Library Commission Minutes - December 2, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, December 2, 2004. (As approved January 6, 2005) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, December 2, 2004 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order by President Higueras at 5:29pm following the conclusion of the continuation of the Commission’s regular November 18th meeting. President Higueras stated that takings of the agenda items will be reordered as follows: West Portal Branch Update, Item #6 will be moved on the Agenda to Item #2 immediately behind Public Comments. The President also advised that the Commission has dedicated agenda items, with regards to Prop E, and discussion of hours, speakers should hold comments until that particular presentation is completed. Agenda Items: 1) Public Comment 6) West Portal Branch Update 2) Approval of the Minutes of October 21, 2004 3) Approval of the Minutes of November 4, 2004 4) Prop. E Hours 5) City Librarian's Report 7) 2005-006 Budget Workshop 8) Friends of the Library Report 9) Labor Union Report 9) New Business 10) Adjournment APPENDIX A -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT The anonymous member of the public thanked Mr. Mirkarimi and others who spoke at the Nov. 18th meeting that was just concluded, and that he hoped they stayed to comment at the Dec. 2nd meeting. The anonymous member talked about rationalization of public comments that is designed for people to contribute to Commission deliberations and to the institutions that governs them. This person commented that public comments should be encouraged in a democracy. This person’s cited a rationale seeing library staff as visionaries, and suggesting that few people complain because they don't understand, which could mean something is done right; and few people attend meetings to complain, meaning library staff must be doing things right. According to the anonymous speaker, by this contradictory rationale, the Library Administration becomes immune from public comment. People that speak are not aristocrats as library staff, and are not speaking as aristocracy, which then is a strategy of the library staff – the benefits of bunker mentality is that not only are you opposed to people outside your bunker; but no one outside your bunker wants to join you. Mr. Peter Warfield thanked two speakers who spoke in opposition to Park Branch Library hours reductions. Mr. Warfield stated that with regard to Prop E funding, he commented that Prop. E passed in 1994, provided guaranteed funding for SFPL at a time when people were concerned about branch closings. Mr. Warfield noted that he spoke about this because people have asked him if the Library cutting something because of problems with money. In Mr. Warfield's view as result of Prop E. SFPL has become relatively wealthy, becoming in his opinion one of the best funded per capita libraries in this country. According to Mr. Warfield SFPL's budget went from $19 million to over $33 million in a single year, noting at the same time the book budget and hours were increased. Mr. Warfield commented that since 1995, SFPL's budget of $33 million went to approximately $58 million, tripling the original budget. Mr. Warfield added that hours went up only one (1) time, during the 1st year of Prop E in 1995 (47%). Mr. Warfield found it troubling that Prop E had shown meager results for book budget and library hours increases, noting the Library Budget had increased over 70% but there was 0% increase in Library hours. According to Mr. Warfield, the Library's book budget was less than 20% higher than ten years ago. He spoke against the proposed changes in Library Public Services hours and criticized Library compliance with the requirements of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund 1994). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #6 WEST PORTAL BRANCH UPDATE BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson presented a report on the construction bids and tabulation of the West Portal Library project received, and recommending revision in the BLIP Budget to provide additional funds for the renovation of the West Portal Library in the manner preferred by the community. Mr. Brad Saylor of Leland Saylor presented an overview of the bid climate and circumstances that resulted in the increase in cost to renovate the branch library as planned. Ms. Thompson recommended that the Commissioners approve a revision of the Budget to increase budget by $650,000 to fund renovations as planned. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 WEST PORTAL BRANCH UPDATE An anonymous member of the public thanked the BLIP Manager for printed copies of the slides and explanatory documents. He found them very helpful. This member of the public stated that there was not much background information disclosed in the report. The anonymous speaker remarked that this reports sends chills through all of us, and should sends us back to the drawing board. The anonymous speaker used the analogy of football players’ contracts set to pay for the ten highest players, but for eleven players, it is impossible to pay for more. He said this is the same as the steel industry going out of business because of market demands. The anonymous speaker commented this is similar to the West Portal Branch's contracting issues. The anonymous speaker questioned how West Portal could be given a budget increase without knowing what will happen with other branch renovation budgets. Mr. Peter Warfield also found the report chilling and the recommended 20% budget increase suggested that the entire Bond Program had to be viewed in a different light given what had occurred during its first four years. Warfield then observed that the Bond Program had already had a 5% decrease in budget because of cost overruns, but he would leave the sweating of this matter to Library Administration. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 WEST PORTAL BRANCH UPDATE It was the consensus of the Commission after an extensive discussion of what increased construction costs might mean for the overall Bond Program and the merits of this project to go forward with the planned renovation of the West Portal Branch in accordance with the plans presented to the community. Mr. Saylor was summoned back to the podium by the Commission for further questions about West Portal Branch such as aspects of the budget increase, bid contingency, multiple bidders, about the possibility of future cost increase problems. According to Mr. Saylor, it would be beneficial to contract with sub-contractors. Mr. Saylor stated also that San Francisco is one of the worst markets to build because of land and material cost. Mr. Saylor also stated that with the recession, businesses are particular hit hard; subcontractors have cost over runs, barriers, and other issues of concern. Mr. Saylor said that the scope of services for West Portal could be revisited. Mr. Saylor also noted that oftentimes skilled construction workers are not readily available in the San Francisco market. Ms. Thompson was asked by the Commissioners to return to the podium for further questions regarding the increase of West Portal’s construction costs. Ms. Thompson outlined her plans to re-estimate the project in relation to the volatile market. The BLIP Manager replied to questions regarding contingency funds stating that construction contingency funds were included for each project. Commissioner Bautista noted that to change the plans now would not result in savings. MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Steiman for approval of the proposed revision of the Branch Library Improvement Program Budget to provide an additional $650,000 from the BLIP Budget reserve for the West Portal Branch Library as proposed. Approved by the following vote: ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF OCTOBER 21, 2004 Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF OCTOBER 21, 2004 An anonymous member of the public expressed his views that the Minutes are an example of distortion and misrepresentation. The anonymous speaker commented that the October 21 Minutes did not report details of Mr. Hawkins proposed options for the City Librarian Search process, and that it failed to properly report the legal requirement for the number of candidates the Commission was required to submit to the Mayor. Mr. Peter Warfield requested clarification about the number of candidates required to be submitted to the Mayor and asked if candidates would be questioned concerning RFID. Mr. Warfield noted omission of questions regarding the extension of the application deadline. Mr. Warfield asked about status of request for RFID. Mr. Warfield asked to see the actual RFP prior to Commission approval. He also noted that he was concerned about seeing documents from SFPL after the fact. Mr. Warfield asked that if final documents could be put out in enough time for the public to review prior to the Commission meeting. Mr. Warfield asked that his comments in the Minutes about whether or not to extend the City Librarian's search process be revised to reflect that he supported the motion for the extension. Mr. Warfield agreed with the report of his other comments made in relation the City Librarian search. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF OCTOBER 21, 2004 Commissioner Higueras asked the Commission Secretary to review the meeting tapes and correct the minutes if needed. The Commission Secretary agreed to review the tapes and make any appropriate corrections. MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner Bautista for approval of the Minutes of the regular meeting of October 21, 2004 as amended. Approved by the following vote: ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 4, 2004 Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 4, 2004 An anonymous member of the public found the minutes drained of meaning, and criticized the report of their comments about the Commission’s response to public comment. The anonymous member of the public stated that it was self-serving to claim that the lack of Public Comment means anything, and then he said that, “he had forgotten the rest of what he said himself”. Mr. Arnold Folkedal commented that the Minutes inaccurately reported that he had commented on calendaring in the Koret Auditorium when he had not and that his comments on recommending changes in the computer time reservation system did not intend to recommend Stanford as a model and were intended to benefit all users not just disabled users needs. Mr. Folkedal expressed concern that the Minutes be put together in a way that reflects the comments of those who took the time to come and speak at Commission meetings. He noted that he had requested opportunity to book two computer use reservations, rather than asked to be able to book two days in advance; and that this did not make the Minutes. Mr. Folkedal said he would write a script of his public comment and provide it to the Secretary for accuracy. Mr. Folkedal later also rose to note that mobility challenges were not a label and could have been more sensitively addressed. Mr. Folkedal noted his concerns were that his comments reflect his intent and that his interest to the calendar and the reservation system was in promoting greater access for all. Mr. Peter Warfield found objectionable Mr. Folkedal's ascription, and agreed that his comments were inaccurately reported. Mr. Warfield discussed a Sunshine Ordinance Task Force (SOTF) hearing held regarding enforcement of its order of determination of April 22, 2004 resulting from his complaint claiming SFPL had violated the Sunshine Ordinance. Mr. Warfield stated the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force had forwarded its order of determination to the District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Deborah Doyle, Acting Executive Director of the Friends provided a correct spelling for the last name of Ms. Bero, the Friends of the Library's new Executive Director. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 4, 2004 Commissioner Coulter observed that these minutes were not a good as they could be, and suggested that greater sensitivity be demonstrated when referencing persons offering comments. Commissioner Coulter also requested correction of an erroneous report listing Vice President Steiman as voting on an item. Commissioner Steiman noted that she reviewed the videotape of this meeting earlier in the day and it was understandable how Mr. Folkedal's comments became misunderstood. The Commission Vice President observed that people sometimes recall what they wished they had said but that the Minutes should report what people actually said. Commissioner Coulter asked that the Secretary consider bringing someone from a whole different perspective in to do Minutes and see how it worked out. He also stated that public comments complaining about the Library Commission Minutes are way over the top. The Commission Secretary stated that he will remove the inappropriate characterization of Mr. Folkedal's disability and make other needed corrections as noted. MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner Bautista for approval of the Minutes of the regular meeting of November 4, 2004 as amended. Approved by the following vote: ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin) The President called for a 10 minute recess at 6:45pm. The Library Commission returned to session at 6:56pm. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #4 PROP. E HOURS Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood discussed staff recommendations to maintain the current 1,172 Prop. E systemwide public service hours per week as presented in the November 1, 2004 report. Mr. Underwood additionally recommended a revision of the proposed new schedule to retain the current public service hours at the Marina Branch and North Beach Branch, but still authorize the transfer of hours from the Park to the Anza Branch and the minor shifts in hours at Ingleside, Ocean View, and Western Addition as previously recommended. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 PROP. E HOURS An anonymous member of the public commented that the Commission should heed what the public surveys and users themselves said were most important, hours of service. This person further suggested that Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund 1994) mandated books and branch hours as the highest priority. Mr. Peter Warfield stated that he strongly opposed any reductions in branch hours, submitted additional petitions in opposition to the proposed shift in branch library hours, and read from letters opposed to the proposed shift of hours from the Park and Marina Libraries. Mr. Warfield suggested that the Library was wealthy and could provide more public service hours. Ms. Melissa Riley, Librarians’ Guild, noted that she believed that branch staffs was not informed of the proposed shifts. She also suggested that branch closings occurring during the Bond Program could make available staffing to support additional hours in other branches. In particular, Ms. Riley suggested that addition of two staff positions to provide lunch coverage could facilitate Park Branch keeping its current hours. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 PROP. E HOURS Following a discussion of various options and a review of the costs involved in providing additional hours, it was the consensus of the Commission to approve the minor shifts in hours at the Ingleside, Ocean View, and Western Addition as recommended; make no changes in the hours at Park and Anza or at Marina and North Beach, and thus retain the current number of hours of public service systemwide. Commissioner Coulter urged that the Library consider how to reduce its costs long-term and still provide the levels and kinds of services the public wanted. Commissioner Coulter suggested that reconsideration of the mix of staffing and use of less high cost staff merited consideration. The Acting City Librarian noted that administration was considering various options and that there would be opportunities as positions became open and during the Bond Program related public services shifts to review and reconsider how staffing was maintained. MOTION: by Commissioner Steiman, 2nd Commissioner Strobin for approval of minor shifts in hours at the Ingleside, Ocean View, and Western Addition as recommended, make no changes in the hours at Park and Anza or at Marina and North Beach thus retaining their current schedule for hours of public service, and adopt the otherwise recommended 1,172 systemwide hours beginning on January 1, 2005 to continue until December 31, 2009. Approved by the following vote: ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin) President Higueras noted in response to public comments offered that there was no fair linkage between the Library's consideration of RFID and the issue of setting systemwide hours of public service and that doing so was a scare tactic. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #5 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT The Acting City Librarian presented an update report on the Library's successful applications for Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) funds for the Richmond and Ingleside Branch Libraries. Mr. Underwood praised the dedication and hard work of branch library users, community representatives, and members of the Friends in lobbying so hard and successfully to get the $9.7 million in grants. The Acting City Librarian concluded with a report of current programs and exhibitions. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT An anonymous member of the public noted that they had gone to Sacramento and that they were inappropriately treated when presenting opposition to the Library's applications. This person commented that they hoped the Library was happy to receive the money and aware of its cost. This person also commented on what they felt had been disrespectful treatment that they received and about lack of equality of opportunity to comment. Mr. Peter Warfield commented about his presentation to the State Library Bond Board, noting that he opposed some applications, but did support the application for Visitacion Valley because it alone in his view provided for more books, his primary concern. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT The Commissioners lauded the Acting City Librarian, Library staff, the Friends of the Library, and the community members and library users whose tireless efforts achieved this great success for the entire library system. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #7 2005-06 BUDGET WORKSHOP Commissioners received a briefing by Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood presenting an overview of the current City Budget situation and its implications for the Library's 2005/06 Budget. The Acting City Librarian noted that a more detailed budget presentation would be made at the Commission’s December 16th meeting. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #7 2005-06 BUDGET WORKSHOP An anonymous member of the public commented on what they found to be a cycle of non-communication about budget issues and suggested that the failure of the proposed tax increases could only properly be addressed in context of the impact on the Library Preservation Fund (Prop E 1994). This person commented that RFID appeared to be off the table without any official action having been taken and suggested that the Library would have had little expectation of receiving additional revenues from Prop. J & K that failed to win approval. Mr. Peter Warfield asked several questions regarding the implications for the Library of the loss of the tax propositions and shrinkage in the City's General Fund. Mr. Warfield lamented the size of the book budget and asked for documentation of the elimination of the $300,000 in reserve funds earmarked for RFID. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #7 2005-06 BUDGET WORKSHOP Vice President Steiman noted that the Library had been prudent and conservative in spending its income and that it was now even more important that they continue to do so given the economic outlook facing the City in the next few years. In response to a question by President Higueras, the Acting City Librarian outlined how the RFID reserve funds had been eliminated from this year’s budget following a request for budget reductions subsequent to the failure of the tax proposals by the Mayor’s Budget Office. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM # 8 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT None offered. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #9 LABOR UNION REPORT None offered. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #9 NEW BUSINESS None offered. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #10 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Strobin that the meeting be adjourned. Approved by the following vote: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin) There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:14pm. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 1/7/05 Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 ATTACHMENTS to the December 2, 2004 Minutes: Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) Hours of Service memo (11/1/04) Construction Market Trends report West Portal Branch Update report 2004-05 Mayor’s Budget Instructions report -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Library Commission meeting of December 2, 2004 Appendix A The Public Comment Summary Statements included in these Minutes are authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16. 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. Explanatory documents: Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows: (1) from the Commission Secretary/Custodian of Records, Main Library, 6th Floor, (2) in the rear of the Koret Auditorium immediately before and during the meeting, and (3) to the extent possible, on the Library's Web site . Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents, if any, that are distributed to the 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 §§ 67.9, 67.28(b) & 67.28(d).
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