DRAFT

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of January 6, 2011

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, January 6, 2011, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:39 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Kane and Ono

 

Sue Blackman, Library Commission Secretary said that Commissioner Beverly Hayon had accepted a position on the Ethics Commission and will no longer be serving on the Library Commission.  She said Commissioner Hayon she will be missed.

 

Commissioners Munson and Nguyen arrived at 4:43 pm.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said the Civic Center Community Benefit District (CBD) passed by the Board of Supervisors by one vote.  He said the Library Administration is a founding member of the steering committee and it was not brought before the Commission until the last minute.  He said whether it is the CBD or the Friends, the message from the library is that a private company is needed to get anything done. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said unfortunately the Community Benefit District which the Commission endorsed in October did pass at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting despite considerable opposition.  He said there will be a report about the library’s social worker and yet the Commission has supported what is basically a homeless rousting outfit as part of the CBD.  He said librarians and the library’s materials come up with much more useful resources than what he has found on Google searches.

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said the placement of a written summary as an appendage to the minutes, violates the clear wording of the Sunshine Ordinance.  He said the Library Commission has made specious arguments to justify this variance from the law and he quoted sections of the Brown Act, which he said makes his point. He said the Commission does not like to hear negative comments and will sanitize the Minutes to reflect a more positive point of view. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 FISCAL YEAR 2011/12 BUDGET FORECAST AND PRIORITIES

 

John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, gave an update on the FY 12 Budget Forecast and Priorities.  He said the city wide deficit is about $380 million.  He said SFPL has an expected $3.8 million improvement in revenues and a projected $1.5 million shortfall.  He said FY 12 has additional future funding needs of $8.3 million.  He outlined budget goals, and priorities. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said more detail on the budget priorities will be brought back to the Commission before finalization of the budget.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the budget numbers have not changed.  He said he looks forward to more context in the future.  He said the citizens passed the Library Preservation Fund to guarantee library services, operating funds and hours of operation.  He said preservation of the operating funds is not what we are seeing. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he hopes the Commission will ask a lot of questions.  He said it raises questions on expanded hours and whether that continues to be a priority.  He said he is not sure what it means to say that there is a greater need for building maintenance.  He said he is concerned about library kiosks and sorting machines and whether they would save the library money.  

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said he hoped there would be some details presented at the meeting beyond what was in the explanatory document.  He said this is basically a vague statement of intentions.  He said he would have liked to see more detailed numbers and information on the budget so that the public could participate in the discussion.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane asked for more information about labor costs and how much of the shortfall was due to labor costs.

 

John Doidge said that three/quarters of the budget was due to labor costs and one/quarter non labor so that would apply to the amounts in the shortfall as well.

 

Commissioner Kane said he would like details on how much of the reserve will go back to the Library Preservation Fund.   He asked for a specific line item for retiree health benefits so the Commission can track that year to year.

 

Commissioner Munson had additional questions on retiree costs.

 

John Doidge said the budget for retiree health is not based on the number of retired employees from the library system but a portion of the retirees citywide.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the mandate is to continue to have staffing to maintain service levels.

 

Commissioner Munson said that we would like to see the service levels maintained as efficiently as possible.

 

Commissioner Ono asked to see more details on the revenue side at the next meeting.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about existing priorities compared to future priorities and asked for more information about library kiosks.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the kiosks are just one option the library is looking at to provide additional service to areas such as Treasure Island.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the additional spending for technology.

 

Jill Bourne said we will be providing additional information on technology spending and issues such as increasing bandwidth, which will involve additional costs.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the Teen Center and the dollar amount allocated.

 

John Doidge said that the amount for the Teen Center is a placeholder in the budget.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there has been cost cutting in the past with maintenance and we want to make sure with the new branches opening that there will be an ongoing commitment for maintenance.

 

 

 

    

 

 

  

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT

 

Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, gave an update on the second full year of having a Social Worker on staff.  She reported on statistics relating to patrons served.  She gave the results of the staff safety survey.  She said the top two concerns from staff continue to be patron violence and patron hygiene.  She said the public online survey shows that patrons rate their sense of safety and personal security at 8.2 on a scale of 1-10.  She said training of staff continues on various issues. 

 

Robert Lombardi, Facilities Director, said training is being given by SFPD Police Academy Staff for the security unit and weekly training is be given by SFPD Sgt. Patrick Kwan.  He gave security statistics in various areas for the Main and the branches.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said Gen PL is the Next Generation of Public Library Leaders and it is SFPL’s leadership development program designed to prepare library staff to be effective leaders and professionals.  He said it has been going on for about three years and includes four all day training workshops and ancillary activities.  He said there has been a total of 80 participants so far, various projects have been implemented, there have been enhanced cross divisional communication and enhanced organizational change.

 

Jon Worona, Digital Services Manager, said he is a Co-chair of the Service Innovations Task Force.  He said the group was started to concentrate on social media.  He said that role has expanded and some of the past projects include: United States Citizenship Resources; a Facebook facelift page; Children’s Storyline; Podcasts and online tutorials.  He said a sample of active projects includes: digital to analog; Library on the Go!; SFPL mobile; and 5 minute innovate. 

 

Commissioner Kane left the meeting at 6:09 pm.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the agenda was not specific regarding issues under the City Librarian’s report.  He said not all of the explanatory documents available at the meeting today were listed on the agenda.  He said he hopes that the on the Facebook page the suggestion to friends is to personal companions and not to the Friends of the Library. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the three issues discussed are very important and should have been listed on the agenda as separate agenda items.  He said what was noticeably missing in the reports was inclusion of the public’s opinion on the issues. 

 

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said that he had distributed an article to the Commissioners from the New York Times that talks about a recent decision by the Ninth District Court of Appeals whether free speech can be curtailed in public meetings. He said providing training for some employees and not others allows the opportunity for discrimination and the Commission has a responsibility to ensure the selection process serves the long-term interests of the library and not the short term interests of current management. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

 Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Breyer said it seems the overwhelming amount of security issues happen in the Main Library.  He said while visiting the branch libraries, the number one concern he has heard from people is about security. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there is a plan in place for security to respond to problems at the branches.  He said Civic Center does pose its problems, so there is a higher incidence of issues at the Main.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said branch security staff is usually dispatched to the branches for chronic issues.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the core values and the mission statement of the library and whether that was part of the GEN PL program.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said one of the purposes of the Gen PL is to empower employees and make sure employees have the skills and tools to be high functioning employees. He said there are various types of training available to staff.

 

Commissioner Ono said she is interested in more information on the public online survey results.

 

Commissioner Breyer had questions about the Service Innovation Task Force.

 

Jon Worona, Digital Services Manager, said the mobile first application has had 13,000 visits.  He said at any given time there are about 100 people connected to Wi-Fi in the library.  He said they receive a lot of comments from the public through the website.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 LABOR UNION REPORT

 

There was no labor report at this meeting.

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES NOVEMBER 18, 2010

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said at that meeting he spoke about a world where ignorance prevails over truth.  He said he was talking about the fact that the Ethics Commission had reported that the president’s conduct falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right.  He said his comments in the minutes do not reflect that and there is not a reference to his comment about this being Kafkaesque.  He said Mr. Warfield’s comments should be “regarding the President” and not “with regards to the President” as stated in the minutes.  He said at the bottom of page 2 it should read transfers from the Library Preservation Fund not the Developer’s fund.  (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said he has noticed that when a Commissioner does not like the Minutes they are changed and corrected.  He said when a member of the public objects to how their statements are abridged, they are belittled.  

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Ono to approve the Minutes of November 18, 2010 as amended on page one at the end of the anonymous citizen’s comments to add the words: “The Ethics Commission has stated that the action of your president falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officials.”  

 

Action:  AYES 5-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Munson, Nguyen and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES DECEMBER 2,

 2010

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said Commissioner Kane has been late for 8 of the last 9 meetings and was absent the meeting prior to that.  He said when Commissioner Kane asked about the Friends financial report, he thought those reports were going to serve his vanity and the anonymous citizen pointed out that the real report was derogatory and that Mr. Kane did not want to hear the truth.  He said neither of those statements is reflected in the Minutes.  He said on page 6 Commissioner Kane had asked questions and he had been given wrong answers about the Library Preservation Fund.  He said the minutes do not show that Mr. Kane asked any questions.  (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the Minutes of December 2, 2010.

 

Action:  AYES 5-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Munson, Nguyen and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Breyer to adjourn the regular meeting of January 6, 2011.   

 

Action:  AYES 5-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Nguyen, Munson, and Ono).

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:52 pm.

 

Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary

 

Please note:  These are draft minutes subject to revision by the Public Library Commission.  Copies of commission minutes and handouts are available in the office of the secretary of the San Francisco Public Library Commission, 6th floor, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-4733.

 

Explanatory documents:  Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows:  (1) from the commission secretary/custodian of records, 6th floor, Main Library; (2) in the rear of Koret Auditorium immediately prior to, and during, the meeting; and (3), to the extent possible, on the Public Library’s website http://sfpl.org.  Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents on this agenda, if any, that are distributed to library commissioners prior to or during the meeting in connection with any agenda item will be available to the public for inspection and copying in accordance with Government Code Section 54954.1 and Sunshine Ordinance Sections 67.9, 67.28(b), and 67.28(d).

These summary statements are provided by the speaker:  Their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission.

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

Anonymous Citizen: Stop the Corporate Rape of the Public Library – Don’t accept money from the Friends & Foundation

 

The Civic Center CBD (“Community Benefit District”) passed narrowly after a fierce campaign.  People understood right away when I said the Library was behind it.  The Friends & Foundation was the fiscal agent.  Library Administration as a founding member of the steering committee met for two years.  Yet it was not Commission policy until the very last minute.

 

This confirms that your primary function is to maintain deniability while everything happens behind the scenes.

 

Whether the CBD or the Friends, the message is a private company is needed to get anything done.  As a public library, how far down that path do we want to go?

 

The benefit to you personally is not the criteria in a democracy.  As we enter another great depression, the benefit of society is what the library should be about.

______________________

 

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government:  One of the interesting things about the way the Library Commission handles the minutes is the difference in the treatment accorded the comments of the commissioners, as opposed to those of the public.  On several occasions I have noticed two things:  1) When a commissioner does not like the way the minutes reflect their comments, the minutes are changed.  This is true even in cases where it actually does accurately reflect the statement of that commissioner.  The minutes are changed to reflect what they meant to say, as opposed to what they did say.  2) When a member of the public objects to how their statements are abridged, they are belittled.  I’ve also noted, on more than one occasion, that the motion to accept the minutes will include changes requested by the commissioners, ignoring the changes requested by members of the public.

 

_______________________

 

Item 2: Fiscal Year 2011/12 Budget Forecast and Priorities

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

If the citizens had access to the graphics, that would be equal access and free speech.

 

If the budget numbers have not changed much, we could see some of the numbers that were mentioned orally but missing here.  We look forward to the context to come.

 

Expanded hours is Orwellian doublespeak because the Library Preservation Fund has guaranteed minimum hours.  You claim to be meeting that obligation, yet increasing the hours is a budget goal. 

 

The citizens voted for the Library Preservation Fund to guarantee library service and operating funds.  When the BLIP program fell behind the citizens voted for revenue bonds to further protect operating funds.

We were told that a transfer to developer fees would be provisions, then that it was permanent.

 

Preservation of the operating funds is not what we are seeing.

 

_______________________

 

Item 3: City Librarian’s Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

The City Librarian’s Report just like any other agenda item has to be specific.  I don’t find Public Safety and Service Innovations to be very specific. 

 

There is also a requirement that all documents to be presented to the commission have to be mentioned on the agenda as explanatory documents.  There are three documents but only one is mentioned on the agenda.  The Sunshine law is called a “law” for a reason.

 

Yet, the document with statistics on homeless outreach and incidents in the library is not an explanatory document.  The innovations regarding service to the public is not an explanatory document.  The one explanatory document concerns Friends sponsored coffee chats.

 

The mention on the Facebook page of “suggestion to friends” I hope pertains to your personal companions and not “those Friends.”

 

 

Item 3: City Librarian’s Report

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government:  The report relating to the training of the next generation of library leaders is more interesting for what it omits than what it includes.  An employee selected for managerial training has an edge over others when job openings occur.  Having attended training for managers, that person is clearly “more qualified” for a managerial position than those not given that opportunity.  In other words, they have been “preselected.”  Without a clear understanding of who attendees are and how they are chosen, the opportunity for discrimination is unrestricted.  This allows management to ignore other employees, just as or more qualified, in the selection process.  The commission has a responsibility to ensure the selection process serves the long-term interests of the library and not the short term interests of current management.  Failure to address this aspect of training for library employees would be a dereliction of duty in oversight of library operations. 

_______________________

 

Item 5: Approval of the Minutes (November 18, 2010)

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

The anonymous citizen’s comments were about the Kafkaesque implications of your president’s conduct that "falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officials."  That neither that reference nor “Kafkaesque” appears is supremely Kafkaesque.

 

Mr. Warfield’s comments, following, cite the “Ethics Commission report with regards to the President.”  “Regards” means conveying respect, like “Give my regards to Broadway,” contrary to “regarding” i.e., about.  Should we assume the Secretary is illiterate and this is just a mistake?  This report is a condemnation of the president.

 

At the bottom of page 2, it is transfers from the Library Preservation Fund not from the Developers fund that need to be clarified.  Otherwise it makes no sense. 

 

_______________________

 

Item 5: Approval of the Minutes November 18, 2010

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government: The placement of this summary, as an appendage to the minutes, violates the clear wording of the Sunshine Ordinance.  The Library Commission has made specious arguments to justify this variance from the law.  The Brown act clearly states, “. . . any attempt to restrict the content of such speech must be narrowly tailored to effectuate a compelling state interest.”  It goes on to say, “. . .that prohibiting critical comments was a form of viewpoint discrimination.  Further, “such a prohibition promoted discussion artificially geared toward praising (and maintaining) the status quo, thereby foreclosing meaningful public dialogue.”  The placement of public comment summaries, in variance with the law, is intended to relegate those comments to a position of secondary validity.  In reality, it serves no other purpose.  Does anyone believe that a member of a commission would, objecting to how their comments were reported in the minutes, be denied the opportunity to correct the record?

________________________

 

Item 6: Approval of the Minutes (December 2, 2010)

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, stop the Ignorance – Don’t give money to the Friends & Foundation.

 

This is one of those wonderfully self-reflective situations.

 

The minutes show that Commissioner Kane arrived late.  It should be noted that he has been late eight of the last nine meetings and was absent before that, so he almost never hears public comment.

 

When Mr. Kane requested Friends financial reports, he thought those reports were going to serve his vanity.  I detailed that the real report is much more derogatory and that Mr. Kane does not want to hear the truth.  Neither of those statements is reflected here, effectively stripping out the meaning.

 

On page 6, the anonymous citizen expressed the hope that Commissioner Kane will press for answers to his questions.  The questions were about the Library Preservation Fund and he had been given wrong answers.  But the minutes do not show that Mr. Kane asked any questions.  Thus, this is a destruction of history.