Minutes of the Regular Meeting of July 16, 2009


(Approved at the Regular Meeting of August 20, 2009)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, July 16, 2009, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order at 4:40 pm.


Commissioners present: Gomez, Kane, Munson and Ono


Commissioners excused:  Del Portillo, Chin and Lee




An anonymous citizen said too often in society people assume that democracy is for other people.  He said the virtue of democracy has to do with open discussion and revealing the truth that are virtues that benefit everyone in the long run.


Sue Cauthen, Chair of the Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), distributed the LCAC’s annual report.  She said they are very proud of their accomplishments in the prior year.  She said the report includes an Executive Summary, a roster of members, and 14 resolutions passed by the LCAC.  She said they now have their own website through  She said they appreciate the support they get from the Library.


Peter Warfield said it is disappointing to not see on the agenda issues that have arisen regarding the Branch Library Improvement Program before the Historic Preservation Commission.  He said there were serious concerns about the Park, Ortega, Merced and North Beach branches.  He asked that these issues be placed on an upcoming agenda.


Lucille Cutler, Vice-Chair of the Library Citizens Advisory Committee, said it is a privilege to be participating with the LCAC and the opportunity to support the library.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the American Library Association (ALA) held its annual convention in Chicago.  He said one of the highlights was that the Project Read Literacy Program received the Advancement to Literacy Award, which is given once a year.

Randy Weaver said the award is given to institutions based on the amount of support given to libraries for literacy projects, evidence of long term commitment to literacy, and encouragement provided to other groups to provide similar activities.  He said the program would not be what it is without the dedicated volunteer tutors and the courageous adult learners.  He said a few of the tutors and learners are in attendance and he asked them to stand and be recognized.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this year’s budget began on July 1, 2009 and the Library did not have to have a second hearing before the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee.  He said the Library’s FY 10 budget totals $83,097,445 and explained the Library’s budget priorities and guiding principles.


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said the Controller’s Office was still making minimal changes to the expenditure side of the budget, but those changes should not vary much from the presentation she is giving today.  She explained the revenue sources and expenditures by program.   She said the book budget continues to grow.  She said labor costs also continue to grow.  She showed comparisons of the budget from what was adopted by the Commission in February and the current budget.  She also showed comparisons between the FY09 and FY10 budgets. 


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said he wanted to commend and thank Maureen Singleton for her service to the Library.  He said she has received a promotion to another Department.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian said the Green Stacks Environmental Library Program will help you live a more eco-friendly life and show how the library is doing the same.  She said Internal Practices include a climate action plan, a recycling and composting assessment and staff commuter survey and programs.  She said public resources include library buildings, collections – the green list(s), programs and exhibits, information resources and marketing and promotion.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said if the recommendations on the budget were approved, then the public relations position has been cut and the remodeling of the façade of the Chinatown branch has been cut.  He said the issue now is regarding the reserve.  He said there is a million dollars missing from the reserve based on the Controller’s estimates.


Peter Warfield said he was sorry to see that Maureen Singleton is leaving.  He said the budget process at City Hall is pretty obscure.  He said he did not see a specific comparison between what the Commission approved in February and what is before the Board of Supervisors.  He said he would like to hear about what appears to be a discrepancy in the book budget.  He said he appreciated the report on the Green Stacks Environmental Library Program.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane asked about the State budget’s impact on the Library’s budget.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said as of now the State funding is still the same as last year.  He said the Chinatown façade is in the budget as is the Public Information Officer position.


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said the numbers for the budget on the presentation will be clarified in the minutes.


President Gomez said Maureen Singleton set a pretty high bar for the person who will follow her and she thanked her very much.




Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said she just returned from ALA in Chicago and said it is interesting to see what a model San Francisco is for other libraries in the nation.  She said she enjoyed the update on Green Stacks.  She said the International Poetry Festival kicks off on July 23.  She said it will be the best of poetry internationally.  She said on July 19 is the Bernal Heights Children’s Day which is a benefit for the Bernal Heights Branch Library.  She said on Thursday, August 13, the Potrero Branch campaign will be hosting a house party at the home of Joel Selvin.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor, he heard her expounding on the distortions in public policy that are produced by private money.  He said Judge Sotomayor said just because it is not illegal sometimes it is still unwise to take private money.  He said in some circumstances we should start refusing private money.


Ellen Egbert said she wanted to join the Friends in inviting the Commission to attend the Bernal Heights Children’s Day on July 19.  She said it will be a fun time.  She thanked the Friends for nominating Project Read for the award they received.


Commission Discussion


There was no Commission Discussion.




Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said there are no informational or special reports this month.  She said as of 5/21/09 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.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the Ortega Branch Library has had a six year process of planning and review, was closed on May 9, the contract was awarded and there was a groundbreaking ceremony on June 26.  He said there has been an appeal on the demolition permit.  He said a hearing will be heard before the Board of Appeals on August 5.  He said he wanted the Commission to know that it will have an impact on the schedule.  He said the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has heard a presentation on some of the upcoming projects.  He said a response has been prepared by the Library and we look forward to more dialogue with the HPC.  He said they will report back to the Library Commission on these issues.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, 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; 10 branches are complete and open; 8 branches are in construction; 1 branch is pending award 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 Anza branch is waiting for the Notice to Proceed and Merced is awaiting contract award.  She gave an update on projects in design including Park; Presidio; Golden Gate Valley; North Beach; and Bayview.  She said the Ortega Branch Groundbreaking was held on June 26, 2009 and the Ortega Board of Permit Appeals hearing will be held August 5, 2009.  She said that the Noe Valley Branch has received the California Preservation Foundation award.  She showed photographs from the Ortega Groundbreaking ceremony.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said there was not an explanation about why someone submitted an appeal of the demolition permit for the Ortega Branch.  He said if he had all the information he might decide to support the demolition.


Peter Warfield said it would be useful if the percentage of completion of the projects was listed in the handout.  He said he would like to know the percentage complete for the Park Branch.  He said he has had a great concern about the process for the Park Branch.  He said he is a member of the Library Citizens Advisory Committee and they heard from the appellant about the appeal of the Ortega Branch demolition permit and a number of organizations are concerned about the demolition of the Ortega and North Beach branches. 


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane asked if there are other changes to the schedule that will affect the budget other than Ortega.

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the Merced branch is still in the appeal period.  He said the appeal for the Ortega branch will be heard August 5.


Commissioner Kane asked about cost impacts for delaying the Ortega branch.


Lena Chen, Project Manager, said that the contract has been awarded for Ortega and if the project was halted there would be costs to the project.  She said the Merced Branch is awaiting the construction permit.


Mindy Linetzky, Bond Program Administrator, said that the Historic Preservation Commission has jurisdiction over historic landmark buildings and they have an advisory role on anything that is determined an historic resource. 


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there is a potential delay in both the Potrero and Bernal Heights Branches based on the schedule of opening of the branches but they would have no cost impacts.




There was no labor union report.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said his comments were not accurately represented on page one under public comment.  He said under public comment Sue Cauthen’s remarks were not accurate and it was not reported that the Chair told her to sit down several times. He said not including those comments, distorted comments that came later on in the meeting. 


Peter Warfield said he agreed with the previous speaker’s concerns about the accuracy and basic omission of fundamental content on what happened under public comment on page one.  He said because of that his comments on page two were incomprehensible in context.   He said his comments were not complete about the Park and North Beach Branches. 


Sue Cauthen said she has a great deal of respect for the Library Commission she said it was a very traumatic experience for her at that meeting relating to public comment.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Ono said that under the North Beach item she had said that she was not at the Commission meeting where they approved the triangle site for the building, but if she was there she would have also voted for it.  She said she would like her comments to be included in the minutes.  


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Ono to approve the minutes of June 4, 2009 to include the comments made by Commissioner Ono described above.


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




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said his comments under agenda items 1 and 2 did not reflect everything that he said. 


Peter Warfield said there is a lack of specificity in the minutes.  He said his comments on page 1 did not include all of his comments.  He said there was a great deal of specificity left out in the comments in the minutes by the anonymous citizen.


Commission Discussion


President Gomez commended the Secretary for keeping the Minutes simple as the Commission has directed.


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Ono to approve the minutes of June 18, 2009.


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




Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of July 16, 2009. 


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


The meeting adjourned at 6:23 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).