SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, February 1, 2007

(as amended and approved at the regular meeting of March 1, 2007)

The San Francisco Public Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 1, 2007, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

The meeting was called to order at 4:37 PM by Vice President Coulter who announced that President Higueras’s arrival would be delayed.

Commissioners present:  Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Kane, and Munson.  President Higueras arrived at 5:17 PM.  Commissioner Gomez was excused.

To accommodate the schedules of speakers, Vice President Coulter changed the order in which items on the agenda would be heard.

AGENDA ITEM #1: PUBLIC COMMENT

The anonymous citizen commented on institutional ethos, past disagreements between library commissioners, and public standards of conduct.

Peter Warfield reported that first-floor computer catalogs were difficult to find and that signage was lacking.  He reiterated his previous concerns that the distribution system for library reserves violates patron confidentiality.

AGENDA ITEM #5: RICHMOND/SENATOR MILTON MARKS BRANCH LIBRARY

City Librarian Luis Herrera explained that his intention had been to bring forward a recommendation regarding Richmond Branch at today’s meeting, but that continuing negotiation with the contractor required that this be postponed.  Mr. Herrera welcomed Marilyn Thompson, manager of the Branch Library Improvement Program, and Deputy Bureau Chief Joe Cheung from Bureau of Construction Management, Department of Public Works.

Ms. Thompson recalled the bid process for Richmond Branch renovation which resulted in only one contractor submitting a bid, and stated that follow-up interviews with other contractors revealed various reasons that they had not offered bids.  She reported that the director of Public Works had rejected the single bid for Richmond Branch based on authority granted under the City Charter, had assembled a team of in-house and outside experts to advise him, and had entered into negotiations with another contractor.

Mr. Cheung informed the commission of difficulties the city faces during the current highly competitive construction environment, and requested additional time to negotiate with the potential contractor and subcontractors.

In response to a question from Commissioner Bautista, the city librarian anticipated that he would be able to bring a recommendation to the commission at its meeting on February 15, and he emphasized his commitment to the Richmond Branch renovation.

During public comment the anonymous citizen expressed dissatisfaction with the order in which agenda items were being considered, noted that explanatory documents that had previously been offered regarding Richmond Branch were not listed, and recalled that Richmond had been scheduled as the first renovation project under the original plan.

Helen Archer-Duste, a Richmond district neighbor, spoke in support of the Richmond Branch renovation, and she described the importance of the branch to the neighborhood.  She pointed out that the branch is a historic building, and that the current plans preserve and amplify its quality in ways which she found both aesthetic and functional.  She underscored the linguistic richness of the district and its branch library, and encouraged the Library Commission to fully fund the project.

Ron Miguel, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR), expressed satisfaction with the series of workshops that the bond program had provided for the neighborhood during the design phase of the project, and he exhorted the commission to maintain the original concepts and scope of the branch renovation.

Camille She, a Richmond district neighbor and board member of PAR, introduced her two young daughters.  She explained to the commission the importance of the branch to her family and to the neighborhood, and urged the commission to proceed with the full Richmond renovation as originally planned.

Adam Berger, a Richmond neighbor and member of the Richmond District Branch Library Campaign, expressed appreciation for the work the library has accomplished toward the branch renovation and looked forward to the fulfillment of the project.

Peter Warfield expressed regret that Richmond, one of the most seismically-vulnerable branches in the city, had not yet been renovated, and questioned why the city did not receive more than one bid for the project and why that bid vastly exceeded the estimate.

In response to a question from Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Cheung cited lack of competition as the cause for the one bid being extremely high.

AGENDA ITEM #4: FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT

Friends of the Library Executive Director Donna Bero announced that the combined Richmond/Anza campaign had raised $340,000 toward its goal of $1-million.  She described the Friends’ recent Writers Remembered program, the upcoming Poets Eleven event, and plans for a three-day international poetry festival.  Ms. Bero reminded commissioners of the Laureates Dinner scheduled for April 20th.

Commissioner Bautista presented the Friends with a personal contribution.  President Higueras arrived at 5:17 PM and chaired the remainder of the meeting.

The anonymous citizen stressed that the Writers Remembered program was a co-sponsored event between the Public Library and the Friends.

Peter Warfield expressed his regard for the previous Writers Remembered programs that he had attended.

AGENDA ITEM #8: PUBLIC EMPLOYEE APPOINTMENT – SECRETARY, LIBRARY COMMISSION

The anonymous citizen expressed dissatisfaction with the recruitment process for commission secretary.

Peter Warfield agreed with the anonymous citizen, and he contrasted the process being used to select a commission secretary with the process used to appoint City Librarian Luis Herrera.

MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Chin, that the Library Commission enter into closed session pursuant to California Government Code Section 54957(b)(1) and San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.10(b) – Personnel Matter-Public Employee Appointment-Secretary, Library Commission.  Approved by the following vote: 6 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

President Higueras estimated that the closed session would last approximately one-half hour, and pursuant to California Government Code Section 54957(b)(1) and San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.10(b) the San Francisco Public Library Commission entered into closed session at 5:26 PM.

Commissioner Munson departed the meeting at 6:37 PM.

At 6:38 PM the commission returned to open session with four members present; Commissioner Chin had not yet returned to the auditorium. 

MOTION: by Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Bautista, that pursuant to San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.12(a), the commission not disclose any of the discussions held in closed session and to direct the president to invite back top candidates for commission secretary to be interviewed at a later time.  The motion was subsequently approved by the following vote: 5 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Kane.

The anonymous citizen expressed dissatisfaction with the process being used to appoint a commission secretary.

Peter Warfield questioned whether the appointment process being utilized was proper.  President Higueras responded that commission secretary was a civil service position, was being handled in compliance with civil service rules, and should not be equated with the appointment process for a city librarian. 

AGENDA ITEM #3: CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT

City Librarian Luis Herrera reported on the recent American Library Association Mid-winter Conference.  He urged library commissioners to attend the reopening of West Portal Branch on February 10th as well as the upcoming reopening of Sunset Branch.

Mr. Herrera welcomed Chief of Main Kathy Lawhun who provided a handout entitled “1st Floor Renovation: Building Better Services for San Francisco” and summarized remodeling efforts underway in the main library.

In response to questions from President Higueras, Ms. Lawhun explained that the library was successfully negotiating mitigations with the contractor to avoid having to close the main’s first-floor public restrooms for any extended period of time.

The city librarian informed the commission that at a future meeting he would bring forward a plan to increase Sunday open hours in the branch system.

Mr. Herrera described the Public Library’s work with Recreation & Park Department to repair a bench near Western Addition Branch, and with DPW to complete work within the next several weeks on a retaining-wall project near Presidio Branch.

The city librarian offered an update on the library privacy audit.  He reported that a consultant working with a committee of library staff was examining the library’s policies and practices for collecting, maintaining, and safeguarding confidential patron and staff information, and he anticipated bringing findings and recommendations from the audit to the Library Commission at a future meeting.

Mr. Herrera deferred to the next meeting his report on Marjorie Stern’s bequest to the library.

The anonymous citizen commented on Supervisor Mirkarimi’s resolution urging the Library Commission to provide Sunday hours at branches.  He expressed dissatisfaction with the length of time the library has taken with this matter.

Peter Warfield read aloud a portion of the Board of Supervisors’ resolution urging the equitable distribution of Sunday hours at branches.

Sue Cauthen, Library Citizens Advisory Committee member, recalled previous discussions she had with the city librarian, and the resolution calling for additional Sunday and Monday open hours that LCAC had adopted.

In response to questions from commissioners, Mr. Herrera stated that the library has a working group examining the issue of providing additional open hours at branches, and that he expects to provide a recommendation to the commission next month which would implement additional hours prior to the end of the current fiscal year.

AGENDA ITEM #6: LIBRARY FY 2007-08 BUDGET WORKSHOP

The city librarian informed the commissioners that at their next meeting he would request approval for the budget which is due to the mayor’s budget analyst on February 21st, and he welcomed Library Finance Director Jay Manglicmot. 

Mr. Manglicmot provided reports dated February 1, 2007, entitled “Public Library: 2007-08 Proposed Budget” and “Budget Change Proposal,” and he and the city librarian summarized the budget for the commission.

The anonymous citizen commented on what he perceived to be discrepancies between the budget reports, and he questioned the appropriateness of transferring library funding to the Branch Library Improvement Program.

Peter Warfield opposed the transfer of $4-million from the library to the bond program, and he expressed alarm at the BLIP’s total projected budget shortfall.

In response to a question from President Higueras, the city librarian estimated that 12% of the total proposed budget would be expended for library materials.  Mr. Manglicmot indicated that the proposed budget consolidates materials-related spending, and the city librarian offered to return to the commission with analysis of inflation rates for library materials and databases.

In response to questions from Commissioners Chin and Bautista, the finance director explained that the proposed budget includes an expenditure of reserve funds.  In response to President Higueras, Mr. Herrera estimated that approximately three-quarters of the total budget is spent for staffing.

President Higueras voiced support for using library funds to maintain and renovate library facilities, and he emphasized the extent to which the worldwide escalation of construction costs had eroded the purchasing power of the library’s bond-funded renovation projects.

In response to questions from Commissioner Kane regarding deferred maintenance, the city librarian stated that certain large maintenance expenses are budgeted over a period of years and that the proposed budget request adequately addresses them.  President Higueras suggested that the library prepare a five-year facilities budget, and the city librarian agreed that such a process would be useful, particularly for items such as carpet replacement in the main library and facilities upgrades in the branches.  Mr. Herrera noted that the proposed budget also includes the same amount of money for additional Sunday hours as the current budget.

Mr. Manglicmot noted that expenses that are not baseline expenses are considered to be budget changes, even if the expenses also occurred in the previous year, because of the controller’s instructions for baseline budgeting.

Commissioner Chin departed the meeting at 8:08 PM.

AGENDA ITEM #2: APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

The anonymous citizen expressed dissatisfaction with the draft minutes for the January 4th meeting, with his citizen summaries not being included in the draft minutes, and with the sound quality of the audiotape of the January 18th meeting.  He noted that the January 4th minutes do not properly credit him for pointing out that Nancy Pelosi was a former library commissioner.

Peter Warfield agreed with the anonymous speaker’s point regarding Speaker Pelosi, and requested that his own remarks concerning seismic safety be clarified with the word “poorest” seismic ratings, instead of merely “poor.”

Commissioner Coulter requested that the minutes give the anonymous citizen credit for pointing out that Nancy Pelosi was a former library commissioner, and President Higueras requested that Mr. Warfield’s remarks concerning seismic safety be amended to reflect that he said poorest seismic ratings.

MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of January 4, 2007, as amended.  Approved by the following vote: 4 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Kane.


AGENDA ITEM #7: LABOR UNION REPORT

No report

AGENDA ITEM #9: NEW BUSINESS

Commissioner Bautista requested that the commission invite Jim Haas to a meeting to discuss the brochure produced by Civic Pride.

The anonymous citizen recalled his youth.

Mr. Warfield requested that items commissioners suggest for new business appear on future agendas.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Kane, that the regular meeting of February 1, 2007, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission be adjourned.  Approved by the following vote: 4 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Kane.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM.

Richard Walsh

Acting Secretary

Please note:  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).


 

The Public Comment Summary Statements included in these Minutes are authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16.  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.

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Fraiicisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1, 2007
Item 1
Public Comment
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
This Deputy City Attorney performed the transition from sitting in the audience to sitting on the stage and I always wanted her testimony about whether these meetings look any different.
1 have been talking about the institutional ethos, or the ways institutions have a personality. The way it got started here is that John Bransten refused to attend a meeting with Marjorie Stern, and subsequently resigned. After that it became about who could drive who out of the library.
There was a time when Mr. Coulter ran into an equal and opposite force in the person of Mr. Herlihy. That it was not a pretty sight is an understatement.
The point is that this is a public meeting and there are supposed to be public standards of conduct.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting. February 1. 2007
Item 2:
Approval of the Minutes: January 4, 2007
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
You have increased the margins and increased the typeface to conceal the fact the minutes are so grossly abbreviated as to compare to your worst examples from history.
The citizens summaries from the last time were not included and you claimed an administrative error. Apparently you have abandoned that explanation because these minutes do not include the citizen summaries.
The January 18 tape recording is about onethird inaudible. It is your claim that audio recordings are a suitable substitute. That shows it is not the case.
At this meeting I drew attention to 42 US Code 9501, related to the right to an explanation. That is not here and would be available if the citizen summaries were attached.
It was I that drew attention to Nancy Pelosi being a former Library Commissioner.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1, 2007
Item 3:
City Librarian’s Report
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution encouraging you to address Sunday hours in the branches.
There are a couple things the City Librarian did not mention.
Supervisor Mirkarimi also said that there is a question about equal treatment with respect to certain areas in the City that have a skewed representation on Sunday.
The issue is not so much equal treatment as respect for the citizens. Citizens have stated over and over that their priority is Sunday hours. You have basically filibustered an entire year with respect to proper expenditure of this year’s budget.
The issue is whether you respect the Supervisors who have a right to set priorities in the budget. If they back up a priority with $480,000 that priority ought to have been respected by now.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1, 2007
Item 4:
Friends of the Library Report
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
I have it on good authority that Ellen Egbert is still giving money to the Friends, but this is only February.
The Writers Remember event is co-sponsored by the Friends & Foundation with the Library itself. I did go in hopes that no one would recognize me, and that appears to have been the case.
I am not sure how lively it was. We were celebrating people who have passed away. I enjoyed in very much. It as at least partially a Library event.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1, 2007
Item 5:
Richmond/Senator Milton Marks Branch Library
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
I always speak as an anonymous citizen.
It is regrettable that we are not going to have a decision today.
It might have been more fruitful to have the budget workshop before this item, since the budget implications are crucial.
I hope when it comes back in two weeks there will be explanatory documents.
It should not be forgotten that this renovation was scheduled first before this budgetary pressure and it was some mistakes in relationship with and lack of consultation with the neighborhood that produced the delay in the first place.
I hope that the delay is realistic and that you are not just hoping that the people won’t come back, because I assure you that they will.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1, 2007
Item 6:
Library FY 2007-08 Budget Workshop
“Stop the I-late! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money froni the Friends & Foundation.
The slides were not available to the public.
The Budget Change Proposals that were mailed were six pages, but those available at this meeting were missing all of the even numbered pages.
There seems to be a discrepancy between the proposals and the figure for change in total expenditures.
The proposals include the BLIP transfer of $4 Million. The BLIP transfer is not a change proposal. There was a $4 Million transfer in last year’s budget so you are just continuing to transfer money out of the library’s operating budget into capital improvements in the Bond Program.
Citizens voted for the Library Preservation Program exactly so that there would be money for operating the library irrespective of any bond program.
How you will explain this to the citizens, I don’t know.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1, 2007
Item 8—Part 1:
Public Employee Appointment — Secretary, Library Commission
“Stop the Hate! Stop the ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
This items comes without context. Previous hirings of a Commission Secretary have included extensive discussion of criteria, qualifications, process, consultants, aspects of the search and how wide the net would be cast.
Those discussions cannot take place in closed session. It is only the appointment itself that can take place in closed session. One wonders why you are proceeding without any of the context that we have seen before. I hope this is not getting toward the end.
We have made jokes about the only possible successful candidate would be Karl Rove and whether he would be available.
That points jokingly to a very serious issue which is that this person is not going to go through the kind of honeymoon that is sometimes expected. I hope you told him that.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1, 2007
Item 8 — Part 2:
Public Employee Appointment — Secretary, Library Commission
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
I am not sure you have understood your deputy city attorney to the effect that you do not have to take public comment at this point. But if you want to hear from me again that is fine.
By voting not to disclose, you have inadvertently disclosed that there are now top candidates.
Based on my peripheral observation, apparently the City Librarian and the Assistant City Librarian are themselves candidates. They seem to have been a part of your session and I am sure your city attorney advised you that including people in your closed session waives the confidentiality that justifies the closed session.
We are already at the place where there are top candidates? It gives me a shiver.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February’ 1, 2007
Item 9:
New Business
“Stop the hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to time Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
My anonymity is suffering more than usual.
I love show and tell. This brings me back to my childhood, when show and tell was just the most fun thing ever.
All of this brings me back to my childhood when every light seemed so bright. And it seemed that if you just waited one more year, when you thought you would be a whole other person in another year. Another year was like, ‘I’m going to be five now.’
Since the clock is not on, I have unlimited time right?
Since I don’t have unlimited time perhaps I will sit down. I am always in favor of new business, and I wish I was as anonymous as in those days.”