Minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 16, 2008


(As approved at the Regular Meeting of November 6, 2008)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, October 16, 2008, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order at 4:38 pm.


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


Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:43 pm.




An anonymous citizen said he has been developing two themes on the barriers of communications from two perspectives. He said he has described the wall of lies surrounding Mr. Garza that is justified by saying the wall of lies is only for certain people.  He said the other theme is that when you send a message to the administration that every problem can be solved by making up lies and ridiculing the opposition you are sending up a powerful message.  He asked “have you noticed you don’t do the required annual review; that you have no review of your responsibilities under the Furhman Fund; that your amendment to the Fees and Fines amendment was ignored; that you were bypassed in the Civil Grand Jury response and that the Board of Supervisors was told you had approved changes to the Library’s website; and that you reviewed the Encore program two months after it was implemented?  He said the Commission does not have any say in these issues because they would rather not know the truth than take the chance of being embarrassed by open discussion.


Sue Cauthen, Chair of the Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC) said the LCAC passed a motion about the North Beach library planning process at its meeting last night.  She said the motion has to do with the process that was used to make the determination regarding the location and design of the North Beach Library.  She said the LCAC objects to the process which was apparently decided by a “Core Group” to strategize for the three public community meetings.  She said the Core Group excluded neighborhood participation, except for a representative from Friends of Joe DiMaggio Playground.  She said the LCAC conclusion was that the insider strategy meetings, which consisted of City officials, the architect and the representative of the Playground was not balanced.  She said the LCAC is recommending that if there are any Core Groups in the future that at a minimum, a Board of Supervisors-appointed LCAC member be included.  


Peter Warfield said he is a member of the LCAC and he read in full the motion from the LCAC, which is attached to these minutes.  He said on a personal note it is unfortunate that in many cases the library manages to one way or another exclude folks who have legitimate things to contribute in a variety of ways.  He said recently the Commission passed a request to the Supervisors for approval of the issuance of a bond.  He said there was a discussion about what it going on with the economy and he said unfortunately that has continued.  He said he is concerned with respect to the issuance of any bonds that the Commission authorized as much as double what it hoped to get in the way of interest.  He said there was not an explicit statement about the cost difference between the 6% and 12% interest rates.   




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said under public comment on page one he had said that Commissioner Harris had replaced the traditional “the public sitting on the floor” with “thank you for the free breakfast”.  He said he as the anonymous citizen then described how it was crucial to our democracy to not have the corrosive effects of private money.  He said he went on to give an example. He said none of that meaning was transcribed in the minutes. He said under Sue Cauthen’s comments she asked that a Resolution be included in the minutes and of course he said they are not included.  He said other comments that Sue Cauthen made were also not included in the minutes.


Peter Warfield said these minutes are a mess regarding public comment.  He said on page two under his comments it reads “He said these fees included the authorization to allow the library to charge $115 for a book that is lost via the Link+ system.”  He said obviously no one has lost a book via the Link+ system; it is that the legislation and the fees authorize a $115 fee for a book if it was obtained via the Link+ system. 


MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the minutes of September 18, 2008.


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




Public Comment




An anonymous citizen said in the past there has been a proposal and some sort of staff report prior to public comment on the meeting schedule.  He said it appears there are 20 meetings proposed for next year and in prior years it has been 22 meetings.  He said when there were committees there were dozens and dozens of meetings and there was time for the Commission to educate itself about the details on Commission issues.  He would like to know why meetings are not scheduled to begin at 5:00 or 5:30 pm.


Peter Warfield said it would be appropriate to present what is under discussion prior to calling for public comment.  He said the schedule shows one meeting for January, July, August and December and two meetings the other months.  He said in the past the Library Commission has had a later starting time than 4:30 pm.  He said he would propose that the Commission start at 7:00 pm or at the earliest 5:30 pm. 


Commission Discussion


Sue Blackman, Library Commission Secretary, responded to a question from President Gomez and said there was only one meeting scheduled for January, 2009, because the first meeting would have been New Years’ Day.  She said there is only one meeting in July and August to accommodate vacation schedules and one meeting in December because of the holidays.


MOTION: by Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the 2009 Library Commission meeting schedule as proposed.


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




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the action before the Commission is the recommended approval of the transfer of funds approved in the 2008/09 Library Preservation Fund (LPF) budget into the Branch Library Improvement Program.  He said the October 10, 2008 memo to the Commission outlines these budget changes. 


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the spreadsheet on the memo outlines the allocation of funding to address forecasted funding issues for the Anza, Merced, Ortega, Bayview, Golden Gate Valley, North Beach, Park, Parkside, Presidio and Visitacion Valley branches. 


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the total transfer amount is $3,747,210 for the branches as described in the memo.  He said on February 2, 2008 the Commission approved the Library’s proposed FY 08-09 budget which included an advance of the anticipated Visitacion Valley Developer Impact Fee of $2 million from the LPF.  He said they are now asking that $2 million be transferred from the LPF into the Program Reserve for the BLIP bringing the total BLIP Program Reserve to $5,075,813.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said while it is finally legal for the Commission to do this, the question is whether it is wise.  He said the explanation about where the money is coming from leaves a lot to be desired.  He said this is Library Preservation Fund (LPF) money and that is becoming more and more an ambiguous term.  He said if this is for the BLIP and there have been bond increases why aren’t we just taking bond money and putting it into the BLIP program.  He said this is operating money from the LPF.


Peter Warfield said he has concerns over specificity.  He said on the second page of the memo it says that the additional project costs includes a 4% allocation for each project for LEED costs.  He said the Commissioners should be very clear on what level of LEED the library is aiming for and how much that will cost for each branch project. 


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane asked if this transfer was approved in the budget.


Luis Herrera clarified that the Mayor and Board of Supervisors made the budget adjustment for the additional $3.7 million.  He said no operating functions would be affected by this transfer.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the $3.7 million was on top of the original operating budget approved by the Commission.  She said the amounts do reflect the amounts discussed at last month’s Commission meeting on the total budget costs for each project.  She said this is not additional funding.


Commissioner Chin asked about the amount designated for the North Beach Branch.


Jill Bourne said the money designated for the North Beach Branch is for the predesign master planning process and moving forward with design and environmental review.  She said the second bond sale would be for construction costs for the North Beach and Bayview branches.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said we are looking at LEED Silver status for the branches with LEED certification.


Commissioner Munson said a decision does not need to be made regarding the issuance of the revenue bonds until January.  


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Chin to approve the transfer of funds as recommended in the Memorandum to the Commission dated October 10, 2008.


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




Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said there are no informational or special reports this month.  She said the July – September Third quarter 2008 report has been distributed to the Commissioners and is available in the back of the room.  She said as of 4/17/08 the approved budget was $147,362,986.  She said the November report will show the approved budget changes from today’s meeting.   She said a sale of lease revenue funds is anticipated in January 2009.  She said the schedule report shows the schedule for the 16 active projects.  She said the chart shows the approved schedule from September, 2008.  She gave the status of the program and said that 6 property acquisitions are complete and 1 is pending for the Bayview Branch; 8 projects are complete and open; 6 projects are in construction and 10 branches are in planning and design.  She showed photographs and gave reports on the following projects in construction: Richmond, Portola, Ingleside, Bernal Heights, Eureka Valley, and Potrero.  She gave updates on projects in design including Parkside, Visitacion Valley, Anza, Ortega, Merced and Bayview.  She said other active projects are Park, Presidio, and Golden Gate Valley. 

She said both the Library Commission and the Recreation and Park Commission approved a Resolution endorsing 701 Lombard as the preferred site for the North Beach Branch Library.  She said the EIR application for the North Beach branch was submitted at the end of September.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said one of the explanatory documents is a resolution approved by the Recreation and Park Commission endorsing the triangle at 701 Lombard for the North Beach Branch.  He said the Resolution is also available in the back of the room.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager gave a summary of public outreach for the BLIP program.


Luis Herrera said that one of the explanatory documents is a letter from the State of California Office of Historic Preservation awarding a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for 2008 for the Noe Valley Library Rehabilitation.  He said this is a prestigious award and is the only official preservation award presented by the State to worthy recipients in recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of historic preservation.  He said there will be a presentation ceremony in the third week in November. 


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he noticed that items are going before the Capital Planning Committee and the Arts Commission on the same day.  He said there is no mention of LEED Silver certification for the Ortega or Portola branches.  He said the handouts are still too small to read.  He said now there is a situation where six branches are closed.  He said he hopes the Commission considers whether we are giving the public the hours in the remaining branches that they deserve.  He said we should be able to transfer staff and other resources from the closed branches to the remaining branches and give full service.


Peter Warfield said there is information with each of these slides on the percentage complete, number of change orders and other information that we are only getting orally and not on the handouts.  He says if it is worth mentioning, especially change orders, it should be worth documenting on a document.  He said he would like to see the handouts more legible with less than six slides per page.


Commission Discussion


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the percent completion and change orders are listed in print on the construction schedule for all projects. 


Commissioner Kane thanked staff for the report.  He asked what the main reason for the change orders are.  He asked about additional costs to the Library.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said the change orders are primarily for unforeseen conditions especially for the renovation projects.  She said there is a contingency for these change orders that is already included in the budget.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they have discussions with the BLIP team any time there is a change order.  He said some change orders are driven by the client.


Commissioner Lee asked if there is any way to expedite some of these projects that have been delayed.  He said he hopes that streamlining the bid documents will help to bring in additional bidders.


Lena Chen said the City is receiving more bids because the economy is down.


Luis Herrera said one of the recommendations in the MOU was to do more proactive outreach to contractors.


Commission Kane asked if there were any other schedule changes and if the budget is reasonable.


Lena Chen said the Commission approved the updated schedules last month and they are currently on that schedule.  She said budget updates will be done on Bayview and North Beach as the process continues.


Luis Herrera said we are updating the BLIP website regularly.


Commissioner Chin asked about the status of the Golden Gate Valley landmark status.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian said that would be initiated after the completion of the project.




MOTION: by Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, October 16, 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 October 16, 2008, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 5:47 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).