18-2008

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT

MEMORANDUM OF MINUTES

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

OCTOBER 10, 2008

 

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, October 10, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., President Moylan presiding.

ROLL CALL

Directors Present (17): Directors Brown, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, McGlashan, McGoldrick, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan

Directors Absent (2): Directors Hernández 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 Teri W. Mantony; Deputy General Manager, Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Deputy General Manager, Administration Z. Wayne Johnson; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: Dayna Whitmer, Contra Costa County resident; John Vidaurri and Eve Meyer, San Francisco Suicide Prevention; David Hull, Alameda County resident; Roger Grimes, San Francisco resident; Noah Kaplan, Alameda County resident; Ken Holmes, Marin County Coroner; Keith Wedmore, Marin County resident; Rev. Richard E. Helmer, Marin County resident; John Brooks, Marin County resident; Anne Fleming, M.D., and Mel Blaustein, M.D., Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California; Rev. Barbara Rowe, Marin County resident; Larry Lew, Napa County resident; Rev. Carol Hovis, Marin County resident; Clark D. Hinderleider, M.D., Marin County resident; Ray Messier, President, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local No. 1575

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Director James C. Eddie led the Board of Directors in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Public comment was received relative to Agenda Item No. 10.A., Discussion Regarding the Selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative for the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project

CONSENT CALENDAR

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

AYES (14): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan

NOES (0): None

ABSENT (5): Directors Brown, Dufty, Hernández, McGoldrick and Sandoval

         
1. Approve the Minutes of the Following Meetings:
         
  a. Building and Operating Committee of September 11, 2008;
  b. Finance-Auditing Committee of September 11, 2008;
  c. Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee of September 12, 2008; and,
  d.

Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of September 12, 2008.

Carried

         
2. Denial of Claims
         
  a.

Claim of Yellow Cab Cooperative, Inc.

Carried

  b. Claim of Mitra Moheb

Carried

  c. Subrogation Claim of State Farm Insurance Company (Insured: Joann Seeney)

Carried

  d. Subrogation Claim of California Automobile Insurance Company (Insured: Catherine Wuest)

Carried

  e. Claim of Paul Reller

Carried

         
GENERAL MANAGER'S REPORT
         
3.

Presentation of Employee of the Month Award for October 2008 to Michael Fletcher, Operating Engineer, Bridge Division

President Moylan presented the Employee of the Month Award for October 2008 to Michael Fletcher, Operating Engineer, Bridge Division, and expressed his congratulations on behalf of the Board of Directors.

         
ATTORNEY’S REPORT
         
4.

Attorney David Miller reported that all items contained in the Attorney’s Report were informational.

         
ENGINEER’S REPORT
         
5.

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 GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING OF OCTOBER 10, 2008
         
6.

Authorize Execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Platinum Advisors, LLC, Relative to Request for Proposals No. 2009-D-4, State Legislative Advocacy Services

Directors BORO/SOBEL
Resolution No. 2008-085
authorizes execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Platinum Advisors, LLC, Sacramento, CA, relative to Request for Proposals No. 2009 D 4, Legislative Advocacy Services, for an annual fee of $72,000, for a three-year term, with two one-year options exercisable by the General Manager or her designee; with the understanding that requisite funds (100% District) are available in the FY 08/09 District Division Operating Budget, and with the further understanding that requisite funds for the remaining years of the project will be included in the Operating Budgets for future fiscal years.

Adopted

AYES (14): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (5): Directors Brown, Dufty, Hernández, McGoldrick and Sandoval

         
7.

Approve Support of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s One-Quarter Percent Sales Tax Initiative (Measure Q) to Fund the Passenger Train and Pathway Project

Directors BORO/McGLASHAN
Resolution No. 2008-086
approves support of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District’s one-quarter percent sales tax initiative (Measure Q) to fund the passenger train and pathway project.

Adopted

AYES (14): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (5): Directors Brown, Dufty, Hernández, McGoldrick and Sandoval

         
REPORT OF THE FINANCE-AUDITING COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING OF OCTOBER 10, 2008
         
8.

Authorize Execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Relative to Request for Proposals No. 2009-D-2, Banking and Associated Financial Services

Directors STROEH/KERNS
Resolution No. 2008-087
authorizes execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., relative to Request for Proposals No. 2009-D-2, Banking and Associated Financial Services, in the amount of approximately $225,000, for a five-year term, beginning no later than June 30, 2009; with the understanding that requisite funds (100% District) are available in the FY 08/09 District Division Operating Budget, and with the further understanding that requisite funds for the remaining years of the project will be included in the Operating Budgets for future fiscal years.

Adopted

AYES (12): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; President Moylan
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (5): Directors Brown, Dufty, Hernández, McGoldrick and Sandoval
ABSTAIN (2): Director McGlashan; First Vice President Boro

         
9.

Approve a Change to the Commission Structure for Golden Gate Transit Fare Media

Directors STROEH/COCHRAN
Resolution No. 2008-088
approves a change to the commission structure paid to third party vendors who sell Golden Gate Transit fare media from a percentage-based commission of 4% to a sales commission of $1.00 per magnetic stripe ticket sold, effective January 1, 2009.

Adopted

AYES (14): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (5): Directors Brown, Dufty, Hernández, McGoldrick and Sandoval

         
10.

Approve Transition to TransLink® as the Sole Method of Receiving Golden Gate Ferry Frequent Rider Discounts

Directors STROEH/KERNS
Ordinance No. 2008-04
authorizes the elimination of “Frequent Ferry Rider” ticket books, effective December 31, 2008; and, approves the transition to TransLink® as the sole method of receiving Golden Gate Ferry frequent rider discounts.

Adopted

AYES (15): Directors Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Hernández, McGoldrick and Sandoval

         
11.

Authorize Execution of a Five-Year Agreement with MARIN.ORG/MIDAS for Data Communication Services

Directors STROEH/KERNS
Resolution No. 2008-089
authorizes execution of an Agreement with MARIN.ORG/MIDAS, in the amount of $93,230 per year, for a five-year term, to provide data communication services to the District, with an option to extend this Agreement on an annual basis thereafter, exercisable by the General Manager or her designee; with the understanding that requisite funds are available in the FY 08/09 District Division Operating Budget, and with the further understanding that requisite funds for the remaining years of the project will be included in the Operating Budgets for future fiscal years.

Adopted

AYES (15): Directors Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Hernández, McGoldrick and Sandoval

         
SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS
         
12.
Discussion Regarding the Selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative for the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System
         
  a. Staff Presentation
         
 

General Manager Celia Kupersmith, District Engineer Denis Mulligan and Deputy District Engineer Ewa Bauer provided a written report, and Mr. Mulligan and Deputy General Manager, Bridge Division Kary Witt provided a PowerPoint presentation regarding the selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative for the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System.

The report included the following sections:

  1. History of the District’s actions regarding a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge;
  2. Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA);
  3. Summary of Public and Agency Comments on the EIR/EA;
  4. Operations, Maintenance and Emergency Response Impacts;
  5. Additional Information; and,
  6. Next Steps.
         
  The report included the following attachments:
  1.
Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Alternatives:
   
a.
Alternative 1A: Adds 8-foot-tall vertical system to existing 4-foot-tall outside handrail, total height 12 feet;
   
b.
Alternative 1B: Adds 8-foot-tall horizontal system to existing 4-foot-tall outside handrail, total height 12 feet;
   
c.
Alternative 2A: Replaces 4-foot-tall outside handrail with 12-foot-tall vertical system, total height 12 feet;
   
d.
Alternative 2B: Replaces 4-foot-tall outside handrail with 10-foot-tall horizontal system with winglet on top, total height 10 feet;
   
e.
Alternative 3: Adds horizontal net system 20 feet below the sidewalk, extending 20 feet out from the Golden Gate Bridge horizontally; and,
   
f.
No-Build Alternative: Continue non-physical suicide deterrent programs;
    noting that the cost estimate associated with each of the Build Alternatives is between $40 and $50 million;
  2. Environmental Timeline;
  3. Operations, Maintenance and Emergency Response Report;
  4. Correspondence from Prof. Garrett Glasgow;
  5. Correspondence from Prof. Anne Fleming and Prof. David Elkin; and,
  6. Photographic renderings of a Moveable Median Barrier with and without a physical suicide deterrent system.
         
 

At the meeting, staff provided a PowerPoint presentation regarding the Golden Gate Bridge physical suicide deterrent system. Ms. Kupersmith stated that the Board of Directors has the option of taking action at this meeting regarding a Locally Preferred Alternative, since the Agenda states that all items appearing on the Agenda are subject to action by the Board of Directors. After a brief introduction by Celia Kupersmith, Denis Mulligan presented information on the environmental process and Kary Witt discussed the Bridge maintenance and operations impacts of a physical suicide deterrent system. Ms. Kupersmith compared the estimated annual costs of each of the Build Alternatives, based on current salary and benefit rates for the specific District job classifications that would be impacted, as follows:

  1. Alternative 1A $465,589 per year
  2. Alternative 1B $428,693 per year
  3. Alternative 2A $465,589 per year
  4. Alternative 2B $428,693 per year
  5. Alternative 3 $ 78,016 per year

The PowerPoint presentation included the following sections:

  1. Environmental Process;
  2. Photographic renderings of the physical suicide deterrent system alternatives;
  3. Characterization of comments on the physical suicide deterrent system;
  4. Impact of the Build Alternatives on Bridge maintenance and operations, and costs associated with those impacts; and,
  5. Next steps in the environmental process.

Copies of the report, with attachments, as well as the PowerPoint presentation, are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

         
  b. Public Comment
         
 

The following members of the public expressed their support for a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge:

  1. Dayna Whitmer, Contra Costa County resident;
  2. John Vidaurri, San Francisco Suicide Prevention, Inc.;
  3. Dave Hull, Alameda County resident;
  4. Roger Grimes, San Francisco resident;
  5. Noah Kaplan, Alameda County resident;
  6. Ken Holmes, Marin County Coroner;
  7. Eve Meyer, San Francisco Suicide Prevention, Inc.;
  8. Rev. Richard E. Helmer, Marin County resident;
  9. John Brooks, Marin County resident;
  10. Anne Fleming, Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California;
  11. Dr. Mel Blaustein, Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California;
  12. Rev. Barbara Rowe, Marin County resident;
  13. Larry Lew, Napa County resident; and,
  14. Rev. Carol Hovis, Marin County resident.

The following members of the public expressed their opposition to a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge:

  1. Keith Wedmore, Marin County resident; and,
  2. Clark D. Hinderleider, M.D., Marin County resident.
         
  c. Discussion by the Board of Directors Selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative
         
  1.
President Moylan requested a show of hands by the Board of Directors regarding the preference for a Locally Preferred Alternative. A majority of the members of the Board of Directors preferred Alternative 3, the Net Build Alternative, as the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project.
         
  2. Discussion ensued, including the following:
         
 
  • Director Ammiano made the following comments:
    • He inquired as to whether an action taken on a preferred alternative for a physical suicide deterrent system would imply that that the Board of Directors is proceeding with actions to install such a system on the Golden Gate Bridge. In response, Attorney Miller stated that a vote to select a preferred alternative effectively rejects the No Build Alternative. He further stated, for the record, that there is an ongoing environmental process yet to be concluded, and that this environmental process must be completed before the Board can take a definitive, final approval action on this project.
    • He commented that in his 11 years on the Board of Directors, he has seen a remarkable change in the Board’s willingness to proceed with development of a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • He noted that the construction financing is a major part of the project, and that he will commit to doing everything in his power to work with state and federal officials to obtain funding for a physical suicide deterrent system.
    • He also noted the longstanding understanding that District funds will not be used to finance the project.
    • He expressed his thanks to Denis Mulligan and the District staff that have done exemplary work on this project.
  • Director Brown suggested that the Board first seek consensus and confine the discussion to the preferred alternative, and then take formal action on that alternative. He requested that staff then come back to the Board of Directors in a reasonable amount of time to discuss funding options for a physical suicide deterrent system project.
  • Director McGoldrick made the following comments:
    • He stated that in his opinion, the question of whether or not to build a physical suicide deterrent system is a medical issue, and likened such a decision to those made on behalf of terminally ill patients to prolong their lives with medical treatment.
    • He requested that staff provide the Board with a financial analysis on cost savings associated with staff time regarding current intervention efforts once a physical suicide deterrent system is installed.
    • He stated his support for the Net Alternative.
  • Director McGlashan expressed his support for Net Alternative, noting that it is the role of government to take care of those less fortunate members of society. He also stated that he is proud that the Net Alternative is the most humane, aesthetic and visionary approach that the Board can take with regards to a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Director Grosboll expressed his support for the Net Alternative, as well as his thanks to Denis Mulligan and Kary Witt for their work on the physical suicide deterrent system project, and especially to the Golden Gate Bridge workers who have personally intervened in potential suicides and saved numerous lives. He also thanked the families who provided testimony to the Board.
  • Director Boro made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He expressed his support for the Net Alternative, noting that it is an elegant solution to a thorny problem.
    • He noted that even after a physical suicide deterrent system is installed on the Golden Gate Bridge, there will still be a suicide problem in the Bay Area and the entire country. He noted that statistics show that only 3% to 5% of the total suicides committed in the greater Bay Area are from the Golden Gate Bridge. He challenged the mental health community to look at the problem of suicide on a much broader scale.
  • Director Reilly expressed her support for the Net Alternative, and expressed her satisfaction at being able to participate in such an historic vote to proceed with a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Director Eddie made the following comments:
    • He expressed his opposition to building a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge, noting that his constituents in Mendocino County are not in support of such a project.
    • He stated that a bicycle and pedestrian toll should be implemented on the east sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge, and use that revenue to pay for personnel costs associated with maintenance, operations and emergency response with the physical suicide deterrent system.
    • He cautioned against using bonds to build physical suicide deterrent system and building debt for future generations to pay, in light of the size of the state and national budget deficits.
  • Director Newhouse Segal expressed her appreciation to the members of the public who have advocated for a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge, and noted her pride as well as the historic importance of taking a vote to proceed with this project.
  • Director Sobel made the following comments:
    • He noted that he has served on the District Board of Directors in the past when this matter came before the Board, but is now taking a fresh look at installing a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • He expressed his support for the Net Alternative, noting that the project comes at a cost, and with no guarantee of effectiveness.
    • He requested that staff provide the Board with cost information for the Net Alternative associated with escalation of construction costs in outlying years.
    • He expressed his thanks to staff for devising a solution that has the least impact on Bridge maintenance and operations.
  • Director Pahre acknowledged the heroic efforts of District employees that have had to prevent attempted suicides through crisis counseling and physical intervention during the course of their normal work duties on the Golden Gate Bridge. She also emphasized that toll revenues should not be used to fund the construction of a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Director Cochran expressed his support for the Net Alternative, noting that two bridges in Switzerland that installed net suicide deterrent systems experienced a complete reduction in suicides and suicide attempts.
  • Director Sanders made the following comments:
    • She concurred with Director Pahre that it is important to acknowledge the efforts of District employees in preventing suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • She cautioned against proceeding with the physical suicide deterrent system project before determining the source of the monies needed to fully fund the project.
    • She noted that if pedestrian access were prohibited from the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks, suicides might be eliminated.
    • She stated that neither toll revenues, nor taxpayer money, should be used to fund the construction of a physical suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • She stated that revenues from a Golden Gate Bridge bicycle and pedestrian toll, or private donations, should be used to pay for the physical suicide deterrent system.
  • President Moylan made the following comments:
    • He expressed his thanks to staff for their exemplary work on the physical suicide deterrent system project.
    • He recalled his statements to a newspaper reporter in July 1987, when he was first appointed to the District Board of Directors, in which he expressed the importance of saving lives on the Golden Gate Bridge by installing a physical suicide deterrent system and a median barrier.

Following the conclusion of the discussion by the Board of Directors, Mr. Mulligan outlined the next steps to be undertaken for the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System project, as follows:

  1. Prepare written responses to comments on the draft EIR/EA;
  2. Negotiate and execute a Memorandum of Agreement to mitigate the adverse effects the Locally Preferred Alternative has on the historic property;
  3. Evaluate natural resources impacts, such as the potential for bird collisions, of the Locally Preferred Alternative;
  4. Obtain project funding and prepare a Funding Plan; and,
  5. Certify and release the Final EIR and Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI), and adopt the project.
         
  d. Action by the Board of Directors
         
 

Approve a Locally Preferred Alternative for the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project

Directors BROWN/McGLASHAN
Resolution No. 2008-090
approves Alternative 3, the Net Build Alternative, as the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project, which Alternative provides for a horizontal net system 20 feet below the sidewalk, extending 20 feet out from the Golden Gate Bridge horizontally.

Adopted

AYES (15): Directors Brown, Cochran, Dufty, Grosboll, McGlashan, McGoldrick Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
NOES (1): Director Eddie
ABSENT (3): Directors Hernández, Kerns and Sandoval

         
ADJOURNMENT
         
13.
All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m., in the memory of John J. Conway, Kelly M. Eddie, Frank G. Gauthier, Pam Hamilton, Michael Reed MacLellan, Rear Admiral Thomas J. Patterson, Virgil Roberts, Bruno de Solenni and Vera Whelan.
         

 

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Janet S. Tarantino
Secretary of the District