Minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 15, 2009


(As amended and approved at the December 3, 2009 regularly scheduled Commission meeting)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, October 15, 2009, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order at 4:46 pm.


Commissioners present: Gomez, Lee, Kane and Ono


Commissioners excused:† Del Portillo, Chin and Munson


President Gomez announced that Item No. 4 the Controllerís Audit West Portal Branch Library will be moved up in the agenda and will be heard after Item No. 2.




An anonymous citizen said that democracy is not for losers and aristocrats always favor democracy.† He said the virtues of a democracy are a benefit to society as a whole.† He said the so-called good people are not more important than society as a whole.† He said the lesson from history is that we must organize society around values we share or the resulting chaos will destroy society.


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said a high tech library ought to be able to afford a goose neck microphone for the public.† He said it is unfortunate the demolition of the Ortega Branch has gone forward rather than waiting for the outcome of the Historic Preservation Commissionís study of land marking it.† He said the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force voted 8-0 in August to find that the Library had violated the Sunshine Ordinance.† He said the Library did not attend two Compliance and Complaint Committee meetings.†


Roseanne Liggett, a Bernal resident and library supporter said the Commissionís action on the Bernal Heights Branch mural was not a compromise because the front of the building is the most important wall.† She said it was clear from the Library Commissionís discussion on the item that they were simply finding a way to pass it on to the Visual Arts Committee (VAC).† She said support for removal of the mural is growing.† †††




Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said there is a memo from the City Librarian dated October 9, 2009, outlining changes to three branch library project schedules.† She said there is a request for a two-month time extension for the Anza Branch based on a delay during the contract award phase caused by a bid protest.† She said the bid protest was resolved, the contract was awarded to Trico Construction, and the branch is now in construction.† She said the Merced Branch Notice to Proceed (NTP) was delayed because the Planning Department initiated a re-determination for categorical exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).† She said a new categorical exemption was issued and the project has experienced a two month delay.† She said the Ortega Branch has experienced a four month delay because 1) an administrative delay occurred in the timing of approvals required from Planning and the Recreation and Parks Department; 2) the bid and award phase was extended due to the withdrawal of a bid from the apparent low bidder and award to the next lowest bidder; 3) the NTP with demolition and construction was delayed due to an appeal to the demolition permit and hearing before the Board of Appeals; and 4) An unforeseen condition to the building was discovered.† She said there are no apparent cost impacts to these delays.† She said if cost impacts do arise they will notify the Commission as soon as possible.† She said staff is recommending that the Commission approve the schedule changes to the three projects.†


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said it is a very valuable management tool that the schedule changes are brought before the Commission.† He said he wondered why the low bidder on the Ortega branch was withdrawn.


Peter Warfield said he appreciates the information being brought before the Commission.† He said there is no cost impact reported and he said they have been told in the past that any delays will cause a cost impact.† He said the haste and rush to demolish the Ortega Branch while the Historic Preservation Committee was reviewing it was most unseemly.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Lee said it is good that there is no cost impact for the delays and he asked about the reason the low bidder withdrew.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the low bidder submitted a bid that had errors in it and they were not able to live up to the bid.


Motion:† By Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Kane to approve the schedule changes as outlined in the City Librarianís memo dated October 9, 2009.†


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



Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this is a discussion of the City Controllerís audit of the West Portal Branch Library Construction Project.

He said the audit includes recommendations to improve the Department of Public Workís (DPW) contract management processes.† He said the audit took place before the more formal MOU between the Library and DPW took place.† He said since the project has been completed DPW has made changes to their construction management practices and oversight.† He said the project was completed under budget and the Library was very pleased with the product.† He said the branch has doubled in circulation since its opening.


Fuad Sweiss, Deputy Director Department of Public Works said the West Portal Branch Library was completed in early 2007 before the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Library and DPW was signed.† He gave a presentation which he had given at the Citizens General Obligation Bond Advisory Committee (CGOBAC).† He explained the project scope, the duration of the project, the audit findings, corrective actions, recent improvements and lessons learned.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he would have liked more detail.† He said the audit was requested by the CGOBAC.† He said the CGOBAC has asked the Controllerís office if the MOU does address the issues raised in the audit.


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he wished the report had included the $405,000 amount of penalties due for lateness.† He said the library said it is too poor to provide alternate space while the Park Branch is being redeveloped yet here it has given up $405,000.†


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Lee thanked DPW staff and the Controllerís office.† He said there are 27 different findings and some of them are major ones.† He had several questions about the project including experience of staff and number of staff.† He said the project was $3.3 million and that was considered by DPW to be a small project.† He said he would like DPW to act as if funding was coming out of their own pockets.


Joe Chung, DPW Construction Management, said he has been with DPW for 35 years.† He responded to many of Commissioner Leeís questions.† He said good paperwork was not done on this project.† He said a project under 8 or 9 million is considered a small project and some of the smaller construction firms will bid on them.† He said the team on this project was a younger team.† He said they had a number of problems with a neighbor that caused a delay and they had to hire a full time police officer.† He said not everything was documented because of the delay and trying to get the project done as quickly as possible.† He said they did finish the project within budget.†


Commissioner Ono asked about any deadlines for addressing all of the recommendations.††


Fuad Sweiss, Deputy Director Department of Public Works, said many of the issues have already been addressed and they are looking at additional training to address some of the others.


Commissioner Kane said when citizens read these articles it jeopardizes other bond projects.† He said he would like these issues to be brought to the Commission in the future so that they are aware of them.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said since the MOU has been adopted the Library and the Commission will be much more in the loop.


Fuad Sweiss said there are new procedures so the same thing should not happen again.


Don Eng, Chief of the Bureau of Construction Management, said he has 35 years of experience.† He said previous audits have been done by the Controller.† He said some of the items in this audit have already been addressed through previous audits.† He said because this was a small project it does not mean that it was not important.† He said the police protection was paid for out of DPWís budget.


President Gomez said she really appreciates staff coming to the meeting and explaining some of the issues and she said she hopes that the MOU in place will make everyone feel more comfortable.




Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said there is an informational presentation on the update on the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) hearing.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the October 7 meeting of the HPC contained two agenda items related to the Branch Library facilities.† She said a discussion of the Park Branch was continued from the September 16 meeting.† She said the Planning Department requested deferring the initiation of land marking the Park Branch until the completion of the renovation of the interior of the branch.† She said the library has integrated some changes into the interior design of the branch.† She said there were two more extensive changes.† She said they made changes to the existing metal door leading to the community room and replaced it with a wooden door which is more characteristic to the building. She said they are changing the location of the new exterior book drop to preserve some metal railing.† She said they are also removing the linoleum floor and will look at restoring the original wood floor.† She said the HPC voted 6-1 to defer initiation of land marking until the project is complete.† She said the next item was whether to approve the Planning Department and Library Commissionís recommendations regarding initiation of landmark designation of the five Appleton & Wolfard Branch Libraries Ė Parkside, Marina, Merced, Eureka Valley and North Beach.† The HPC voted 5-2 to initiate study of five of the Appleton & Wolfard Branch Libraries including Marina, Eureka Valley, North Beach, Excelsior and Western Addition.† Excelsior and Western Addition had not been recommended by the Planning staff.† Consistent with the Libraryís wishes Merced and Parkside were not initiated for land marking at this time.† She said the landmark studies will be undertaken within the next 180 days and we will update the Commission as further action occurs.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, 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.† She said the schedule changes approved by the Commission at this meeting will be reflected in next monthís schedule.† 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; 11 branches are complete and open; 8 branches are in construction; 3 branches are in bid and award and 2 branches are in design. She showed photographs and gave reports on projects in construction including: Ingleside; Eureka Valley, which is scheduled to open on October 24, 2009; Bernal Heights, Potrero; Parkside; Visitacion Valley; Ortega; Anza and Merced.† She said projects in bid and award are Golden Gate Valley; Presidio and Park.† She said projects in design are Bayview and North Beach. †She showed photographs from the Ingleside Branch opening on September 12, 2009.† She gave a summary of public outreach for the program.


Luis Herrera said there will also be a discussion at the Visual Arts Committee on the Bernal Mural on October 21.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he has been attending these meetings for 35 years.† He said experience does have some benefits.† He said the informational update with the HPC should be documented in a place where you can see it.† He said there are various projects on track but there is no mention of how many branches will be closed at the same time.


Sue Cauthen said there is a tremendous impetus in her neighborhood to save the North Beach library from demolition.† She said they were very happy with the HPCís decision to look into land marking the library.† She said the Telegraph Hill Dwellers are very supportive of retaining the existing library.† She said the HPC had told them that the letters were running 2 Ė 1 to save the library.

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said opinions differ on what the Library Administration considers as a positive outcome for the library and that others would consider to be a disaster especially relating to historic preservation.† He said the HPC was concerned that they had not heard about the BLIP projects before.† He said he was also very concerned about the demolition of the Ortega Branch.


Ellen Egbert said she has been attending most of the HPC meetings.† She said there are many, many people in the North Beach community who are saying they need a new library and that the old library is not sufficient.† She said there is a 60 day extension for the Bernal and Potrero Branches.† She said beautiful things are happening at Bernal.† She recommended that the Commissioners all visit the Bernal Branch to see the mural.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Lee asked about the fireplace at Eureka Valley.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches said that it is a gas fireplace and there is glass around it that will not be hot to touch.


Commissioner Kane asked about the status of the Bernal Mural and the Bayview Sculpture.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said his understanding is that the Arts Commission has jurisdiction over the Mural and they are working with Supervisor Campos on the issue.† He said the Bayview Sculpture will be heard at the Visual Arts Committee meeting on October 21.† He said the Park Branch will celebrate its centennial on October 29.† He said there have been ongoing discussions about the historic preservation issue.† He said the Park Branch will not close until the Notice to Proceed is issued.




Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


Motion:† By Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Kane to adjourn the regular meeting of October 15, 2009.†


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


The meeting adjourned at 6:25 pm.


Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary


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 Libraryís 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).