(As approved and amended at the regular meeting of August 21, 2008)


Minutes of the Regular Meeting of July 17, 2008


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, July 17, 2008, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


President Gomez called the meeting to order at 4:42 pm.


Commissioners present: Gomez, Harris, Lee, and Munson.


Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:43 pm.


Commissioner Chin arrived at 4:46 pm.


Commissioner Del Portillo was excused.


President Gomez said that because of the length of the agenda Items 2 and 3 Approval of the Minutes would be moved to the end of the meeting.  




An anonymous citizen said last month under public comment he told a story about Jason Garza suing the city.  He said after the lawsuit was dismissed a Federal Regulatory Agency cited the San Francisco General Hospital for malfeasance and fined them.  He said this was a vindication of Mr. Garza’s position.  He said doesn’t the truth belong to everyone.  He said when Mr. Garza complained nothing happened but when a Federal Regulatory Agency shows up the truth is different.  He said the other part of the story was that when Mr. Garza tried to get information from the Sheriff’s office the letter back to him said there was no information and was signed RN Ratched.  He said this is a denial of the truth that is blatantly abusive.  He said the right to the truth should be one of the most basic rights we have.  He said manipulating lies for power is the way this society operates not just the public library.  He said when you say you only do it to certain people; everybody is that certain person when they are not the beneficiary of the lie.


Peter Warfield said “hornswoggled” is the word that comes to mind.  He said it is unusual for the hornswoggling to be as obvious as in this example.  He said the Library Citizens Advisory Committee’s Resolution of May 21 in support of the Fines and Fees Ordinance includes language that there is confusion over who will have final authority of the Library’s Fines and Fees if the Board of Supervisors adopts the Ordinance as approved by the Library Commission.  He said two weeks later a letter to the Board of Supervisors, signed Sue Blackman, Commission Secretary reads “please note that a substantially similar version of the ordinance was introduced by the Mayor on June 2, 2008.  The only difference between the version attached to this Resolution and the version introduced by the Mayor is that the introduced version removed the clause that would have given the Controller the authority to adjust fees annually to reflect changes in cost without further Board approval.”  He said hornswoggled not two weeks later.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim drew about 22,000 people and it was a very successful conference.  He said several staff members attended the conference and participated in a number of panels and programs.  He said there was a Civil Grand Jury Report issued on June 26 entitled “Accountability in San Francisco.”  He said the report is in the Commissioners’ packets and available at the back of the room.  He said the report examined four areas.  He said item number 3 is the management of funds generated by the Library and Laguna Honda Hospital bond measures and item 4 is the City’s new official website. He said item 3 discusses the Library’s Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP).  He said the issues discussed have been addressed in the audit report that the Commission requested.  He said the report has a total of 14 recommendations and specifically asks the Library to respond to only one of them and that is number 11 on page 21 of the report.  He said the response is due in 60 days which is August 25.  He said the Library will be drafting a response and will present that to the Commission at the August 21 meeting.  He said the 2008-09 budget would be going to the Board of Supervisors for final approval on July 22 and he explained changes to the budget since the Commission approved it in February. 


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, explained the current budget pending before the Board of Supervisors.  She said the final FY 08-09 budget totals $84,583,291, which includes an operating budget of $78,112,255, a capital project program of $70,000 and $6,401,037 for the Branch Library Improvement Program and Interim Services.  She said the largest part of the budget goes towards labor but the next largest goes to the books and materials budget.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, explained the FY08-09 budget highlights including expanded hours at some branches; 0.50 FTE for the Green Libraries Initiative; 0.77 FTE to serve as the School Services Specialist; $5,751.037 for the Branch Library Improvement Program; and $1M+ enhancement of the book budget for a total book budget of 10.1M.


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said the growth between FY 07-08 and 08-09 in the Book and Materials Budget is 11.56%.  She showed charts showing labor costs, budgeted FTE by Fiscal Year, and the budget variance broken down by expenditures and revenue.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said regarding the Grand Jury report that it is true that there is only one recommendation addressed to the Commission directly but there are a number of findings directed towards the Library Commission.  He said the most significant one was that the Library Commission should have known that the BLIP escalations did not meet the set aside.  He said the emphasis is on the accuracy of information on the website.  He said there is a fantasy out there that everyone will read everything and sound the alarm and let everyone know what is coming.  He said no one pays any attention anyway.  He said the Grand Jury presupposes that if you had accurate information people would pay attention.  He said people pay attention and nothing ever changes anyway so that is a basic flaw in management.  He said the budget is good news.  He said it was announced today that the National Poet Laureate is Kay Ryan from the Bay area.


Peter Warfield said the Grand Jury Report bears a full reading.  He said with respect to the website, the Sunshine Ordinance has for some time said that a website is supposed to be updated regularly.  He said the Library’s website has a number of deficiencies with regard to its up-to- datedness.  He said it is good to hear that the budget provides for more hours and more money for books, but he wishes there was more money for books.  He asked which branches are getting additional Sunday hours and which are getting additional Monday hours.  He said he wished that more branches were open on Sundays, which is what the patrons have requested.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane asked about the branches that will have additional hours.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said when the new hours are enacted there will only be two branches that are five day branches.  They are Potrero and Bernal Heights and they are both closed for construction.  She said the goal would be to add a day before they reopen.  She said they will be pairing the openings of branches nearby for Sundays and Mondays.  She said Noe Valley will be open on Sundays, Glen Park open on Mondays;  Presidio open on Sundays, Golden Gate Valley open on Mondays and there are three more seven day branches in Bayview, Ortega and Merced. 


Commissioner Kane asked about the Library’s website and whether the BLIP information is posted on it.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Grand Jury report talks about the City’s website and the Library’s website is different from that.  He said they will be working to provide more information on BLIP on the City’s website.  He said the Library’s website is also undergoing some changes so that will be brought back to the Commission as well.


Mindy Linetzky, Bond Program Administrator, said the Library’s website has all of the BLIP reports the Commission receives.  She said there is also a separate page for each of the projects.  She said there is information for contractors and community events.




Sue Cauthen, Chair, Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), said she attends most Commission meetings and gives updates throughout the year but this is a chance to share with the Commission their annual report to the Board of Supervisors.  She said the Committee was formed in 2004 and had their first meeting in January 2005.  She said they meet every month and they study library issues.  She said they have wonderful support from the Library and the Board of Supervisors.  She said one of their biggest successes was their input on Prop D, the property tax set aside issue.  She said LCAC suggested a cap on the amount that could be spent annually for bond retirement so as not to affect library services and that was inserted into the proposition.  She said LCAC was a strong supporter of the Proposition which obtained 74% of the vote.  She said they have been following the Branch Library Improvement Program and she said they are anxious to see the MOU between DPW and the Library implemented.  She said LCAC passed a resolution in support of the Library’s proposed budget.  She said they appreciate the monthly meetings that she and the Vice-Chair have with the City Librarian and they appreciate library staff attending their meetings.  She said they are concerned that LCAC has been somewhat buried on the library’s website and are working with the library to obtain a more prominent link on the home page.  She said this is important because LCAC serves as a forum for public input so that they can advise the Supervisors and report to the Commission.  She said they also have an issue about not being linked to the Board of Supervisors home page.  She thanked the library for storing the tapes of the meetings.  She said there are 17 members, each Board member appoints a member and the City Librarian appoints 3 members.   She said the goals for next year are to work on senior services, multi-lingual services, and other issues.  She said the Commissioners are always welcome to attend their meetings.


Lucille Carter, Vice-Chair, LCAC, said she wanted to emphasize the harmony with which they are working with the Library.  She said the budget is successful and they are pleased that their endeavors with Prop D have become successful without jeopardizing the bottom line for operating expenses.  She said LCAC has given support for the fines and fees ordinance and their support for Link+.  She said she is thrilled with the programming at the library.


Douglas Ryan said he is the youth representative of LCAC and has been since its founding.  He said the value of the LCAC is the insight we offer and the fact that we bring up issues and get people to think about those issues.  He thinks LCAC is a very valuable group.


Public Comment


There was no public comment on this issue.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Chin said she was happy to hear the report.  She was interested in the interface between the Council of Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) and LCAC.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said LCAC, the Friends and the Commission have liaisons to the CNL.


Commissioner Kane said he enjoyed the report and enjoyed his visit to LCAC and would encourage all members of the Commission to attend a LCAC meeting. 




Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said congratulations and thanks to the LCAC for doing a wonderful job.  She said they are great partners both as advocates and as community representatives.  She congratulated the Library staff on the progress of the budget.  She said that the International Poetry Festival is coming up on July 24 -26.  She said it is flor y canto en el barrio a celebration of Latino poetry.  She said it will be a bilingual festival and she hopes the Commissioners will be able to attend.  She said Poets 11 will start on August 5 at the Park Branch and will end on September 21 at the Koret Auditorium.  She said it has been revamped a little bit for this year.  She said the event is spectacular and she encourages the Commissioners to attend.  She said another program Friends has been partnering on with the Library and the Mayor’s office is CitySpeaks.  She said there have been two events and a third is coming up on September 16.  She said the Mayor will be interviewing Steve Chen of YouTube.  She said there have been successful receptions to celebrate the permanent signage for the lit program at the West Portal and Sunset branches.   


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he had posed a question under public comment after the City Librarian’s report which was “Why is it that when there is an opportunity to see the truth, you miss it and nobody pays any attention?”  He said the answer is you make a virtue out of groupthink.  He said the highest value is not everybody working together, it is recognizing reality.  He said when you take the opportunity to hear what you need to hear and suppress it and then compliment yourselves on your harmony you are creating a value that is actually undermining your function.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said thank you to the Friends for all their tremendous work.  He said it is a great model of a public private partnership.  He said it would be nice to have an annual report at one meeting a year in addition to the monthly updates.


Donna Bero said the Friends would be more than happy to do an annual report.  She said that two of the poets who are participating in the upcoming International Poetry Festival have just arrived and asked if they could read each read a short poem.


Jorge Argueta, said he has a good time writing children’s books and he goes all over the country reading.  He said it is really beautiful.  He read a poem entitled “Wonders of the City” from his book A Movie in my Pillow.


Mr. Gomez, a resident and activist in the Mission for the last 30 years read a poem about the war.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen quoted a poem.




Edgar Lopez, Department of Public Works, said last month they announced a new Program Manager for the BLIP, Lena Chen.  He said Lena will be making her first Program Manager’s report to the Commission today.  


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said along with the regular reports there would be a special report on the Parkside Peer Review Response.    She said as of 4/17/08 the approved budget was $147,362,986.  She said the revenue sources total $147,362,986.  She listed the appropriations.  She said every change to the baseline budget is included and the last budget was approved on April 17, 2008.  She said the schedule report is a summary level report that is broken down by project in alphabetical order and it is also available at the back of the room.  She said the last time a schedule change was approved was April 17, 2008.  She said each project has the original schedule, the last approved schedule and the forecasted schedule.  She gave the Active Projects Report including information on new construction and renovations; and the Construction Report.  She showed photographs and gave reports on the Richmond, Portola, Ingleside, Bernal Heights, Eureka Valley, Potrero, Parkside, Visitacion Valley, Anza, Ortega, and Merced projects.  She said other active projects are Bayview; North Beach, which is in the Master Planning Phase with the Recreation and Park Department.  


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that the last of the community meetings associated with the Master Planning Process for the North Beach branch will be on Monday, August 18.  He said there will be a full report to the Commission at the August 21 meeting.  He said there is a lot of neighborhood engagement on this project.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager said that there was a community meeting on the Park Branch on July 15.  She said there was a community meeting on the Presidio Branch on July 10.  She said there will be a community meeting on the Golden Gate Valley Branch in August.   She said the special report this month is the design review responses to the Parkside Branch Library peer review.  She said the Peer Review was held at the Library Commission meeting on January 3, 2008.  She explained the responses from the architect to the issues brought up by the Peer Panel and the Commission.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said staff is still working with the architects to finalize the final spatial layout for the circulation area for the Parkside Branch.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he hopes that there will be a response in one of the upcoming reports to the Civil Grand Jury Report.  He said perhaps the fact that there is a new Bond Program Manager is in itself a response to the Civil Grand Jury Report.  He said with respect to the Bernal Branch he is not sure whether the Library Commission has voted to preserve the mural at the Bernal branch.  He said that part of the money for the Parkside branch was earmarked by Fiona Ma when she was Supervisor. He asked whether the things that were hoped to be accomplished at that branch have been accomplished.


Peter Warfield said the reports printed for the public keep getting smaller and smaller and they are not even readable.  He said years into this program we are still talking about basic stuff like page numbers, legibility of the reports, etc.  He said it would be a big plus to get the comments made at the meeting in writing as well.  He said the standard for computers for the teen sections was mentioned, he asked what that standard is. 


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Lee said there are areas that we can easily improve upon namely the page numbers and larger size text on the reports.  He said the information on the Parkside branch is confusing regarding the next step.  He said since there are some delays on the projects he wondered who is paying for the delays.


Lena Chen, Bong Program Manager, said if there are time extensions on the projects there are change orders to the contract.


Commissioner Kane welcomed the new Program Manager.  He asked about the 50% design stage.


Lena Chen said that the design stages include conceptual design and schematic design.  She said that 50% design would be that half of the work on the drawings is done.  It needs to be 100% before it goes out to bid for construction. 


Commissioner Kane said the Commission has delayed 5 projects earlier so he is very concerned that there are not significant delays in the projects.  He said if timing changes by more than a month he would like the Commission to hear about it.  He asked about the design change on the roof for Visitacion Valley.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Arts Commission has authority in approving the exterior design.  He said one of their recommendations was to make changes to the roof for the Visitacion Valley branch.  He said we are looking at receiving the full estimate so that we can determine whether that can be done with an add alternate.  He also responded to a question regarding the money allocated for LEED certification and said it will be brought back project by project.  He responded to a question regarding the Bayview property acquisition and said that will be brought back to the Commission for further discussion.


Commissioner Chin asked about the workshops on the North Beach branch.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the first North Beach meeting was basically to get ideas from the community, the second meeting was about providing concepts and gathering input from the community.  The meeting coming up on the 18th will be presenting recommendations that both Recreation and Park and the Library can agree on.  He said the branch will go from about 5,000 sq. ft. to approximately 8,500 sq. ft.


William Wong, Project Manager, responded to a question from Commissioner Lee and said the building permit has already been applied for on the Parkside branch.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said how important it is to make public the dates for the upcoming community meetings.  He said the Visitacion Valley branch community meeting will be July 22; the Ortega branch community meeting will be July 30 and the North Beach branch community meeting will be August 18.  He said he welcomes any of the Commissioners attending these meetings.


Commissioner Kane left the meeting.




President Gomez said she understands there is a request to table this item.





MOTION: by Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Harris, to table this item to the next meeting so that there is a chance to visit some of the sites and look at the shelving and have a better understanding of the issue.


Public Comment


There was no public comment on this issue.


AYES: 5-0 (Chin, Gomez, Harris, Lee and, Munson)


Commissioner Kane returned to the meeting.




There was no Labor Union Report at this meeting.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said there were some points missed in these minutes but other points were included and included very well.  He said under Public Comment there was a discussion of documents he submitted to the Commission.  The documents are listed in the minutes.  However, he said he made three other points that were not included.  He said on page 8 he made a comment about the Council of Neighborhood Libraries and clarified his remarks to say that when you bring people into the system who don’t always accept the answers they are given that that is the positive part.


Peter Warfield said there are some good things in the minutes; however, there are two points which need improvement.  He said on page 2 with respect to public comment  he had made more specific comments than were reported and he would appreciate if there was more detail about the changes to the Fines and Fees Ordinance from the one approved by the Commission that went to the Board of Supervisors.  He said on page 10 he said some of the catalog functions were fix-it projects and said there should be more specificity on that.    


MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the minutes of June 5, 2008.


AYES: 6-0 (Chin, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and, Munson)




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said there is an advantage and disadvantage of moving the minutes to the last of the meeting.  He said Roberts Rules of Order states that the Minutes should be at the beginning of the meeting.  He said the description of the anonymous citizen’s remarks under public comment are completely misunderstood and distorted.  He said the very irony he was trying to make was that the city first referred Jason Garza to a mental hospital and that point was completely missed in the minutes.


Peter Warfield said it is unfortunate that these minutes are being heard at the end of the meeting and he said that it is unfortunate that the Commission members seem to be ignoring the comments that are made by the public with respect to requested changes or substantive clarifications.


Commissioner Munson said that the anonymous citizen did make a point about his remarks in the minutes and the irony he was pointing out


MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the minutes of June 19, 2008 as amended to modify the comments by the anonymous citizen under public comment to add to the sentence reading “He said the irony is that the city first refused to put him in a mental hospital.”  Also to change the words “City Attorney’s office” in the last sentence of the anonymous citizen’s remarks to “Library Commission.”


AYES: 6-0 (Chin, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and, Munson)




MOTION: by Commissioner Harris, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, July 17, 2008.


Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


ACTION:  AYES: 6-0 (Chin, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).


The regular meeting of July 17, 2008, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 7:15 pm.


Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary


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  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).