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Library Commission Minutes - May 21, 2002

Minutes of the special meeting of Tuesday, May 21, 2002. (As approved corrected June 20, 2002) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a special meeting called by the Commission President on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4:08 PM. The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Chin, Higueras, and Steiman. Commissioners Coulter, Streets, and Swig were reported excused attendance. AGENDA ITEM #1 LIBRARY SUPPORT SERVICES CENTER (Explanatory documents: Support Services Building memo, Department of Public Works letter) City Librarian Susan Hildreth presented the Commissioners with a detailed retrospective of the search to locate a site for the Systemwide Support Services Center. Ms. Hildreth recalled the POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation) of the Main Library’s recommendation that such a facility be created and detailed the reasons that Brooks Hall had proven to be not an acceptable choice. The City Librarian pointed out that the current state of the commercial real estate market had resulted in a greatly increased availability of appropriate office buildings becoming available at prices within the amount available for this purpose. Ms. Hildreth reported that a purchase was now possible as a previous arrangement between the property owner and the Department of Human Services had fallen through due to state budget reductions. The City Librarian noted that the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee had already calendared acquisition of this building by the city for discussion and that Supervisor Peskin had been informed of the Library’s interest in acquiring the building. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood informed the Commissioners that he considered 945 Bryant Street to be a prime candidate in an excellent location with 41,000 sq. ft. of immediately usable space with only minor improvements needed. He further noted that it would be wise for the Library to purchase as much space as possible, reporting that the immediate need was for a 25,000-sq. ft. space. The Deputy City Librarian proved the Commissioners with a detailed review of the many properties that had been investigated for this use on behalf of the Library. Mr. Underwood then provided an extensive overview of 945 Bryant Street highlighting the many qualities that made it an almost ideal choice including: that it was fully wired; the ease of loading with no need for materials to be moved by elevator; a great amount of space for future expansion on two additional floors; 29 off street parking spaces; the cost was within range of the budget; that it was fully furnished and the office furniture was available at a low price; that it was well served by 4 major transit lines; that it is relatively close to the Main Library; and that there were 14 restaurants in its immediate neighborhood. The Deputy City Librarian then introduced Charlie Dunn of the Department of Real Estate, who provided additional details concerning useful aspects of this property for the Library. Mr. Dunn noted that the Library would own the building outright. In response to questions by President Higueras, Ms. Hildreth provided additional information concerning the situation with Brooks Hall, noting that the Library had essentially squatter’s rights, that a formal lease arrangement was unlikely, and that there was unlikely to be any changes in the status of Brooks Hall in the near future. In response to additional questions by President Higueras, Mr. Underwood asked Vivian Pisano, Library Chief of technical Services to inform the Commissioners concerning the extensive staff involvement in and input into the consideration of potential properties for a Support Services Center. Ms. Pisano reported that a variety of Technical Services staff members had reviewed and in some cases visited potential locations. In addition, Ms. Pisano reported that there had been a general meeting of Technical Services staff to discuss options and that photos of potential locations had been posted on StaffN et providing opportunities for those with concerns to email or phone them in. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 LIBRARY SUPPORT SERVICES CENTER: An anonymous member of the public commented that this was a stealth bomber, that explanatory documents were unclear, and questioned the description and potential costs of the item related to this property pending before the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee. This individual suggested that there was serious traffic gridlock in that area. Mr. Ed Regan commented that he had visited the building and found it impressive and large. Mr. Regan remarked that the building would serve the purposes well. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concern at the haste with which this matter was being addressed, noting that there had been multiple meetings when branch library locations were being considered and that the documentation concerning this matter had only been available at the last minute. Mr. Warfield thought the building too large, not in a good location, with poor transit access, and expressed concern that Technical Services would be moved away from the Main Library. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 LIBRARY SUPPORT SERVICES CENTER: Vice President Steiman observed that the proposed building was only four and half blocks away from the Main Library, which did not seem too far. The City Librarian explained the circumstances of the Library being substituted for the Department of Human Services on the item related to the city’s acquisition of 945 Bryant Street pending before the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee. Ms. Hildreth noted that the City Attorney had advised Supervisor Peskin that it was appropriate and that the Board’s Budget Analyst did not intend to make a report on this matter. She further noted that the Supervisors would only take action on this matter after the terms of a purchase had been negotiated. Charlie Dunn of the Department of Real Estate reported that the Board of Supervisors calendar would be fully occupied with city budget matters in the coming months and that this agenda item was acting as a placeholder to keep the city’s acquisition process on course. Mr. Dunn noted that this was a quality building that was sure to sell. President Higueras pointed out that there was a lengthy timeline to purchase property, but that because the Library had Bond Program funds available, the process could be moved along more quickly. Mr. Dunn reported that the final asking amount was under ongoing discussion and that he would report it back to the Commission. MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Steiman to request the Department of Real Estate to enter into negotiations for the acquisition of 945 Bryant Street as the location for the Library Systemwide Support Services Center. ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Higueras, and Steiman) AGENDA ITEM #2 ADJOURNMENT Public comment on Agenda item #2 ADJOURNMENT: An anonymous member of the public noted the passing of former Library Commissioner Norman Wechsler suggesting that the Commission might wish to adjourn in his memory. This person noted that former Commissioner Wechsler had been President and CEO of I. Magnin Corp. and that his obituary had been reported in the New York Times. Commission comment on Agenda item #2 ADJOURNMENT: Motion: by Commissioner Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Chin that the meeting be adjourned In Memoriam of former Library Commissioner Norman Wechsler. Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Higueras, and Steiman) The meeting was adjourned at 4:54PM. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 6/21/02 The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting. 1 Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 Copies of Public Comment Summary Statements as authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16 can be found in Appendix A. These summary statements are provided by the speaker and their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission 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. The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting. 1 Public Comment available for viewing in pdf format.
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