City Hall Budget Bloat; Kevin Epps’ Black Rock …

by on February 26, 2009


The Sustainability Coordinator funding is being evaluated on the basis of performance and impact, and it’s clear already that the School District will save many times the cost of his salary. One project alone, a retrofit of the Rosa Parks School, has brought in $250,000 of outside funding.

If programs truly save the City’s General Fund money, then it makes no sense to put them on the chopping block. The Sustainability Coordinator not only does not cost the City’s General Fund any money, but it also saves money for the school district. I’m happy to forward a more detailed accounting of the savings to the District when it is available.

The Coordinator started in November 2008, and what follows is a summary of his January 2009 quarterly report on projects.

Project List

(1) High Performance Design: Identifying existing SFUSD schools that are priority candidates for CHP (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) energy and resource efficiency upgrades

(2) Retrofitting schools for energy efficiency performance and conducting audits to identify least energy efficient buildings

(3) Green computing: Establish pilot projects at Harvey Milk and Martin Luther Schools in providing energy efficient, shared flat screen computer monitors, centralizing servers and identifying other information and communications technology (ICT) green practices.

(4) Identify solar potentials of SFUSD buildings and create tiered groupings. SFUSD possesses huge roof resources, and will take advantage of available PG&E grant to install photovoltaic panels on 7 schools

(5) Purchasing: Working with the City’s purchasing staff to explore whether preferential vendor pricing will apply to SFUSD.

(6) Clean Transportation: Looking at existing fleet to set emission guidelines and determining biodiesel conversion.

(7) Food and Farms: Teaching contrasts between convenience food versus local, seasonal and healthy food sources to schoolchildren, creating downspouts for watering school gardens, and developing a Living Room at Miraloma school

(8) Green practices: Work with PUC to capture rainwater to create permeable landscaping and creating plantings around drain areas

(9) Tree Planting: Plant 2,012 trees by Year 2012 around West Portal

(10) Healthy Eating: Working on providing high quality healthy food to schoolchildren

(11) Expanding school food composting: Working with the Department of the Environment to expand food composting program at schools;

(12) Standardizing the environmental curriculum

(13) Outreach to SFUSD staff: Replacing Alhambra bottled water contract, developing a green job curriculum.

David Assmann

To the Editor:

I have been working on a volunteer basis for 7 years to improve school food in San Francisco, and have sometimes written about that topic for Beyond Chron. So it was with more than a little interest that I read a letter to the editor from Mr. David Assmann, claiming that the sustainability coordinator for the school district (a position funded by the City) has saved the school district money by “working on providing high quality healthy food to schoolchildren.”

With all due respect to Mr. Assmann and to the sustainability coordinator, I am probably the best informed person about school food in all of San Francisco, apart from the SFUSD Student Nutrition Services (SNS) director, and I cannot think of a single thing that the sustainability coordinator has done to “provide high quality healthy food to school children.”

However, I can name lots of things that the SNS director has done, including removing trans fat from all meals served in school cafeterias, obtaining funding from the Department of Children Youth and their Families to open salad bars at nearly every middle and high school in the district, and pushing schools to get more meal applications returned so that more low income families can qualify for free meals. I eagerly await the “more detailed accounting of the savings to the District ” which Mr. Assmann has promised to provide “when it is available” so that I can learn what exactly the sustainability coordinator has accomplished in the area of improving school food.

Dana Woldow

To The Editor:

Good article on Kevin Epps’ Black Rock! Yes, this is another one of those long untold stories about the Black Experience in America. I’m not surprised to hear there were many Black inmates that went through Alcatraz … You would not know it from watching other films about the “Rock.” I’m sorry I missed the premiere, but I plan to see it at the Vic when it comes into wider release. I commend Mr. Epps and everyone else involved in the telling of this story.

Terry Woodard

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