SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of November 18, 2010

 

(Approved as amended at the January 6, 2011 regularly scheduled meeting).

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, November 18, 2010, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:35 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Munson, Nguyen and Ono.

 

Commissioner excused:  Hayon

 

Commissioner Kane entered the meeting at 4:42 pm

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AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said there is a literary genre, instructive of our era, the outsider who gets inside and can’t get back out.  He said lies become institutionalized and the Friends pay to suppress the truth. He said people know ignorance prevails over truth because their wealth, positions and status are at stake. The Ethics Commission has stated that the action of your president falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officials. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said that it is unfortunate that the Commission seems to be ignoring an Ethics Commission report with regards to the President of the Commission.  He said the Board of Supervisors a week ago rejected the landmarking of the North Beach Branch Library.  He said many people are not pleased with this outcome.  He said the building deserves landmarking.  He said the library buildings that have been landmarked have been landmarked after renovation.

 

Bradley Weidmeyer said he urges the Commission to not ravage the Mason Street view corridor after a new building is built there.  He said if you waste the resources of the City when the people discover this they will be very upset.  He said you are going to have to change the law and violate the guidelines for view corridors if this project is built.  He said views and corridors are to be protected. He said please choose another site for the North Beach Branch.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said this month there will be the regular, budget and schedule reports.  She said this month’s budget report shows the approved budget as $188,910,119.  She said the Bayview Branch is in the Award phase and the North Beach Branch is in the EIR/Design Development phase.  She said seven branches are in construction.  She said 15 branches are complete and open.  She said the BLIP team is working to coordinate the openings for these projects in the next year.  She said they are holding contractors accountable for any delays in the projects. She showed photographs and gave reports on projects in construction including:  Park; Presidio; Merced; Anza; Visitacion Valley; Ortega; and Golden Gate Valley.  She said Supervisor Maxwell introduced a supplementary appropriation of $2,169,200 of Visitacion Valley Infrastructure funds for the Visitacion Valley branch library.  She said they are asking the Board of Supervisors to appropriate all of the money that is currently in the Developer Fund.  She said the Capital Planning Committee approved the request this week and the item will be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee in early December. She said the City rescinded the award of the bid to Liberty Builders for the Bayview Branch and now is in the process of awarding the bid to the second highest bidder, KCK Builders.  She said Planning Department staff is compiling a response to the comments made on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the North Beach Branch Library.  She said the Planning Commission will hold a hearing next year to certify the EIR.  She said the Historic Preservation Commission recommended landmarking the building and the Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 against landmarking the North Beach Branch.  They also voted to make the Marina Branch an Historic landmark.  She gave a summary of public outreach activities and showed photographs from the opening of the Parkside Branch on November 6.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, thanked the members of the Commission who attended the opening and said that the Parkside Branch is the first LEED certified project.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said there are three projects that show further delay but that Anza is not as bad as he had heard.  He said each delay is in part delayed because of unforeseen subgrade conditions.  He said the architect needs to know about those conditions.  He said this was an excuse that was offered when Chinatown went so egregiously overbudget and it now appears to be a systemic problem.  He said the assumptions for the transfers from the Developers fund needs to be clarified.  (See attached 150 word summary submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the Parkside Branch opening was indeed very festive.  He said the report did not make a mention of the memorandum from the City Librarian regarding the delays to some of the projects.  He said three projects will be delayed three months and he is disappointed that was not discussed as part of the report.  He said there was no mention to the Commission prior to the Capital Planning Committee hearing about the request from the Library for a supplemental appropriation for Developer Fees for the Visitacion Valley Branch.

 

Bradley Weidmeyer said he is an architectural historian.  He said it is exciting to see all the new libraries.  He said Supervisor David Chiu said that he based his decision not to landmark the North Beach Library on information he had received from historians and others, but all of the material from historians asked that the branch be landmarked.  He said he urged the Commission to return to renovation or expansion of the existing building instead of the view corridor destroying project that is currently planned.  He said when the people find out about this outrage they will make sure this will not happen.

 

A woman from the audience said she lives very, very close to the proposed North Beach Branch project.  She said she and her neighbors are extraordinarily excited about the new project.  She said she hopes the new library is built soon. 

 

Sue Cauthen said there is an enormous amount of opposition in the North Beach neighborhood to the proposed North Beach Branch Library. She said she is concerned about the library’s reputation as well.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane asked about the delays in the schedule and how it will affect the budget for each project.  He said he was concerned with contractor delays and liquidated damages.

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said the budget for the delayed projects should not be affected but they will be watching them very closely. 

 

Commissioner Kane asked about the Bayview Branch and issues with the contractor.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said there are quite a few requirements for contractors to meet. He said there were cumulative issues with the contractor so the City had to rescind the bid.  He said the second lowest bidder has been awarded the contract.  He said they are not sure how this will affect the budget of the project, but they will come back to the Commission with any increase in the budget.  He said they are also working on trying to expedite the schedule of the project.  

 

Commissioner Kane said that the approved budget for Visitacion Valley is $13 million and we have spent $11.5 million.  He asked if there was enough money left to complete the project.

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said that we should be able to complete the Visitacion Valley project within the budget.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the budget transfers will insure that the Visitacion Valley project is complete.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3 RESULTS OF FOLLOW-UP REVIEW OF THE BRANCH LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (BLIP) AUDIT

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said in September, 2007 an audit report was issued entitled:  “Strengthened Program Management Required for Branch Library Improvement Program to Avoid Further Budget Increases” which the Commission had requested.  He said on November 8, 2010 the results of the follow-up review of the BLIP audit were released in a memorandum from Tonia Lediju, Director of Audits, City Services Auditor (CSA).  He said the memorandum is included in the Commission packets.   

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Library and the Department of Public Works (DPW) has been very effective in assisting each agency to meet its obligation to efficiently and effectively manage the bond program.   She said the other recommendations were specifically related to actions to be taken by DPW.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said this is a very instructive but kind of generalized memorandum.  He said the generalizations provide plenty of food for thought.  He said this provides some level of discipline and accountability.  He said the Commission has considered itself to be visionaries who have no need to be scrutinized whatsoever.  He said any one else is considered a process junkie, and the lowest vermin in the world.  He said the reason we have oversight is that the scrutiny itself produces the benefits.  (See attached 150 word summary submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the memo from the Controller’s Office notes essentially that the recommendations have been implemented.  He said the details should be scrutinized by the Commission.  He said it appears that some of these things have been assumed to have been taken care of by the MOU.  He said there is considerable concern over whether all of the things in the MOU are being implemented.

 

 

 

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson said that this shows that DPW and Library staff have dug in and pulled together and developed a process that has met the scrutiny of the City Auditor.  He said this reflects very well on DPW and how helpful they are. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said he would convey the Commission’s thanks to DPW.

 

Commissioner Breyer said the results of the follow up are commendable.  He said he wondered if there are other opportunities to review the projects in order to improve the process.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said BLIP projects go before the Citizens General Obligation Oversight Committee on a regular basis.  He said they continue to make recommendations.  He said several years ago there was a concern that some projects were running out of money so the Commission approved a transfer of Library Preservation Funds (LPF) into the BLIP.  He said those funds are now being returned to the LPF through Developer Impact Funds.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 APPROVAL OF THE 2011 LIBRARY COMMISSION MEETING SCHEDULE

 

Sue Blackman, Library Commission Secretary, said there is a typo on the draft schedule and it should read May 5 instead of May 6.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said he commends the Commission for showing two meetings on the schedule in December and January.  He said he thinks it is important that the Commission stick to a two meeting a month schedule.  He said the Commission might benefit from extending the start time to 5:00.  He said he would hope that that would make people a little more punctual. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield said he seconds the previous speaker’s comment about frequency of meetings.  He said regular meetings are important.  He said there used to be a Committee structure so there were more meetings to attend and keep track of.  He said in the past the Commission met at 5:30 pm.  He said that time gives a more fair opportunity for the public to attend the meetings.    

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the 2011 Library Commission schedule with the correction to the date of the first meeting in May, which should read May 5 instead of May 6. 

 

Action:   AYES 6-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson, Nguyen and Ono).

 

 AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of November 18, 2010. 

 

Action:   AYES 6-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson, Nguyen and Ono).

 

The meeting adjourned at 5:50 pm.

 

Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary

 

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 http://sfpl.org.  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).

These summary statements are provided by the speaker:  Their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission.

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

Anonymous Citizen: Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t accept money from the Friends & Foundation

 

There is a literary genre, instructive of our era, the outsider who gets inside and can’t get back out.  The classic example is the newspaper reporter who enters a mental institution on assignment.  He is trapped because imagining he is a newspaper reporter is evidence of insanity.

 

Known as “Kafkaesque,” it is the way I feel.

 

Lies become institutionalized and the Friends pay to suppress the truth.  People know ignorance prevails over truth, but they have a plantation, or a “Castle” to run, and besides, their wealth, positions and status are at stake. 

 

The Ethics Commission has stated that the action of your president “falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officials.”  You don’t care because you are protecting your positions. 

 

The lies cost more than the money.

 

Item 2: Bond Program Manager’s Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

It would be nice if the citizens had access to the graphics.

 

There are three projects that show further delay.  Anza branch is not as bad as I had heard.

 

What the delays have in common is that they are credited to “unforeseen subgrade conditions.”  The architect needs to know the subgrade conditions, so how could they be unforeseen?

 

This is alarming because this was the excuse that was offered when Chinatown went so egregiously over budget that it sabotaged the entire program.  Now it appears to be a systemic problem.

 

The financial officer at the Capital Planning meeting told the committee that there were no plans to return Library Preservation Fund money because you were going to need it eventually anyway.  The assumptions for that transfer need to be clarified.

 

Item 3: Results of Follow-up Review of the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Audit

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

By all means, let’s belabor the past.

 

This is highly generalized, and would benefit from specifics, but the generalizations provide plenty of food for thought.

 

You have a tradition of consistently claiming that there are no problems.  Then in one day, you state, we fixed all the problems, next case.

 

This memorandum endorses open process which provides discipline and accountability.  You consider yourselves visionaries above review and anyone else is a process junkie, the lowest vermin in the world.

 

The hierarchy of values is democracy first, the library second, and yourselves as Machiavelli’s “Prince,” to be protected at all costs, is a very distant third.

 

We have openness because the effort to create secrecy produces distortion, in and of itself.  The public doesn’t need to talk.  It is the scrutiny itself that produces the benefits.

 

Item 4: Approval of the 2011 Library Commission Meeting Schedule

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, stop the Ignorance – Don’t give money to the Friends & Foundation.

 

I commend you for having two meetings in December and January.  There have been fewer meetings in some previous years.

 

There used to be fewer commission meetings, but with an active committee structure.  Now that we have abandoned committees, I think it is important to have a full schedule of two meetings a month.

 

I should mention that the 4:30 start time might benefit by being extended to 5:00.  There might be staff members who need to come at 5:00 after their assignments.

 

Even Commissioner Kane might get here on time if the start time were 5:00.  It is true that he might come when public comment was over no matter when you started, but I hope not.  A five o’clock start time might make many people more punctual, including me.