Minutes of July 7, 2011 Commission Meeting
1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Chair Randolph at the Ferry Building, Port of San Francisco Board Room, Second Floor, San Francisco, California at 1:05 p.m.
2. Roll Call. Present were: Chair Randolph, Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners Addiego, Baird (represented by Alternate Vierra), Bates, Carrillo, Chan (represented by Alternate Gilmore), Chiu, Fossum (represented by Alternate Kato), Gibbs, Groom, Jordan Hallinan, Hicks (represented by Alternate Johnson), Lundstrom (represented by Alternate Sanchez), McGrath, Nelson, Sears, Shirakawa (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Spering (represented by Alternate Vasquez), and Wagenknecht. Legislative member William C. Taylor was also present.
Not Present were: Association of Bay Area Governments (Apodaca), Department of Finance (Finn), Contra Costa County (Gioia) Governor’s Appointee’s (Goldzband & Moy), Business, Transportation & Housing Agency (Sartipi), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Ziegler).
3. Public Comment Period. Chair Randolph called for public comment on subjects that were not on the agenda. Comments would be restricted to three minutes per speaker.
Seeing no speakers, Chair Randolph moved on to Item four, Approval of the Minutes.
4. Approval of Minutes of the June 16, 2011 Meeting. Chair Randolph entertained a motion and a second to adopt the minutes of June 16, 2011.
MOTION: Commissioner Wagenknecht moved, seconded by Commissioner Halsted, to approve the June 16, 2011 Minutes. The motion carried by voice vote with Commissioners Vierra, Addiego and Johnson abstaining.
5. Report of the Chair. Chair Randolph reported on the following:
a. New Commissioners. We have two new members on our Commission. Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Kathrin Sears to replace the late Charles McGlashan on the Marin County Board of Supervisors.
On her first day in office the Board appointed Kate to serve as its representative on BCDC. Supervisor Susan Adams was re-appointed as the alternate representative.
Also, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has confirmed the appointment of Supervisor Dave Pine as the alternate to Commissioner Carole Groom. I’m sure the Commission joins me in welcoming these two new members.
Commissioner Sears commented: I used to go to BCDC meetings when I was in high school back in the fall of 1968 and I’m very pleased to be here.
b. Next BCDC Meeting. Our next meeting will be two weeks from today on July 21st. At that meeting, which will be held at the MetroCenter in Oakland, we will take up the following matters:
(1) We will hold a public hearing and vote on whether to initiate the process of considering amendments to the San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan to accommodate the America’s Cup yacht races.
This first item will be held off until our first meeting in August.
(2) We will consider the latest version of our Bay Plan climate change amendment and a draft preamble, which explains the purpose of the amendment.
(3) We will hold a public hearing dealing with a proposed amendment of the San Francisco Bay Plan Map dealing with Candlestick Point in San Francisco.
c. Ex-Parte Communications. That completes my report. In case you have inadvertently forgotten to provide our staff with a report on any written or oral ex-parte communications, I invite Commissioners who have engaged in any such communications to report on them at this point.
Commissioner Carrillo stated: I want to report that I did receive a copy of a letter that was sent to BCDC May 16th from the North Bay Agricultural Alliance. And I also met with the Alliance on June 22nd specific to the Bay Plan Amendment.
Commissioner Vierra reported: I had a conversation with Jim Haussener yesterday about his opinions on the two pieces of federal legislation that we’re considering today.
6. Report of the Executive Director. Executive Director Travis reported:
a. Budget. Last week Governor Brown approved the state budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year the Legislature had passed a few days earlier.
As has been the case since the Governor released his initial budget proposal last January, our budget this fiscal year is essentially the same as it was last year.
There are still a number of administrative restrictions in place that affect us, but overall we’re in a lot better shape than many other agencies and programs.
This would not have been possible without the support we received from the California Natural Resources Agency, the Department of Finance, the Governor’s staff and the California Legislature. We’re indeed grateful for that support.
b. Personnel. There are two staff changes I want to bring to your attention.
Ming Yeung has been promoted to Coastal Program Analyst III, to serve as our lead regulatory staff member in dealing with permits for the America’s Cup events.
Sandra Hamlat has resigned from her position as an analyst on our dredging program staff. Sandra had been with us for about a year.
c. Regional Issues Report. I want to call to your attention to a report we sent you on June 17th summarizing the regional issues which our staff has been dealing over the past three months. This quarterly report fulfills an objective in our strategic plan.
7. Consideration of Administrative Matters. Executive Director Travis stated that On June 3rd, we sent you a listing of the administrative matters our staff is prepared to act upon. Bob Batha is available to respond to any questions you may have about the matters on the listing.
Commissioner McGrath asked: I’d like to ask about the Budget and the implications for the staff. I have heard that much of the budget cutting has taken a bite out of the salaries of staff.
Do you have any figure as to how salaries have changed over the last three or four years?
Executive Director Travis responded: Overall in the past fiscal year there was an unallocated reduction which cost us two staff positions and the furlough program eliminated time equal to about another two positions.
This year we have, a one day a month floating furlough. This is equivalent to about a five percent salary cut.
Commissioner McGrath wanted to know if they were cumulative.
Executive Director Travis answered: No. In essence we got a ten percent raise several months ago which brought us back to five percent lower than we were at the beginning of all of this.
8. Vote on Bay Plan Amendment 1-10 to Amend the San Francisco Bay Plan, the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan and Resolution 16 Regarding the Water-Related Industrial Designation at Collinsville, Solano County. Item 8 is a vote on proposed amendments of the San Francisco Bay Plan and the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan to revise a priority use designation in the Collinsville area of Solano County. We held a public hearing on this matter on June 2nd. Tim Doherty will present the staff’s recommendation.
Mr. Doherty reported the following: The staff recommends that the Commission:
(1) Amend the San Francisco Bay Plan Map 3 to delete an approximately 2,400-acre portion of the water-related industrial priority use area located at Collinsville in Solano County. (2) To amend the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan findings and policies for water-related industry and the Marsh Plan maps to reflect the same reduction in size of the priority use area. (3) To revise the Resolution 16 boundaries of the water-related industrial priority use area at Collinsville and (4) To find that the amendment will not have any substantial adverse effects on the environment.
In 2010 the County of Solano submitted an application to amend the Bay Plan, the Marsh Plan and Resolution 16 to modify the boundaries of the water-related industrial priority use area at Collinsville.
This amendment would reconcile inconsistencies between the Commission’s and the County’s plans. This is the first step in reconciling inconsistencies between the Commission’s Bay Plan and Marsh Plan and the County of Solano’s General Plan.
In the second step of the process, Solano County will update its component of the Suisun Marsh Local Protection Program and request that the Commission certify this updated component.
This proposed amendment would delete the water-related industrial priority use area designation from approximately 2,400-acres of the Collinsville site from land that is now designated for marsh and agricultural use in the County’s General Plan.
If this proposed amendment is adopted, approximately 200 acres of land will remain designated for water-related industrial priority use area in the County’s General Plan, the Bay Plan and the Marsh Plan.
Staff recommends that the Commission find that this reduction in the priority use area and modest language changes to the Marsh Plan proposed in this amendment are consistent with the McAteer-Petris Act, the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act and the Marsh Plan goals.
Today’s final staff recommendation is consistent with preliminary recommendations we issued in June with one minor change.
MOTION: Commissioner Sanchez moved to approve the staff recommendations, seconded by Commissioner Vasquez.
Chair Randolph asked for questions or comments from the Commissioners.
Commissioner Johnson stated: I would like some clarification of what the zoning changes actually mean. I would like to know what the allowable land uses are in the categories that are being affected.
Mr. Doherty responded: I am not prepared to speak to exactly what all those entail. Do you have a specific question about what would be permitted within that?
Commissioner Johnson replied: We’re going from industrial that isn’t being used to agriculture which could result in a relatively significant land change. Am I mistaken?
Chief Planner LaClair responded: The land that the County designated for agriculture is currently being used for agricultural purposes. And the land the County designated for marsh is part of the Marsh.
The land area that is being designated as traditional community (approximately 25 houses) is currently being used as a traditional community area.
The County’s land use changes reconcile their plan with current uses, rather than set the stage for a major use change.
A roll call vote was taken regarding approving the staff recommendations with the following results:
VOTE: The motion carried with a roll call vote of 18-0-0 with Commissioners Addiego, Vierra, Bates, Carrillo, Gilmore, Chiu, Gibbs, Groom, Jordan Hallinan, Johnson, Sanchez, McGrath, Sears, Vasquez, Carruthers, Wagenknecht, Vice-Chair Halsted and Chair Randolph voting “YES”, no “NO” votes and no abstentions.
9. Public Hearing and Vote on Whether to Initiate Possible Bay Plan Amendment 2-11 to Amend the San Francisco Bay Plan and the San Francisco Bay Area Seaport Plan to Delete the Port Priority Use Area Designation at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. Item 9 is a public hearing and vote on whether to initiate the process of considering proposed amendments of the San Francisco Bay Plan and Seaport Plan to delete a port priority use designation at Hunters Point in San Francisco. Linda Scourtis will present the staff report on this item.
Ms. Scourtis presented the following: The staff recommends that the Commission:
(1) Adopt the proposed descriptive notice to initiate the process of considering a possible amendment of the San Francisco Bay Plan and the San Francisco Bay Area Seaport Plan by removing the Hunters Point port priority use area designation and (2) Schedule a public hearing for October 6, 2011 to consider the proposed amendment.
The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency has applied to the Commission to amend the Bay Plan and the Seaport Plan by removing the port priority use area designation from Hunters Point.
Once the Navy conveys the property to the City the redevelopment agency plans to develop the area to be deleted primarily as a waterfront promenade, multi-use lawns, waterfront recreation areas and natural landscaping as part of the Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard II Project.
Removing this land from port priority use designation would facilitate development of these proposed uses.
To approve the requested amendment the Commission must determine that eliminating the potential future use of the area for port purposes will not negatively affect the region’s cargo handling capability and will not increase the need to fill the Bay for future port development.
If the descriptive notice is approved by the Commission a public hearing will be held October 6, 2011.
Commissioner Carruthers commented: What happens when the priority use is removed? What is the residual policy of BCDC?
Ms. Scourtis replied: We will retain our permitting jurisdiction along the shoreline band and in the Bay. There is no priority use designation proposed to replace the port designation.
Commissioner Carruthers added: And then sometime in the future when the City of San Francisco is prepared, will BCDC be presented with an amendment or a permit application for the use of that area?
Ms. Scourtis responded: We will first go through the amendment process. I believe San Francisco Redevelopment has already approached permitting staff to give them a heads up on the process.
Commissioner Vierra commented: It sounds like what the City of San Francisco is wanting to do is create a waterfront park. Why are we not changing the designation from a port or industrial use to a park?
Ms. Scourtis replied: My understanding is that it will be a mixed use area. There could be some uses not highlighted today.
Chief Planner LaClair added: Candlestick Point just to the south is a state park. After the amendment is completed the State Parks Department will request that the Commission designate the remainder of the northern shoreline of Candlestick Point as a park.
The extent of the mixed uses proposed for this area will probably reduce the size of the overall park to the point where it’s more of a community scale park than a regional park.
There is a chance that we might also get some park designation along the southern shoreline of the Hunters Point Peninsula in the future depending on how the clean up goes.
Commissioner Vierra added: The four uses listed on the report give the impression that it’s going to be a park. The addition of that fact that this is going to be multi-use would be helpful.
Commissioner McGrath commented: Today we’re only being asked to set a public hearing and define a notice for whether or not we need this property to remain designated as port priority use to prevent having to later fill the Bay to accommodate port uses.
Is this correct?
Executive Director Travis answered: That’s correct. All you’re doing today is saying you’re willing to consider a proposed amendment.
Chair Randolph opened the public hearing on this item. Hearing no comment from the audience, Chair Randolph asked for a motion and a second to close the public hearing.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved to close the public hearing, seconded by Vice Chair Halsted. The motion passed by voice vote with no abstentions or opposition.
MOTION: Vice Chair Halsted moved for approval, seconded by Commissioner Chiu. The motion passed 20-0-0.
After the vote, Commissioner Groom commented: I’d like to introduce San Mateo County’s newest Supervisor and the alternate to BCDC, Dave Pine who is with us today. The Chair welcomed Commissioner Pine.
10. Consideration of Pending Litigation. Item 10 is our consideration of whether to support two federal bills that would help fund Bay dredging projects. Brenda Goeden will present the staff report.
Ms. Goeden presented the following: You have before you today a staff report and recommendation on the Harbor Trust Fund legislation dated June 24, 2011.
The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund was established to provide funding for the operation and maintenance of ports and harbors.
It is funded by the Harbor Maintenance Tax which is an ad valorem tax on commercial cargo shipped into any port that uses a federally maintained harbor or channel.
Appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust have lagged far behind the revenues for many years particularly in California which contributes 34 percent of national revenues yet receives only four percent of the funds to maintain its harbors.
As a result maintenance dredging of California ports is considerably underfunded every year.
To address this issue two companion bills have been introduced, House Resolution 104 and Senate Bill 412.
These companion bills are intended to guarantee that harbor and maintenance trust fund revenues collected each year are appropriated for harbor maintenance purposes.
The bills apply to future maintenance trust fund revenues only not the existing balance in the fund.
The passage of this legislation would not increase the federal budget deficit.
The staff recommends that the Commission support H.R. 104 and S.B. 412 and authorize the staff to inform Congress of the Commission’s support for these bills.
Chair Randolph asked for any public comment on this matter. There were three people wishing to express an opinion on this matter.
Mr. Haussener commented: I’m Jim Haussener with California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference and I want to thank the staff and the Commissioners for entertaining this resolution for us.
We are not getting enough money to support dredging efforts but we are also not getting sufficient funds to meet the goals of long term management strategy, the LTMS.
This is having a major impact on California’s ability to compete in the world as well as our ports to compete.
One of our concerns is that if we’re not able to maintain our channels, the shipping carriers will decide that instead of stopping in the Bay area they’re going to take their materials down to Los Angeles and San Pedro and then all that cargo has to get trucked back up to the Bay area for us to use.
We ask that you support these bills. Senator Boxer is a co-sponsor of this bill. Congressman Pelosi held a press conference on the lack of dredging and the need for more dredging funding.
This takes the money that Congress generated and allows it to be spent for its intended purpose. It doesn’t increase the tax. It doesn’t increase or expand the use of the intended purpose.
Mr. Coleman of the Bay Planning Coalition commented: I do encourage you to support the two pieces of legislation.
The Army Corps is doing a phenomenal job but Congress keeps cutting their budget.
We have a workshop coming up on July 21st on earthquakes and tsunamis and Chair Randolph is one of the panelists.
Ms. Osantowski commented: I am Imee Osantowski and I am here representing the Port of Oakland. I urge that you support this bill.
The maintenance dredging program last year was so underfunded that in the Port where we have just deepened the channels and berths we are actually at 47 feet.
The Port itself has spent $800 million of our own money investing in the deepening program along with the federal government’s spending upwards of $230 million to deepen this federal channel into the Port of Oakland and yet we can’t fund it to maintain it to the depth it needs to be.
The Harbor Maintenance Tax being allowed to be used for its intended purpose is the best mechanism that we have to be able to fix the problem.
The carriers are expecting to receive about 200 new vessels greater than 10,000 t.u. somewhere in the 2013/2014 timeframe. We don’t expect to see those vessels here at the Port of Oakland because we can’t accommodate them but we do expect that the deployment of those vessels will have a secondary effect where we’ll start seeing the deeper draft vessels here.
If we don’t have the 50-foot depth in the channel that we need and we can’t maintain our vessels, then we will lose that opportunity and the effects will ripple all the way down.
Mr. Giari commented: I’m Mike Giari the Executive Director of the Port of Redwood City. We urge your support of this federal legislation.
The channel in the Port of Redwood City is currently not adequately maintained.
The efficiency of shipping construction materials at the Port of Redwood City is negatively and significantly impacted by this.
MOTION: Commissioner Vasquez moved for approval of the staff recommendation, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers.
Commissioner Gilmore had a question: This reports speaks to the bill’s future funding and my question is, what happens to the almost $6 billion that’s already been collected for port management?
How do we shake that loose?
Mr. Goldbeck answered: The concern is that there will be opposition to the bill if it would increase the federal deficit.
The author has decided that the most strategic approach was just to leave that reserve for now and try to get the rest of the funds flowing to their intended purposes.
I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody comes up behind and tries to cut loose that other money.
Commissioner McGrath commented: On the equity side this is money that comes from the shippers, from cargo. So this is money that they paid to maintain the channels. This is not federal subsidy of shipping. So there’s a strong equity argument.
Secondly, in the environmental arena, lightly loaded carriers coming in here increases carbon emissions. It’s not wise in the larger sense, particularly when considering climate change.
On a personal level, to support all these ports, agencies and organizations is a great joy to me. I would urge your yes vote on this.
Commissioner Nelson stated: There’s a lot of pressure on businesses that benefit from government programs to step up and contribute through tax and fee programs like this.
I think we all have an obligation to try and make sure that these programs really work as they’re intended.
In this case the shipping community recognizes the benefits of federal activities and they pay into the funds but they’re not getting the benefits for which they’re contributing, so I think this is an enormously important piece of legislation.
Commissioner Sears commented: One of the problems identified here is that funds collected from California are sent to other states and not brought back to California. This legislation doesn’t solve that problem. It simply says that funds collected will be dispersed.
Is it the presumption that if money is actually spent California will get more money or if not enough money it will at least get more and that will solve at least part of the problem?
Ms. Goeden replied: I think that’s the intent. California will get enough money to dredge the harbors.
Commissioner Sears added: If you had legislation that said California would get, in return, a proportionate share to the monies that it contributed that doesn’t necessarily take money out of other peoples’ pockets.
It could still be sent to other states and not come back to California the way the legislation is drafted.
Ms. Goeden responded: That is true. California is a donor state.
MOTION: Chair Randolph asked for a hand vote on the motion to approve this item. The motion carried with a vote of 19-0-1 with the Army Corps representative abstaining.
11. Consideration of Citizens Advisory Committee and Science and Technical Advisory Committee Membership. Item 11 is our consideration of steps we can take to revitalize our advisory committees. Joe LaClair will present the staff report.
Chief Planner LaClair presented the following: I will present staff’s recommendation on an approach to revitalize the membership of the Commission’s Citizens Advisory Committee and its Science and Technical Advisory Committee.
For over four decades the Citizens Advisory Committee has played a critical role in guiding the Commission’s work on policy development and addressing issues raised by large development projects.
The Commission has expressed a desire to revitalize its Science and Technical Advisory Committee so that it has better access to relevant scientific information to guide its deliberations and decisions.
In its most recent strategic plan, the Commission directed staff to assist the Chair in making nominations for these committees.
To implement the Commission’s objectives the staff recommends that the Commission revitalize the Citizens Advisory Committee and refine the membership of the Science and Technical Advisory Committee.
The staff further recommends that the Commission direct staff to seek candidates for the Citizens Advisory Committee and Science and Technical Advisory Committee by looking first to existing members while ensuring that the revitalized membership meets the legal requirements of the McAteer Petris Act and provides the Commission with access to experts and representatives that will help it achieve its objectives.
The staff further recommends that the Commission direct staff to work with the Chair to prepare nominations for the CAC and the Science and Technical Advisory Committee that will fill vacancies for those representatives identified in the law and seek additional candidates to represent a number of interests on areas of expertise in a variety of areas.
The first phase of this process would be to determine the range of expertise and backgrounds that should be represented on the revitalized committees.
The staff requests that the Commission provide direction on the specific areas of membership for these committees and then staff will assist the Chair to bring nominations back to the Commission for its consideration.
Chair Randolph asked if there was any public comment on this item. Hearing no public comment Chair Randolph asked for a motion and a second on the staff recommendations.
MOTION: Vice Chair Halsted moved the staff recommendations, seconded by Commissioner Carruthers.
Commissioner Carruthers commented: What kind of activity do we picture the two committees doing? What kind of commitment would these members be making?
Chair Randolph added: With what frequency has the committee met in the past and when was the last time that it did meet because I’ve talked to people who thought they were on it but it hasn’t met for a long time.
Chief Planner LaClair replied: That part is true. The committee has not met for a long time.
My sense is that over time the CAC has reduced its engagement with the Commission’s work.
The staff still relies on the CAC for advice on policy matters. The last time the CAC met was six or seven years ago.
As we move into more regional undertakings these efforts will generate more interest and need for this kind of advice.
Chair Randolph added: I suspect that when we were last considering our draft language for the Bay Plan Amendments on climate, it might have been helpful if we had an active CAC for that purpose.
Commissioner McGrath stated: I think we learned the lessons on communication difficulties of the Climate Change Bay Plan Amendment. I think it’s important to engage those entities in local government that are going to be responsible for adaptation along the shoreline and along the creeks.
I see this as a perfect opportunity to do that.
Commissioner Vasquez commented: Are there a set of by-laws as to how the committees operate?
Chief Planner LaClair answered: No there is not. Some of the difficulties with by-laws that specify a certain amount of required meetings is that it scares off some of the people who you might otherwise be able to get to commit to serve on the committee.
Commissioner Taylor stated: How is the information from this commission utilized?
Chief Planner LaClair replied: The CAC grew out of the formulation of the Bay Plan. So they were initially a group that was instrumental in crafting the Plan. In the first couple of decades of the Commission’s existence the CAC was very active on a regular basis and very involved. Now we turn to them for advice on policy matters and when we get that advice we share it with the Commission. The Commission can consider that input along with all the other input that it gets on any policy or matter.
Commissioner Wagenknecht commented: I agree that you need to have some guidelines and parameters so that the members know what they’re doing.
Executive Director Travis commented: The basic question before you today is pretty simple. We have the CAC established by law back in the 1960s when there was a different form of communication. Over time the CAC members either lost interest, there was a change in membership or we got into some very highly technical issues where 80 percent of the membership said, I don’t know anything about this subject at all. And that’s when we established the Technical Advisory Committee and then we found that even in that area you end up with a broad range. So what we did is we established these smaller advisory working groups. The question before you today is, do you want to look at it and say, that was then and this is now, these are different times and maybe this isn’t a structure that we need anymore. Our advice is, give us a chance to explore this and find a way of revitalizing it. We think this is something that we ought to try to revitalize and that’s the proposal before you today.
Commissioner Nelson: Just over the course of the last couple of meetings we’ve had questions about habitat restoration, dredging issues, climate change and I think it would be a challenge for us to require a highly formalized meeting process. I think having the flexibility to convene science and technical advisors who have expertise on the issues that are in front of us is essential to getting the most out of the time from our science advisors.
Chief Planner LaClair added: Having the flexibility to bring the committee together as needed and to use the committee as a springboard for forming topic-specific subcommittees makes it easier for the staff to form these types of committees with specific expertise.
Commissioner Carruthers added: It isn’t clear to me what the staff is going to do. When and if we approve this what does the staff do and bring back to us?
Chief Planner LaClair replied: We will work with the Chair to make nominations for the Commission to consider to fill out the membership of these committees and we will also clarify then how they will function.
Commissioner Carruthers responded: We are acting today on a slate of categories?
Chief Planner LaClair replied: Correct.
Commissioner Vasquez commented: I would assume that you would come back with a recommendation of what it should look and feel like and a set of options of what you would ask the committee members to do.
Chief Planner LaClair answered: Absolutely. We’ll use as a starting point the objectives and the approaches that the Commission adopted two years ago.
Commissioner Carruthers stated: I think I heard you say that we’re acting on what is listed on page three under the staff recommendation. Is that correct?
Chief Planner LaClair replied: That is correct. We try to get the most qualified individuals to provide this kind of guidance and we have been very successful at engaging various technical institutions around the region.
Chair Randolph asked: Joe, would I be correct in assuming the Technical Advisory Committee has been consulted and drawn upon more frequently in recent years than the CAC?
Chief Planner LaClair answered: No. The Science and Technical Advisory Committee has not been a very active committee that the Commission has had.
Commissioner Carruthers commented: On the Science and Technical Advisory Committee we’re not proposing to add new seats.
Chief Planner LaClair replied: The CAC has a limit of 20 members established in the law. There is no limit on the number of members for the Science and Technical Advisory Committee.
Executive Director Travis mentioned: The CAC established by law, maximum number of members and a list of people. We used that structure erroneously when we set up the Science and Technical Advisory Committee because it’s not really a committee. It’s a phone book.
It’s a bunch of people with a critical expertise on a variety of subjects. This is a group of people that we will consult with.
Vice Chair Halsted commented: Maybe we would be smart not to call it a committee but voluntary advisors or something like that but not to create the impression that they are all to meet together.
Commissioner McGrath commented: The staff is free to use experts as they see fit. Having a Science and Technical Advisory Committee provides a little more transparency.
Would the members of the Science and Advisory Committee be actually ratified by the Commission?
Chief Planner LaClair replied: They’re nominated by the Chair and ratified by the Commission.
Commissioner McGrath added: Science by its nature does involve debate. And I think having transparency about that and the ability to solicit more than one viewpoint to get to good advice is desirable.
The Commission is free to accept or not accept, based on the outcome of a public hearing and any other experts, the recommendations.
Commissioner Johnson commented: On the surface this seems like a great idea. The question I have is regarding advocacy. How do you deal with the fact that you’ve got stakeholders who are speaking to try to manage a policy shift in one way or another and concurrently advocating for projects that could be in front of this Commission.
Chief Planner LaClair answered: We would try to have an awareness of any conflict of interests that members might have in terms of advocating on a particular policy issue or project. We typically try to use people who have specific knowledge that’s relevant to the issue at hand and they’re respected as even-handed experts. We’re not going to look for firebrands or that sort of thing with regard to membership.
Commissioner Johnson responded: There is a relatively inbred group of people that are involved in these types of issues especially at the CAC level. These are the same folks who are advocating for specific projects and specific positions. It becomes a little bit of a conundrum. You want the people who care; but you don’t want them overly invested. There needs to be a line somewhere.
Chief Planner LaClair replied: The approach that we’ve taken to forming these groups, we’ve learned from our training in conflict resolution where we recognize that in arriving at consensus on a policy or project issue it’s important to have all the interests represented at the table so that anyone who might be able to thwart your progress or your consensus has representation at the table. We find that this is the most effective strategy for arriving at a policy proposal that has the most likelihood of success.
Commissioner Gibbs commented: I think the problem with the issue that Commissioner Johnson just raised concerning potential conflicts of interest could be handled in the brilliant suggestion made by Commissioner Vasquez to have some kind of by-laws which would include a conflict of interest code.
It seems like we’re spending a lot of time talking about groups that haven’t met for six or seven years. And it also seems that there is a proposal on the floor which would give the staff broad latitude in coming back and making some recommendations about how we do revitalize these committees.
I will make a motion to move the staff recommendation.
Chair Randolph mentioned that a motion had already been made on this item (by Commissioners Halsted and Carruthers).
Commissioner Carruthers mentioned: I would like to see in the report the staff commitments to make this functional.
VOTE: A hand vote was taken on this item. The motion carried by a vote of 20-0-0.
12. Briefing on Climate Change Strategy. Item 12 is a briefing on the programs being undertaken by the Joint Policy Committee to deal with climate change and regional economic vitality. Steve Goldbeck of our staff and Bruce Riordan, a consultant to the Joint Policy Committee, will present the briefing.
Mr. Goldbeck presented the following: The Commission’s Strategic Plan directed BCDC staff to develop a communications strategy regarding climate change and adaptation.
Rather than formulate a separate Commission program, the staff is working through BCDC’s partnership with its Joint Policy Committee (JPC) members to create a climate change communications strategy for the region.
The JPC serves as a forum for coordinating policy initiatives among the four agencies.
The communications strategy on climate change is part of the JPC’s recently adopted strategic work program to further Bay area economic development, and climate change and energy resilience.
The program consists of three complementary and inter-connected projects: the Near Term Green Jobs Plus Project, the Bay Area Economic Strategy Framework Study and the Bay Area Climate and Energy Resilience Strategy.
Bruce Riordan will walk you through the JPC initiatives.
I’d also like to mention that State Senator Mark DeSaulnier has introduced Senate Bill 878, Regional Planning Bay Area that would direct the JPC to prepare a report to the Legislature addressing joint policies relative to the Sustainable Communities Strategy and improving JPC efficiency and effectiveness.
The bill would also direct the JPC to prepare a work plan for a regional economic development strategy including measures for energy conservation and climate change adaptation.
The Commission intends to work closely with the author and its JPC partners as the bill moves along. We will report back to the Commission on its progress.
Mr. Bruce Riordan commented the following: The JPC has just approved a three-part work plan for this fiscal year.
These three parts all deal with climate and resilience in the region and economic development.
The first part is called the Near Term Green Jobs Plus Project and it’s really going to focus in the near term on three entities and three initiatives: on building retrofits, on local renewable power and on electric vehicles.
While the JPC is not the expert on any of these three, we have coordinating skills and we’re going to use those skills on each of these three.
Project three is where we’re going to spend much of the JPC’s time over the next eight months.
This project is about informing the region and bringing together a diverse group of leaders in the region and engaging them around three topics: (1) What are the most important climate and energy impacts that are going to hit the Bay area? (2) Why planning now for those impacts is so essential to protecting our economy, our public health, our infrastructure and our ecosystems, and (3) What are the options that we have for how we’re going to mainstream that information and use that information in the many planning processes we have in the Bay area.
The first task will be to summarize, on the expected climate and energy impacts that are going to be most important to prepare for in the Bay area through an independent scientific analysis using existing research.
The second part of the study is going to look at, “what can we do?” We want to show the range of options for adaptation and resilience strategies in the region.
We are not deciding in this project which strategies to use but presenting information about the range of strategies for a given impact.
The third part of the study is on, “how?” It’s looking at what are the structures going to be for decision making in the region and where are the resources going to come from?
We are not going to come out with a list of recommendations as to what to do. The point here is to bring back lessons learned from other metro areas that are ahead of us.
This last part is about leadership and about decision making and about implementation processes and resources.
This all has to be tied to and integrated with the economic development strategy which your Chair will now present.
Chair Randolph presented the following: The resilience component of what the JPC is starting to do now is especially relevant for us at BCDC.
The third component of the JPC initiative relates to the economy. There is a growing feeling that it is going to be very hard to advance a lot of these other strategies and policies if we don’t also have a bead on what’s happening in the economy and having those advancing together.
At the last meeting the JPC asked the Economic Institute to put together a regional economic strategy framework which is not a plan but more of a deep, but highly focused analysis on what’s going on in the economy of the region especially as it affects growth in jobs.
We will look at what are the key economic focal points as a region that we need to focus on as a basis for a regional economic strategy.
This region is the fourth largest economy in the United States and about the twentieth largest in the world. We don’t have any kind of economic strategy or plan, but if you go around the world, London, Paris, Beijing and many places have strategies and plans.
Commissioner Bates commented: We do hope to have some real product at the end of this study.
The DeSaulnier bill may end up giving more authorities to the JPC, but its makeup is really skewed towards the East Bay.
Lastly, I want to point out that the MTC has put in a bill to change the composition of MTC to better reflect the region and this is controversial, but something we should consider.
Chair Randolph asked if any of the public wished to comment on this item. Getting no response from the audience he recognized Commissioner McGrath.
Commissioner McGrath commented: I have a suggestion for the study that falls largely into the arena that the Chair already works in.
That is, how do we make an economic structure and how we measure what is successful in a transparent way?
I don’t see metrics for success here. I don’t see what we’re measuring and I don’t see the role of cost effectiveness.
You’ll get a fair amount of comments from the public about investments in local power generation because of the cost. So what are our metrics?
In the Bay area we have a highly successful semi-conductor and electronics industry that’s managed to double the output of computing devices and halve the costs every five to eight years. What’s the amount of investment that we should make in developing the technology with that expectation?
In terms of competing for dollars in a hostile world outside of the Bay area on green industries, having sound business proposals behind it, measurements for success, and clarity about what you’re trying to achieve would make this thing more powerful for people who are looking to how we utilize limited resources.
Mr. Riordan added: A business case for each of the three areas I mentioned is paramount.
Commissioner Carrillo commented: I think it is going to be contingent upon the local municipalities whether it’s the cities or counties that are already moving forward in these efforts.
The challenges that will be faced will be financing and a federal legislation challenge.
One of the voids here that we’re seeing is engaging those that are not at the table already discussing these initiatives or these issues.
There is a unique opportunity to drive these issues from a jobs creation perspective. How can the representatives on the Commission help solidify the intent of this partnership?
The vision is a right vision. The implementation of it and the measurement of it are important. We have the entities that can help us with this.
Chair Randolph added: Even before the JPC started moving in this new direction work had been underway for about two years through Climate Bay Area which was an effort by the JPC with the Economic Institute to map out all the organizations that have different kinds of climate initiatives.
There is movement now to engage leaders throughout the region around identifying common priorities that are actionable between them.
Mr. Riordan added: When you get to climate adaptation and adaptation to energy price increases and supply drops and all of that, that’s where we’ve really got to look carefully at each one of these topics regarding what can best be done at the city level, what can best be done at the county level, what can best be done at the regional level and what can best be done at the state or federal level?
We started at the city level without any state or federal policy or laws.
That was a good thing, but it has also led to this very decentralized approach and now we’re trying to make more sense out of that.
Sonoma County that is ahead of most others has started to see the limit of what locals can do and how banding together in terms of common advocacy agendas can be advantageous but difficult.
Collaboration always sounds good but it usually comes down to, will it be better than what I’m doing on my own?
Commissioner Nelson commented: There are many difficulties when you start driving adaptation decisions down to the regional and local level. There is also a communication challenge here.
We have, at times, seen a dramatic outpouring of opposition to proposals that the Commission has not made.
We’re going to see the same challenges at the JPC as it thinks of ways to work through local governments and engage them in the tough decisions about adaptation.
Mr. Riordan commented: We’re just starting the project and just outlining it.
Mr. Goldbeck stated: Yes, we’re really talking about regional engagement here. This is not just about producing a single report.
The, “what” that will go into this report is fairly straightforward, it’s science.
The, “how” is going to come from discussions amongst the region. We are not going to go in and say, “Here, one, two, three and four is what you need to do or what we need to do.”
It will be more powerful if we engage in discussions about how the region needs to address these issues, key leaders in the region have got to be involved in determining these decisions.
Some decisions will be straightforward but some of the bigger issues and decisions will be a matter of who decides and who implements and how do we decide?
Commissioner Carruthers commented: I’d like to understand a little more clearly how you will inform ongoing regional processes. How does the material that you’re developing relate to the outputs of the JPC’s Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) and the Focus Programs.
Mr. Riordan responded: We are going to be able to feed in the climate and energy impacts projections and information as we go through the rest of this year.
This is the first SCS we’re doing. We’ll start doing another one as soon as this one is done and they will be done every four years.
Commissioner Carruthers inquired: Can you clarify for me how the SCS relates to the Focus Program?
Mr. Riordan responded: SB 375 requires the region to put together a sustainable communities strategy. This region was already embarked on a set of activities, the Focus program and the priority development areas and priority conservation areas.
Commissioner Carruthers asked: Do you foresee the Focus Program being susceptible to such frequent review and revision as the SCS?
Mr. Riordan answered: Yes. It’s a work in progress.
Commissioner Bates commented: The Focus areas are the PDAs and those are around the transportation nodes.
ABAG is now aligning the potential growth into those areas.
MTC is in the process now of taking their funding and trying to make sure that those PDAs are successful.
The real question is how are we going to address these issues and how are we going to fund it and how are we going to make it happen. And that’s a communication issue and a leadership issue.
The cost of installing solar technologies in any locale is inflated due to the fact that all municipalities have their own rules and regulations that are not necessarily coordinated with each other and so a substantial cost (approximately 45 percent) of installation is a soft cost.
There is a point where we have to say that we should take certain procedures, processes and practices across the region and not have all these small little local increments.
Chair Randolph added: I think on the economic side that the process is very important, especially the communication part of this.
One of the ideas out there is to have a business advisory committee to the JPC.
The idea is that if you develop these ideas and strategies in an iterative way, with everybody at the same table from the outset, you can arrive at a consensus where you actually have an agreement on policy priorities where the business community can come in and support the process.
Vice Chair Halsted commented: I’m interested to make sure that this Commission continues to participate in considerations of this work. The quicker we get feedback to the Commission about how things are working or not working the better.
13. Briefing on Bay Restoration Authority. Item #13 is a briefing on the work of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. Sam Schuchat, the Chairman of the Authority, will present the briefing.
Mr. Schuchat presented the following: I am the Executive Officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy and am the Chair of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. I’m here today to give you a briefing of what the Authority is up to and where we are at.
The Restoration Authority was created in law by AB 2954 based on a report from Save San Francisco Bay called Greening the Bay. The mission of the Authority as a regional government entity in the Bay Area is to raise local revenue for wetland restoration, for public access to wetland restoration projects, and for flood control related to wetland restoration.
For the last year and a half the Authority has been engaged in determining what exactly would we like to do and when would we like to do it?
Based on a poll we just completed we concluded that a de minimis kind of parcel tax was our best bet for funding wetland restoration as long as we did it during a high turnout general election.
One of the things we want to decide is do we want to put a vote on this in front of everybody or just a subset.
It could cost us as much as five and a half million dollars to be on ballots in all nine counties in their entirety.
The Authority currently has no money and no staff. The Coastal Conservancy and ABAG have been providing staff services.
Commissioner Nelson asked: Is there anything driving your decision or any deadlines you’re facing in terms of making a decision to go before the voters?
Mr. Schuchat replied: Not really. We have a 20-year sunset date from now. The presidential election years seem like the time to go. Whatever we do we have to win the first time out.
Commissioner Bates asked: Can you summarize what you found out on this document?
Mr. Schuchat responded: What we found out was that the mood of the electorate in the San Francisco Bay area was poor. They love the Bay and they’re willing to spend a little bit of money. They’d rather do that through a parcel tax than through a sales tax.
They don’t feel like money they would pay in their county would have to stay in their county.
Projects related to water quality and fish and wildlife are the highest voter priorities for funding.
We’re trying to figure out if it matters if we have a 10 year sunset or a 20 year sunset. The poll showed not much difference.
The less money we asked for the higher the positive response was.
Chair Randolph inquired: How does the likelihood or non-likelihood of a state bond or other kind of federal funding action affect what you ask for or the timing?
Mr. Schuchat replied: We expect that in 2012 every government entity is going to be requesting funds.
14. Consideration of Strategic Plan Status Report. Item 14 is a status report on our progress in carrying out our strategic plan. Will Travis will present this report.
Executive Director Travis reported: There are two changes we would like you to make in the deadlines. We postponed our strategic planning workshop because we wanted to make sure that we got the climate change policies behind us and we also didn’t know if we would have a state budget.
I would like a motion, second and affirmative vote to change those two deadlines.
MOTION: Vice Chair Halsted moved this item, seconded by Commissioner Carrillo. The motion passed with no objections or abstentions.
15.New Business. No new business was discussed.
16.Old Business. No old business was discussed.
17. Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Vierra, seconded by Commissioner Nelson the meeting adjourned at 3:28 p.m.
Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of July 21, 2011
R. SEAN RANDOLPH, Chair