SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 20, 2010

 

(As amended and approved at the June 17, 2010 regular meeting.)

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, May 20, 2010, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:41 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Nguyen and Ono

 

Commissioner excused: Munson

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen quoted former Commissioner Chin from the last meeting saying “Unless you are willing to donate money, I would say, shut up.”  He said history shows that the reason the Commission could never tolerate open discussion was because you were trying to sell some lie.  He said all of those lies have been exposed.

 

Peter Warfield, Executive Director, Library Users Association, said the previous speaker pointed out something very true and that is that long time Commissioner Chin did make those remarks at the last meeting.  He said perhaps that is an underlying concept at the Library Commission. He said at the Library Citizens Advisory Committee meeting the City Librarian said he is glad the library is maintaining open hours.  He said the Park branch will have no open hours for at least one year.

 

Sue Cauthen, Chair, Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), said that they had a very good presentation on the budget at their meeting.  She said they fell one vote short of the nine they needed to pass a resolution in support of the budget.  She said the LCAC has 17 members, 14 of whom are appointed by the Board of Supervisors and 3 by the City Librarian.  She said one of the Board of Supervisors’ positions is vacant and they only had one of the City Librarian’s appointees available to vote.

 

Joan Wood said she lives in North Beach and she would like to see the North Beach library renovated and not torn down.  She said the Historic Preservation Commission has initiated landmarking for the North Beach Branch.  She urged the Commission to not approve the Resolution under agenda item No. 2 and to reject the landmark designation for the North Beach Branch Library.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT AND URGING THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION TO INITIATE LANDMARK DESIGNATION FOR THE MARINA BRANCH LIBRARY AND REJECT THE LANDMARK DESIGNATION FOR THE NORTH BEACH BRANCH LIBRARY

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there is a draft resolution supporting the recommendations of the Planning Department before the Commission for action today.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the Marina Branch opened on August 4, 2007.  She said it was a renovation with an addition.  She said they were not able to add a program room to the branch.  She said the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) initiated a landmark study of the building in October 2009.  She said the Planning Department Landmark Designation Case Report recommends that the Marina Branch be designated as a landmark building.  She said the North Beach Branch was originally planned as a renovation of approximately 500 sq. ft. to offset the loss of public space to meet ADA requirements and seismic safety.  She said after public meetings in July 2003, the library looked for alternate locations and none were found.  She said in 2007 the Library Commission voted to expand the scope to a larger library.  A Master Planning Process in conjunction with the Recreation and Parks Department was held from March through September 2008. The Recreation and Park Committee and the Library Commission voted in September 2008 to approve the Master Plan which includes building a new building on the triangle.  She said the Environmental Impact Review for the project is still in process.  She said the Planning Department recommendation is to reject landmark status for the existing North Beach Branch Library.  She said the current library is on four levels and accessibility and functionality are very difficult. 

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said this would be more persuasive if the library had a background of respect for history and tradition in the past.  He said there have been plenty of instances where it would have been more prudent to respect the buildings you already have.  He said if you build the new building that will be a symbol of betrayal and regret for a large segment of the population.

 

Teresa Del Santo, President Yick Wo Elementary School Parent Teacher Association, said 60% of their students do not have computers in their homes.  She said they strongly support the proposed new North Beach Branch Library. 

 

Julie Christensen, member of the Friends of Joe DiMaggio playground, said she has been working on this project for eleven years.   She said she has appeared before the Historic Preservation Commission and they were told that the use of the building and the people who use them were not their issue buildings were   She said congratulations to the Commission for supporting the new branch and she hopes the Commission will reach out to the Commissioners of the Historic Preservation Commission and hope that they do what’s right for the City and not just for a building.

 

Howard Wong, Friends of the Appleton Wolford Libraries, said that many in the community support many of the programmatic requests from all parts of the community but they also feel that historic preservation fits very nicely.  He said he grew up going to the North Beach Library and he said it is a very special building.  He said many of the other renovations have been very well done and this could be as well.

 

Peter Warfield said when people start to lose their own sense of themselves and their own sense of their history they lose a portion of their own being and their own identity.  He said it seems appropriate that a library would not only preserve its valuable collection but its own history and its own historic buildings.

 

Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said the Branch Library Improvement Program is perhaps the most ambitious public preservation program that has ever occurred in this city.  She said every individual branch is looked at through the needs of the community.  She said the community has worked very closely to say what they really need.

 

Sue Cauthen said she is active in both the North Beach Neighbors and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers Association, both of whom are very much opposed to the Library’s plan.  She said they have a number of architects who have come up with plans for a renovation.  She said we have to consider our heritage.

 

Marian Chatfield-Taylor, Friends of the Library, said she is out in the community a lot and she has heard a tremendous amount of support for the new North Beach branch.  She is confident it will get tremendous fundraising support.

 

Pat Tora said she took part in the community meetings.  She said the consensus at those meetings was that people wanted a new library.  She said the library will encroach 18” past the current curb not the 20’ which one of the previous speakers alluded to.  She said she supports the resolution and encourages the Commission to reject the landmark designation for the North Beach branch.

 

Joan Wood said she would like to read a list of supporters.

 

President Gomez said because Ms. Wood spoke during the public comment portion on this item she could submit the list of supporters but would not be allowed to speak.

 

A gentleman in the audience said he has been a patron of the North Beach Branch library for the last 15 years.  He said he is very excited about having a new library and an expansion of open space.

 

A 50 year resident of the North Beach area said she has been going to the North Beach branch library all that time.  She said it clearly does not serve its purpose now.  She said she attended four of the five community meetings.  She said she strongly supports this resolution and she thinks most of the residents do too.   

 

Karen Mauney Brodek, Planner with Recreation and Parks Department, said she is here to answer any questions and to say that the Recreation and Parks Department and the Commission are working very closely on this.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane said he does appreciate the courtesy of the speakers on this issue.  He said the Commission and the library have been deeply concerned about each branch.  He said the library has won awards for historic preservation.  He said through the process he has come to believe that the existing building cannot be renovated to meet the needs of the library on that site.  He said he believes the Master Plan and the new library best serve the community and he will support the Resolution.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the Environmental Impact Report and how that impacts this issue. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said these are two separate issues and two separate processes.

 

President Gomez said the date at the bottom of page 2 should be corrected from “letter dated 9/14/10” to “9/14/09”.

 

Michael Jacinto, Environmental Planner with the Planning Department, said the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will look at whether the building is considered an historic resource for the purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act.  He said buildings over 45 years of age need to be evaluated for their historic potential.  He said the action the HPC is considering on whether to landmark the building or not is a separate issue from the EIR.  

 

President Gomez said the current library is not accessible so she asked how the library is handling that issue. 

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian said the programming has been located at the Joe DiMaggio clubhouse, which is adjacent to the building.   She said it is less convenient.  She said it is still an issue that the restrooms in the existing branch are not accessible.  She said they are working closely with the Mayor’s Office of Disability to insure that the branch can stay open.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Ono to approve the resolution supporting the recommendations of the Planning Department and urging the Historic Preservation Commission to adopt resolutions to initiate landmark designation for the Marina Branch Library and reject the landmark designation for the North Beach Branch Library with the correction to the date at the bottom of page 2 to correct the typo from 9/14/10 to 9/14/09. 

 

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

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3.  BRANCH LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM BUDGET TRANSFERS

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there are two memos before the Commission.  He said one is from Lena Chen dated April 30, 2010 and outlines a correction to the Parkside Branch Library budget.  He said the other is dated May 17, 2010 to the Commission and gives background on the requested Branch Library Improvement Program budget transfers.

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said the budget for the Parkside Branch was analyzed based on an incorrect projected budget.  At this time they are requesting that the Parkside budget be increased by $346,817 to correct that action.  She said this amount is actually lower than the initial project budget that was approved.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said there is a correction to the May 17, 2010 memo and that is the date for the requested action would be May 20, 2010.  She said the Library is requesting that the Commission transfer $138,500 from the Furniture Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) reserve for shelving and $208,317 from the program reserve to the Parkside Branch project.  She said the Parkside project will be fully funded through construction and the Program Reserve will total $1,821,624.  She said the second request is for a transfer of funds from closed out projects to the Program Reserve.  The requests are for $3,402 to be transferred from the Glen Park Branch; $75,000 from the Marina Branch; $1,143 from the West Portal Branch; and $855 from the Western Addition Branch.  She said the approval of both of these actions will bring the Program Reserve to a total of $1,902,024.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said this is something that has been back and forth.  He said when there was an impact on the program, you removed the alternative service funds and took 5% from each project to replenish the reserve.  He said the voters were promised that there would be no more than three or four branches closed at one time.  He said now that savings are flowing back into the reserve the original commitment for local service should be reviewed based on promises to the voters.

 

Peter Warfield said as the previous speaker said “do we have respect for previous commitments.”  He said are we going to use the $80,400 from closed projects for a storefront for the Park Branch, which he has found would cost $30,000.  He said no we are not going to use that because the City Librarian said we are too poor.  He said it is not a lack of money it is bad priorities.

 

Commission Discussion 

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, in response to a question from Commissioner Breyer said the reason for the accounting error was party because of the significant bid saving because of the economy.  She said too much was given back to the Reserve at about 40% construction phase so the additional amount needs to be transferred back into the project.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the savings projection was based on a projected budget rather than the approved budget.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there is pressure to close out the construction projects early but they will continue to do their best at accurately closing out the projects.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked if there were protocols in place to prevent this from happening again.

 

Commissioner Kane said he would look at these close outs more closely in the future. 

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Kane to approve the transfer of $138,500 from the Furniture & Equipment Reserve and $208,317 from the Program Reserve to the Parkside Branch budget; and that $80,400 would be moved from Glen Park, Marina, West Portal and Western Addition which are closed projects to the Program Reserve.  . 

 

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

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4.  BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager said in addition to the Regular report there will be an informational presentation on the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) process for the North Beach Branch Library from Michael Jacinto from the Planning Department.   She said the current budget report is available in the back and it shows the changes approved by the Commission as of February 4, 2010.  She said the approved budget is $188,910,119. She said the schedule report has been distributed to the Commissioners and is available in the back of the room.  She said schedule changes will be brought back to the Commission for approval at the July meeting.  She gave the status of the program and said that 7 property acquisitions are complete including Bayview.  She said the support services facility is in operation; 14 branches are complete and open; 8 branches are in construction; 1 branch, Bayview is in bid and award and 1 branch, North Beach is in EIR/design.  She showed photographs and gave reports on projects in construction including: Parkside; Visitacion Valley; Ortega; Anza; Merced; Golden Gate Valley; Presidio and Park. She gave the summary of public outreach and said the Historic Preservation Commission will be hearing the landmarking issue on June 16, 2010.

 

Michael Jacinto, Planning Department staff, explained the Environmental Review Process.  He said the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been a law for about 40 years.  He said in California, environmental review is to disclose the impacts of a project and to ensure public participation.  CEQA impact would be a substantial adverse change to the environment.  He said the Department uses a standardized checklist.  He said the North Beach Branch Library includes a traffic study.  He said cumulative impacts on potential land use changes in the neighborhood are also considered.  He said in April 2009 and initial study was prepared.  He said the areas that were identified as needing future study for the North Beach Branch library were historic resource issues, transportation, land use, shadow and visual quality.  He said those five topics are being studied thoroughly and a draft EIR will be available in June or July.  He said the Planning Department is also required to look at alternatives to the project. 

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the report involved 10 branches.  He said 8 of those 10 involve some delay.  He said acknowledgment of minimal delay is better than out of control delay and no review at all.  He said these delays should still concern you.  He said the summary of the EIR was so abstract that it was free of assumptions.  He said the EIR is hotly contested and mitigations are usually social and economic in nature.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the Park Branch, which closed for construction the first day of March, is an unnecessary closure, and there is no real library service.  He said November 10, 2010, is the approved open date and the community was told there would be a year- long closure.  He said that these dates seem to be not up to date.  He said on an approved budget of $189 million, it’s very interesting there is not money to pay rent for a storefront library in the area.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane said it looks like many of the projects have been delayed one or two months and he would like to see another column added where we convey good information about when these are going to be done.  He asked about the causes for the delays.  He asked about budget delays.

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager said some for the delays are due to rain. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they do not anticipate budget impacts for the delays except for the Bayview Branch.

 

Commissioner Kane said it is important that we show any schedule delays or budget impacts.  He asked about the Bayview Branch and when it will break ground.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they are still anticipating the Bayview Branch to break ground in early Fall.  He said the schedules need to be modified and we plan to come back to the Commission in July with schedule modifications. 

 

Commissioner Kane said he understands that the draft EIR will be issued in June and he asked about the expectation for certification of the report.

 

Michael Jacinto, Planning Department, said the timing is difficult to estimate on preparing a final EIR.  He said there is a minimum of 45 day review period.  He said it is assumed that the final EIR will be back to the Planning Commission by the end of the year.  He said there is a limited amount of staff in the Planning Department.  He said Planning Department staff reviews the work done by consultants on the EIR.  He said the Library Commission can make comments on the EIR as a commission or as individuals.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said he will find out if there is a protocol for the Commission to have input on the EIR. 

 

Michael Jacinto, Planning Department, said the Historic Preservation Commission will give its input into the EIR. 

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the schedule for the Park Branch.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said there have been small delays to the schedule.  She said there are so many projects that are scheduled to open in early 2011 that we are going to have to space out the openings and pace projects.  She said there were multiple bid protests on the Park Branch and Presidio Branch projects that have caused delays. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Park Branch will probably not open until spring, 2011. 

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF APRIL 15, 2010

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said this is an egregious example of the way the minutes are politically skewed.  He said the first four people under public comment spoke about the commission’s tactics in suppressing public comment.  He said in each instance, those comments are not reflected in the minutes.

           

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he agreed with the previous speaker with respect to the skewed reporting in the minutes.  He said he would like the Commission to correct under agenda Item No. 2.  that they were told that the Park Branch had an estimated delay of two months.  He said he does not see that in the Minutes.  He said they were told they would have an explanation at the next meeting.  He said when he speaks about the Park Branch he is referring to the interior open space and that should be reflected in the Minutes.

 

Commission Discussion

 

President Gomez said that the Commission is not under legal obligation to provide verbatim notes.  She said we need to provide information on the action items and a synopsis of comments.  She does not encourage changes unless they substantially change the information the Commission receives or acts upon.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Breyer to approve the minutes of April 15, 2010

 

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

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Kane to adjourn the regular meeting of May 20, 2010. 

 

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

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:59 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).

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 Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

Commissioner Chin said, “Unless you are willing to donate money, I would say, shut up” – once a very common attitude.  Before then the challenge was to attend the meeting at all.

 

I never thought I would live in a society where it was respectable to admit that the attributes of citizenship depend on a donation.

 

A senior library administrator told me, “actually I agree with you, but we can’t have people like you talking.”  People who are not donating money.

 

History shows that you could never tolerate open discussion because you were trying to sell some lie.

 

Free speech has to be protected for unpopular opinions and other social strata.

 

You create the impression that your contempt is for individuals and I am an easy victim of your contempt, but you are just human beings too.

 _______________________

 

Item 2: Resolution Supporting the Recommendations of the Planning Department and Urging the Historic Preservation Commission to Initiate Landmark Designation for the Marina Branch Library and Reject the Landmark Designation for the North Beach Branch Library

 

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

 

The citizens should have access to the graphics.

 

The handout was not even available when I arrived at the meeting.

 

This would be more persuasive if you had shown some respect for history and tradition in the past.  You have always advertised yourselves visionaries, as new car salesmen getting neighborhoods hot on the next futuristic vision.

 

There have been plenty of instances where it would have been more prudent to respect the buildings you already have.

 

There is a reference to a letter dated five months from now, a typo, I hope.

 

Having demonstrated your lack of respect for the past, do you want to build a library that will be symbol of betrayal and regret to a large segment of the population.  The library is supposed to be a symbol of pride for everyone.

 _______________________

 

Item 3: Branch Library Improvement Program Budget Transfers

 

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

 

The citizens should have access to the graphics.

 

The program reserve has been back and forth.

 

When the impact on the program was foreseen, you removed the alternative service funds and took 5% from each project to replenish the reserve.

 

The promise to the voters was that no more than three, or at the most four, branches would be closed at once. The voters were also told that careful planning would prevent any particular segment of the city from being overly impacted. 

 

The city has placed a very high priority on local service and unless you want to admit that local service does not matter, we should respect that commitment.

 

Now that we see savings flowing back into the reserve we should review those original priorities that were based on promises to the voters.

 

_______________________

 

Item 4: Bond Program Manager’s Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the hate, stop the ignorance – don’t give money to the Friends & Foundation.

 

If you listened to the report carefully you noticed that of ten branches, eight of them involved some delay.

 

It is good news in a way, because careful review and reports of minimal delay are better than out-of-control delay and no review at all.

 

I assume that the commission will follow its practice of approving the delay and altering the schedule.  The delay should still concern you.

 

The positive offset of so many branches being closed at once is that so much is getting done.  One wonders why this ambitious program could not have been implemented earlier so that the citizens could have had the use of these branches.

 

The review of the Environmental Impact Reports was free of assumptions, while actually they are hotly contested and mitigations are social and economic in nature.

_______________________

 

Item 5: Approval of the Minutes (April 15, 2010)

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the hate, stop the ignorance – don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

The minutes do not show the composition of the commission.

 

This is an egregious example of the way your minutes are politically skewed.

 

Each of the four people under public comment spoke about this commission’s tactics in suppressing public comment.  In each instance, those comments are not reflected here.

 

Peter Warfield’s comments reflected here start at his halfway point.  He spent the first half of his time talking about commissioners showing their inattention and lack of respect during public comment.

 

Ray Hartz stated that public comment and the right to participate was a constitutional right.

 

Sue Cauthen said that she was the one who was not permitted to speak, that the issue had not been addressed, and that participation was the bedrock of democracy.

 

The anonymous citizen’s thesis sentence was the suppression of public comment.