SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, February 21, 2002 (As approved March 21, 2002)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 21, 2002 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order at 4:08 PM by Vice President Steiman.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig. Commissioners Bautista, Higueras, and Streets were reported excused attendance.
1. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 17, 2002
2. LIBRARY BUDGET REPORT
3. CIAC REQUEST
4. BOND PROGRAM MANAGERS REPORT
5. PROP 14. (State Library Bond) REPORT
6. PUBLIC COMMENT
8. Appendix A
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 17, 2002
An anonymous member of the public noted that the Minutes had not been posted on the Library’s website and found them eviscerated and impoverished. This individual called attention to reported comments discussing the Library Commission meeting on an Election Day noting that they had strongly protested against the Commission’s past practice of doing So. Mr. Ed Regan commented that his remarks had been accurately reported. Mr. Peter Warfield cited numerous omissions and inaccuracies in the Minutes. Mr. Warfield commented that his remarks concerning the disproportionate size of the new Mission Bay Branch Library given its patron base had not been reported.
Vice President Steiman suggested that the anonymous member of the public’s comments concerning the Commission meetings on Election Day be clarified to indicate more clearly their opposition to the Commission’s practice of doing so.
Motion: for approval of the January 17th Minutes by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Swig as amended. Action: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #2 LIBRARY BUDGET REPORT
Library Finance Director George Nichols outlined three proposed options for the Library Commissioners to consider in order to comply with the Mayor’s Budget Office’s instructions to the Library to prepare for a 10% reduction in the Library’s budget in anticipation of a continuing revenue shortfall in the next fiscal year. Mr. Nichols discussed in some detail the various aspects of each of these proposed budget reduction scenarios (copy attached). Mr. Nichols emphasized that these reductions did not involve the loss of any current staff positions and would only go into effect if the city’s revenues continued to decline.
An anonymous member of the public commented on deficiencies in the way this item was described in the Agenda and found a lack of specificity in the details of the proposed budget reduction plans observing that they seemed based on problematic assumptions. This person suggested that everything could be changed and that approval should be contingent on future review. Mr. Tim West, SEIU, Local 790 urged the Library Commission to seek any means other than employee layoffs to attain its budget goals. Mr. West suggested freezing rather than losing positions and doing everything possible to avoid layoffs. Mr. Peter Warfield agreed that he disliked staff cuts and noted that the explanatory documents did not provide a full view of which cuts might be appropriate. Mr. Warfield suggested that the lack of a full budget made understanding the proposed reductions difficult. Mr. Warfield identified proposed budget cuts such as 2nd overdue notices that he opposed.
In response to a query by Vice President Steiman, Library Public Affairs Chief Marcia Schneider described proposed reductions in non-personnel expenditures by her department. The City Librarian, responding to another question by Vice President Steiman, indicated that preliminary reports from a study on the effectiveness of 2nd overdue notices seemed to indicate that they were not very effective. Vice President Steiman suggested that staff develop a priority list of items that could be put back in the budget if the cuts proved not to be necessary. Ms. Hildreth noted that should the Mayor ask for a reduction in the requested budget cuts, this matter would be brought back to the Commission for its review. Mr. Nichols indicated that recent Controller’s Office reports showed that revenues from property taxes were improving over expectations but that overall revenues were down. Mr. Nichols pointed out that the Library’s allocation of property tax revenues had increased to the degree that a projected $1.2 revenue shortfall was now reduced to $865,000, an amount he expected could be fully addressed by other saving in the budget. Mr. Nichols reported that a Controller’s Report due for 9 months of the fiscal year, would provide a better picture of what revenues were likely to be during the next fiscal year.
Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the proposed revisions to the 2002/03 Library Budget.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #3 CIAC REQUEST
Library Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson reported to the Commissioners on the details of the proposed $23.020 million 2002/03 capital improvement program budget for the Library including a second bond sale that, with their approval, she proposed to take to the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee (CIAC) for its approval. She discussed in detail two exhibits that she provided (copies attached) that described annual capital improvements budget encumbrances and these encumbrances by program component. Ms. Thompson suggested that the Commission consider a third bond sale next year and noted that the 2nd bond sale will cover the costs involved in Phase One of the Bond Program.
An anonymous member of the public commented that the explanatory documents had not been listed on the agenda and that they were both heartened and dismayed by the speed at which the program was going forward. This person commented that it seemed that half of the projects had begun without being discussed, that cumulative totals reported did not seem in balance, and observed while money was being spent at a galloping rate they wished the picture were clearer. Mr. Peter Warfield commented on the large numbers of figures presented, remarked that the exhibits had not been provided with the agenda, and commented that the lack of advance access to documents by the public made meaningful comment difficult. Mr. Warfield suggested that copies of documents discussed be provided in advance. Ms. Barbara Berman, Friends and Foundation commended the staff for their hard work in preparing and presenting information on the Bond Program.
Ms. Thompson in response to a question by Vice President Steiman pointed out that this proposal merely encumbered funds not expended them. Ms. Thompson then discussed related aspects of the purchase and sale agreement for the new Glen Park Branch Library that she proposed to bring back to the Commission for further discussion as it developed.
Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the proposed fiscal year 2002/03 capital improvement projects budget to be forwarded to Capital Improvements Advisory Committee (CIAC) for its approval.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #4 BOND PROGRAM MANAGERS REPORT
Branch Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson briefly outlined the manner in which she would structure future reports to the Commission under this agenda item, then introduced Commissioner Tim Kelly of the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board. Commissioner Kelly proved the Library Commissioners with an extensive overview of the historic landmarking and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) issues and requirements that would be addressed during the course of the Branch Library Bond Program for historic structures (copy of handout attached).
Ms. Thompson then brought the Commissioners up to date on the status of the Bond Program Budget, noting that the current budget report reflected the actions taken by the Library Commission during the past several months. Ms. Thompson then recapped the Library’s Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) strategy and discussed details of the projects to be addressed during the phased opportunities to compete for funding from the State Library Bond Program. Ms. Thompson then provided an update on active projects including community meetings at the Richmond and Glen Park Branch Libraries, an update on the development of the purchase and sale agreement on the new Mission Bay Branch Library, and noted preparations for a Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) application for the Excelsior Branch Library.
Ms. Thompson then provided a schedule of community meetings that either were hosted by the Library or where the Library would be making presentations on Bond related projects in the coming weeks.
Finally, the Branch Bond Program Manager provided a detailed presentation on a proposed Design Excellence Program that would be integral to the Bond Program. Ms. Thompson described in some detail (copy attached) how such a design excellence program could be created to provide the highest standards of civic design for Bond Program projects.
An anonymous member of the public noted that the print was very small on the explanatory documents making them difficult to analyze. This person commented on the importance of preservation of our heritage, citing the fate of the Old Main Library as a bad example when compared to Los Angeles and Portland that had refurbished their Main Libraries. The anonymous member of the public observed that this matter required close attention, as the place of these libraries in their communities was irreplaceable. Ms. Jeannene Przyblyski, Noe Valley, praised the concept of a design excellence program and cited the importance of quality rehabilitation work to be done at the Noe Valley Branch Library. Mr. Peter Warfield requested copies of the presentations made by Ms. Thompson and Commissioner Kelly noting that not having the documents in advance diminished ability to comment. Mr. Warfield questioned the lack of provision for public participation in the design excellence program noting no provision was made for the public to offer comments. Mr. Warfield requested that he be informed about the details of where and when meetings held by or attended by representatives of the Library to discuss Bond program projects would occur. Commission comment:
Ms. Thompson proposed to provide the Commission Secretary with a list of dates and times of Bond related community and organizational meetings. In response to questions by Commissioner Chin, Ms. Thompson clarified some apparent imbalances in the total amounts reported for project encumbrances when compared to project baseline figures. Commission Swig observed that it was sometime difficult to follow the small print in the presentations and suggested that they be re-formatted to make them easier to understand.
AGENDA ITEM #5 PROP 14. (State Library Bond) REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth presented a report that discussed in great detail seven key review factors and other complexities involved in making a successful application for Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) funds, (copy attached).
An anonymous member of the public found Commissioner Streets absence for this discussion unfortunate, commenting that this proposal raised concerns about when grants are accepted which party is being leveraged. This person also expressed concerns with the impact of homework centers on branch library services, questioning whether by cooperation with the school district the library was expending its funds to replace school funds. This individual commented that the public library and schools had differing mandates. Mr. Ed Regan opposed cooperative programs with schools such as homework centers, commenting that schools should have their own libraries, and that the public library was established to serve adults. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concerns with the services impacts of the proposed cooperative programs with the schools, suggesting that the library might be undertaking inappropriate programs in order to qualify for state funds. Mr. Warfield further commented that the nature of these joint ventures might be inappropriate for the library suggesting that there was nothing in these proposals about books. Mr. Warfield questioned what a homework center might be and noted this matter-raised questions of conflicts.
Commissioner Chin noted that in these changing times the mandates of public agencies serving the community needed to change to reflect the changing needs of the people they served. Commission Chin observed that our public libraries were not private clubs for those over 21 and that 25% of the City’s population was youth that the libraries must serve. Commissioner Chin suggested that the Library should support those projects that worked with its programs and that she would do whatever she could to encourage cooperation by the schools. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, the City Librarian discussed the varying degrees of cooperation that she had been able to obtain from the school district. Ms. Hildreth noted greatest successes with local school site leadership working with the Library to create cooperative and viable projects. Ms. Hildreth in particular called attention to the cooperative work being done at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. Commissioner Chin noted that it was right for the Library to take the lead in dealing with neighboring schools located near the libraries. She additionally suggested that the children using libraries do a better job learning.
Agenda item #6 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public raised questions concerning the Library’s meetings with private organizations, asking if these meetings were closed or open to the public. This person commented that information about a meeting was not the same as access to a meeting. The anonymous member of the public then discussed issues raised in The Ugly American. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that Library public service hours be expanded from 6AM until Midnight 7 days per week, placing an exterior fire escape on the Main Library, and commented that the Library should request that the school district extend its libraries hours. Mr. Peter Warfield thanked Vice President Steiman for informing him about a meeting that was discussed and asked for detailed information concerning meetings that library staff attended to address bond program related matters. Mr. Warfield commented that it was inappropriate that such information was not available.
Agenda Item #7 ADJOURNMENT
Motion: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig)
The meeting was adjourned at 6:25PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 3/22/02
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.
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.