Minutes of the Regular Meeting of June 18, 2009


(As approved at the Regular Meeting of July 16, 2009).


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, June 18, 2009, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order at 4:42 pm.


Commissioners present: Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, and Ono


Commissioners excused:  Munson and Lee


Commissioner Chin entered the meeting at 4:45 pm.




An anonymous citizen said there are some changes to the agenda regarding public comment.  He said the Commission is not fooling anyone with changing the agenda after the fact.  He said there is a relationship between the planning disasters in this institution’s history and the Commission’s contempt for public comment.  He said process does matter. 


Sue Cauthen, Chair of the Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), said there has been some confusion over the LCAC’s position on the North Beach Library and she wanted to clarify that the resolution they passed in November recommended that both Departments take a fresh look at the project including alternative sites.  She said the Historic Preservation Commission is very concerned about the demolition of the Ortega and the North Beach branches.


Peter Warfield said the language on the agenda has been changed to restrict general public comment to items not on the agenda.  He said it is unnecessarily restrictive.  He said the bold note at the top of the agenda, however, does let the public know there will be public comment on each individual item.


President Gomez announced that the Commission will lose a quorum at 6:00 pm so they will do their best to get through the agenda before that time.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he thought someone would read the resolution before public comment.  He said Al Harris’ first meeting was February 7, 2008 and his last meeting was May 7, 2009.   He said history has always shown that the top people always get out early.


Peter Warfield said he too is disappointed that the Resolution has not been read aloud but he does support it. He said Al Harris has been serious in his efforts to make the library a better place.  He said it is unfortunate Commissioner Harris is leaving and he does wish him well. 


Commission Discussion


President Gomez read the Resolution honoring and commending Al Harris for the significant contributions he made for the betterment of San Francisco’s public library system. 


Motion:  By Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo to approve the Resolution to honor, commend and thank Al Harris for his service to the San Francisco Public Library Commission.


Action:  AYES 5-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, and Ono).


Al Harris said it has been an honor to serve and said as you know the library campaign continues.  He said there is still a lot of work to do and he will continue working even though he is no longer a Commissioner.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there is a draft resolution before the Commission recommending to the Board of Supervisors approval of a lease for the Main Library Lower Level Café.  He gave the background about the café in the Library.  He said a copy of the lease will be on file in the Library Commission Secretary’s office. 


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the letter in the packet gives some background.  He said in February this year Requests for Proposals (RFP) went out without the Commission hearing public comment about it.  He said there has been concern that people have not been able to bring their own food into the café. 


Peter Warfield said the RFP was not brought to the Commission and that is a matter of great concern.  He said this library is desperately short of space for its own collections.  He said most libraries do not allow food.  He said poor people cannot afford to buy anything in the café.  He said the library has been a haven for people to receive equally the services of the library.  He said in the café that is notably not the case.


Commission Discussion


There was no Commission Discussion


Motion:  By Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Ono to approve a Resolution endorsing lease of a 683 square foot portion of the Main Library Lower Level for use as a café.


Action:  AYES 5-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, and Ono).




Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said there are no informational reports this month.  She said the regular report and special reports on the Golden Gate Valley and Bayview/Anna E. Waden Peer Review Responses will be given. She said as of 5/31/09 the approved budget was $187,166,352. She said the schedule report has been distributed to the Commissioners and is available in the back of the room.  She said the schedule changes include changes approved by the Commission for the Park, Presidio, Ingleside and Richmond branches.  She gave the status of the program and said that 7 property acquisitions are complete including Bayview, the support services facility is in operation; 10 branches are complete and open; 7 branches are in construction; 2 branches are in bid and award phase and 5 branches are in design. She showed photographs and gave reports on projects in construction including: Ingleside; Bernal Heights, Eureka Valley; Potrero; Parkside; Visitacion Valley; and Ortega.  She said the 2 branches in bid and award are Anza and Merced.  She gave an update on projects in design including Park; Presidio; and North Beach.  She said Brian Bannon will present peer review responses for two of the branches.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said a Peer review for the Bayview Anna E. Waden Branch was held on December 4, 2008.  He showed photographs and drawings of the design of the building and presented responses to nine issues raised at that peer review.  He said there was also a peer review on the Golden Gate Valley Branch on December 4, 2008 and he showed photographs and drawings of the design and presented responses to six issues raised at that peer review.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said the Anza closing party was held May 23; the Visitacion Valley Groundbreaking was held June 3; the Merced Closing Party was June 6; and the Ortega Groundbreaking will be June 26, 2009.  She showed photographs of the Richmond Branch opening and the Visitacion Valley branch groundbreaking.



Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he attended the Richmond Branch opening and the Visitacion Valley groundbreaking.  He said the Golden Gate Valley branch will be replacing mature trees with new trees and the view shown on the presentation does in fact not exist.


Peter Warfield said the Richmond branch opening was a festive opening.  He said he was specifically named by Mrs. Milton Marks as someone who she had a great respect and appreciation for.  He said the reserves on books in the adult area of Golden Gate Valley are kept in open areas where anyone can see them.  He said that presents confidentially issues.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane asked about projects with cost savings and confirmed that there were no changes to the schedule.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said when projects are closed out and there are cost savings that money is put back in the reserve to make sure we fulfill the obligation to complete all the projects.  


Commissioner Chin said she would like to know more about the art projects for the North Beach Branch library.


Mindy Linetzky, Bond Program Administrator, said there has been a community process to choose neighborhood representatives to be part of an arts selection committee along with the branch manager and project architect.  She said they have had one meeting where they looked at a pool of potential artists and they chose three finalists.  She said the public meeting with the three artists will be held Tuesday, July 14, 2009.  She said once the artists do their proposals they will be on display at the North Beach branch for public comment and review and then the committee will hold another meeting where they choose the finalist.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian said that the first of two hearings on the budget was heard at the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee yesterday.  He said it was a good opportunity to highlight the activities of the library.  He said the budget is $84.9 million and it does represent a slight increase of less than 1% over last year.  He said they supported the recommendations from the Budget Analyst calling for a reduction of the budget.  The budget allows the Library to maintain service levels and to emphasize strong collections.  He said there was an emphasis on the completion of the Branch Library Improvement Program.  He said there is one more budget meeting scheduled for next week.


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said the Budget Analyst recommended about $352,000 of reductions to the Mayor’s Budget which is $84.9 million.  She said the handout shows the reductions and percentage change for revenue and expenditures from FY 09 to FY 10 estimate.  She said the book budget is 13% of the Library’s operating budget.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this is a healthy budget and we are very fortunate to have the Library Preservation Fund to support us.  He said the $352,778 cutback goes back to the reserve but some of the Board members would like to see it used for specific items.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said there is very little information on the item.  He said members of the Budget and Finance Committee asked if the reserve  can be used for various partnerships with the library.  He said it is a strange economy to have the Public Information Department budgeted at the level it is budgeted.


Sue Cauthen, Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), asked that the Resolution LCAC passed on June 9, 2009 supporting the budget for fiscal year 2009-10 be included in the Minutes. 


Commissioner Chin left the meeting at 5:59 pm.


Peter Warfield said he is glad that the books and materials budget is increasing by $556,000.  He said the Supervisors had a number of questions regarding the amnesty. He said he is very concerned about the fine system of the library especially the fines for Link+.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Del Portillo said that the Library has done very well when you take into account the total picture.  She said she particularly wants to publicly recognize and thank staff and the leadership of Luis Herrera.  She said this will be the first year of a bad period and she recommends that we begin to look at how we are going to face next year’s budget when there will be less money.


Commissioner Kane asked about the fund balance.


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said the fund balance is approximately $8.3 million at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2010, but it could fluctuate by the end of the fiscal year.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the meeting was barely 23 minutes long. He said his comments on page 2 did not accurately reflect his comments.  He said Peter Warfield’s comments did not reflect his comments accurately.


Peter Warfield said the previous speaker made many good points.  He said it would have been appropriate to have made an announcement about new Commissioner Ono at the May 21, 2009 meeting.  


MOTION:  by Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo to approve the minutes of May 21, 2009.


AYES: 4-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane and Ono)




Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo to adjourn the regular meeting of June 18, 2009. 


Action:  AYES 4-0: (Del Portillo, Gomez,  Kane and Ono).


The meeting adjourned at 6:10 pm.


Sue Blackman

Commission 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  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).