November 12 2013 Commission on the Environment Special Meeting Retreat Approved Minutes


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2013, 2:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M.


Commission Members:  Commissioners Arce (President), King (Vice President), Gravanis, Josefowitz, Stephenson, Wald, and Wan


Call to Order and Roll Call.   The Commission on the Environment meeting retreat convened at 2:45 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Arce, King, Gravanis, Josefowitz, Stephenson, Wald and Wan.

Welcome and Introductions. Speakers:  Commission President Joshua Arce, Dean of City College Chinatown Campus, Minh-Hoa Ta, and Michelle Gorthy, Co-chair of the CCSF Sustainability Committee who will be highlighting the Sustainability Innovations at Chinatown City College. (Discussion)  

Commission President Arce welcomed City College of San Francisco’s Dean Minh-Hoa Ta, Mr. John Rizzo, City College President of the Board of Trustees, Ms. Carla Grandy, and Ms. Michelle Gorthy of the City College Sustainability Committee to discuss City College’s LEED certified building and the correlation between the Commission on the Environment, Department of the Environment, and City College of San Francisco’s sustainability work.  Commissioners provided a brief background discussing their beliefs and what they hope to accomplish in the coming year. 

Dean Minh-Hoa Ta reported that City College of San Francisco Chinatown North Beach Center is a LEED certified building.  She discussed sustainability measures that are being incorporated into curriculum and daily activities and efforts being made to educate the immigrant population, students, and faculty of the importance of these measures and the need to protect the LEED certified status of the building.

Mr. John Rizzo thanked the Commission for holding the retreat at City College of San Francisco and highlighted what City College has done in the area of sustainability.  He reported that City College has a Sustainability Plan that requires that all City College buildings will be LEED certified and become leaders in sustainability and creating green buildings.  Mr. Rizzo reported that the Sustainability Committee consists of faculty, students, and classified employees who are implementing the Sustainability Plan and doing work in the community on sustainability initiatives.  He asked that the Department and Commission create a partnership with City College to discuss joint efforts.

Ms. Michelle Gorthy reported on agricultural, recycling, and climate change activities in progress at City College.  She stated that there are efforts to install fruit trees on campus, native plant implementation, and making the recycling program into a full-fledged department.  The theme this year is on climate change that will include speaker talks, discussion forums, speech and debate competitions, and hands-on educational activities.   Ms. Carla Grandy reported on City College efforts this year to involve students with grassroots activities such as planting fruit trees, creating recycling videos, and implementing the Sustainability Plan.  The second phase is to focus on infusing sustainability issues into the curriculum, working on teacher training models, and creating a Farmers Market on campus.  She suggested that the Department of the Environment consider reaching out to City College to involve motivated students in Department projects.

Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Strategic Plan Presentation.  (Explanatory Document:  Draft Strategic Plan) Speaker:  Director Nutter (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Discussion and Feedback on Metrics in Strategic Plan. (Discussion)

Director Nutter presented on Fiscal Year 2013-14 Strategic Plan content that includes purpose of the Plan, foreword from Commissioner Arce, letter from the Director, who we are, history, values, framework and related plans, vision, mission and the Department’s five strategic goals.  She reported that the Plan is an overarching guiding document that contains goals guiding the work of the Department with a focus on objectives, Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), and metrics as they relate to the major strategies in the Plan.  Director Nutter reported that the Strategic Plan is a four-year process.  The Commission would be asked to review and adopt an annual version of the plan that would contain newer strategies, KPI’s, and specific work.  A newer version of the Plan will be published in four months that would align with the budgeting process so that when the new fiscal year starts on July 1, there will be a new Strategic Plan that the Commission will have reviewed and approved.

Department staff and Director Nutter presented on Strategic Plan goals objectives, key performance indicators and strategies for specific programs. Mr. Cal Broomhead, Department of the Environment Energy Manager, presented on Strategic Plan Goal 1 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   Director Nutter presented on Goal 1 objective to increase the use of transportation modes with lower greenhouse gas emissions, Goal 2 to achieve zero waste, and Goal 5 to increase awareness and capacity to foster sustainable and resilient communities.  Ms. Sushma Bhatia, Department of the Environment Toxics Reduction Manger, presented on Goal 3 to protect people and environment from toxics and pollution objectives.  Deputy Director David Assmann presented on Goal 4 to enhance the City’s eco-systems and increase the extent and value of our green spaces. 

Commissioners provided feedback and guidance on Strategic Plan content, goals, and metrics.   A discussion was held on the importance of this Plan as a way to guide the work of the Department and to articulate Department goals to the Commission, the community, community-based organizations, City agencies, and political leaders.  Suggestions were made on what to incorporate for future plans and creating annual reporting documents to the Commission on resources required for each strategy in addition to associated metrics and accomplishments.  An additional column would be added to the Strategic Plan to include impacted program areas for each objective.  A revised Strategic Plan draft would be brought to the Policy Committee and the Commission in advance of the next fiscal year’s budget process.

Public Comment:  Mr. Brett Levin stated that resiliency within cities has to do with the availability of fruit trees and planting as many of them as possible. 

Presentation on the Final Climate Action Strategy.  Speaker: Calla Ostrander, Climate Action Projects Manager (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Ms. Calla Ostrander presented on current climate issues surrounding the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan and the typhoon in the Philippines, the largest storm that ever hit this area.  She discussed the connection between these two events with climate change exacerbating storms and devastating populations around the planet.  Ms. Ostrander stated that the choices made in meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and achieving 100% renewable energy have a broader context given the realities faced with the lack of safety in nuclear accidents and waste management..  Ms. Ostrander announced the publication of the Final Climate Action Strategy.  She asked the Commission to champion and communicate to the Department the role the Commission would like to play in the dissemination of the final Climate Action Strategy that will soon be distributed.   The three goals in the plan are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reaching zero waste, 50% of trips without cars, and 100% renewable energy.   The Commission would be receiving a future report back on the outreach strategy for the Plan.

Commissioner Wan left the meeting during this agenda item (5:00 p.m.)

Renewable Energy Program Update.   (Explanatory Documents: Link to Renewable Energy Task Force Recommendations Report, Charting the Path to 100% Renewable Energy Presentation and Staff Update on Renewable Energy Task Force Recommendations. Speaker: Danielle Murray, Renewable Energy Program Manager (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Discussion of 100% Renewable Energy Goal. (Discussion)

Ms. Danielle Murray presented an update on the Renewable Energy program reporting that 22% of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are from electricity use, and is the focus of the 100% renewable energy goal.   She reported on San Francisco’s electricity supply providers and source of energy supply.   An update was provided on San Francisco’s clean energy efforts and accomplishments to date and plans for moving forward to reach the 100% renewable energy goal of meeting all of San Francisco’s electricity demand with renewable resources by 2020.  Topics of discussion included (reference presentation):

• Current accomplishments: San Francisco’s efforts to develop local renewables through private and municipal solar photovoltaic installations (with over 4,000 solar systems now installed in San Francisco); market development and incentive programs; and development of San Francisco’s solar  and wind maps, wind demonstration projects, and wave power studies.
• Moving forward:  The scope of the Renewable Energy Task Force and strategies identified by the Task Force to meet the renewable goal; reducing total electricity demand; breaking down barriers for tenants and expanding access to local renewables; and encouraging local renewable energy. 

Director Nutter reported that there are different strategies and actions that the Department and partner agencies have been and are working on.  She encouraged the Commission to consider what actions can be taken in order to move forward from where we are today at 64% greenhouse gas emissions free electricity, to the 100% renewable goal (as of 2011).   Commissioners provided feedback on their ideas for reaching the 100% renewable goal and discussed current program accomplishments and ideas for moving forward.

Public Comment: 

Mr. Mike Daly, formerly of the structural steel industry, reported on the successful solar project at the U.S. Post Office headquarters on Evans Avenue that is generating more electricity than their plant consumes that is going back to the grid.   He also discussed the possibility of reclaiming and sharing the Bay Bridge structural steel for use in supporting solar panels.

Mr. Jed Holtzman, Co-Coordinator of San Francisco, reported that the Bay Area Air Quality District approved 80% reductions of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2050 and will be enacting policies to achieve reductions.  A 2014 Clean Air Work Plan is currently being developed.  He suggested that the Department and Commission model an aggressive implementation plan as the Air District is looking to make significant reductions in the next 30 years.  Mr. Holtzman reported on San Francisco’s leadership in this area from Supervisor Avalos who is on the Climate Protection Quality of the Air Board and the Mayor’s Advisor, Roger Kim, who is on the Board of Directors of the Air District.   He encouraged the Commission to stay involved in support of the Community Choice Aggregation or the CleanPowerSF program as a way to reach the City’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the goals of the Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations, and the Department’s Strategic Plan goals.    Mr. Holtzman stated that he is the campaign lead on the Divestment Campaign for Retirement Board, and while the Board did not vote to divest, they did vote to begin social investment proceedings against the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies and will be changing proxy votes and starting a shareholder advocacy campaign.  He encouraged Department of the Environment staff to be involved in the process as it moves forward in these discussions.

Mr. Paul Liotsakis, Energy Consultant, San Francisco Community Power, discussed resources that San Francisco Community Power and other organizations are able to provide in reaching San Francisco’s renewable energy and conservation goals.  He stated that he is waiting to see what role these underutilized organizations can play in advancements being planned for next year.

Community Outreach and Engagement.  (Explanatory Document:  Outreach Overview Presentation) Speaker:  Guillermo Rodriguez, Director, Policy and Communications (Discussion)

Commissioner King left the meeting at this time (5:40 p.m.)

Mr. Guillermo Rodriguez provided a report on the Department of the Environment’s Outreach and Community engagement program discussing structural organization, district campaigns, legislation, program resources, program area support, and key issues.   He discussed in-house talent that has been brought in to run campaigns consisting of Environment Now program staff, volunteers, school education, and consolidated web, social media, public information and design teams.  Outside vendors are brought in for specialized targeted audiences. 

Mr. Rodriguez discussed the goal to change behavior in the community and provided examples of efforts being made in campaigns such as zero waste, energy reduction, transportation, toxics reduction, school education, and in all Department program areas.  A discussion was held on methods, technology, and material used to supplement campaigns that consist of paid advertising in strategic locations, multi-lingual material, social media, earned media, online advertising, and community partnerships to reach targeted audiences.  The primary vehicle of information to reach the public and businesses is through the Department’s website   Mr. Rodriguez stated that additional methods to influence behavior change and engage the community are being sought in addition to economic, health and safety motivators.

Commissioners held a discussion and provided feedback on how to measure and track success of the program, strategies, resources to consider, and the importance of advertising accomplishments.  Director Nutter reported that she would like to see a sustainability dashboard of metrics on the website.  She discussed the importance of program design to the success of a program and in creating value of programs in people’s day to day lives. 

Next Steps. (Discussion)  Commissioner Arce discussed creating a more community-driven approach in the Request for Proposal process that would be discussed in a future Commission Operations Committee meeting.  Commissioners were in agreement with Commissioner Arce’s suggestion to holding monthly full Commission meetings in the future.

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.

Adjournment.   The Commission on the Environment Retreat meeting adjourned at 6:30 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 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 and select the meeting date.

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

Approved:  January 28, 2014