04-2006

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT

MEMORANDUM OF MINUTES

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

MARCH 10, 2006

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) met in regular session in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Friday, March 10, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., President Middlebrook presiding.

ROLL CALL

Directors Present (16): Directors Ammiano, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Martini, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook

Directors Absent (3): Directors Brown, McGoldrick and Sandoval

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Security and Emergency Management Specialist Lisa J. Locati; Assistant Clerk of the Board Patsy Whala; Captain Locati

Visitors Present: Joan Reinhardt Reiss, San Francisco resident; Mel Blaustein, John Kevin Hines, Mary Teeter Zablotny, Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California; Robert M. Guernsey, Citizens for a Safe Golden Gate Bridge; James Lew, University of California, Berkeley student; Eve Meyer, San Francisco Suicide Prevention Barrier Coalition; Esther Marks, Anne Fleming, San Francisco resident; Sarah Cherney, Menlo Park resident; Mike Oxford, San Jose resident; Dr. Clark Hinderleider, Mill Valley resident

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Second Vice President Boro led the Board of Directors in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Joan Reinhardt Reiss expressed her concerns about the times when bicyclists and pedestrians share the east sidewalk on the Golden Gate Bridge. She recommended that the Board of Directors amend its rules to allow the bicyclists to use the west sidewalk and to allow the pedestrians to use the east sidewalk, seven days a week, beginning at 12:00 noon, from June 1st through September 30th, and that the President of the Board refer this recommendation to an appropriate Committee of the Board for its consideration.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • In response to Ms. Reiss’ request for sidewalk closure, President Middlebrook stated that construction related to Phase III of the Golden Gate Bridge Seismic Retrofit project will begin shortly and continue for the next several years.  Since there will be periodic closures on the east and west sidewalks to accommodate the construction of a new west-side bridge railing and new sidewalk sections, it would not be desirable to make any changes to the District’s Master Ordinance regarding usage of the sidewalks for bicyclists and pedestrians.
 
  • Director Dufty stated that Ms. Reiss is one of his constituents and he requested that the Board allow staff to provide information at this time in reference to Ms. Reiss’ recommendation.  In response, Attorney David Miller stated that the usual protocol under Public Comment is simply for the Board to receive said comments and keep the Board and the speaker informed as to how the matter will be effectively managed.
 

CONSENT CALENDAR

Directors EDDIE/STROEH moved approval of the Consent Calendar. All items were approved by the following vote of the Board of Directors:

AYES (16):    Directors Ammiano, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Martini, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook
NOES (0):     None
ABSENT (3): Directors Brown McGoldrick and Sandoval

     
1.

Approve the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of February 24, 2006

Carried

     
2.

Ratify Actions by the Auditor-Controller

Resolution No. 2006-018 (Finance-Auditing Committee, February 23, 2006) ratifies actions taken by the Auditor-Controller, as follows:

     
  a. Ratify commitments and/or expenditures totaling $29,055.63;
     
  b.
Ratify investments made by the Auditor-Controller during the period January 18, 2006, through February 13, 2006, as follows; and,
     

 

Security
Purchase Date
Maturity Date
Original Cost
Percent Yield
BNP Paribas Financial Commercial Paper
01/18/06
02/28/06
5,551,847.35
4.43
Bears Stearns Company, Inc. Commercial Paper
01/19/06
02/22/06
7,699,796.22
4.41
AIG Funding, Inc., Commercial Paper
01/30/06
03/01/06
3,359,355.00
4.50
FFCB Bonds
02/01/06
04/06/09
4,814,050.00
4.824
FNMA Notes
02/01/06
03/03/09
3,482,855.80
4.84
Dexia Delaware, LLC Commercial Paper
02/10/06
03/08/06
7,453,696.50
4.50
     
 

c.

Authorize the Auditor-Controller to re-invest, within the established policy of the Board, investments maturing between February 14, 2006, and March 13, 2006, as well as the investment of all other funds not required to cover expenditures that may become available; and,
     
  d.

Accept the Investment Report for January 2006 prepared by Public Financial Management.

Adopted

     
GENERAL MANAGER'S REPORT
     
3. General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported that all items contained in the General Manager’s Report were informational.
     
ATTORNEY’S REPORT
     
4. Attorney Miller reported that all items contained in the Attorney’s Report were informational.
     
ENGINEER’S REPORT
     
5.
No written report was presented by District Engineer Denis Mulligan.  A written report is presented to the Board of Directors by the District Engineer at the second Board meeting of the month.
     
REPORT OF THE BUILDING AND OPERATING COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING OF FEBRUARY 23, 2006
     
6.
All items contained in this report are informational, as the items requiring Board action were acted upon by the Board of Directors at their meeting of February 24, 2006
     
REPORT OF THE FINANCE-AUDITING COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING OF FEBRUARY 23, 2006
     
7.
The recommendation for the matter of, Reaffirm the Investment Policy, included in the minutes of the Finance-Auditing Committee meeting of February 23, 2006, for action by the Board or Directors at its meeting of March 10, 2006, was inadvertently left off the Board agenda.  This matter will be placed on the March 24, 2006 agenda of the Board of Directors for action.
     
REPORT OF THE FINANCE-AUDITING COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING OF MARCH 9, 2006
     
8.
The matter of, Approve Renewal of the Property Insurance Program, was continued to the March 24, 2006 meeting of the Board of Directors for action.
     
REPORT OF THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING OF MARCH 9, 2006
     
9. Authorize Execution of an Agreement with the County of Marin to Operate the Second Year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project
     
 

Directors SHAHUM/KERNS
Resolution No. 2006-018 authorizes execution of an agreement with the County of Marin to operate the second year of the Muir Woods Shuttle Bus Demonstration project, between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, Saturday, May 27, 2006, through Monday, September 4, 2006, with the understanding that the service will cost approximately $133,217, to be paid for by the County of Marin.

Adopted

     
 
AYES (16):    Directors Ammiano, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Martini, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook
NOES (0):     None
ABSENT (3): Directors Brown McGoldrick and Sandoval
     
SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS
     
10.
Approve Proceeding with Phase One of Environmental Studies and Preliminary Design Work Related to Development of a Physical Suicide Deterrent System on the Golden Gate Bridge
     
  a. Staff Presentation
     
   

Celia Kupersmith stated that staff would present the recommendation to the Board for approval to proceed with Phase One of the environmental studies and preliminary design work related to development of a Physical Suicide Deterrent System on the Golden Gate Bridge and that public comment would follow the presentation.  She noted that the District has appropriated funds to complete the first phase of the project, which will focus on wind stability testing and analysis.  She stated that the knowledge to be gained from wind studies will remain useful regardless of the length of time it may take to acquire all the funding for a suicide deterrent project. Ms. Kupersmith also stated that staff will ensure that the wind studies result in a specific and useful product that maintains the safety of the Bridge structure and that will achieve a more focused environmental evaluation.  She further noted that it will take approximately four months for the procurement process and six months for the completion of Phase One work.  A copy of the proposed the Resolution, Approve Proceeding with Phase One of Environmental Studies and Preliminary Design Work Related to Development of a Physical Suicide Deterrent System on the Golden Gate Bridge, is attached.

In addition, Denis Mulligan stated that an important issue to consider is that long span structures are subject to dynamic and potentially dramatic responses to wind.  He also stated that the District will engage experts who have experience with similar structures to provide a detailed analysis for generic designs that will withstand wind at certain speeds, both with and without the inclusion of the moveable median barrier.  The design evaluation will include three general concepts:  1) extension to existing railings; 2) new replacement railings; and, 3) nets.  Mr. Mulligan stated that staff will review all designs and develop a final report that will provide recommendations with respect to generic forms that are satisfactory from a wind perspective.  Mr. Mulligan added that it is prudent to complete the wind analysis as an early course of action to ensure which design concepts will and will not work.

     
  b. Public Comment
     
   
The following members of the public expressed their support to construct a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge, including their support to expedite the studies for such a system:
     
   
1.    Dr. Mel Blaustein, Medical Director of Psychiatry at St. Francis Memorial Hospital and Chairman of the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California (Foundation).  At the meeting, Dr. Blaustein presented the District with a check in the amount of $18,500 from the Foundation as a result of its fundraising efforts;
    2.    Robert M. Guernsey, Citizens for a Safe Golden Gate Bridge;
   
3.    John Kevin Hines, Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California (Golden Gate Bridge suicide survivor);
    4.    Mary Teeter Zablotny, mother of suicide victim Jonathan Zablotny;
   
5.    Sarah Cherney, partner of suicide victim.  At the meeting, Ms. Cherney stated that filmmaker Eric Steel will be releasing his film that depicts suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge;
    6.    Esther Marks, a San Francisco resident;
    7.    Anne Fleming, a San Francisco resident;
    8.    Mike Oxford, father of a suicide victim; and,
    9.    Eve Meyer, Executive Director of San Francisco Suicide Prevention, Inc.
     
   
The following individual described a research project currently underway by a group of civil engineering students at the University of California, Berkeley, regarding a life cycle cost analysis of a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge:
     
    1.    James Lew, University of California, Berkeley student
     
   
The following individual expressed his concerns regarding the expenditure of funds to install a suicide deterrent on the Golden Gate Bridge, citing his belief that this project is responsive to political pressure for certain groups and that many others in the healthcare industry would rather the funds be used  for medicine and science to treat patients:
     
    1.    Dr. Clark Hinderleider, M.D., Ph.D.; Secretary, Clinician-Scientists for the Public’s Weal; Instructor of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
     
  c. Discussion by the Board
     
   

Discussion ensued, including the following salient points:

   
  • Director Stroeh inquired as to whether staff will be looking at design concepts related to the suicide deterrent with respect to the work for the Seismic Retrofit project.  In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that wind tunnel testing will be performed on a proposed aerodynamic modifications to the handrail on the west sidewalk and to the upper chord of the stiffening truss as part of Phase III of the Golden Gate Bridge Seismic Retrofit project, and that staff will evaluate the design concepts related to the suicide deterrent both with and without the retrofit modifications.
   
  • Director Reilly inquired as to whether wind testing was performed in association with the installation of the Golden Gate Bridge Public Safety Railing.  In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that wind analysis was performed because there was a concern that the railing may affect the structure.  It was determined that the change to the structure effected by the Public Safety Railing was minimal and did not cause a negative impact.
   
  • Director Eddie suggested that the resolution be changed to reflect the new dollar amount and further suggested that a contract contingency fund be established for this project.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the proposed Resolution will be revised to acknowledge the additional receipt of funds; however, the added money would not increase the scope of the first project nor should it increase the price of the work.
   
  • Director Ammiano expressed his appreciation for the public’s comments on this very sensitive issue and for their grass roots efforts to collect donations.  He further stated that he is confident that the remaining funds will be raised to satisfy the 20% match.
   
  • Director Murray made the following comments:
    • She expressed her support for proceeding with Phase One of the design work for the suicide deterrent and requested that staff begin the preparation of the next phase in order to be ready when the funding becomes available.
    • She expressed her concerns regarding the upcoming release of the film by Eric Steel, which depicts footage of people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, and requested that security patrols be increased as an interim measure for suicide prevention.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the District will work with the California Highway Patrol to develop a plan and report back to the Board.
   
  • Director Martini expressed his concerns regarding the treatment of people that suffer from mental illness and the role of the District in terms of the responsibility to those individuals, as well as to those individuals who use the Bridge appropriately.  He reiterated that the District has ongoing budgetary constraints and stated that the District’s focus should be on projects that provide a safe structure for the thousands of people who utilize the Bridge each day.
   
  • Director Boro noted that the majority of comments he has received from his constituents thus far have not been in favor of a suicide deterrent on the Golden Gate Bridge.  He stated that, in his opinion, while it is important to look at the feasibility of the suicide deterrent, the moveable median barrier has the priority, as it focuses on increasing the safety of Bridge users who are using the bridge responsibility and as it was intended to be used.  In order to provide some perspective, he suggested that the public be made aware of the number of suicides in the nine greater Bay Area counties in the past four years compared with the number of suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge.  He also stated that suicide is a big issue, and that the Bridge is not the sole cause of it.
   
  • Director Dufty stated that this issue has always been personally meaningful to him since he was acquainted with a person who committed suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge.  He stated that he serves as a Board member of the San Francisco Community Mental Health Services, and that he welcomes any comments regarding this matter.  He noted that Proposition 63, the State of California Mental Health Services Expansion and Funding tax, was passed in the November 2005 election, in which voters made an investment in the mental health system.  Director Dufty also stated that it should be a priority for the District to install a suicide deterrent system which would balance the needs and interests of all the users of the Bridge.
   
  • Director Stroeh stated that the issue was also personally meaningful to him because of a family member who committed suicide.  He also stated that the project is scientifically interesting and that, in his opinion, the Seismic Retrofit project may benefit from the suicide deterrent project; however, the matter is not on the priority list for the District.  He suggested that the District consider installing a retractable barrier or net that would be used only during mid-day and nighttime hours and that the sidewalks be closed during primary commute periods of the day.
   
  • Director Reilly stated that she supports the proposed Resolution and that, in her opinion, erecting a suicide deterrent on the Bridge should be a high priority.  She further stated that the District has a responsibility for the safety of every user of the Bridge.
   
  • Director Shahum stated that she supports the proposed Resolution and recommends that the District not consider prohibiting current access on the sidewalks of the Bridge.
   
  • Celia Kupersmith suggested that, in order to reflect the additional monies received from Dr. Mel Blaustein, Medical Director of Psychiatry at St. Francis Memorial Hospital and Chairman of the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California, the proposed Resolution will be changed to include these new amounts.  She stated that this change captures all the funding and keeps a better public record of the funding that has been made available, but does not change the scope of the project. The maker of the motion and the seconder of the motion agreed to this suggested change to the proposed Resolution under discussion.
   
  • President Middlebrook stated that although she commends the fundraising efforts thus far, she is concerned that more money has not been raised in an entire year and that she would not support the proposed Resolution.
     
  d. Action by the Board
     
   

Directors PAHRE/AMMIANO
Resolution No. 2006-020 approves proceeding with Phase One of environmental studies and preliminary design work related to the development of a Physical Suicide Deterrent System on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Adopted

     
    AYES (14):    Directors Ammiano, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan
NOES (2):      Director Martini; President Middlebrook
ABSENT (3): Directors Brown, McGoldrick and Sandoval
     
ADJOURNMENT
     
11.
All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m., in the memory of Jan Iverson.
     

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Janet S. Tarantino
Secretary of the District

Attachment: (Resolution No. 2006-020, Approve Proceeding with Phase One of Environmental Studies and Preliminary Design Work Related to Development of a Physical Suicide Deterrent System on the Golden Gate Bridge)