenson reported on highlights of the May13, 2015 Operations Committee meeting presentations on the Department of the Environment’s final budget and the success of the Department of the Environment’s advertisement and social media campaigns.  A report will be provided at the August 12, 2015 Committee meeting on social media metrics.

14. Policy Committee Report. (Informational Report and Discussion)
Chairs Report:  Review of the agenda for the June 8, 2015 Meeting to be held at City Hall, Room 421.

Commission Policy Committee Chair Wald reported that an agenda has not yet been set for the June 8, 2015 meeting.  Commissioner Arce appointed Commissioner Bermejo as a member of the Policy Committee.

Public Comment: Mr. David Pilpel reported that the two prior Committee meetings were cancelled recently due to a lack of membership and not because of a lack of business, and he looks forward to upcoming Policy Committee meetings.

15. Announcements.  (Information and Discussion)

Commissioner Stephenson reported that there will be a pop-up coffee stand in the middle of June that if you bring your own coffee cup to the event, you will receive free coffee.  More information can be found on the Department’s website. 

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

Commissioner Arce announced that Commission Secretary Monica Fish would be retiring in June 2015 after ten years as the Commission on the Environment secretary and 27 years in public service for the City and County of San Francisco.  

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

Commission Secretary Monica Fish provided a written report listing communications and correspondence received for the Commission and update on City legislation.  Commissioner Arce announced that this would be Ms. Fish’s last Commission Secretary’s report.  Ms. Fish expressed her appreciation to the Department and to the Commission.

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

Commissioner Arce suggested an agenda item to consider a Mandatory Solar Draft Ordinance either at Policy Committee for recommendation to the Commission or as a special agenda item at a Commission meeting.  He suggested a discussion on the linkage between 0-50-100 with City and County of San Francisco requirements for new development and consideration of resolutions on Mandatory Electric Vehicles and Mandatory Zero Waste. 

19. 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. David Pilpel spoke in appreciation of Commission Secretary Monica Fish’s work.  He announced that the San Francisco Green Film Festival is starting this Thursday, which he believes the Department of the Environment is a community sponsor of.  More information can be found at

20. Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

The next Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 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, 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 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 this Commission meeting, access the following link 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393
Approved:  November 9, 2015