Minutes of December 1, 2011 Commission Meeting
1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Chair Randolph at the Ferry Building, Port of San Francisco Board Room, Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111 at 1:15 p.m.
2. Roll Call. Present were: Chair Sean Randolph, Vice Chair Halsted, Commissioners Addiego, Apodaca, Bates, Brown (represented by Alternate Carrillo), Chan (represented by Alternate Gilmore), Fossum (represented by Alternate Kato), Goldzband, Groom (represented by Alternate Pine), McGrath, Nelson, Sears, Shirakawa (represented by Alternate Carruthers), Spering (represented by Alternate Vasquez), Vierra, and Ziegler.
Chair Randolph announced that a quorum was present.
Not present were: San Francisco County (Chiu), Department of Finance (Finn), Speaker of the Assembly (Gibbs), Contra Costa County (Gioia), Governor’s Appointee’s (Jordan Hallinan & Moy), U. S. Army Corps. of Engineers (Hicks), Business, Transportation and Housing Agency (Sartipi), Napa County (Wagenknecht), and Association of Bay Area Governments – North Bay Cities (Vacant).
3. Public Comment Period. Chair Randolph called for public comment on subjects that were not on the agenda. Comments were restricted to three minutes per speaker.
The first speaker was Mr. David Lewis.
Mr. Lewis commented: I brought 2012 Save The Bay calendars for members of the Commission and BCDC staff.
I wanted to thank and praise Will Travis for his service and leadership. I think his leadership is one of the reasons BCDC is held in such high regard.
I want to encourage you to give your full energy and creativity to finding and selecting the next permanent Executive Director.
I encourage you not to rush in your selection since this agency is not in crisis.
Mr. Scott Peterson addressed the Commission: I’m Scott Peterson with the East Bay Economic Development Alliance. I’m also here with the permission of the Bay Area Business Coalition to thank Mr. Travis for his service.
Mr. Travis has brought tremendous esteem to this organization. BCDC’s stability today is in great part due to your leadership.
Chair Randolph moved on to Item 4, Approval of Minutes.
4. Approval of Minutes of the November 3, 2011 Meeting. Chair Randolph stated Sandra Threlfall has requested us to make some minor corrections in the minutes, which we will do. He then entertained a motion and a second to adopt the minutes of November 3, 2011, as amended.
MOTION: Commissioner Carruthers moved, seconded by Commissioner Halsted, to approve the November 3, 2011 minutes. The motion carried by voice vote with Commissioners Apodaca, Carrillo, Gilmore, Sears and Addiego abstaining.
5. Report of the Chair. Chair Randolph reported on the following:
a. Bob Brown. Robert Brown long served as a member and chair of our Engineering Criteria Review Board and later served on our Citizens Advisory Committee.
Bob recently decided to step down from his most recent post as the chair of our Citizens Advisory Committee. Our staff has prepared a resolution of appreciation for Bob. I would welcome a motion, second and affirmative vote to approve this resolution to thank Robert Brown for his dedication, generosity and expertise.
MOTION: Commissioner Addiego moved this item, seconded by Commissioner Gilmore. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote with no oppositionor abstentions.
b. Today’s Meeting. We’re going to make one small change in today’s agenda. We will take up Item #11, the consideration of our strategic plan status report, before Item #10 so that when we have our closed session that will be at the very end of the meeting.
And we may defer Agenda Item 8 until we get one more person.
c. Next BCDC Meeting. Our next meeting will be seven weeks from today on January 19, 2012. At that meeting, which will be held at the MetroCenter in Oakland, we will take up the following matters:
(1) We will hold a public hearing and vote on a permit to remove the existing eastern span of the Bay Bridge after the new one is completed.
(2) We will receive a briefing from our staff on the overall plans for the America’s Cup races.
If necessary, we will hold another closed session to discuss the selection of our next Executive Director.
(3) We have a resolution of thanks for Trav. After reading from the resolution and thanking Executive Director Travis for his outstanding tenure of service, Chair Randolph asked for a motion and a second to approve the resolution.
MOTION: Commissioner Goldzband moved the item, seconded by Commissioner Nelson. The motion passed by unanimous voice vote with no abstentions or opposition.
Commissioner Carruthers commented: I have the longest association with the Commission of anybody in this room. I was present when the Commission was being formed.
I think the adoption of the climate change policy, the sea level rise is the finest thing that I have seen the Commission accomplish. I believe that Trav’s leadership in that has to be recognized. We would not have accomplished what we have without his leadership.
Commissioner Goldzband added: I would add one thing to what Commissioner Carruthers said, and that is one of the things that I have been incredibly impressed by with regard to how BCDC has run since I started dealing with it 21 years ago is that only twice have we ever had a vote in which something surprising has happened or in which there were totally distinct sides opposing each other based upon a policy.
I think this has to be traced to Trav and to the staff whom he has led in such an expert manner. And this is a remarkable statistic.
Executive Director Travis commented: I’ve had an incredibly easy job because of the staff. Any thanks you give to me really is a river to my people. They do all the work.
My wife Jody is here (applause). The staff at BCDC all work together and we resolve things together.
A lot of our conversation here isn’t trying to convince each other, it is trying to explain what our shared values are.
I do thank you very much.
6. Report of the Executive Director. Executive Director Travis reported:
a. Personnel. As I mentioned last month, the state hiring freeze no longer applies to BCDC so we’re adding two outstanding new members to our staff.
Lindsey Fransen will be working in our planning section on climate change projects. Lindsey earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in earth and environmental sciences and a Master of Science from UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group.
For the past three years, she has been a regulatory analyst in the Division of Ratepayer Advocates at the California Public Utilities Commission where she evaluated proposals for water rate increases and led the development of the Division’s water conservation policy.
Lindsey did research in Portugal on water quality in coastal creeks and has international policy development experience at the World Resources Institute.
Pascale Soumoy will be joining our sediment management team. She has Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in community, regional and land use planning and a Master’s degree from the Cal State Chico in international commerce and French. She also has a certificate as a LEED Green Associate. She has been a consultant for the past two years and has worked as a planner for the consulting firm CirclePoint and the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.
Both Lindsey and Pascale will begin working for us Monday on two-year limited term assignments because funding for their positions comes from grant funds.
Michelle Levenson. I’m pleased to report that Michelle Levenson of our permit staff gave birth to a baby boy last week.His name is Luke Abraham Levenson. Both mother and son are doing fine.
b. Closing Statement. Over the past 16 years, I’ve delivered about 300 executive director’s reports to you. These reports have been one of the most enjoyable duties of my job. They’ve allowed me to keep you in touch with our day-to-day operations.
I’ve reported to you when it was necessary to issue emergency permits and gained your approval before we took regulatory actions that were a bit out of the ordinary.
I’ve told you about rare budget augmentations and all-too-frequent budget cutbacks. I’ve shared our pride when our accomplishments earned awards. I’ve introduced you to new staff and informed you about staff who’ve moved on or retired.
As I just did today, I’ve shared news of births and I’ve mourned with you when we lost members of BCDC’s extended family.
c. This is my last report to you. Walter Cronkite ended his broadcasts with the famous statement, “And that’s the way it is.” I typically end mine with the more prosaic statement, “This completes my report so unless you have any questions, we can move on to the consideration of administrative matters.” But today we have no administrative listing, so I’ll simply conclude with, “That’s all folks!”
Commissioner Goldzband mentioned: I wanted to ask a question on something in our report of permit applications and federal consistency action from the middle of this month.
Regarding the San Francisco International Airport Runway Safety Area Program I’m wondering, is the airport proposing fill because it doesn’t really say what’s actually happening.
Mr. Batha responded: I haven’t reviewed this application but I have had several pre-application meetings with the San Francisco Airport. They have been able to do this without fill.
Ex-Parte Communications: Chair Randolph stated, if any members of the Commission have any oral or written ex-parte communications to report, I would invite you to let us know now.
Commissioner Vierra reported: I had a telephone conversation with David Lewis of Save The Bay regarding their concerns on the America’s Cup.
7. Consideration of Administrative Matters. Executive Director Travis stated there were no listings on administrative matters.
8. Vote on Proposed Bay Plan Amendment No. 2-11 to Delete the Port Priority Use Area Designation at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. Chair Randolph announced that Item 8 would be postponed and addressed in the January 2012 BCDC meeting.
9. Discussion of Approaches for Implementing the Bay Plan Climate Change Amendments. Chair Randolph announced: Item 9 is a Commission discussion on the approaches we can use to ensure that the Bay Plan climate change amendments we recently adopted are properly implemented. Our representatives to the Joint Policy Committee met last week to develop some ideas for our consideration today on how to carry this forward. But first Will Travis will provide us with some background on this matter.
Executive Director Travis addressed the Commission: We made a lot of changes in the plan. In the climate change section, the bulk of them was to set up interim policies to guide development along the shoreline while a regional strategy is developed.
BCDC has recognized that it cannot and should not act alone in developing a regional sea level rise strategy but it should be done with the other agencies. This is best accomplished through our Joint Policy Committee.
Tomorrow the JPC will take up a recommendation from the executive directors of the four agencies on the Joint Policy Committee that they accept and take on the responsibility for achieving this regional strategy.
BCDC is going to have to continue being actively engaged as both an advocate and a source of expertise on climate change and sea level rise.
My plan is to be the JPC’s senior policy advisor. It’s essential that the Commission remain both actively engaged in a strong advocacy role and that there be a feedback so that you know what’s going on in those meetings and you see whether there’s some adjustments that should be made.
Chair Randolph added: We debated what the significance of the amendments would be on policies going forward. It was clear that what we’ve done in BCDC with the Bay Plan Amendments is the state of the art in the region in thinking on this. BCDC will be looked to as the place that got the ball rolling and that has internally developed the greatest expertise and has the greatest level of experience in actually working through these issues in a public way.
We should remain in a leadership role on these issues in partnership with the other agencies in the JPC and in partnership with the business and environmental community and local governments and all the other stakeholders.
Commissioner Bates commented: The situation is that JPC is meeting tomorrow and we’re hoping that they will accept this responsibility.
We do have some funding. It’s going to take a long time to work these things out.
Solutions are going to be evolving and they’re not going to be immediate. The point is, at some level we’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to implement the ideas in these plans.
The JPC is trying to formulate some strategies about how we might move forward on some of these issues particularly tying climate change and this issue to overall economic development within the Bay region.
Commissioner Nelson commented: The adaptation discussion in parts of Polynesia and parts of Australia are farther along than we are in terms of looking at adaptation efforts.
We can learn from progress and mistakes that have been made elsewhere.
It’s going to be really important over the course of the next several months for the Commission to start a discussion about that regarding how we go about the process of developing a plan, what that might look like, what we might expect in terms of outcomes, how we involve local governments, the business community, the shoreline landowner community, the public, the media in an effective way to make sure that process continues to develop.
Commissioner Carruthers stated: My understanding is that ABAG is preparing a sustainable community strategy. How do we see what we’re thinking of relating to that? How will our efforts interact with theirs?
Executive Director Travis answered: That process is developed jointly by ABAG and MTC and it’s in response to SB 375. It sets some very tight time deadlines for the completion of it. It has to be done by 2013.
The thrust of the sustainable community strategy is to reduce greenhouse gases by reducing driving by having more opportunities so people can get around and live in places where they can use transit or bicycle or walk.
It is not directed at adaptation. So to some degree the sustainable community strategy is moving forward without an acknowledgement that some of these areas are low-lying and are vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding.
We have been working together with ABAG and MTC but we recognize that in order to meet the time deadlines this first version of it is kind of done on faith that somehow those areas will be protected or we will deal with it later.
What we’re all working towards is the next iteration of the SCS when we will have the time to integrate further work to reduce greenhouse gases with adaptation to sea level rise and integrating in the air quality requirements of the Air Quality Management District.
And we envision putting all of those together under the banner of one Bay area into something called, Plan Bay Area where we will have one plan that takes care of all of these different elements.
So that is the process that we’re looking forward to.
Commissioner Carruthers responded: Part of this is content. Does the process that they have been following through, would we be continuing that model or are we thinking of a radically different process?
Executive Director Travis stated: To some degree they have had some missteps in the sustainable community strategy. They are learning from their initial efforts and will use this knowledge in future versions.
Commissioner McGrath commented: Flooding analysis and flooding protection will be an important issue moving forward. The Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are going to be players in modifying those maps, defining what flood hazards and standards should be and the like.
Then there’s the economic piece. How do we make sure that flood adaptation will be mitigated to meet the concerns of the McAteer-Petris Act and we have something that has an economic base to do it.
I’m curious as to how those different expertises get brought to bear in a multi-disciplinary effort and particularly how much of them might come or might not come out of BCDC.
Executive Director Travis commented: This is one of the challenges before us. We have a multitude of local governments and agencies and all of them have their own independent budgets and boards of directors.
They all have to be engaged somehow. How do we develop a process that engages and takes advantage of that expertise without being overwhelmed by meetings.
Commissioner Carruthers added: The economic development aspect of this is critically important. What is your vision of how a regional economic development planning process, structure, program will be integrated with this?
Chair Randolph responded: I think one of the things that we’ve learned from our experience with the Bay Plan Amendments was that in issues with the inherent complexities that we’re dealing now and with the multitude of interests at stake that it’s not enough to just have people stand up for three minutes and testify.
If we had to do it over again we would probably want to set up a deeper consultative process at about the same time as the maps were going out.
What’s going to be critical in the adaptation process is to come up with a framework for that kind of deep, pretty continuous consultation at the very outset of the process, not the middle or toward the end.
On the economic side the business community is going to have to be involved. The question now for the business community is not “if” they have to deal with climate change and sea level rise but rather “how” they will deal with it.
A formal, clear and transparent structure for engaging the business community is ready to step up.
The Economic Institute is going to start work in January for a really large-scale analysis for the JPC of the Bay area’s economy. This will produce a fact-based, deep-seated analysis of the economy and what needs to be done between business and government to help it grow and grow faster.
It has to be cross-referenced with the resiliency activity, the resiliency focus in the JPC.
The bottom line is that we need a very integrated sort of holistic approach that has engagement by the business community and others from the very outset.
Commissioner Bates commented: The JPC is actually a product that was created under state law that has some powers that aren’t very great and have not been exercised.
One of those powers was to coordinate the various plans that come up in the region. It hasn’t really worked very well to fulfill that function.
The four executive directors in JPC have actually made huge progress in working together. Their engagement has resulted in some streamlining of agency efforts.
The role of JPC is evolving as their efforts continue. There seems to be real progress and things are happening that are very positive.
Eventually we hope to have a One Bay Area Plan that will bring many issues together.
Commissioner Vierra asked: Do we know when the second version SCS will come out?
Executive Director Travis replied: I think it’s about five years hence. So, probably 2019 will be the date for the second version of SCS.
Commissioner Ziegler commented: The question before us is identifying that we agree that the JPC should be the lead for developing the strategy. The policy that we passed was that we’d work in collaboration with the JPC.
What’s going to be BCDC’s role? How are we going to collaborate? And, how can we add to that effort?
One of the challenges here is that there’s no strong mandate to develop a strategy. We’re not sure where the funding will come from to develop it and there’s not a set date to do it.
Oversight by us is a good thing to create accountability and move the process forward.
We need to think about what is it that we really want to achieve? And what decisions do we need to start influencing and when do we need to influence those decisions?
I wonder if we could apply the logic model about thinking about some of the more substantial outcomes that we might want to influence.
Would we want to have a subcommittee to have a role in this process?
Chair Randolph added: I think one thing that we’ll want to understand as this gets underway is what kind of requirements or demands or expectations are going to be put on BCDC it terms of its resources?
If BCDC does remain in a leading role we want to administratively want to understand just what kind of commitment that is going to take of our staff resources and where that’s going to come from.
The actual structure is going to require a lot of input and BCDC will want to have some real input into that.
We will also want to be briefed as a full Commission on a regular basis for what’s going on in this area.
Commissioner Bates commented: You’ve raised a lot of fundamental very important issues. What’s actually needed is for somebody to put forward the overall goals and objectives for the region.
The strength of this area is actually the region. This region is the 25th economic engine in the world. We know that globally regions are becoming more and more the factors for economic growth and development.
The issue is that we want to determine how we can strengthen, grow, keep healthy, maintain our quality of life and how we can sustain this.
JPC will be getting input from many different agencies and entities throughout this area and California.
We need to get the state to give us more authority to have more control over our destiny.
Commissioner Goldzband asked: What is the next step? How do you plan to move this along?
Commissioner Bates responded: Not everybody agrees with my vision.
Chair Randolph added: There are a lot of moving parts with the vision that Tom has shared with us. We’re not going to resolve that in BCDC right away. BCDC will want to be a forward position through staff and through the Commission to identify our role in helping to shape what the process is going to be.
Commissioner McGrath stated: We as a Commission should understand what our role should be and what level of resources do we need to devote to this and what are the skill sets needed in those resources?
Chair Randolph added: One of the things that we discussed was succession questions. One thing that we want to do right away is as part of the search for our new executive director look at the job description.
Commissioner Nelson suggested: I request that staff come back to us with a work plan that describes for the next year or so how we should be mapping out what our activities should be.
It might make sense for us to develop a work plan to get a road map to get from here to there working in partnership with the JPC and others.
Chair Randolph asked if there was anyone from the public that would like to address this item.
Mr. David Lewis commented: I think this conversation that we are having is exactly the right one. It does seem to me to be a mistake to have the current sustainable community strategy not address the aspect of adaptation to climate change in any way.
The state does have a climate adaptation strategy that at its essence says, the most important thing for the state to do is not encourage putting people further at harm.
Commissioner Halsted commented: I am terribly impressed by Commissioner Bates, Trav and Sean and other members of JPC in the way we’re moving on this.
It will be very important for BCDC to set some expectations over the next year.
Chair Randolph stated: We’ll probably end up dropping or deferring Item 8 because we’re one short of a quorum. We’ll move that item off to our January meeting.
10. Consideration of Strategic Plan Status Report. Executive Director Travis reported the following: We have sent you both a status report and a revised status report on the Strategic Plan. Currently we do have the Strategic Plan scheduled for March 29th. There is no action necessary and that completes my report
11. Closed Session to Discuss the Selection Process and Appointment of an Executive Director. We will now take up Item #10, a closed session to discuss the selection process for our next Executive Director. It will be necessary for everyone except members of the Commission and our executive director to leave the room before we take up this matter.
Pursuant to Government Code 11126(a)(1)the Commission held a closed session to discuss and take possible action on the appointment of an Executive Director to replace Will Travis who is retiring December 31, 2011.
At the end of the closed session, Chair Randolph announced: In the closed session, the Commissioners asked me to convene a group of interested commissioners to conduct interviews with existing BCDC staff who would like to be considered for the position of Acting Executive Director.
We will be conducting a search after the turn of the year for a permanent director. As a next step, we will be inviting interested staff to meet with this group of interested Commissioners tomorrow afternoon with the objective of identifying an Acting Executive Director before the end of the calendar year.
12. New Business. No new business was discussed.
13. Old Business. No old business was discussed.
14. Adjournment. Upon motion by Commissioner Nelson seconded by Commissioner Ziegler the meeting adjourned at 3:36 p.m.
Acting Executive Director
Approved, with no corrections, at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Meeting of January 19, 2012.
R. Sean Randolph, Chair