September 30 2014 Commission on the Environment Rescheduled Meeting Approved Minutes


*TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014, 5:00 P.M.


*The Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 5:00 p.m. Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment that meets at City Hall, Room 416, was RESCHEDULED to Tuesday, September 30. 2014 at 5:00 p.m. and was held at City College of San Francisco, Mission Campus, 1125 Valencia Street, Rooms 107 and 108.

COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Commissioners Joshua Arce (President); Angelo King (Vice-President), Ruth Gravanis, Heather Stephenson, Johanna Wald, Sarah Wan


1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 5:18 p.m. Present:  Commissioners Arce, King (5:23), Gravanis, Stephenson, Wald and Wan. 

2. Introduction by Commission President Joshua Arce and SF Environment Director Deborah Raphael.  (Discussion)  Commission President Arce and Director Deborah Raphael provided introductory remarks, welcomed the public to the meeting, and discussed the importance of environmentalism to the community.  The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement, Department staff, SFGTV, community members, and all participants were thanked for their participation.

3. 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.

Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern spoke about the benefits that trees provide to the environment.  She stated her opposition to the San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program’s use of Tier 1 and 2 herbicides and plans to demolish thousands of trees in parks in order to convert these lands to pre-1769 shrubby vegetation and grassland.  Ms. Glikshtern read a San Francisco Examiner article “Nature Program Wasting Millions to Kill Trees.”

Ms. Robin Sherrer spoke in opposition to Recreation and Park Natural Areas Program’s cutting down of trees in San Francisco parks speaking of the benefits that trees provide to wildlife habitat, climate change, and to the environment.  She asked that there be an effort made to save the trees.

4. Presentation on San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s (OEWD) Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative on Lower 24th Street and Sustainable Community Efforts to Establish the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. (Explanatory Documents:  Approved Resolution and Presentation) Sponsor: Commission President Arce, Speaker: Joaquin Torres, Deputy Director, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and Erick Arguello, President, Calle 24 Council (Informational Presentation, Discussion, and Possible Action to Adopt Resolution in Support of Calle 24 Latino Cultural District)

Mr. Jorge Rivas, OEWD, presented on the Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative that is an interagency partnership to strengthen and revitalize 25 selected San Francisco neighborhood commercial districts to be economically thriving, safe, resilient, sustainable, and meet the needs of local residents.  He discussed commercial district assessments and baseline and customized services that are provided to meet the needs of San Francisco commercial neighborhood corridors. 

Ms. Diana Ponce de Leon, OEWD, Liaison to Lower 24th, presented on the Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative Customized Service Plan and next steps for the Calle 24 and Lower 24th Latino Cultural District, discussing past work and accomplishments, designated location for the Calle 24 and Latino Cultural District, goals to strengthen businesses, neighborhood cultural identity, and provide technical assistance. 

Deputy Director of OEWD, Joaquin Torres, lead of the Mayor’s Invest in Neighborhood Initiative, discussed the City’s tailored approach to engage with the community and commitment to bring about positive change to the environment, to be responsive, and provide solutions to community needs.   He stated that he is looking forward to strategies, plans and tools the community wants to pursue to preserve and strengthen one of the most viable neighborhoods in the city.
President, Calle 24, Erick Arguello, thanked OEWD for their collaboration stating that the Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative is tailored to the existing community.  He reported that the Calle 24 Latino District was designated as a cultural district in May 2014 in an effort to preserve the area as the center of arts, music, culture, and legacy businesses.  Mr. Arguello discussed Calle 24’s composition, city projects, and goal to preserve and sustain the culture, history, and entrepreneurship of the neighborhood.

Public Comment:

Ms. Marie Sorenson, Calle 24, discussed her concern that the Mission and Bayview neighborhoods are a disproportionate dumping ground for utilities and spoke of the associated health risk this may cause because of radiation exposure.  She spoke of her concern with the air quality and environmental problems in the neighborhood and asked that every component in the Mission neighborhood be evaluated starting with utility boxes and phone lines.

Unidentified Speaker spoke of her concern with the health issues in the neighborhood, citing the dust created by construction and drought in California.  She asked if there is a plan for supporting residents during a drought.   

Mr. Miguel, community member, spoke in support of today’s conversation to improve commercial real estate and the beautification of the area.  He stated that the community is here defending the Mission neighborhood, but that consideration should be given to the situation in other parts of the world where the ecology is being ruined, species are lost, and water and air are being compromised.  Mr. Miguel discussed the importance of community, unity, finding harmony, and keeping in mind that this world is for everyone.  

Commissioners and Director Raphael discussed the correlation of environmentalism to neighborhood preservation and Department of the Environment partnerships in the Invest in Neighborhood Initiative.  President Arce and Deputy Director Torres discussed incorporating the Department’s Green Business Program with the Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative.  Commissioner King discussed opportunities for the Department and Commission to be larger partners so the community can receive the full benefit of Department of the Environment programs.  Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Stephenson, the Resolution to Support the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District was approved with amendments (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Gravanis, King, Stephenson, Wald and Wan; Noes:  None; Absent:  None; Vacant: 1).

5. Presentation on San Francisco Department of Public Works Giant Sweep Initiative in the Mission and Citywide.  (Explanatory Document:  Presentation) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speaker:  Jimmer Cassiol,  San Francisco Department of Public Works (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Department of Public Works Representative Jimmer Cassiol presented on the Giant Sweep Initiative, a City partnership with the San Francisco Giants, to campaign for anti -litter through public education and hands-on activities.  He discussed the Giant Sweep pledge and accomplishments made cleaning and greening the city through website and social media platforms, outreach at events, campaign advertising, and public education.  Mr. Cassiol reported on participating merchants, spokespersons, incentives, and corporate sponsorships to promote the campaign.

Public Comment: Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern stated that education in schools has resulted in substantially less garbage around schools.  She asked that the Department reach out to Starbucks to hand out glass cups in place of paper or plastic cups to people sitting inside the establishment.

6. Presentation on Community Resiliency and Empowerment in the Mission.  Sponsor: Commission President Arce, Speaker: Antonio Diaz, Organizational Director, People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER) (Explanatory Document:  Presentation) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

PODER Organizational Director Antonio Diaz reported on PODER’s mission organizing with Latino youth and immigrant families on community resiliency and solutions to neighborhood problems that are people-powered, locally based, and community and environmentally just.  He discussed problems that residents have encountered in the Mission District with gentrification, unjust urban planning and development, and land use decision-making that has created environmental, economic and social inequities.  Topics of discussion included skyrocketing rents, Ellis Act evictions, shifting population, environmental health impacts, and climate vulnerability.  Mr. Diaz reported that PODER is working on a solution by organizing for equitable land use policies, healthy development, and environmental justice and discussed alliances and campaigns in progress to build a social equitable economy and environment. 

Commissioner King suggested collaboration between Mission and Bayview groups to propose a more equitable system for affordable housing.  He suggested creating a study of the cumulative impact of the city’s carbon footprint by people commuting into the City for core jobs because they are not able to afford housing in San Francisco, and how that information can be implemented into affordable housing guidelines.  Mr. Diaz, Commissioner Arce, and Director Raphael discussed how the work that is being implemented in the community can be translated to the cohesiveness of other communities and how environmental work can be incorporated in current programs. 

Public Comment:  Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern stated that cutting 8448 mature healthy trees in San Francisco parks is not part of the green economy, discussed the benefits that trees provide, and asked the Commission to intervene.  She stated that the best option is to eliminate these programs or curtail them to what they were in 1995 when there were plans to preserve remnants of flora.  She spoke in opposition to the thinking that native plants are somehow superior to other plants.  Ms. Glikshtern discussed the $5 million and potential higher cost of the Significant Natural Resource Area Management Plan to promote maximum restoration.

7. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution 2014-14-COE in Support of San Francisco’s Vision Zero Program to Eliminate all Traffic-Related Fatalities in the Next Ten Years. (Explanatory Documents:  Approved Resolution and High Injury Corridors List) Speaker:  Krute Singa, Senior Clean Transportation Program Coordinator  (Discussion and Action)

Department of the Environment Senior Clean Transportation Program Coordinator Krute Singa presented on San Francisco’s Vision Zero Program and Resolution discussing the Vision Zero goal, statistics of injuries on high injury corridors, policies and issues, Education Subcommittee and Vision Zero Task Force, and implementation of projects and policies to achieve goals.

Senior Epidemiologist and Health, Transportation and Equity Lead, Environmental Health Branch, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Megan Wier reported that the Mission neighborhood in general does not have a disproportionate or higher number of high injury corridors and is comparable to other parts of the City.  However, she identified high injury corridors in the Mission and other City neighborhoods that the program is targeting to be the focus of City engineering, education, and enforcement initiatives.  Commissioner Wan and Ms. Wier discussed the importance of efforts to engage the community in achieving goals.

Public Comment:  San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Policy Director, Tyler Frisbee, discussed her commitment to Vision Zero and improving San Francisco streets to make them safer for pedestrians, community gatherings, and for bicyclists.  She discussed the link between Vision Zero and the environment in making it safer for people to engage in modes of transportation that would reduce carbon, improve air quality, and reduce health impacts. 
Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the Resolution in support of San Francisco’s Vision Zero program was approved with amendments (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Gravanis, King, Stephenson, Wald and Wan; Noes:  None; Absent:  None; Vacant: 1)

8. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution 2014-13-COE Approving Department of the Environment Funding Recommendations for Grant Awards to Support Multiple Community Projects.  (Explanatory Documents:  Approved Resolution and Funding Recommendations) Sponsor:  Deborah Raphael, Director; Speakers:  Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager and Shawn Rosenmoss, Senior Environmental Specialist, Fundraising and Community Partnerships (Discussion and Action)

Senior Environmental Specialist Shawn Rosenmoss reported on two grants awarded to Bayview Hunters Point community organizations (A. Phillip Randolph Institute and the Bay Institute Aquarium Foundation) to do climate outreach and engagement around resiliency and adaptation.  Environmental Justice Program Manager Anne Eng reported on grant awards for an Excelsior bicycle project (given to PODER, People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights) that would help families ride bikes, learn bike safety, refurbish surplus bikes, and bike share and to Urban Sprouts for a garden and nutrition project at Log Cabin Ranch.

Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Wald, the Resolution approving Department of the Environment funding recommendations for grant awards was approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Gravanis, King, Stephenson, Wald and Wan; Noes:  None; Absent:  None; Vacant: 1).

9. 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 (Information and Discussion)

Director Deborah Raphael presented a video on a press event to celebrate five janitorial companies that became green businesses.  She reported on the launch of the Electrical Vehicle Working Group, Request for Proposals, the Postal Service’s progress on recycling, updates on California legislation, Department brand strengthening and re-visioning efforts, and staff updates.  Commission President Arce discussed collaborations with Director Raphael and Commissioner Wan to create a Community Council to showcase Zero Waste innovations at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Public Comment:  Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern commended the San Francisco Forest Alliance’s work in preserving San Francisco trees and suggested that the Commission request a presentation by the group.  She discussed the importance of the preservation of trees and benefits trees provide toward climate change.  Ms. Glikshtern spoke in opposition to the Natural Area Program’s increasing use of harmful herbicides (reference Charts “NAP Uses More and More Herbicide” and “Tier 1 & II Herbicide Use:  NAP vs. the rest of SFRPD…”).

10. Approval of Draft Minutes of the July 22, 2014 Commission on the Environment Meeting.  The Commission will review two formats of Meeting Minutes and consider adopting either the condensed summary or expanded version for future formats. (Explanatory Documents:  July 22, 2014 Draft Minutes Expanded and Condensed Summaries)(Discussion and Action)

Commissioners discussed the availability of San Francisco Government Television (SFGTV) videos and audios for those interested in an expanded version of Commission meeting proceedings.  Commission Secretary Fish was asked to provide criteria for the content of meeting minutes and a direct link to the meeting archive.  Upon Motion by Commissioner King, second by Commissioner Wald, the July 22, 2014 condensed version of the Minutes was approved and condensed versions were selected for future meetings without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Arce, Gravanis, King, Stephenson, Wald and Wan; Noes:  None; Absent:  None; Vacant: 1) Commissioner Gravanis left the meeting at this time (8:10 p.m.)

11. Operations Committee Chair’s Report.  Highlights of the August 13, 2014 Meeting and review of the Agenda for the November 12, 2014 Meeting.  (Information and Discussion)  Committee Chair King reported on Committee discussions on the community meeting, Department budget, staffing, and grants process at the August 13, 2014 meeting.  Commissioners King and Arce and Director Raphael discussed the impact that non-General Fund City departments may experience and creating a Commission letter to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors Budget Committee with potential ideas.

12. Policy Committee Report. (Information and Discussion)
Chairs Report:  Highlights of the August 11 and September 8, 2014 Meetings and review of the Agenda for the October 8, 2014 Meeting.  Committee Chair Wald reported on August 11 meeting discussions on the Vision Zero program Resolution and Department School Education program and September 8 discussions on black bin material and the SFUSD Eco Literacy program.  She reported that the October 8 meeting will include a SFMTA Transit Effectiveness Program Resolution, update on the Green Business program, and compiling the Commission’s part of the Department’s Annual Report.

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

Commission Secretary Fish reported on Board of Supervisors legislative activity and communications received since the July 22, 2014 meeting.

14. Announcements.  (Information and Discussion)  There were no Commissioner announcements made at this time.

15. President’s Announcements.  (Information and Discussion) Commission President Arce reported that the Board of Supervisors Committee recently approved for recommendation to the Board of Supervisors that it be a prohibited practice to export dirty fossil fuel material to San Francisco Pier 96 and discussed the Commission, Department, and Deputy City Attorney’s work in this effort.

16. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information, Discussion and Possible Action) Commissioner Stephenson suggested a discussion on Zero Waste challenges and the Natural Areas Plan.  Commissioner Wald suggested a follow-up joint meeting with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.  Commission President Arce discussed interest in a potential joint SFMTA Board of Directors and Commission on the Environment meeting on sustainable transportation and the Transit Effectiveness Project.  He reported that Community Member Robin Sherrer requested a presentation on trees in San Francisco forests, increased flammability of thin forests, the health of Sutro trees, and the part the climate movement plays and the difficulty in creating a static biome.

17. 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.

18. Adjournment.  The Commission on the Environment meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

The next Regular Meeting of the Commission on the Environment is scheduled for Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 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 a video recording of the Commission on the Environment September 30, 2014 meeting access this link  For an audio recording of the September 30, 2014 Commission meeting, access this link 

Approved:  November 25, 2014