Library Commission Minutes - October 10, 2001
Minutes of the special meeting of Wednesday, October 10, 2001. (As approved November 15, 2001).
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a special meeting on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order at 4: 07PM by President Higueras.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Streets.
Commissioner Swig was noted excused attendance.
Commissioner Steiman joined the meeting at 4:10PM.
AGENDA ITEM #1 AD HOC BRANCH BOND COMMITTEE CHARGE
The City Librarian provided the Commissioners with an overview of branch library bond related matters since the Library Commission created the Ad Hoc Committee on the Branch Library Bond Program in September. The City Librarian suggested that it would be necessary for the Commissioners to approve a clear charge and scope of responsibility for this committee authorizing its work as a venue for review and analysis of branch library bond related issues in detail prior to the Committee beginning its work. The City Librarian clarified that it was the view of the City Attorney that the Committee could only make recommendations for action to the full Library Commission, but not take action on its own. Ms. Hildreth suggested that the Commission may choose to address bond related issues at a second meeting of the Commission each month instead of using the committee to address these matters . The City Librarian then outlined the various topics outlined in the proposed committee charge. Ms. Hildreth further observed that as two members of the Committee constituted a quorum of the Ad Hoc Committee that as a general rule only one member of the Committee could attend community meetings related to bond matters in order to avoid potential conflicts with the requirements of law. Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah noted that the Ad Hoc Committee could only serve as a purely advisory body and that the Commission could not delegate authority to take action to the Committee.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 AD HOC BRANCH BOND COMMITTEE CHARGE
An anonymous member of the public found encouragement in the discussion and review of the legal issues related to the Ad Hoc Committee raised by the City Librarian and the City Attorney. This individual expressed concern that to create an Ad Hoc Committee for this purpose stretched the Commission's Bylaws to their limits. This anonymous member of the public noted that despite limitations such a committee could help provide maximum exposure to the Commission's discussion of these matters. This person additionally observed that such committees were useful, allowing for more detailed discussion and public comment. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that creation of the committee was useful but that there should be a more extensive discussion of its charge. Mr. Warfield recommended that the Commission make a Bylaw change noting that this ad hoc committee had no concluding date. Mr. Warfield complained that he had not see the materials concerning the committee charge prior to the meeting. Mr. Warfield expressed concern that the committee seemed to focus on technical details of the bond program rather than addressing issues such as creating more space for books in branch libraries or on economy of branch library operations.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 AD HOC BRANCH BOND COMMITTEE CHARGE
Vice President Steiman expressed reservations about the usefulness of an ad hoc committee given the restrictions on such a committee limiting the ability of Commissioners to most effectively participate in the public process involved in the ongoing development of the bond program. President Higueras noted that he would have liked to attend the Glen Park neighborhood meeting concerning site selection for its new branch library but could not do so without violating the rules concerning attendance by a quorum of the bond committee or precluding participation by Commissioner Steiman. Commissioner Bautista noted that the committee had been intended to provide a research tool for the Commissioners but that quorum rule prevented the Commissioners most involved from participating in bond related public programs such as the recent Friends and Foundation architectural design charrette focused on models of branch library design. In response to questions by Commissioner Streets, Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah described in detail the restrictions and the very limited exceptions in California open meeting laws and the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance governing attendance by a majority of members of policy bodies at gatherings where matters within the scope of their authority are addressed. Vice President Steiman, asked for further clarification of what constituted a "publicized meeting" under the Brown Act. Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah offered to research that issue and report to Commissioner Steiman. An extensive discussion among the Commissioners followed concerning the merits of holding a second monthly meeting of the Library Commission to address bond related matters instead of using the ad hoc committee for this purpose. It was a sense of the Commission that restrictions on participation by committee members in public meetings related to bond matters rendered the committee approach ineffective and that the Commission should abolish the Committee and plan to hold regular full commission meetings focused on bond related matters instead.
AGENDA ITEM #2 BASELINE BOND BUDGET/SCHEDULE REPORT
Ms. Marilyn Thompson, Branch Library Bond Program Manager brought the Commission up to date concerning the changes in the branch bond program baseline schedule and budget since these matters were initially discussion by the city's Capital Improvement Advisory Committee (CIAC) in May 2000. Ms. Thompson discussed the changes and specific reductions made in the Library's original bond proposal at the recommendation of the CIAC while resulted in a final bond amount of $105,865,000 for these projects. Ms. Thompson noted the only significant changes in the proposed schedule at this point had been moving up the work on the Excelsior Branch Library because of the seriousness of its electrical infrastructure deficiencies and moving back the Bernal Heights Branch Library to allow more time for the relocation of an on-site childcare program. The Branch Bond Program Manager additionally noted that both of these schedule change costs were approximately $750,000 so that the changes balanced each other. Ms. Thompson also suggested that both the Portola and Ingleside Branch Libraries could be advanced in the schedule to the same time as the Glen Park branch Library to take advantage of opportunities to apply for Prop. 14 (State Library Construction and Improvement Bond) funds.
Ms. Thompson then presented and discussed in extensive detail a presentation outlining the proposed revised bond program budget identifying funds available through the Prop. A (Branch Library Improvement Bond) general obligation bond funds and other funds including Prop. 14 (State Library Construction and Improvement Bond) funding, as well as the other identified sources of funding to be used for branch library bond program projects. The Branch Library Bond Program Manager called attention to the amounts set aside for public art. Ms. Thompson reported that each segment of the budget included contingency costs; 15% for renovation projects and 10% for new construction, for each of the proposed branch library projects. Ms. Thompson described in detail her proposed financial plan outlining ways to manage the cost savings for the entire program so as to build a reserve to address other unanticipated program needs. Ms. Thompson reported how savings could be made in various aspects of the proposed program and budgeted to the reserve. Ms. Thompson then discussed details of funds allocated to several of the proposed branch library projects to get these programs underway.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #2 BASELINE BOND BUDGET/ SCHEDULE REPORT
An anonymous member of the public expressed appreciation for the broad scope of the detailed report presented and observed that the experience of building the new Main Library had emphasized the importance of having such details available. This individual additionally commented that there were some concerns with the readability of the report, indicating the way the columns are presented was confusing. In addition, it was noted that there was no timeline presented to make sense of the proposed changes. Mr. Peter Warfield noted that he was concerned that the way that the various reports were presented in colors rendered them unreadable in black and white copies. Mr. Warfield in particularly commented that the way in which the breakdowns of hard and soft costs were represented was confusing and that page numbers were not included. Mr. Warfield also expressed a desire that clear references back to the original proposal should be shown so that the changes could be more clearly understood.
COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #2 BASELINE BOND BUDGET/SCHEDULE REPORT
Commissioner Coulter discussed his thoughts concerning how the bond program should address issues involved in the choosing and placement of public art that would be created in conjunction with the construction and renovation of the branch libraries. Commissioner Coulter noted that the President of the Library Commission was an ex officio member of the Arts Commission. Vice President Steiman called for more extensive Library Commission oversight and public comment on the works chosen as part of the bond program. Commissioner Bautista suggested community competitions to choose art for the neighborhood libraries. The City Librarian outlined the process whereby the 2% set aside for art enrichment would be managed in conjunction with the Arts Commission and the project architect chosen for each of these projects. There followed a general discussion among the Commissioners concerning various aspects of the proposed revised budget with President Higueras calling attention to the need to highlight the hard and soft costs so as to better track the various expenditures. In response to questions by Commissioner Streets, the City Librarian discussed how Prop. 14 (State Library Construction and Improvement Bond) funds and funds raised through the Friends and Foundation Capital Campaign for FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) for the branch libraries would be integrated into the overall budget planning for the branch bond program. President Higueras emphasized that each project would be managed in the most cost-effective way possible and any savings realized from individual projects would be placed in a reserve to cover unanticipated costs that could arise on other projects. President Higueras emphasized that the budgeted amounts should not be viewed an entitlement solely to be spent on a particular branch but as the best estimate of what it would cost to do whatever work was needed at a particular branch library. Commissioner Bautista recommended that special effort be made to retain historic furnishings in the Carnegie branch libraries. Responding to questions by Commissioner Coulter, the City Librarian discussed plans for addressing the proposed systemwide Services Support Center and the renovation of Brooks Hall for library uses.
MOTION: by Commissioner Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the baseline Bond program Budget and revised schedule as proposed.
ACTION: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Streets)
AGENDA ITEM #3 ADVISORY COMMITTEES
City Librarian Susan Hildreth provided the Commissioners with a brief overview of the proposed advisory bodies to the branch library bond program she proposed to convene. Ms. Hildreth noted that these advisory committees as convened by the City Librarian would constitute passive meeting bodies. Ms. Hildreth discussed how the library proposed to respond to issues raised in legislation introduced by Supervisor Leland Yee calling for citizen involvement in library related activities such as the branch library bond program. Ms.Hildreth proposed to create a Branch Library Improvement Program Advisory Committee that would deal with many of the programmatic and service issues involved with the bond program. Ms. Hildreth reported that the committee would consist of interested stakeholders such as the Mayor's Office, the Board of Supervisors, a member of the Library Commission, representatives of the city departments of Neighborhood Services and Recreation and Park, the San Francisco Unified School District, the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, a representative from the Council of Neighborhood Libraries, a representative of the Friends and Foundation, as well as representatives of groups such as seniors, the disabled, and youth. Ms. Hildreth suggested that this body would meet on a quarterly basis and review progress reports on the bond program. The City Librarian observed that this group would work closely with library staff and the Bond Program Manager and provide a venue to discuss significant issues and assist in developing processes to gather input on each of the individual projects and the ongoing work of the bond program.
The City Librarian next outlined the second advisory body, a Branch Library Bond Financial Oversight Committee, to be created to specifically address concerns raised by Supervisor Yee's legislation as well as ongoing interest in these matters by the Mayor and Controller's Office. Ms. Hildreth suggested that this committee would consist of representatives from the Mayor's Budget Office, the Mayor's Office of Public Finance, the Controller's Office, the Board of Supervisors, the Board's Budget Analyst, the City Attorney's Office, the City Treasurer's Office, the Department of Public Works, and library staff. The City Librarian commented that this advisory committee would also meet quarterly to review in detail financial reports on the progress of the branch bond program and would focus on the technical details of how bond funds are spent. The City Librarian informed the Commissioners that she planned to proceed with putting these bodies together and discussed how these advisory bodies would work closely with library staff and the Bond Program Manager during the course of the bond projects.
Public comment on Agenda Item #3 ADVISORY COMMITTEES
An anonymous member of the public noted with satisfaction that the City Librarian had acknowledged that these advisory committees were passive meeting bodies and expressed a view that use of the term stakeholders raised red flags for this individual. The anonymous member of the public suggested that stakeholders should not be included on such a committee. This individual commented that long-term goals and concepts such as maintaining flexibility in branch library designs could come into conflict with the specific immediate goals of an interested party. This individual additionally observed that the political pressure of stakeholders might limit the library's ability to get libraries that best serve library needs and that disinterested advocates would better serve these goals.
COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #3 ADVISORY COMMITTEES
Responding to a question by President Higueras the City Librarian clarified that Supervisor Yee's legislation urged but did not require that the Library create a financial oversight body and that this committee seemed to be the best way to comprehensively address his concerns and involve those city agencies and departments which had been directly involved in the development and oversight of the bond program from its beginning. In response to remarks by Commissioner Bautista, the City Librarian clarified that she would request that the various city departments and agencies designate a representative to participate on the advisory committees rather than make appointments herself. There followed an extensive discussion of how those serving on these committees might evolve during the life of the bond program as the various projects came up. Vice President Steiman pointed out that these committees were but one means by which neighborhood residents could have input into the development of their branch library. President Higueras commented that in his view these committees would primarily focus attention on the big picture aspects of the bond program and that there would be many other opportunities for input on specific projects. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, the City Librarian clarified that there would not be formal reports made to the Commission but that as issues rose reports could be brought to the Commission for detailed discussion. Ms. Hildreth suggested that information concerning matters discussed by these committees could be made available to the Commissioners. Vice President Steiman made it very clear that it was her wish that any proposals coming from these committees should be first brought to the Commission for its review and discussion before being disseminated. In response to a question by President Higueras concerning the proposed timeline for convening these committees, the City Librarian indicated that she expected to begin as soon as possible and hopefully the committees could begin work at the beginning of the new year.
AGENDA ITEM #4 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND PROGRAM REPORT
Library Branch Improvement Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson reported that the initial phase of development for the Richmond Branch Library was underway. Ms. Thompson discussed in detail the steps that would be necessary to prepare the Richmond Branch Library project for the June application deadline for the first round of Prop. 14 (State Library Construction and Improvement Bond) funding. Ms. Thompson informed the Commissioners that architects, city planning staff, and Library Consultant Dallas Shaffer, were beginning the process of gathering materials necessary to complete the Prop. 14 application. The Branch Bond Program Manager also reported that Ms. Shaffer would be conducting staff and community meetings to gather additional input into the Richmond Branch Library's development process. Ms. Thompson next outlined the status of site acquisition efforts for the Glen Park Branch Library reporting that no clear consensus was achieved in a community meeting held to discuss the alternatives sites remaining, the Diamond Super site and a proposed development on BART property. Ms. Thompson reported that BART proposed to conduct a design charette to gather ideas and develop an overall urban redesign for the downtown shopping area of the Glen Park neighborhood around the Glen Park Station. Ms. Thompson then discussed her ongoing conversations with the landmarks preservation Advisory Committee concerning their proposal designating the remaining Carnegie branch libraries as San Francisco landmarks. The Branch Library Bond Program Manager next reported on the great success of the conceptual architectural design charette sponsored by the Friends and Foundation. Ms. Thompson commented that the 48 hours of intense conceptual design activities by the four teams had produced an amazing level of creativity and had established a high level of design excellence. She noted that the charrette demonstrated that the Branch Library Bond Program would not have settle for anything less than the best design possible for its projects.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #4 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND PROGRAM REPORT
An anonymous member of the public observed that there was no report concerning how much money that the charrette raised as in this person's view this event had been held as a fundraiser. The anonymous member of the public commented that the participants had not been told that this event was primarily intended to raise money and had not been informed that it would have no effect on branch library designs. This individual noted with satisfaction that the charrette would have no effect on the planning branch library designs. The anonymous member of the public suggested that the only foundation for planning should be truth and access to truth. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed appreciation for the information provided in the report and requested that he be provided with copies of the tapes of the charrette. Mr. Warfield expressed concern with what he perceived as a lack of public notice of the charrette, noting an absence of information on the charrette at library and Friends and Foundation information locations or in publications. Mr. Warfield decried a lack of posted notices in the library and suggested that there was no real interest in informing the public about the charrette. He suggested that future bond related activities such as this be widely publicized to encourage public participation.
COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #4 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND PROGRAM REPORT
In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Thompson discussed the requirement s of the city's "green building" ordinance and how the library might be able to use solar power and other energy saving measures when considering the designs of the new branch libraries.
Commissioner Steiman left the meeting at 6:03PM after apologizing to the neighborhood residents attending the meeting that she was unable to stay for the rest of the meeting due to a previous commitment made prior to the scheduling of this meeting.
In response to a question by Commissioner Chin, Ms. Thompson explained the status of the proposed landmarking of the remaining Carnegie branch libraries. Commissioner Coulter pointed out that the Friends and Foundation charrette was never intended as a fundraising event but was instead intended to encourage participation in and an create enthusiasm for the Branch Library Bond program and suggested that the anonymous member of the public might be confused. Ms. Hildreth, while noting that the charrette had not been a library event, reported that there was very easy means of access to the meetings for anyone who came to the Main Library even for events which occurred prior to normal opening hours.
AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY SITE SELECTION REPORT
Mr. Charlie Dunn of the Real Estate Division provided the Commissioners with an update on the site selection process for the new Glen Park Branch Library. Mr. Dunn noted that for all practical purposes the "Kelly" site preferred by many neighborhood residents was unavailable. Mr. Dunn then extensively discussed the relative merits of the remaining two sites, the "Diamond Super" site, and a proposed location on BART property adjoining the Glen Park BART Station.
Mr. Dunn then introduced Mr. David Prowler and architect John Petersen who gave a detailed presentation in support of the selection of their project, the "Diamond Super" site. Mr. Prowler and Mr. Petersen discussed in extensive detail the planning which they had put into making this project work for the library and the neighborhood. They showed various drawings and photomontages of what the new Glen Park Branch Library might look like if located on their site.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY SITE SELECTION REPORT (Glen Park Sites)
An anonymous member of the public inquired if additional public comment would be taken later on the other branch library sites and asked if it was possible that a library located on the second floor of a building without an elevator was what was being considered. The anonymous member of the public expressed doubt that a second floor location was a good idea noting that it lacked visibility, would make access more laborious and create problems for patrons with children. Ms. Zoe Ann Nordstrom, President of the Glen Park Neighborhood Association called this proposal an exciting great opportunity for a neighborhood library with great visibility. Ms. Nordstrom expressed support for locating the library in the middle of the village on a quiet street and commented that this project was not subject to the lengthy delays that may occurr with the BART site project and without impacts on its neighbors. Mr. Peter Warfield noted objections in principle and potential costs to the library being located in a shared building. Mr. Warfield listed various questions relating to costs involved in shared facilities he found unanswered in this proposal. Mr. Warfield also noted obvious omissions, particularly regarding the signage for the super market, which could work in conflict with the purpose of the library. Mr. Warfield also observed that a second floor library would be always symbolically and practically in a secondary position in a shared building. Ms. Carey Helser, a Glen Park neighbor, urged the Commissioners to fully consider the BART site with its option for a ground floor library. Ms. Helser recommended that the Commission not rush into a decision concerning the library site, but consider all of the possibilities that could benefit the overall community.
COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY SITE SELECTION REPORT
In response to questions by Commissioners Coulter and Chin, the City Librarian discussed in some detail the various aspects of the proposals under consideration by BART for use of space near the Glen Park BART Station for a mixed use housing /commercial development which could include a ground floor branch library location. Ms. Hildreth noted that details of this proposal were not yet fully developed and that BART would be conducting a neighborhood planning charrette to consider a variety of options for developing its Glen Park site. The City Librarian noted that it was extremely unlikely that any site could be found in Glen Park for a stand-alone library and that whatever proposal was chosen would almost certainly be located in a shared building.
There followed an extensive discussion among the Commissioners with questions regarding aspects of the proposed design, its location, placement of entrance areas for library and of the store, store signage, location of store dumpsters, and delivery areas, and how the building would fit into the neighborhood. In response to a query by President Higueras, Mr. Dunn gave a status report on negotiations between the Real Estate Division and Mr. Prowler concerning reaching purchase and sale agreements for the Diamond Super site. Mr. Dunn then described the process that could be followed in bringing this proposal to the Commission for its consideration and if approved to the Board of Supervisors for their approval.
President Higueras called for a brief recess at 7:04PM
Commissioner Streets left the meeting during the recess.
The Commission returned to session at 7:15PM
Mr. Dunn then continued his report describing in some detail the status of the search for potential library sites in the Visitacion Valley, Portola, and Ingleside neighborhoods.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY SITE SELECTION REPORT (Visitacion Valley, Portola, and Ingleside Sites)
COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY SITE SELECTION REPORT (Visitacion Valley, Portola, and Ingleside Sites)
Commissioner Coulter congratulated Mr. Dunn for the good job he was doing identifying possible sites. President Higueras noted that plans for these branch library's neighborhoods could have a major impact on the library's site selection process. Commissioner Bautista called attention to proposals that BART had advanced for locating a branch library on Ocean Avenue, but was informed by the City Librarian that community sentiment expressed in neighborhood meetings had found this site too remote from the center of their neighborhood
Agenda item #6 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public suggested that when the Library Commission met at the beginning of October that President Higueras had characterized the primary purpose of the Friends and Foundation charrette as fundraising. The anonymous member of the public commented that President Higueras' remarks would be revealed on the tape of the meeting and that truth of this individual's remarks at that time would be underscored. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed his view that the charrette had been a sad story and that there had been a lack of clarity about every aspect of the charrette. Mr. Warfield again noted that those on the Library Commission mailing list had not been informed about the charrette nor was there any way that those who were not invited could have attended sessions held when the library was not open to the public. Mr. Warfield found the proposed charge for the Commission's ad hoc committee a good effort and observed that that kind of detailed documentation could be very useful if continued in the future of the bond program. Mr. Warfield commented favorably on many of the issues and questions raised by the Commissioners about potential problems that could exist in shared facilities.
Agenda Item #7 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the meeting be adjourned
Public comment on Agenda item #7ADJOURNMENT
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Higueras)
The meeting was adjourned at 7:33PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 10/19/01
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
Minutes of the special Commission Meeting of October 10, 2001
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
Regarding Bond Program Manager's Report (10-11-01) by Peter Warfield:
(Agenda Item #4)
I expressed concern that branch planning sessions ("charette" sessions) October 5-7, that we heard were open to the public, were held when the library building was closed to the public. For example, the final meeting was on Sunday morning from 10am to noon and the opening one on Friday morning. I also expressed concern that usual library and Friends and Foundation publicity vehicles did not have any notice at all that the charette was occurring, or when. I found no signs posted in the Main Library, and on Sunday morning the only sign on the closed gate said: Staff Entrance, Library opens at Noon. I found no mention of the charette on the library or Friends and Foundation websites, and there was no mention at all in the September and October editions of "At the Library," which listed other activities at the library in detail.
(Agenda Item #5)
With regard to the Branch Library Site Selection Update, the drawings for the shared supermarket site for the Glen Park branch did not show any supermarket signage, window sale signs, or loading docks, and thus did not seem to fairly represent what the final result would look like.