Posts Tagged ‘Department of the Environment’

Here’s How “Tech” is Going to “Give Back” to Frisco: BY SPYING ON OUR GARBAGE – Will “Bin Sensors” Come to YOUR Recycling?

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Here you go, STARTUP IN RESIDENCE (STIR) is a small federal pork program designed to bring together government and startups to explore ways to use technology to make government more accountable, efficient and responsive.

Per this program, one of our “CIVIC NEEDS” is a way for SFGov to:

…track waste disposal more efficiently and effectively and optimize waste collection by using optical or weight measuring sensor technologies…

For better or worse. (Call it the grbg.SPY! 1.0 app, if you want.)

Compare that with this “world-class” plan from 2008:

Garbage collectors would inspect San Francisco residents’ trash to make sure pizza crusts aren’t mixed in with chip bags or wine bottles under a proposal by Mayor Gavin Newsom. And if residents or businesses don’t separate the coffee grounds from the newspapers, they would face fines of up to $1,000 and eventually could have their garbage service stopped.

Sadly, the Comments section for this article has been lost in the sands of time, but the reaction was pretty fierce, IIRC. Then the proposed fine for regular citizens got marked down to parking ticket territory and then, like many SFGov trial balloons, it simply went away.

So what we’ve had the past eight years is an education / nagging program, which, per STIR, has “stagnated.”

Last I heard, San Francisco was going to be sending zero (0) tons of garbage to landfills by the year 2020. ZeroWaste or Zero Waste they call it. Now, is this possible? IDK, sure. It’s improbable IRL, but certainly not impossible.

But let’s review. Is STIR pork-barrel spending? Hell yes. Is it lean and mean? No, not at all. (Just click to the next page to see a host of SFGov-types listed.)

But judge for yourself, Gentle Reader.

*Compare that with VisionZero, the plan to magically eliminate all transportation injuries in San Francisco starting in 2024 and continuing forever. That’s just not going to happen.


Shadowy “SF Environment’s” [SF Dept. of the Environment, IRL] Cryptic Bus Ad: “DO YOU REALLY WANT THE CITY 7x7x7?”

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Now I say shadowy ’cause all you see coming out of this official SF department is “SF Environment,” which I suppose the SF Dept of the Environment people think looks better than “SF Dept of the Environment?” (Compare that with the SFPUC calling itself “SF Water” and the claim from at least one of its employees/contractors that the term PUC must surely apply to the CAPUC and not the SFPUC.) Moving on…

And I say cryptic because:

P1220604 copy

So let’s see here, instead of recycling all my crap what I actually do, apparently, is find a hole and throw it in there, and if everybody did that, then SF County would become a giant cube of garbage going all the way to the troposphere.

This sitch is what I want, and the SFDE wants me to reconsider.

I get it. It took me a while, but now I get it.

(One supposes this SFDE message goes down better than, say, a reckless SFMTA operator lecturing me about transportation safety, or Mayor Willie Brown lecturing me about lobbyist ethics…)

Facebook Follies: Our San Francisco Department of the Environment is “SF Environment” is “Powered by Wishpond Technologies?”

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Work with me here – check out this Facebook page from “SF Environment – Government Organization.”

Capturedddsdsd copy

Can you tell if this entity is part of SFGov? It’s a little hard.

Now, go down to the bottom to see a disclaimer about how FaceBook aint responsible for nothing, which is fair enough, but do you notice a typo in the first sentence? And “your information” isn’t going to SFGov, it’s actually going to “Wishpond Technologies?”

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Wishpond Technologies and Company and not to Facebook. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any claims. Powered by Wishpond

The bad grammar, from people who want “your information,” it generally suggests a scam, non?

So then you hop on over to the San Francisco Department of the Environment website to see it’s a .org instead of a .gov? (I mean, even has “gov” in there somewhere.) Are you Environment people embarased to be a gov?)

Anyway, here at the official home page is where we see that SFE is in fact “A DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO.”

Captureffffg copy

So first up, who runs it? IDK. Why do we need it? IDK. What has it ever done? IDK

So, second up, I think the San Francisco Department of the Environment shouldn’t be afraid to call itself the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

And, third up, it appears that any kind of participation in this “private public partnership” beautification program, like thumbs-upping a photo, will garner you, the Gentle Reader, a sales call from Wishpond Technologies and Company, whatever that is.

So, Reader beware.

And to you all, SF Environment, I’m only just saying.

With love, from .com to .gov or or or whatever you people are calling yourselves these days.


Director Melanie Nutter is Leaving of the San Francisco Department of the Environment

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Here’s what she sent out a few days back. I don’t think she’ll care if this email is posted – read it and you’ll see why.

The League spilled the beans yesterday:

Pissed Off Voters SF ‏@TheLeagueSF: “Melanie Nutter is the outgoing Director for Dept of Environment. We are sad to see her go.”

Here’s most of the email:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I hope this email finds you well and that you’ve had a restful and rejuvenating holiday.

I’m writing to let you know that I’ve decided to move on from my role as the Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. The timing is perfect for me to leave a department that boasts many accomplishments. I couldn’t be more proud to have been involved with such an incredible team for the past three and a half years. But now I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and to consulting on a few special projects which will give me more flexibility in my schedule. My last day in the office will be January 31st.

My time at SFE has been the most rewarding and challenging time of my professional career and I’m so proud of all that we’ve accomplished. From the policy and program achievements (80% waste diversion, 14.5% below 1990 levels of carbon emissions, the installation of over 180 electric vehicle charging stations, the successful implementation of the extended plastic bag ban to all retailers as well as the Existing Commercial Building Ordinance) to the organizational milestones (the move of our offices to a soon to be named LEED Platinum office space) to the leadership SFE has had a chance to provide through Urban Sustainability Directors Network & C40 on sustainability issues to the launch of new programs like SF Adapt and the Biodiversity initiative, there is much to celebrate.

I continue to be in awe of the stellar day-to-day work done by the staff at this department to help small businesses through the Energy Watch Program and the Green Business Program, to support the community through our outreach program and the Environment Now Green Jobs Program and to assist larger businesses on their sustainability goals through our partnership with the Business Council on Climate Change.

It was a hard decision to leave but I’m excited about the potential opportunities and possibilities that the future holds.

It has been a great honor to serve former Mayor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Ed Lee and the City and County of San Francisco. Thank you for the ongoing support of the Department of the Environment. Hope to see you on the 23rd!


I’m sure Mel will land on her feet.

There’ll soon be a Department of the Environment open house of sorts – ask them about it if you care.


Attention Shoppers: Grocery Stores to Start Charging for Bags October 1, 2012 – BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

Monday, August 13th, 2012

This new tax is a done deal.

Check it: 

Click to expand

Is Mayor Newsom Trying to Shut Down the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Recycling Center?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The people at our Yelp-rated Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) Recycling Center and Native Plant Nursery at 780 Frederick Street betwixt Arguello and Lincoln think that Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to, before he leaves local politics, shut the place down.

Why? Well, they believe that due to all the skivvy from:

“Anonymous sources in the Mayor’s Office, the Department of the Environment, and Recreation and Parks…”

O.K. then.

Via edibleoffice

Anyway, here are the deets:

“San Francisco’s Green Mayor Threatens Local Recycling Center With Eviction? Ten Green Jobs On The Line. 5,000 Native Plants Endangered. Thousands of SF Residents Will Miss City’s #1 Recycling Center
Anonymous sources in the Mayor’s Office, the Department of the Environment, and Recreation and Parks all confirm that the Mayor wants the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) Recycling and Native Plant Nursery out by the end of his term. The Mayor mistakenly believes this draconian act will reduce illegal street activity in the Neighborhood and in Golden Gate Park.
HANC Operations Manager Charlie Lamar disputes the connection. “Fewer than one in five of our customers sleep outside and more than half come in cars” says Lamar who has worked there over twenty years. He added “If you watch the short video petition you’ll see how our customer base is really quite diverse and representative of the City as a whole”.
This misguided decision to evict HANC, which founded the Recycling Center in 1974, will leave the ten San Franciscans who work there without a job. HANC pays a living wage and provides health care. Given the high unemployment rate, many of these workers will be out of a work for a long time and may well end up homeless.
Thousands of San Franciscans who recycle at HANC will be forced to use one of the other rapidly diminishing recycling centers across town. San Francisco is notoriously underserved by recycling centers.
“San Francisco has only one recycling center for every 44,000 residents whereas across the State you’ll find one for every 18,000”, says Ed Dunn,HANC’s Executive Director whose father founded the Recycling Center thirty-six years ago.
The fate of the Native Plant Nursery and its 5,000 plants remains unclear. Whether or not it would be incorporated into a new proposed “Garden Resource Center” at the HANC site is an open question. The need for such a new project located so close to the existing Garden for the Environment (HANC is their fiscal agent) which has similar programs does not seem to be great.
HANC already plans to offer free soil to community gardeners in the near future. And its Native Plant Nursery and Garden has been a destination for those interested in habitat restoration and gardening with native plants for years.

Attention San Francisco: A Gas-Powered Toyota Prius Taxi is Not an Alternative Fuel Vehicle

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The Question of the Day is whether a car powered by regular old gasoline is an alternative fuel vehicle. Let’s go to the source, and let’s leave out the ifs, ands, or buts while we’re at it: 

Hybrid electric vehicles such as the Toyota Prius are not actually alternative fuel vehicles…”

So, now you’re up to speed when you read the latest Governing By Press Release press release below.

No Aaron, don’t put plain old gasoline into daddy’s anthropomorphic Prius, put in the alternative fuel instead:

via Goldberg

Now, when you want to abuse the English language, the proper way to do it is explicitly, the way they do it on Wikipedia. Or, indeed, the way the Feds do it when they define Canadian-made cars as “American” cars.

“Canada is considered to be part of the United States when determining the “domestic” content of cars. Let’s see what U.S. Code TITLE 49 > SUBTITLE VI > PART C > CHAPTER 323 > § 32304 Passenger motor vehicle country of origin ­labeling has to say:

“6. ‘foreign content’ means passenger motor vehicle equipment that is not of United States/Canadian origin.”

See? That’s how you show you know what you’re doing. That’s the way you do it.

Time for some remedial reading – how about Physics for Future Presidents instead of yet another damn poetry book? (You might not agree with everything in there and you might not enjoy the process, but you’d be a better person for it. This is not to say that a manager needs to spend all his or her time on the gritty nitty, but investing a few hours, a few days or so, well that’d be nice.)

Just saying.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,'” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.
“They’ve a temper, some of them – particularly verbs, they’re the proudest – adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs – however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

Leaving you with the News of the Day:


San Francisco, CA— Mayor Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Municipal
Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Department of the Environment joined
the San Francisco taxi industry today to announce that 57 percent of the
taxi fleet is comprised of hybrid or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
There are 788 alternative fuel vehicles out of a total of 1,378 eligible
vehicles. The CNG vehicles account for 131 of those and the hybrids account
for 657.
“The clean taxi program shows that aggressive action is possible at the
local level to make major reductions in carbon emissions,” said Mayor
Newsom. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to bringing these
emissions to zero.”
In addition, less than two years after the City passed a law requiring taxi
companies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent from
1990 levels by 2012, emissions from San Francisco taxis are now at 12
percent of 1990 levels. With only 8 percent in reductions remaining, the
taxi companies are now more than halfway in meeting the 20 percent required
by the legislation.
Phasing in hybrid electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) taxis into the
taxi fleet has resulted in roughly 35,000 tons of GHG emissions savings
each year, which is the same as reducing fuel consumption by 2.9 million
gallons per year. That is equivalent to taking 4,700 regular passenger cars
off of the road, or saving roughly $9.5 million dollars annually in fuel
“The SFMTA is proud to continue the work begun by the industry and the Taxi
Commission,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.
“This collaboration is an important part of creating a comprehensive
transportation system that is environmentally sustainable.”
This number of alternative fuel vehicles continues to rise because the
hybrid and CNG vehicles, while contributing to cleaner air for San
Francisco, are also very popular with taxi drivers. Although the fee
charged to a taxi driver to take out an alternative fuel vehicle is a bit
higher at $104.50 per 10-hour shift instead of $96.50 for a gasoline fueled
vehicle, the savings in fuel costs are substantial. For example, gasoline
for one shift is approximately $28 to $35, whereas filling up a hybrid
vehicle after a shift costs about half of that, around $15.  The hybrid
vehicles provide an additional economic benefit to taxi companies in that
they require less time and money for brake repairs. San Francisco’s hills
require the Crown Victoria taxis to have their brakes changed about once a
month. Hybrids can go six to eight months on a single set of brakes.
The gradual and flexible nature of the clean taxi program facilitated its
success. The program was accompanied by economic incentives from the City
to vehicle purchasers in the form of grant subsidies and gate fee increases
for alternative fuel vehicles. The SFMTA has continued the work of the
former Taxi Commission in coordination with the Department of the
Environment to encourage companies to purchase alternative fuel vehicles by
providing a Clean Air Taxi Grant incentive. Grants of $2,000 per new
alternative fuel vehicle are available to purchasers on a first come-first
served basis. The SFMTA merged with the Taxi Commission in March 2009 and
will oversee the ongoing upgrade of the San Francisco taxi fleet.
“Innovative solutions like the clean taxi program will keep San Francisco
beautiful,” said David Assmann, SF Environment Acting Director. “By working
in concert with the industry, San Francisco has created a program that gets
San Francisco currently has 1,474 taxis in service. Of these, 96 are ramp
taxi vehicles that are not subject to clean air vehicle requirements due to
the lack of good alternative fuel wheelchair accessible vans available on
the market. San Francisco taxi vehicles typically have about a four year
useful life and must be taken out of service once they have reached 350,000
The clean taxi ordinance was drafted in 2007 and originally published as
Police Code Section 1135.3.  The SFMTA re-enacted the requirement as
Transportation Code, Division II, Sections 1106(m) (emissions reductions)
and 1114(e)(9)(A) (annual reporting requirement). The next report from taxi
companies on their plans for vehicle upgrades going forward is due June 1.