Library Commission Minutes - July 18, 2002

Minutes of the meeting of Thursday, July 18, 2002. (As approved August 15, 2002) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, July 18, 2002 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order at 4:05PM by President Higueras. The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin. Vice President Steiman and Commissioner Chin were excused attendance. President Higueras welcomed newly appointed Commissioner Deborah Strobin to the Library Commission. AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 20, 2002 MINUTES Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 20, 2002 MINUTES: An anonymous member of the public commented on the lack of availability of draft Minutes, the requirements of the law regarding posting of Minutes, about an Immediate Disclosure Request for copies of draft Minutes that they had made, and indicated dissatisfaction with the Library’s response. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concern that the draft Minutes had not been available, had not been included in the mailed agenda packet, and noted that requested copies of tapes of Commission meetings had not been made available. Mr. Warfield urged that the Commission not approve the draft Minutes because of perceived deficiencies in the reporting of discussion of some agenda items. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 20, 2002 MINUTES: The Commission Secretary reported that due to unexpected health problems there had been a delay in preparing the Minutes of the June meetings. The Secretary noted that the June 20th Draft Minutes had just been completed and therefore could not have been mailed. He further reported that every effort was being made to make copies of draft Minutes available as soon as they could be prepared. President Higueras continued approval of the draft June 20th Minutes to a Commission August meeting. AGENDA ITEM #2 190 – 9th STREET LETTER OF INTENT (Explanatory document: background memo-Support Services Building, Department of Public Works letter) Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood presented a detailed overview of the current situation with the Library’s Technical Service Department, the POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation) Report’s recommendations that the department be relocated, about the funding that was included in Prop. A, (Branch Library Bond 2000) for that purpose, and the Library’s recent efforts to identify and propose acquisition of a building for its Support Services Center. The Deputy City Librarian briefly discussed the Library’s unsuccessful effort to acquire 945 Bryant Street for this purpose, but noted that 190- 9th Street was in many ways a much superior option. Mr. Underwood described the building as a three story, 45,000 sq. ft recently remodeled and updated structure nearly ideally suited for use by the Library’s Technical Services Department and located very near the Main Library. The Deputy City Librarian then referred to a memorandum from Mr. Phil Sowers, Bureau of Architecture, Department of Public Works whose letter provided the Commissioners with a detailed evaluation and description of 190 –9th Street. Mr. Sowers reported that in his opinion this was very well suited for Technical Services. Mr. Underwood noted that: the building was about a seven minute walk from the Main Library and was served by the same transit connections; that no elevator would be needed to process arriving materials; that the building was fully renovated and optimally wired; that the 3rd floor space offered room for future expansion; that the price was within the budget; that there were off-street parking spaces available, that the cost to build a loading dock was estimated at $50,000 to $100,000 and that Tech Services staff had visited the building and liked it. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 190 - 9th STREET LETTER OF INTENT: An anonymous member of the public commented that they had neither reviewed nor visited this building but that it seemed to be a better location than 945 Bryant Street in a number of respects. This individual observed that the main flaw of this proposal was lack of a detailed cost benefit analysis of both what the building was really worth and how much it would cost to operate. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concern that the Commission would take action on this proposal without having time to consider it. Mr. Warfield noted that while this might be a better building there were unanswered questions concerning the amount of money available in the bond for this purpose and the amount of space needed. Mr. Warfield suggested that the Commissioners postpone making a decision on this matter until they had more time to review it. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 190 – 9th STREET LETTER OF INTENT: President Higueras commented that the issues about finding a new location for Technical Services had been extensively discussed since the Commission had received the POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation) Report and that it would be wise of the Commission to take advantage of the current commercial real estate market to get the best value for the funds available. President Higueras noted that this action simple authorized the Department of Real Estate to enter into serious negotiations with the property owner and that the Commission would have an opportunity to fully review and discuss the final deal before recommending its approval to the Board of Supervisors. In response to questions by Commissioner Streets, Mr. Marc McDonald, Director of the Department of Real Estate outlined the extensive process that his Department would undertake to make sure that the Library obtained the best possible negotiated arrangement to acquire this building. Mr. McDonald reported that the drafting of a purchase and sale agreement would be done by the City Attorney’s office. Should the agreement be acceptable to the Library Commissioners, it then would be recommended to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor for their approval. Commissioner Coulter observed that the Technical Services back of house areas had never been an ideal use for space in the Main Library, noted that Brooks Hall was effectively off the table as an option with the Library retaining some rights to its use, and inquired concerning the costs of operating Technical Services in the new building as compared to the current costs in the Main Library. Commissioner Coulter noted that he was happy that Tech Services staff favored the new location. Commissioner Bautista remarked that this was only a Letter of Intent and that if the building proved unsuitable the Library could continue to look elsewhere. Motion: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter for approval of the Letter of Intent requesting the Department of Real Estate to enter into negotiations for the acquisition of 190 – Ninth Street as the location for the Library Support Services Center. Action: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) AGENDA ITEM #3 GLEN PARK MARKET PLACE UPDATE Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood provided the Commissioners with a report on the issues and some community concerns related to the Glen Park Market Place development. The Deputy City Librarian introduced Mr. Gary Pike, a Glen Park resident with concerns about the project for a short presentation of those concerns. Then Mr. Underwood introduced Mr. Bruce Bonacker, Glen Park Merchants Association/Glen Park Association, for a response in support of the Glen Park Market Place project as proposed. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 GLEN PARK MARKET PLACE UPDATE: An anonymous member of the public commented that despite extensive public process the issues raised by Mr. Pike should have raised the Commission’s concerns, suggesting that the Commission was only informed about what was going on by inference, and that these were serious issues in a highly impacted neighborhood. Mr. Thomas J remarked that too much being done to accommodate cars, called for re-evaluation of the need for parking, and found the market and library project good for the neighborhood. He urged not to allow concerns about parking to impede the project. Mr. Dan Tuttle on behalf of himself and his wife noted that while they were original supporters of the project that the Commission should allow more time for the community to resolve the concerns of many neighborhood residents with the loss of existing parking. Mr. Ric Lopez, a neighborhood merchant and original supporter of the project informed the Commissioners that other merchants were also unhappy with the loss of parking and questioned the project’s support by the Glen Park Merchants Association which he noted had not met in more than two years. Mr. Lopez recommended that the Commission reconsider the project as currently proposed. Ms. Ann Bostrow, a Glen Park neighbor, expressed strong support for the project noting that she felt that a very small group of people were trying to derail the project in an effort to try to address significant neighborhood congestion problems that the community needed to come together to resolve. Mr. Jay Espy spoke on behalf of himself and his wife, expressed concern that the project as planned would significantly alter the small community character of the neighborhood and would set a precedent for other detrimental development. Mr. Espy suggested that community support for the project had been misrepresented and urged the Library Commission to revisit its part in the project. Ms. Miriam Moss, a retired teacher and longtime Glen Park resident, objected to the location of the library on the 2nd floor of the project and found the overall project oversized. Ms. Moss felt that this location diminished the importance of the library and served only to benefit the profit motive of the developer. Ms. Moss also indicated that she believed that the community and merchant support for the project was overstated. Ms. Susan Peterson expressed support for the grocery, the larger housing units, and the new library but recommended that the developer seek a compromise noting that the library should be the center of the community in a building the blends harmoniously with the existing village. Ms. Irene Derby fully supported the Glen Park Market Place project as proposed and noted that the project enjoyed wide support in the neighborhood. Ms. Derby noted that San Francisco is a compact city with limited space and that the new larger branch library would attract more use being located with the grocery. She also noted that the library should not be responsible for resolving the existing neighborhood parking problems and that local merchants should provide their own parking. Carrie Helser commented: that Transit First advocates did not live in the real world; that that many people, the elderly and disabled, needed their cars and access to parking; that congestion would keep people from patronizing neighborhood businesses; that the city provides parking in other neighborhoods; and urged the Commission to reconsider the project. Ms. Karen Bailey, Glen Park resident and regular library user, expressed concern that the new location might not be safe for those walking, especially children, given there heavy traffic in the area. Ms. Zoanne Nordstrom, Glen Park Association, noted that she had fought hard to keep the existing branch and was thrilled at the prospect of the new larger branch with much larger patronage. Ms. Nordstrom regretted that the library had become involved in the neighborhood parking issue, noting that this was the best possible site. Ms. Nordstrom then outlined going neighborhood discussions with BART and the City to address parking issues and noted that there would not be any additional public parking available whether or not the library was located there. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that this project had very serious problems and that the Commission must keep details of the project in its hands. Mr. Warfield remarked that he was very concerned about the condo arrangement and asked the Library Commission to reconsider the project. Ms. Elizabeth Hughes, longtime Glen Park resident, recalled the previous businesses located on the proposed site and noted the increasingly dangerous situation with traffic on Bosworth and loss of parking in the Glen Park neighborhood. Mr. Mark Zinky, a Glen Park resident, commented that the plans submitted to the Planning Department were incomplete and that the project may have to re-notify its neighbors. Mr. Zinky observed that a majority of residents were opposed to the project and that the Library Commission should wait until the Planning Department had made its decision before going forward. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 GLEN PARK MARKET PLACE UPDATE: Commissioner Coulter noted that it was good to have various views on this project presented to the Commission, and noted that perhaps the Commissioners may have been oversold on the popularity of this project in the community. Commissioner Coulter remarked that it sometimes takes time for neighbors to become aware of what is proposed and to realize the full implications of its impact on the neighborhood. He expressed regret that Vice President Steiman was unable to participate in this discussion given her strong concerns about this branch library. Commissioner Coulter requested that staff provide the Commissioners with information about: the nature of the grocer's contract or lease; a statement from the grocer concerning the store's parking needs; and a detailed cost analysis of the cost of providing parking as planned in earlier versions of the project. Commissioner Coulter noted that parking issues were a part of life and suggested that the Commission, having approved participation in the project, communicate neighborhood concerns to the Planning Department. Commissioner Bautista recalled the extensive series of community meetings held to discuss this project and commented that the Library had been glad to find this site and that parking concerns had not been part of the picture. Commissioner Bautista observed that this issue had been out in the community for a year and that it was not the duty of, or within the jurisdiction of the Library Commission to go to the Planning Commission. Commissioner Bautista commented that if there were concerns with parking and housing that they should be taken to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, and that the Library Commission should remain focused on its role of providing space for a branch public library. In response to Commissioners’ questions, the Deputy City Librarian reported that the library project was within the height limits and that if there were any questions, they appeared related to the housing element. Commissioner Streets observed that as the community had offered its comments, the Commission would have to consider its response. President Higueras commented that the community really wanted a new larger branch library, that there was great difficulty in getting an appropriate location, that there were no other good sites available, and that the parking issues already existed in Glen Park. President Higueras additionally noted that land use and building design regulations were not within he Library Commission’s role, but the Commissioners should try to respond to community concerns. President Higueras suggested that he could send a letter encouraging the appropriate agencies to give these concerns their full attention. President Higueras noted that the granting of variances was the prerogative of the Planning Commission. Commissioner Coulter thought that sending a letter was a good idea as the Library was a part of this project that had an impact on the community and that perhaps the Library’s involvement had been an element in encouraging approval of the proposal. In response to comments by Commissioner Bautista, Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes reported that the Library as an element in the building had limited responsibilities for the other parts of the project, but that it was the developer’s responsibility to obtain the required planning and environmental reviews. The Deputy City Attorney reminded the Commissioners that this was a discussion item not an action item. President Higueras thanked the community members for bringing their concerns to the Commission. AGENDA ITEM #4 BOND PROGRAM MANAGERS REPORT (Explanatory documents: Bond Program budget and schedule documents) Branch Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson began her report by introducing Deputy City Attorney George Wong for an informational presentation on public sector construction contracting. Mr. Wong provided the Commissioners with an abbreviated version of his extensive presentation on how public bodies could effectively manage and control costs during the construction of their projects. Mr. Wong identified as key requirement: having accurate plans and specifications for the project; maintaining tight scheduling provisions with a clear baseline schedule; keeping abreast of updated schedules and not waiving schedule updates, and ultimately withholding progress payments if unsatisfied with contractor performance. The Deputy City Attorney noted that changes will occur but that it was critical to keep control of contract delays by tight schedule control and seeking liquidated damages if a contractor caused delays. Mr. Wong emphasized the importance of not understating damages amounts. The Deputy City Attorney then discussed the benefits of having pre-qualified contractors to limit risk before contracts are bid, getting strict performance bonds to insure contractor compliance or the bonding company will pay, and watching for false claims by contractors. Mr. Wong recommended tough standards on contractors to give the Commission leverage over its projects, to insist on audit rights to see contractor’s actual records, and pursue damages if false claims are discovered. Mr. Wong suggested putting strong language in the contracts and then enforcing them. Ms. Thompson followed this presentation with the regular reports, noting no changes in the Bond Program Budget since her last report. The Bond Program Manager informed the Commissioners of a planned $23.3 million bond sale in September. Ms. Thompson then reported that there had been no changes in the program schedule since those reported in June. The Bond Program Manager next updated the Commissioners on ongoing active projects highlighting current activities at the Glen Park, Mission Bay, Portola, Ingleside, Visitacion Valley, Richmond, Excelsior, Noe Valley, Marina, and Parkside Branch Libraries. The Bond Program Manager then updated the Commissioners concerning upcoming meetings sponsored by or participated in by the Library related to Branch Library Bond program activities, including the next Bond Program Advisory Committee meeting on August 14, a Richmond Branch meeting on August 29th, and a Noe Valley Branch planning meeting on September 21st. Ms. Thompson informed the Commissioners that the Bond Program Website was up and running and that the 2nd edition of the Bond Program newsletter was available. The Bond Program Manager concluded her report noting there would be no special report this month. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 BOND PROGRAM MANAGERS REPORT: An anonymous member of the public commenting on the informational presentation noted that people were surprised when one defended one’s legal rights and that many people assume that a political solution to a situation supercedes legal rights. This anonymous member of the public recalled that the Library had successfully pursued legal action in resolving disputes concerning the building of the Main Library and had collected damages from its architects. The person urged the Library Commission to continue to defend its legal rights. Ms. Sue Cauthen, Council of Neighborhood Libraries, commenting on the Glen Park project noted that with the best of intentions needed input can be overlooked, and suggested that the Council should be more actively involved in making sure that all of the appropriate neighborhood groups are contacted and involved. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 BOND PROGRAM MANAGERS REPORT: In response to questions by President Higueras, Deputy City Attorney Wong discussed the reluctance of City departments in the past to pursue legal remedies for contract problems suggesting that a lack of staffing, staff training, and expertise were a major part of this problem. Mr. Wong reported that recently better training of city staff and better project managers had reduced the scale of these problems. In response to President Higueras’ questions concerning pre-qualification of contractors, Mr. Wong reported that this is done mainly on larger scale projects. Mr. Wong additionally informed President Higueras that the City had in fact successfully pursued and won damages for false claims by contractors. Mr. Wong informed Commissioner Streets concerning the state requirements for performance bonds and noted that Payment and Performance Bonds were sold together and were widely available. President Higueras called a brief recess at 6:18PM. The Commission returned to session at 6:30PM. AGENDA ITEM #5 BLIP (Branch Library Improvement Bond Program Advisory Committee) REPORT No report offered. AGENDA ITEM #6 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public welcomed the new Commissioner with a continuation of previous commentary on what they termed the "verandah factor" a concept that they had learned of after watching a film about "Lightening" Hopkins wherein a convict on a prison farm is given an opportunity to perform for the governor, who discovering his innocence frees him. The anonymous member of the public suggested that this could be seen as nice people like the governor, up on his verandah above ordinary people, making wise decisions. This person observed that instead, considering the Library’s unavailable tape recordings and the lack of minutes, angry citizens were given lies and abuse. Mr. Peter Warfield welcomed the new Commissioner. Mr. Warfield, while noting that the Commission Secretary was back on the job, criticized the Library for not meeting its legal responsibilities when staff were not available and suggested that back up was necessary. Mr. Warfield additionally commented that the Library was using patrons as guinea pigs in developing its new online systems citing many problems with even basic searches. AGENDA ITEM #7 ADJOURNMENT Commissioner Strobin remarked that she looked forward to learning more about the Library and being helpful in its service. MOTION: Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the meeting be adjourned Public comment on Agenda item #10 ADJOURNMENT None offered ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Streets, and Strobin) The meeting was adjourned at 6:38PM. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 7/30/02 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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