SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of January 20, 2011

 

(Approved as amended at the regular meeting of March 17, 2011).

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, January 20, 2011, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:35 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Nguyen, Ono and Randlett.

 

Commissioner Kane entered the meeting at 4:37 pm.

 

Commissioner Munson entered the meeting at 4:44 pm.

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AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said the Commission does not listen to his comments because it is not in their self-serving interest.  He said the Commission attempts to prevent people from attending the meetings, prevent people from speaking and then ignoring them when they speak.  (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said he is going to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force for a hearing on his complaint against the Library Commission.  He said he would like to chastise the Commission for ignoring the law.  He said the Ordinance clearly says that if a 150 word statement is submitted it should be included in the Minutes.  He said you can obey the law or use an excuse to avoid doing so.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he started coming to Library Commission meetings at the time the new Main library was being planned.  He said he has taken more than a dozen cases to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and has won the majority of those cases.  He said there is a case pending at the Ethics Commission involving the current Chair of the Library Commission.  He said it would be good for the Commission to put an item on an upcoming agenda about its relationship with Sunshine.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. BRANCH LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM SCHEDULE CHANGE

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the Library and DPW staff request that the Library Commission take action to approve a three month delay in the construction for the Anza Branch Library.  She said as a result of this action, the Anza Branch library will be completed in late May 2011 and the branch opening will be scheduled in late May or early June. 2011. 

She said the reasons for the delay are unforeseen existing site utilities and sub grade conditions requiring additional site work and extensive upgrade to existing foundation and delay in fabrication and delivery of steel windows.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said contingency funds will be used to cover the delay so there will be no impact to the budget of the project.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said we are back with another delay due to unforeseen sub grade conditions.  He said there have been egregious problems with sub grade conditions in the past and the administration should have had its antenna up.  He said he is glad this is coming before the Commission in a timely manner. (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he would suggest a presentation to the Library Commission on the kinds of delays and difficulties that have occurred on the branch projects.  He said it would be good if the Commissioners asked additional questions about the delay.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson asked about the sub grade conditions.

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said the Anza Branch is on a steep slope and is an old building.  She said the drawings don’t necessarily show the as-built conditions.  She said the drawings show the original design and there were many surprises when they began the construction of the project.

 

Commissioner Munson said he is happy that we are now doing as-built drawings.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the action before the Commission today involves the same delay that was discussed in November.  She said she wanted to clarify that this is not an additional delay.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the three month schedule change to the Anza Branch Library. 

 

Action:   AYES 7-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson, Nguyen, Ono and Randlett).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said there is a new Quarterly Report for the fourth quarter available in the back of the room.  She said this month there will be the regular, budget and schedule reports.  She said this month’s budget report shows the approved budget as $188,910,119.

She said there are additional supplemental appropriation fees of about $2.1 million from the Visitacion Valley Developer Fees.  She said of this about $1 million has been transferred to the program this week. She said the Bayview Branch is in pre-construction stage and the North Beach Branch is in the EIR/Design Development phase.  She said seven branches are in construction.  She said 15 branches are complete and open.  She said the BLIP team is working to coordinate the openings for these projects in the next year.  She said they are holding contractors accountable for any delays in the projects. She showed photographs and gave reports on projects in construction including:  Park; Presidio; Merced; Anza; Visitacion Valley; Ortega; and Golden Gate Valley. She said the City rescinded the award on the Bayview Branch Library and has now awarded the bid to KCK Builders. She said they anticipate beginning construction in April.  She said Planning Department staff is compiling a response to the comments made on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the North Beach Branch Library.  She said the Planning Commission will hold a hearing this spring to certify the EIR.   She gave a summary of public outreach activities.  She said the Park Branch Grand Reopening will be held Saturday, February 16, 2011 at 1:00 and she looks forward to seeing everyone there.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said there are 15 branches completed and the program was supposed to be completed in January of 2010.  He said there was never supposed to be more than three branches closed at one time.  He said now there are seven branches closed.  He said the budget includes $11.5 million from the Library Preservation Fund (LPF).  He said the $2 million in developer fees does not look like it is going to be returned to the LPF. (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the Park Branch invitation is nicely designed and looks like a tombstone.  He said that is appropriate because this is the end of the 100 year history of the Carnegie like building.  He said part of the quality lost is the interior open space.  He said you wouldn’t have put a low walled work area into City Hall’s rotunda and there shouldn’t be one in the Park Branch Library.  He said the North Beach Branch Library original budget was $3.46 million and now it is scheduled for $7.75 to $8.5 million.  He said the Ortega Branch was originally $3.56 million and is now approved at more than $10 million.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane had questions about the budget and cash flow for each project.  He said he is concerned about Lease Revenue Bonds and whether we will have enough money to complete all the projects.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there should be enough funds available for the Bayview Branch Library project without additional Lease Revenue Bonds. He said there are various options available for funding the North Beach Branch and that it is a timeline issue as well.  

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the soft costs for the Golden Gate Valley Branch and asked if there were any savings there.

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said she would get back to the Commission on the soft costs for the Golden Gate Valley Branch.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 FISCAL YEAR 2011/12 BUDGET UPDATE

 

John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said the budget goals are for a balanced budget and a budget to support service demands and related technology.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, and Luis Herrera, City Librarian explained the budget priorities including: Library Information Services and Collections; Programs, Partnerships and Community Outreach; Public Technology; Facilities and Asset Management; Public Safety and Security and Workforce Development.

 

John Doidge, CFO went over FY 12 budget challenges and FY 11 expense budget by program.

 

Jill Bourne gave an additional breakdown on the Books and Materials Allocation at $9.2 million.

 

John Doidge, CFO, went into more detail on the FY 11 Labor Budget.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian and Jill Bourne explained different approaches to balancing the budget.

 

John Doidge, CFO, said they will return to the Commission on February 3 with a review of the FY 12 budget proposal.  He said on February 17 the Commission will be asked to approve a budget. 

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said at the previous meeting on the budget Commissioner Kane expressed concern about part of the reserve being recaptured by the General Fund.  He said he had encouraged Mr. Kane to press for an answer.  He said none of this was reported in the Minutes.  He said the Library Preservation Fund was designed to be accounted for separately to facilitate a reserve.  He said this has cost the Library tens of millions, so there is no big payoff in ignoring the public.  (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he is concerned about possible proposals to reduce staff, reduce material allocation, and reduce public hours.  He said things such as library kiosks and sorting machines have not been analyzed or discussed by the Commission.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane had several questions about the reserve.  He said he appreciated the breakout of the labor budget.

 

John Doidge, CFO explained the library’s obligation for retirement and defined benefit plan.

 

Commissioner Kane said his priorities are the core functions of hours and services.  He said unfortunately some of the nice things the library does may have to be cut back.  He said maintenance is also very important to him.  He said the teen center could be postponed.  He said the things the library does for other Departments could be looked at again.  He said computer access is a very important function for the library.

 

Commissioner Breyer said it appears that the expenses at the Main are fairly equivalent to those at the Branches, but that 75% of circulation goes through the branches.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the Main Library is a circulation library but also is the research library for the City.  She said visits to the Main are a better indicator.  She said the circulation of books is very much in line with spending for adults, teens and children.

 

Commissioner Breyer said what we do with this year’s budget may affect the five year budget plan.

 

John Doidge, CFO, said the same kinds of trends are expected in the next five years.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said it is very early in the process of preparing the five year plan and they will bring it back to discuss with the Commission.

 

Commissioner Randlett said the Library is an entity that provides services but is not necessarily a revenue generator.  She said costs will be escalating and there will be increased demands.  She said a strategic budget plan would be a worthy task of the Commission to continue the legacy of the library. 

 

President Gomez said she would like to add to the priorities public safety and security and workforce development. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said he has heard from the Commission that some of the big ticket items need to be deferred and the library needs to maintain a robust service program for the community.

 

John Doidge, CFO, said we will be looking at improving technology, which will come at a higher cost so the question is what we need to charge for those services.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said any change to the price structure would require Commission action. 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said we have public comment at adjournment so that we can acknowledge the passing by way of an in memoriam, of those who have made a contribution to this institution or to libraries in general.  He said he would like to acknowledge the passing of a Children’s Librarian, Margaret Ysturiz, who served in the Children’s Room for forty-five years.  He said the Commission should adjourn in her honor.  (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of January 20, 2011 in honor of Margaret Ysturiz... 

 

Action:   AYES 7-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson, Nguyen; Ono; and Randlett).

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:31 pm.

 

Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary

 

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).

 

 

 

ADDENDUM

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.

Library Commission Meeting of January 20, 2011

                        

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

Anonymous Citizen: Stop the Corporate Rape of the Public Library – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.  You are not listening because it is not in your self-serving interest. The medium is the message. You go out of your way to demonstrate that you are not listening.

 

A policy body that represents the public makes this a democracy and makes the library a democratic institution.

 

Public comment provides the citizens some feeling of participation and control over their lives, but the more important rationalization for public comment that you deliberate on greater information and make higher quality decisions.

 

Damage flows from attempting to prevent people for attending, preventing people from speaking then ignoring them.

 

The public is entitled to that quality of decision making.  The public does not accept the bargain that democracy is nonsense because it is outweighed by the benefits of leadership from aristocrats like you.

 _______________________

 

Item 2: Branch Library Improvement Program Schedule Change

 

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

 

I do remember the previous meeting where there was an approval of schedule changes for Anza branch just recently along with Golden Gate Valley and Visitacion Valley.  A citizen in City Hall had told me that Anza was egregiously behind.  I thought it was less serious than I had been told.

 

The “unforeseen sub grade conditions” has become a motif of the branch remodeling, in the face of the fact that there have been egregious problems with sub grade conditions and your administration should have had its antenna up.

 

The Anza branch is on a dramatically steep hill, so sub grade conditions should be of the essence. The fact that this is coming before you on a case-by-case basis and on a timely basis is good news.  But there are still questions you need to ask.

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Item 3: Bond Program Manager’s Report

 

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

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if the citizens had access to the graphics. 

 

This was a better report than the Commission received for many years.  For some perspective, there are 15 branches completed, the program was supposed to be completed in January of 2010, and only three branches would be closed at once – there are seven branches closed now.

 

The budget includes $11.5 from the Library Preservation Fund, which the citizens approved in order to guarantee the operating budget and services in the face of any cost overruns.  There are also $2 million in developer fees, for which funds from the Library Preservation Fund were advanced, and now we are told will not be replaced.

 

Looking at the Anza illustration, the birds-eye is identical to the elevation so that the incline of the hill is invisible.

 _______________________

 

Item 4: Fiscal Year 2011/12 Budget Update

 

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

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if the citizens had access to the graphics. 

 

During the previous discussion, Commissioner Kane expressed concerns about part of the reserve being recaptured by the General Fund.  I encouraged him to press for the right answer.  Neither Mr. Kane’s concern nor my admonition was in the minutes.

 

Mr. Kane was told that the problem dated from the beginning of the Library Preservation Fund.  In fact the Library Preservation Fund was approved in June of 1994, and implemented in January, 1995, and it was by letter of April 23, 1998, that the Controller initiated changes, including diverting the reserve back into the General Fund.

 

The Library Preservation Fund was designed to be accounted for separately to facilitate a reserve.  This has cost the Library tens of Millions.  So, there is no big payoff in ignoring the public.

 _______________________

 

Item 5: Adjournment

 

Anonymous Citizen: I should explain that most of this commission are new commissioners.  Traditionally, a new commissioner was one with less than ten years of tenure.  Now the senior commissioners have barely six years, and the majority are new.

 

We have public comment at adjournment so that we can acknowledge the passing, by way of an in memoriam, of those who have made a contribution to this institution or to libraries in general. 

 

I would like to acknowledge the passing of a Children’s Librarian, Margaret Ysturiz, who served in our Children’s Room for forty-five years.  I think I remember her.  I am not sure when she retired, but she was 84 when she died on the day after Christmas.  I think we should honor her.