SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
(as amended and approved at the regular meeting of March 15, 2007)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 15, 2007, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

The meeting was called to order at 4:39 PM with Commissioners Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Munson present.  Commissioner Gomez arrived at 4:52 PM.

AGENDA ITEM #1: PUBLIC COMMENT

Sue Cauthen, member of the Library Citizens Advisor Committee (LCAC), announced that the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation extending the committee for another two years, and she expressed pleasure at working to ensure that San Francisco Public Library excels.

The anonymous citizen commented on recent articles, letters, and an editorial that appeared in the San Francisco Examiner regarding San Francisco Public Library and the bond program.

Peter Warfield, LCAC member, showed members of the commission a copy of the Examiner and described articles and letters that dealt with the library’s bond program and Sunday open hours.  He stated that the newspaper’s interest reflected the public’s support of library services in general, despite criticism of the library’s financial management.

AGENDA ITEM #2:  APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

The anonymous citizen expressed dissatisfaction with the minutes of the meeting of January 18, 2007, and he announced that the Board of Supervisors recently honored former Library Commissioner Rae Richardson. 

 

Commissioner Gomez arrived at 4:52 PM.

 

Peter Warfield expressed dissatisfaction with the minutes and offered examples where he felt that his statements were misrepresented.

MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, January 18, 2007, as circulated.  Approved by the following vote: 7 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

AGENDA ITEM #3: RICHMOND/SENATOR MILTON MARKS BRANCH LIBRARY

President Higueras explained that he had hoped the commission would be able to take action on the renovation of Richmond Branch at this evening’s meeting, but that negotiations were not yet complete and the item would have to be postponed to a future meeting.  He reiterated the Library Commission’s intention to realize the Richmond renovation project as originally designed, and he welcomed public comment on the issue.

The anonymous citizen criticized the commission for placing Richmond Branch renovation on the past three agendas and not taking action, and President Higueras reiterated for him the cause of the delay and expressed the commission’s sense of urgency related to the Richmond project.  The anonymous citizen addressed the importance of public comment.

Tim Hines, co-chair of the Richmond District Library Campaign, introduced his son and urged the Library Commission to move forward with the Richmond Library renovation as originally designed.

Peter Warfield, President, Library Users Association, suggested that action items not be added to agendas unless the commission is certain that it will be able to take action, and he characterized the agenda’s wording of the Richmond Branch item as ambiguous.

Ron Miguel, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond, expressed gratitude to the Library Commission for repeatedly calendaring this item so that it would be in a position to take action as soon as possible.  Mr. Miguel emphasized that if the renovation project had not appeared on the agenda and the negotiations had been completed as hoped, action would have been delayed because the commission cannot consider items that do not appear on the agenda.

Sherrie Rosenberg, a member of the Richmond District Library Campaign, thanked the commission and voiced agreement with Mr. Miguel’s statements in favor of keeping Richmond Branch on each agenda until the library is in a position to take action.  She articulated the community’s support for the project as originally designed, and invited commissioners to participate in the upcoming Richmond District History Day.

A Richmond parent of five children commented on the condition of the branch, the need for seismic upgrade, and neighborhood support for the renovation.

Adam Berger, a Richmond neighbor and member of the Richmond District Library Campaign, spoke in support of moving forward with the original design.

David Hooper, an Excelsior District neighbor, recalled the recent success of the West Portal Branch renovation and urged the commission to provide an equally successful project for the Excelsior.  He praised the library’s community-planning process for branch renovations and the fundraising by Friends which he stated increased people’s involvement in their communities.

Donna Bero, executive director of Friends of the Library, expressed appreciation to the members of the community for whom the library is so important and to the commission for its commitment to Richmond Branch.

Marian Chatfield-Taylor, Friends of the Library, read aloud statements submitted by Carolene Marks and Elaine Conn in support of Richmond Branch renovation as originally designed.

President Higueras thanked members of the public who appeared at the meeting.  The chair affirmed that the Library Commission remains committed to renovating Richmond Branch, and that the matter will remain an action item on future agendas until it can be approved.

AGENDA ITEM #4: BRANCH LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (BLIP) REPORT

 

City Librarian Luis Herrera introduced the BLIP report, and he and BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson narrated a PowerPoint presentation.  Mr. Herrera recommended schedule and budget changes for five BLIP projects—Bayview, Golden Gate Valley, Merced, North Beach, and Ortega—and proposed a series of funding options and future actions.

Commissioner Chin departed the meeting at 6:14 PM

The anonymous citizen expressed dissatisfaction with the financial management of the Branch Library Improvement Program and transfers from library operating funds into branch renovations.

Fran Martin, chair of the Visitacion Valley Planning Alliance, urged that the commission provide a new branch for the neighborhood and emphasized the need for enhanced services for Visitacion Valley’s diverse community.

Camilla Smith inquired about the schedule for approving the renovation of Richmond Branch.

Anne Seeman spoke in agreement with Fran Martin’s statements and urged the Public Library to provide a new branch facility for Visitacion Valley.

Celeste Jimenez, a Visitacion Valley resident, urged the commission to construct a new branch for the neighborhood.

Mauricio Vela, Save the Bernal Preschool, recommended that the library expand Bernal Heights Branch.

Betty Parshall, a Visitacion Valley neighbor, requested a timeline for that branch’s construction.

Edie Epps, a Visitacion Valley resident, described inadequacies of their current branch and requested that the commission provide a new facility as soon as possible.

Crezia Tano, Visitacion Valley Business Opportunities and Outreach to Merchants, addressed the importance of a new branch library for both the business community and residents of Visitacion Valley.

Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, expressed appreciation for the detailed presentation and for the plan that was being presented to equitably address the library needs of San Francisco’s neighborhoods.  She promised Friends’ participation in the ongoing public/private partnership to advance the Branch Library Improvement Program.

A resident of Visitacion Valley and member of the Planning Alliance requested that the project for that branch begin during the current year.

Peter Warfield expressed alarm regarding increased project costs and opposed the transfer of money from the library operating budget to the bond program.

Christine Leishman, Friends of the Library, expressed gratitude to Marilyn Thompson for her clear analysis of the bond program, and to the city librarian for coming forward with a plan that is responsive to the needs of the city and its residents. 

Commissioner Kane expressed concern regarding delay in renovation of Bayview Branch, and he counseled the library to obtain an independent financial review of the entire bond program.  The commissioner noted that independent review would be useful in responding to critics, as well as ensuring that the library’s management of the program reflects best practices.  He questioned the purpose of the $4-million transfer to the bond program.

Commissioner Munson voiced support for Commissioner Kane’s suggestion that the library obtain an independent review of the bond program.  He added that contracting requirements imposed by the city also raise the costs of projects.

President Higueras and Mr. Herrera expressed apprehension that any process that delays renovations will subject the library to escalated construction costs.  The city librarian agreed to research various options to address the concerns which Commissioners Kane and Munson had raised.

The commission president questioned whether some communities might prefer immediate remodeling instead of delayed construction of a new branch.  In response to questions from commissioners, the city librarian agreed to continue to seek community engagement, and he restated the Public Library’s commitment to fulfilling all 26 branch library projects.

Commissioner Bautista pointed out that several of the branch projects have expanded in scope due to evolving community needs, and that a portion of the budget shortfall can be attributed to that. 

President Higueras declared a recess at 7:04 PM, and reconvened the meeting at 7:19 PM.

AGENDA ITEM #5: BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT

 

The commission president postponed this item to a future meeting.

AGENDA ITEM #6:  LIBRARY FY 2007-2008 BUDGET

City Librarian Herrera welcomed Library Finance Director Jay Manglicmot who provided a PowerPoint presentation on the proposed FY 2007-08 budget.  Mr. Herrera and Deputy City Librarian Jill Bourne explained specific differences in the budget change proposals (BCPs) from those presented at the February 1st meeting, including plans the library is developing to provide additional open hours on weekends.

The anonymous citizen expressed concern regarding the projected cost of adding Sunday hours, sought reassurance regarding Fuhrman fund expenditures, and questioned whether the library’s proposed budget reserve is sufficient.

Peter Warfield expressed dissatisfaction with the budget proposal, with delays in planning and implementing Sunday open hours, with the addition of unevaluated programs, with the transfer of $4-million from the library’s budget to the BLIP, and with the book budget.

In response to questions from Commissioner Bautista, the city librarian affirmed that the library spends Fuhrman funds for the purpose for which they were intended.

Commissioner Kane spoke in favor of additional weekend open hours and reiterated his concern regarding the $4-million transfer.  Mr. Herrera indicated that library staff would return to the commission at its next meeting with a proposal for earmarking the transferred funds for specific projects, and that a plan would be presented to the commission in March to increase open hours.

In response to questions from Commissioner Munson, Mr. Herrera explained that staff members from branches that are closed for renovation are redeployed throughout the library system and to neighboring branches to provide additional coverage and open hours.

In response to Commissioner Kane, Mr. Manglicmot stated that the mayor’s office is requiring the library to delineate specific purposes for the budget transfer.  The commissioner suggested amending the motion to approve the budget to earmark the entire $4-million for a single project or for open hours, and the commission president countered that the transfer be used to initiate planning and design for one or more of the five deferred projects.  Vice President Coulter theorized that a political process is unfolding that may resolve the issue of the deferred renovation projects, and Commissioner Kane withdrew his proposal to amend the motion to approve the budget. 

Mr. Manglicmot reckoned that additional money from property tax would most likely become available during the next fiscal year, which the Library Commission could expend through a supplemental budget request.  Commissioner Bautista expressed caution regarding earmarking funds, and the city librarian responded that the mayor’s budget for the library would include earmarks based on already-approved construction schedules.

MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter, to approve the library’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2007-2008.  Approved by the following vote: 6 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

AGENDA ITEM #7: ADJOURNMENT

 

President Higueras invited a motion to adjourn this evening’s meeting in memory of former Library Commissioner Dorothy Casper.    Mrs. Casper was appointed by Mayor Joseph Alioto, was the wife of former Fire Chief Andrew Casper and served for two years on the Commission.

The anonymous citizen recalled Dorothy Casper and that she was on the Commission in 1975 and 1976.  He said that because she was the wife of the Fire Chief that brought a little bit of glamour to the Library Commission.  She was a strong advocate of openness at the Commission meetings and was 82 years old when she died.

MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Kane, that the regular meeting of Thursday, February 15, 2007, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission be adjourned in memory of former Library Commissioner Dorothy Casper. Approved by the following vote: 6 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

The meeting adjourned at 8:04 PM in memory of former Library Commissioner Dorothy Casper.

Richard Walsh

Acting Secretary, Library Commission

 

 

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.

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1 5, 2007
Item I:
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 past week included one of those incidents which has emblematic power far beyond its immediate effects. The SF Examiner published articles on the Bond Program and Sunday hours and four letters by myself, Ms. Egbert, Mr. Higueras and Mr. Warfield. A very clever satirist could have written the letters as they were so representative of the nature of the positions.
Despite Ms. Egbert’s opinion that as slaves we should be grateful and Mr. Higueras’ opinion that we should believe it one more time, the editorial board wasn’t buying it. What is at stake is the basic nature of our society and democracy. We are not going to trade that for shiny light fixtures.
They completely endorse my position as the “unknown autodidact” who will always prevail because there are so many of us.”

Public Coniment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 15, 2007
Item 2:
Approval of the Minutes: January 18. 2007
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
The Supervisors honored former IAbrary Commissioner Dr. Raye Richardson and she said that if you are going to go to the meeting, get yourself in the minutes.
These summaries continue your practice of increasing the typeface and the margins to conceal the extreme abbreviation of these minutes. You have ceased to differentiate with a heading between public comment and the commissioner’s discussion. Your discussion has been equally abbreviated, but the idea is to achieve equality by treating the public better not degrading yourselves.
Citizen summaries are attached in some form. New secretary Karl Rove will be livid at being so undermined.
Under public comment I attempted to make a point about corporate exploitation.
Under performance measures there is no mention of the discussion of efficiency and benchmarks and Mr. Herrara’s promise to revisit the issue.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 1 5, 2007
Item 3:
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.
Here’s the yo-yo again. Come. Don’t come. Coming out three times to be there when the decision is made is a sort of abuse.
jlnterrupted by chair.]
I would expect you to wait until the end of my comments. You don’t respond to my questions.
[Interrupted by chair again.]
I understand many things. One of the most important things I understand is that when you show respect for public comment, that means allowing people to say what they want to say without characterizing it as positive, negative or demonstrating what you think they are supposed to understand, what gaps they have in their understanding or in some way try to ridicule or diminish what people believe and want to say.
I thought you had reached the point of respect for public comment enough to let people speak without interruption.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 15, 2007
Item 4:
Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Report
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the citizens could also present slides?
The staff slides were not available at the start of the meeting. As Mr. Iligueras says, Ironies within ironies.
What if any of this were true? Who would believe it?
Mr. Herrera states that he learned a lot. Ms. Thompson said, we always knew this from the beginning.
Ms. Thompson is closer to the truth.
The expenditure $9 million on the Support Center was your decision. The expenditure on Mission Bay was the occasion of the 5% reduction out of each budget.
Mr. Herrera has already explained to the Capital Planning Committee that the program will simply be extended until 2017. Four million out of every budget for the next ten years and the problem is solved.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 15, 2007
Item 6:
Library FY 2007-2008 Budget
“Stop the Hate! Stop the ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
I miss the Bond Manager’s Report.
We are told that three-quarters of a Million dollars will give us six branch days on Sunday. I am incredulous.
The missing factor is the branches closed for renovation. A recent hand count found that there will be fourteen branches closed. Are there staff savings when branches are closed? Are those people working for the contractors? There should be savings that can be used for Sunday hours.
I can’t let another budget cycle go by without mentioning the Fuhrman Fund. You are the trustees of Fuhrman Fund and are supposed to be monitoring it.
1 am generally in favor of using the money rather than a large reserve. I am wondering why you as advocates of a large reserve consider this reserve sufficient.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, February 15, 2007
Item 7:
Adjournment
“I am disappointed that I was not able to remind you of the passing of Mrs. Dorothy Casper.
She was on the Library Commission when I first started coming. I knew her in 1975 and 1976 and I though she had been on the commission for some time before that.
She was the wife of the Fire Chief back in the days when that was a prestigious position to have. The Fire Department has always occupied a special place in San Francisco and Andrew Casper was one of the last of the charismatic Fire Chiefs.
To have the wife of the Fire Chief brought a little glamour to the proceedings.
In the context of those days, advocacy of democracy meant supporting the participation of rank and file librarians and Dorothy Casper was very much a champion of the rank and file librarians.
I urge you to adjourn in her honor.”