September 16 2015 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes





WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2015, 5:00 P.M.





Public comment will be taken before the Committee takes action on any item.

*The Monday, September 14, 2015 Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee was rescheduled to Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.

1.    Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:03 p.m.  (Present:  Commissioners Bermejo and Wald)  Commissioner Arce was present for the meeting.

2.    Approval of Minutes of the August 10, 2015 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  August 10, 2015 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action) 

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel alleged that the Draft Minutes were not posted in enough time for the public to have an opportunity to review and asked that approval of the Minutes be deferred until the public has an opportunity for review. 

Policy and Communications Director Guillermo Rodriguez shared with the Committee that the meeting minutes were posted on the Department’s website.

Approval of the August 10, 2015 Minutes was continued to the October 26, 2015 Policy Committee meeting.

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.

Mr. David Pilpel discussed trouble he has had accessing meeting agendas, resolutions, and explanatory documents and asked that the Department prioritize the hiring of a Commission Secretary.  He pointed out that on Agenda Item 4, the Committee had adopted a Resolution in January 2014 that was to be presented to the full Commission, but was not due to loss of quorum at that meeting.  Mr. Pilpel stated that he believes the Committee can only make recommendations to the Commission and does not have the jurisdiction to create policy on its own. 

4.    Update on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.  Sponsor: Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker: Tom Maguire, Director of Sustainable Streets, SFMTA (Explanatory Document:  Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program Presentation) (Informational Presentation and Discussion). 

Director Raphael and Commissioner Arce provided introductory remarks about how this program could address environmental goals such as clean transportation and local labor conditions and may work in coordination with MUNI and bicycle riders in San Francisco.   

Director of Sustainable Streets of SFMTA Tom Maguire reported on the status of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program that began in August 2014 and is to conclude at the end of January 2016.  He reported on program benefits, evaluation results, and the Labor Harmony Ordinance for SFMTA to establish labor harmony conditions for applicants in the pilot and a potential permanent program.  Mr. Maguire reported on next steps to complete the evaluation, to draft a proposal for a permanent program, and complete environmental review.  He discussed the timeline for holding hearings on a potential permanent program at the SFMTA Board and if approved, the start of a permanent program in February 2016.

Commissioner Bermejo inquired about the hours of operation of the commuter shuttle program.  Mr. Maguire reported that every operator has different permitting conditions and times and that buses mostly operate during commute hours, but they do operate all day every day. Commissioner Bermejo asked if there are studies to prove that the program reduces carbon emissions and has environmental benefits.  Mr. Maguire reported that both the environmental review and program evaluation include more detailed information about the benefits that are provided, but that since most of the people on the commuter shuttles would otherwise be driving there would be significant environmental benefits. 

Commissioner Arce inquired about labor harmony conditions that would be established by the Board Resolution and if a compliance mechanism would be established.  Mr. Maguire reported that conditions would be drafted after consultations are held with organized labor, shuttle operators, and company sponsors.  He reported that most shuttle operators are more in compliance with permitting conditions now than at the start of the program, and that permits can be removed for violations of permit conditions. 

Commissioner Wald inquired about the location and number of shuttle-boardings per day and how users of these buses would otherwise get to their destination.  Mr. Maguire reported that the majority of boardings are in San Francisco for those traveling outside of San Francisco, and that most commuters have stated that they would otherwise take public transit or carpool. Commissioner Wald inquired whether the buses in operation have a variety of clean vehicle technologies.  Mr. Maguire reported that the environmental review would prepare a study on clean-vehicle technologies for the program.

Director Raphael reported that the program imposes a variety of potential environmental impacts, and that it is important to identify requirements to minimize those impacts.  She inquired about the contents of the evaluation report.   Mr. Maguire reported that evaluation data includes time of day, neighborhoods traveled to and from, and citation and blockage data.  Commissioner Wald suggested that having multiple buses shuttle passengers to single central location would be cost-effective for companies and reduce environmental impacts of large buses traveling with very few passengers.  Director Raphael inquired whether SFMTA has the ability to say that certain neighborhoods are not viable locations for buses.  Mr. Maguire reported that SFMTA designates stop locations and complies with rules and restrictions on certain streets.    

Public Comment: 

Mr. Doug Bloch, Teamsters Joint Council 7, reported on union efforts to improve working conditions of drivers in this industry by raising wages and offering better benefits.  He stated that taking cars off the road and reducing the environmental footprint is important in terms of sustainability, but so is the health and welfare of these workers.  He discussed Teamsters Joint Council 7 efforts starting in February 2015 organizing better worker benefits for permitted operators such as Loop Transportation and Compass Transport and efforts to resolve operator disputes. 

Mr. Mark Gleason, Local 665, discussed the expense involved for high-tech companies to run such a bus system.  He asked whether San Franciscans would want bus drivers working at subsidized wages in order to continue this employee benefit for high-tech workers.  Mr. Gleason stated that the objective may be to get cars off the street, but if the model is to replicate public transit by taking the money out of the pockets of drivers, that is not a good idea and not a good use of the infrastructure and assets of San Francisco. He stated that the reason for the Labor Harmony legislation that was introduced at the Board of Supervisors is to create a fair and equitable system for everyone.

Ms. Sue Vaughn, Chair, San Francisco Sierra Club, presented a letter in support of a full environmental review for the shuttle program and requested that California Vehicle Code Section 22500 be enforced to prohibit private luxury tech buses from operating in MUNI bus stops.  She stated that it is illegal for non-common carriers other than school buses and taxis to pull into bus stops.  Ms. Vaughn asked that the Environment Impact Report (EIR) evaluate evictions and displacements caused by people who are on those buses, make about $134,000 a year, and live in San Francisco.  Ms. Vaughn spoke against what she believes to be SFMTA and the Planning Department’s efforts to mark the program environmentally exempt from review and the public review process.   She reported that companies such as Google, Genentech and Apple are willing to pay for a full EIR.  

Ms. Christine Rodgers, San Francisco Noe Valley resident, reported that when this program first started there were approximately 50 buses traveling through her small street in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.  She asked that the buses be sized appropriately to fit streets, and that traffic be right-sized across the neighborhoods.  Ms. Rodgers discussed the carbon soot found on her house and on plants from the large double decker buses traveling through her street and asked that an alternative cleaner less disruptive system and buses be studied. 

Mr. Frank Mason discussed Vehicle Code and other violations that have occurred after 14 months of program operation, e.g., operation of 50,000 pound vehicles on streets, traffic disruptions, driveway blockages, and use of white loading zones after 8 p.m., blocking MUNI traffic flow.  He stated that the environmental impact of the program is being ignored and cited loud engine noise, land use issues, MUNI delays, and pedestrian dangers that the program causes.  Mr. Mason stated that companies would not want to share buses because of employee recruitment concerns.

Mr. Howard Wong, Architect, San Francisco Tomorrow and Save MUNI, urged a full EIR be prepared.  He asked that all Committees responsible for programs evaluate the program before it is made permanent and hundreds more tech companies implement similar shuttles.  He discussed the March 2014 Budget and Legislative Analyst report to the Board of Supervisors stating that SFMTA and other agencies have not completed an assessment of the impacts of private shuttles on City infrastructure costs, traffic, cost of living, and housing costs along the routes.  The report also said that many of the negative impacts of the shuttle bus program are observable and quantifiable.  Mr. Wong provided a handout of photographs of program infractions that have been observed and stated that there are better transit options that Save MUNI has reviewed, such as regional express buses.  Mr. Wong reported that the commuter buses operate on a huge number of streets in San Francisco that prohibit tour buses, vans over eight occupants, and vehicles over three tons.  He discussed the need for a comprehensive transit program that would speed up commuting for not only tech workers but all of the public. 

Mr. David Pilpel pointed out that policy recommendations from this Committee and the “Further Resolved” clause in the January 2014 Committee Resolution that SFMTA should submit detailed evaluation data for the Commission so that policy implications can be reviewed before further recommendations are made.   He discussed the November 17 target date for exemption from environmental review and how it may affect appeal hearings before a permanent program was to begin.  Mr. Pilpel stated that the Noe Valley neighborhood bears the brunt of the program more than most neighborhoods.  He suggested that general vans be employed to circulate neighborhoods and transport commuters to longer vehicles in central locations on the west and east side of the city.  Mr. Pilpel asked that the Department and Commission recommend that buses should at minimum be kept to clean air standards, and that recommendations not be made until staff pursues the evaluation report in more detail and with public review.

Commissioner Bermejo asked whether training that is offered to drivers so that they can comply with the program.  Commissioner Arce and Director Raphael provided closing remarks and asked Mr. Maguire to present to the Committee requested detailed evaluation data and thoughts about how to address challenges after the evaluation report has been finalized. 

Commissioner Arce left the meeting at 6:04 p.m.

5.    Review and Approval for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment Adoption of the 2013 and 2014 Annual Green Purchasing Report. (Explanatory Documents:  Draft 2013 and 2014 Annual Green Purchasing Report) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers: Dr. Chris Geiger, Ph.D., Integrated Pest Management Program Manager and Jessian Choy, City Toxics Reduction Specialist (Discussion and Action)

City Toxics Reduction Specialist Jessian Choy reported that the Green Purchasing program is intended as a guide for City staff to purchase green products.  A dedicated website serves as a guide for City staff to explore green products and services that meet San Francisco’s health and environmental guidelines.  Ms. Choy reported that new product regulations and identifying safer disinfectants and proper use were worked on for the 2013-14 report.  She discussed Dr. Geiger’s work in this area and creating a new green cleaning contract to include product training.  Ms. Choy reported on City expenditures on products that the City should not have been purchasing.  She discussed City staff ideas on easier ways to buy green on, e.g., reward staff who buy a high percent of green products, vendors should offer online stores listing only approved products, and creating a new purchasing system to steer staff to buy green products.  It was reported that the City is moving toward a system in 2017 to help people buy green and would have the capability of tracking purchases.

Commissioner Wald inquired whether Departments that do a good job are acknowledged publicly.  Ms. Choy reported that staff has offered annual consultations and events with City departments and have acknowledged City departments as a team.  Commissioner Wald suggested preparing information on the significance of the activity and what has been accomplished as a result.  Dr. Geiger reported that he would put this on the list for next year’s work.  Dr. Geiger reported that the new purchasing system is a $52 million citywide conversion of all of the accounting and budgeting system, and that staff is working with City agencies to incorporate green purchasing in the system in a meaningful way.  He discussed current challenges to track purchasing.  Dr. Geiger reported that specifications for products do currently exist, but the intention is to put all specifications under Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance regulations. 

Ms. Choy reported on the increased purchase of green computers and servers and cleaners.  Dr. Geiger reported that new janitorial papers and cleaners contracts include a requirement for all vendors to do the training and have expanded specifications for products that they have to purchase.  Commissioner Wald suggested running a school for cleaners and janitorial services that service the rest of the city.  Dr. Geiger reported that there is a green business certification for janitorial companies.  Ms. Choy reported that there is continued work to improve and suggested that people be influenced to visit the site for green purchasing ideas. 

Unidentified Speaker stated that one of the sectors of the green business program is to train five janitorial companies and discussed the idea of expanding the program.  Dr. Geiger reported on training videos that are part of the program and located on the sfapproved website.

Commissioners Wald and Bermejo suggested working with federal buildings on the green purchasing program.  Director Raphael reported that the Green Purchasing Report states that staff will be working with key City departments to improve their green purchasing performance.  She asked how departments would be chosen and what could be accomplished. Ms. Choy stated that the intent is to start working with people that want to do the right thing and have come forward first.  Director Raphael reported that the Department has become an advisor on a national scale working with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) to bring lessons learned to other cities.  Dr. Geiger reported on a USDN grant to the city of Chicago to serve as the lead agency working with other cities to develop a green purchasing playbook to make it easier for public agencies to engage in green purchasing.  He reported that the Department of the Environment is working with the Responsible Purchasing Network, the contractor working on the playbook.

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel encouraged the Committee to ask staff to add more content to the report that would include future work plans with City departments and challenges that are faced.  He asked that the report be edited before the Commission adopts the report and that it then be sent to all City departments so that department heads have an opportunity to read the report and influence their staff to change their purchasing behavior.  He encouraged Director Raphael to meet with Ms. Naomi Kelly of the Purchasing Department and ask that she influence the rest of the Purchasing Department to participate in the program.  Mr. Pilpel discussed new technologies being planned for cable car tickets, receipts, and the Police Department’s citation program and encouraged staff to be proactive so that before systems change, agencies can be influences to take into account environmental impacts of their plans.

Commissioner Wald suggested showing Ms. Kelly the monetary and environmental savings accomplished through green purchasing.

Director Raphael reported on discussions held to create a report directed to department heads and to hire a contractor to help prepare a more in-depth report that would review the broader scope of green purchasing, fuels and fleets, and all procurement items. 

Upon Motion by Commissioner Bermejo, second by Commissioner Wald, the Committee recommended to the Commission on the Environment approval of the 2013-14 Green Purchasing Report with the understanding that this report will be supplemented with another report that will go into more detail about the program, its goals, and accomplishments. (AYES:  Commissioners Bermejo and Wald; Noes:  None.)  

6.    Update on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Activities with the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program.  Sponsor: Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers: Sraddha Mehta, Senior Environmental Justice Coordinator and Dr. Chris Geiger, Ph.D., Integrated Pest Management Program Manager (Explanatory Document:  IPM in Public Housing Presentation) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Senior Environmental Justice Coordinator Sraddha Mehta presented on the historical context of IPM work at the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) public housing sites.  She reported that the Department of the Environment has been working with SFHA for eight years to influence them to implement IPM at public housing sites through tenant and property manager trainings and development of IPM pest reduction guidelines and plans.  She explained that the IPM Ordinance only applies to City properties and operations, and that IPM is only a voluntary program at federally owned public housing sites under the Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Ms. Mehta explained that the mission is to help protect the most vulnerable populations from pests and pesticides which create asthma triggers.  She reported on studies that show that 25 percent of residents at the Alice Griffith public housing site have asthma as a result of pests in the home.  The Boston Housing Authority implemented an IPM program at their site in 2005 and studies showed that the asthma outcome improved.  Ms. Mehta reported on existing maintenance, structural, and sanitation issues found at public housing sites that are contributing factors of pest infestations.  She discussed the need to look at the root causes of the issue instead of the use of pesticide sprays. 

Dr. Chris Geiger reported on National Pest Prevention Guidelines were developed after a peer review with a national committee of architects, engineers, and pest control experts.  He reported on the reduction of pests at public housing sites because of pilot programs and efforts of a pest control company, Pestec, to do monitoring and provide tenant and property manager education.  He reported that in 2013, the Mayor’s Office assembled a committee of stakeholders to re-envision public housing and develop the RAD program that offers financial mechanisms and incentives for conversion to non-profit management and developers and managers that can access resources that the Housing Authority could not. 

Dr. Geiger reported that twenty-nine Housing Authority sites are now being rehabbed within a two-year period.  With support of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Development, the Department provided resources and recommendations from inspections performed at sites.  Dr. Geiger reported on next steps that include building of model units by developers, providing training for tenants and property managers, verifying that work has been performed correctly, and regular follow-up inspections at sites after the rehab. 

Commissioner Bermejo spoke in support of this project and suggested that information be made available to other families so that health issues can be avoided.  Commissioner Wald suggested that this presentation be made to the full Commission.  She suggested that IPM program requirements be written into management documents and that there be an ongoing yearly evaluation so that the same issues are not repeated.  Director Raphael suggested that a presentation be made to the full Commission in early 2016 when evaluation data becomes available and program partners can be made available. 

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel spoke in support of a presentation at the Commission but suggested that a better place for a presentation would be the Housing Authority Board so that recommendations can be made for the future of their projects.  He spoke in support of Commissioner Wald’s comments that inspections and corrections should be made yearly so as to avoid the same issues ten years later when the architecture and design would have to be redone.  Mr. Pilpel suggested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assert jurisdiction and require that the HUD program adopt an IPM program in all of their developments, and that the City should impose building code restrictions on HUD. 

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

Director Raphael provided an update on the Better Roofs and Electric Vehicles Ordinances that are scheduled for review by the Board of Supervisors in early October.  She reported that staff is working with the City Attorney’s Office on ordinance language that would be brought forward to stakeholders before the public process.  Director Raphael reported on the invitation extended to Commissioners to attend the Department’s reception of a contingent of international sustainability managers on October 1.  She explained that Bloomberg Philanthropy and the state department teamed together to highlight the important role of cities in climate change and that a symposium of mayors and sustainability staff would be held in Washington D.C. on October 8th to highlight the importance of climate talks that will be held in Paris.  Director Raphael reported that the Department has been asked to address transportation and zero waste. 

Director Raphael reported on the status of AB802 to require the disclosure of energy data from utilities to building owners and AB901 that requires landfills to disclose information of who is hauling to their sites.  She reported on pending bills to remove microbeads out of consumer products and tax breaks for composting and recycling equipment as a way to incentivize companies to invest in new equipment.  Director Raphael announced that SF Apartment magazine includes an article written by staff member Lowell Chu about the cost effectiveness and incentives for replacing old boilers in buildings.

8.    New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion) 

Policy and Communications Director Rodriguez reported that the next meeting may include a presentation on the implementation of the Safe Medicine Ordinance and an update on the state legislative campaign.  Commissioner Wald asked that a discussion be held on implementation efforts for new legislation.  

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested that a presentation be made at the October Policy Committee meeting on the green business program, discussing planning for a celebration to recognize businesses who participate, how to challenge businesses to improve efforts, changes to the program, the overall intent, what is working and what can be done to improve the program.

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.  There was no public comment at this time.

10.  Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:21 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee is scheduled for Monday, October 26, 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 Commission’s website, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary at telephone number 415-355-3700, or via e-mail at [email protected].  The meeting audio is located at

Approved:  October 26, 2015