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Library Commission Minutes - December 19, 2002

Minutes of the special meeting of Thursday, December 19, 2002. (As approved Amended January 16, 2003) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a special meeting on Thursday, December 19, 2002 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order at 2:16PM by President Higueras. The following members were noted present: President Higueras and Commissioners Coulter, Streets, and Strobin. Vice President Steiman and Commission Chin were excused. Commissioner Bautista’s arrival was expected to be delayed. AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER 21, 2002 COMMISSION MEETING Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER 21, 2002 COMMISSION MEETING An anonymous member of the public commented that the public comment summary statements were not properly included in the Minutes, that the Minutes lacked sufficient detail of the comments made which discouraged any motivation to listen to the recordings of meetings. Mr. Peter Warfield objected that explanatory documents were not mailed out with the agenda and found the Minutes lacking in specificity in a number of areas. Mr. Warfield particularly noted the lack of any report of the discussion concerning providing substitute services in nearby branches. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER 21, 2002 COMMISSION MEETING Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood requested correction of the identification of Art Commission staff member Judy Moran, who was misidentified as Julie Moran in the report concerning the proposed public artwork in the Mission Bay Library. MOTION: Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Strobin, that the November 17, 2002 Minutes be approved as corrected. ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT Ms. Marilyn Thompson, Branch Library Improvement Bond Program Manager began her report noting that there would be no informational presentation at the meeting, then outlined in detail the regular Budget, Schedule, Site Acquisitions,, Active Projects, and Community Outreach Reports (see attached report) The Bond Program Manager concluded her presentation by noting that there would be no special reports at this meeting. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT An anonymous member of the public noted that it had been announced at the Excelsior Branch Community meeting that there would be a design review session at this Commission meeting. This person expressed the hope that outreach would be made to inform those who might wish to attend such a session. Ms. Sue Cauthen, member of the Council for Neighborhood Libraries, distributed a copy of a Marina Times article she had written concerning the responses to the community needs survey’s for the Marina Branch. Ms. Cauthen reported that 78% of respondents requested more books. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT In response to a question by Commissioner Coulter regarding neighborhood concerns with the loss of the supermarket in Visitacion Valley, it was reported that use of the site for the new branch library was regarded as having greater importance in the community. In answer to questions from Commissioner Streets regarding the impact of the current economic difficulties on potential use of the new Mission Bay Branch, the Deputy City Librarian and Charlie Dunn, Real Estate Division, Department of Administrative Services, outlined proposed changes in office space uses in the project and discussed the long-term positive outlook for the new neighborhood. AGENDA ITEM #3 INGLESIDE PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT Paul Underwood, Deputy City Librarian and Charlie Dunn, the Real Estate Division, Department of Administrative Services, provided the Commissioners with an overview of the proposed Purchase and Sale Agreement for 1298 Ocean Avenue for the new Ingleside Branch Library for $1.850 million, noting that the proposed purchase price was based on the Letter of Intent and that these costs were within funds available for this project. Mr. Dunn described in detail the site at the corner of Plymouth and Ocean, suggesting that purchase of a larger property provided the Library with many options to gain additional value from the site. Mr. Dunn also clarified the site’s toxics clean up and required clearances obtained by the current property owner. Mr. Underwood called attention to the benefits of having a new building based on an analysis of the neighborhood’s needs and the existing building. Additionally, the Deputy City Librarian called attention to the option for future expansion, a potential Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) application, and noted that use of interest that was accruing on the bonds already sold would more than cover the increase in site cost over initial estimate for this branch. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 INGLESIDE PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT An anonymous member of the public suggested that this was a more positive project than others, but expressed concern about toxic clean up issues, indemnifying the property owner from further clean up liability, and the lack of a listed environmental report attached to Schedule 2 of the documents. Mr. Peter Warfield noted agreement with the previous speaker’s remarks and expressed alarm at the cost of the property. Mr. Warfield also called attention to exceeding budget for this site, expressed concern at the lack of information concerning toxics, and found the proposed indemnification troubling. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 INGLESIDE PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT In response to questions by President Higueras, Mr. Dunn discussed in detail how fair market value was determined noting highest and best use, values per unit, and neighborhood variables as impacting prices. Mr. Dunn then extensively detailed the toxic clean up work done and clearances received by the seller, concluding that the site was clean for the uses the Library intended. In answer to questions by Commissioner Streets, Mr. Underwood addressed concerns about increased purchase prices adversely impacting the overall program budget and noted that site acquisitions were nearly complete at this early stage in the Bond program. President Higueras pointed out site acquisition was typically the most unpredictable variable in such projects. Commissioner Streets urged staff to be ever mindful of the unfilled $5 million gap in the program budget. MOTION: by Commissioner Streets, seconded by Commission Strobin for approval of the proposed Purchase & Sale Agreement for the new Ingleside Branch Library site. ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT FUND ALLOCATION Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood provided a detailed overview of the proposed reallocation of funds from the Library Improvement Fund to cover the costs for several Phase I POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation) Report related projects for the Main Library. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT FUND ALLOCATION An anonymous member of the public commented on the lack of availability of explanatory documents and inquired how these projects fit into proposals made in the POE. This person also noted that projects at 190-9th Street were to be funded using library improvement funds earmarked for the Main. Mr. Peter Warfield criticized the lack of availability of explanatory documents and requested copies of the documents. Mr. Warfield suggested that these proposals marked a change in plans from the recommendations of the POE Report. Ms. Sue Cauthen recommended that explanatory documents be mailed out with the agenda and inquired concerning any relationship between funds in the Library Improvement Fund and Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) funds. Ms. Cauthen expressed happiness that needed work was to be done at the Main Library. Commissioner Bautista joined the meeting at 3:30PM Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT FUND ALLOCATION President Higueras noted that copies of all of the explanatory documents were to be found in the public review binder located at the rear of the auditorium. Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes noted that such materials were available there as a courtesy to members of the public. Mr. Phil Sowers, Bureau of Architecture, Department of Public Works, then explained how the bids had been structured for these projects. In answer to questions by Commissioner Streets, the sources and permissible uses of funds in the Library Improvement Fund deriving from the Main Library Prop. A (1988) Bond and an errors and omissions settlement were distinguished from funds in the Library Preservation Fund (Prop. E 1994). It was noted that the funds for this project had been appropriated for use in the Main library by the Board of Supervisors and were the result of extensive staff review and recommendations. The Deputy City Librarian emphasized that Prop A (2000) funds could only be expended for Branch Library Improvement Bond Program uses. It was additionally noted that the $28 million figure in the POE Report covered a menu of possible changes in the Main Library but was not a mandated blueprint for what the Library might actually do. In response to a question by Commissioner Coulter; Kathy Lawhun, Chief of the Main Library, explained why after consultation with SMWM, Main Library associate architect, that similar but alternative choices were made for some of the materials to be used in the Grove Street entry area. MOTION: Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Strobin, that the reallocation of funds from the Library Improvement Fund as clarified at $132, 592 be approved. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) AGENDA ITEM #5 INTERIM BRANCH LIBRARY SERVICES PLAN Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood gave a follow up presentation to his initial October 17th report on a proposed Interim Branch Library Services Plan (copy attached). Mr. Underwood outlined in detail the methodology used and called attention to the constraints imposed by the $4.3 million total budget for all 24 projects in the Bond Program. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 INTERIM BRANCH LIBRARY SERVICES PLAN An anonymous member of the public commented that there were explanatory documents concerning this item available to the Commission but not to other members of the public. This person commented that the proposed plan was not what was promised and that temporary replacement branch locations were now only being considered where bookmobile services were considered to be unfeasible. Mr. Peter Warfield complained that the explanatory documents were not available and noted that there were lots of empty storefronts available for use as temporary branch library locations. Mr. Warfield suggested that their owners might donate such spaces for such use. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 INTERIM BRANCH LIBRARY President Higueras noted that no promise of alternative service had been made and that there was no money in the bond program to pay for temporary locations at all branches. President Higueras also remarked that temporary loss of some branch services was a necessary trade off for the greatly improved services that would be provided at renovated branch libraries. The Deputy City Librarian reported that as the program unfolds that Library users would find more services available as the new branches and renovated branch libraries open. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Underwood noted that the Library planned to use any bookmobiles acquired during the Bond Program to upgrade the aging fleet of bookmobiles in current use. Commissioner Bautista recommended that a plan be developed for subsequent use of any portable structures purchased and used during the Branch Library Improvement Bond program. President Higueras pointed out that usable temporary locations that met city code requirements were not as easy to find and that portable structures were less expensive. The Deputy City Librarian observed that the Library was committed to carefully evaluate all of the options available in meeting service needs during the Bond Program. MOTION: Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Strobin, that the proposed Interim Branch Library Services Plan be approved. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) AGENDA ITEM #6 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public continued a previous discussion of the Fuhrman Trust and their view of what was described as Martin Paley’s model for Philanthropic Efficiency, which this speaker believed facilitated substitution of the wishes of living trustees susceptible to the influence of those in power in place of specific directions of deceased gift donors. Ms. Deborah Nieman, Noe Valley Branch, suggested that specific plans for each branch for interim library services be developed and noted that there was yet no plan for her branch library. Mr. Peter Warfield complained concerning the lack of availability of explanatory documents. Additionally, Mr. Warfield criticized what he found to be a lack of attention to the library’s collections and noted that users could not find many items because of too many carts of unshelved books he said were to be found throughout the Main Library. Mr. Charlie Dunn, library user and city employee, lauded the tremendous job being done by City Librarian Susan Hildreth. Mr. Dunn remarked that in his experience with many city departments, Ms. Hildreth was among the city’s best department heads, who put in extraordinary hours on the job, listens, unfailingly carefully considered issues, and made wise foreword looking decisions. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 PUBLIC COMMENT Commissioner Coulter noted that public comment should be encouraged but that irresponsible anonymous half-truths and inappropriate remarks should not go unanswered. Commissioner Coulter then gave a spirited rebuttal to the anonymous member of the public’s critiques of Martin Paley, whose work the Commissioner noted had had nothing at all to do with the Fuhrman Fund. AGENDA ITEM #7 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned at President Higueras’ suggestion in appreciation for all of the support and encouragement that the Commissioners, library staff, and members of the public had contributed in support of the Branch Library Improvement Program. ACTION: AYE-5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT None offered ACTION: AYE-5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) The meeting was adjourned at 4:18PM. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 1/17/02 Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 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. Minutes of the regular Commission Meeting of December 19, 2002 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 (PDF) available for viewing in PDF format