JTF Board Meeting

June 23, 2003 @ 6:00 p.m.

1765 Sutter St.



JTF Board: Sheila Chung, Doug Dawkins, Seiko Fujimoto, Colin Gomez, Rosalyn Tonai, David Ishida, Mark Moriguchi, Tak Matsuba, Benh Nakajo.

Excused: Scott Belser, Caryl Ito, Jeff Mori, Jon Osaki, Bob Otsuka

Absent: Pat Shiono

Advisory: Yo Hironaka, Kathy Reyes, Karen Kai.

Guests: Shirley Wysinger (SFRA), Don Capobres (SFRA), Denise Blades (SFRA), Winston Wong, Cathal Hennessy (DPT).


A.    Presentation by Don Capobres and Denise Blades – SFRA

Re: Business Improvement Districts


Don Capobres and Denise Blades came from the SFRA to discuss with the Task Force the Business Improvement District (BID) program.  BIDs are a financial mechanism assessed through property taxes to generate revenue to fund activities such as maintenance, security, marketing, special events, economic development, etc.  Before starting a BID, the SFRA would hire consultants to study the feasibility and desire for such a program.  The BID is self-imposed through elections in which property owners are each given a vote.  The amount assessed each property is based on the linear frontage of a building, and the dollar amount per liner foot is determined by the community.  BIDs are in place for 5 year periods, at the end of which the process must be renewed of the program closed.


Since the Fillmore and Japantown have different needs, separate “Benefit Zones” could be created, so that money could be allocated to different projects in each area.  How the district would then be governed however, is unclear.  Board members also brought up questions regarding the administrative costs of a BID, and how it may work in a smaller, more diverse community such as Japantown.


B.      Presentation by Cathal Hennessy – DPT

Re: DPT Traffic Studies


Cathal Hennessy looks at traffic handling for the Department of Parking and Traffic and has been studying Japantown traffic as a commercial arterial tract.  He reports that traffic on Post is quite ideal, with high compliance in regards to traffic speeds.  Recently, mast-arm and pedestrian count-down signals have been installed on Pine and Bush streets.  Having read the Task Force’s concepts plan, Cathal reports that DPT has been looking into the suggestions contained in the plan such as bulbouts, street narrowing, street trees, and sidewalk treatments for pedestrians.  The cons of such changes include high cost and loss of parking.  Cathal requests Task Force input as to how to proceed.  The first option is for city approval of concepts plan suggestions (keeping in mind that more detailed design will come back at a later stage if suggestions are deemed feasible), or continued study of design changes to reduce lanes of traffic on Post and Webster streets.  Colin brought up concerns that a lane reduction might create problems for the delivery trucks that park on Post.  However, Cathal states, yellow zones could be created to accommodate these concerns.


C.    Recognition of a Quorum

Quorum recognized


D.     Approval of minutes:

Meeting of April 28th, 2003 and May 20, 2003.


Minutes of April 28, 2003 and May 20, 2003 approved.


E.      Chair’s Report


1.      Prop. 40 SB 307 Agreement


Linda thanks Kokoro and NLF for submitting their proposals for Prop. 40 at such late notice.  On Memorial Day, Allen Okamoto and Paul Osaki met at Sup. Matt Gonzalez’s office with Jeff.  Jeff agreed to support the Buchanan Mall proposal that Paul and Allen had put forth, insofar as it met the criteria in the Japantown community plan, held public hearings (on design and budget), fulfilled Prop. 40 requirements and was completed in a timely manner.   The Japantown Task Force, would then be the recipient of SB307 dollars and become the planning entity for Japantown through Board of Supervisors resolution. 


Sandy adds that one of the additional stipulations on the agreement was that Paul and Allen do the necessary research to get approval from the Art and Redevelopment Commissions, held public hearings in the community, and that NPC be part of the decision making process. 


Ros expressed her discontent regarding the decision making process and states that the committee received no proposals, and could not come to a recommendation.  She also emphasizes the need for accountability and a process which provides time for groups and committees to submit and review proposals.


Linda adds that if there are delays, and the money is not spent, NLF and Kokoro are not excluded from pursuing the funds. 


Winston also brought up his concerns at a lack of a defined community decision-making process which also would provide for timely notification. 


Motion to approve SB 307 resolution approved with one abstention.


2.      Nominations Committee


Motion to approve nomination of advisory doard members: June-ko Nakagawa (KTSF Channel 26), Jongmin Paek (Korean American Women Artist and Writer Association) moved, seconded, and approved.


F.      Director’s Report


1.      Central Freeway Signage


The Task Force will be paying for half of the signs, the rest to be covered by Central Freeway project.  20 additional signs have been purchased to be placed at Task Force designated spots.


Linda also made recommendations to DPT to make Laguna a two-way street so drivers can make a right from Fell St. to Japantown.


David suggests having signage from the Fremont exit to Front to Pine of the I-80 to Japantown.


2.      Street Signs


The Task Force purchased 136 new street signs in and around Japantown in English and Japanese.


3.      MTA, Nominees for Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)


Sandy had brought up the possibility of having a Japantown representative to join the MTA CAC.  If any individuals are interested in joining the CAC, they should contact Linda.


4.      Meeting with Bike Coalition and MTA


Leah Shahum, E.D. of the Bike Coalition, will be convening a community meeting on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 at the JCCCNC from 6:30-8:30pm at the Task Force’s request. 


On a separate note, Ros and Mark suggest a having a hard copy of the Director’s report appended to the minutes.


G.    Committee Reports


1.            Communications Committee


David reports that the communications committee is trying to narrow down the marketing plan, and is focusing on outreach to SF visitors.  The committee is exploring developing relationships with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, JCCNC, Conventions and Visitors Bureau, etc, to increase the visibility of Japantown.                


2.            Cultural and Historical Preservation Committee


Ros reports that the committee is in the final stages of completing the draft of the historic context statement.  The committee will try and email the statement to the board prior to the next board meeting for approval.  In the future, the committee will also be looking at getting more community involvement as it moves into defining cultural preservation.


3.            Health and Safety Committee


The main concern in recent times of the Health and Safety Committee is to do outreach and education on safety issues in Japantown.  Benh reports that the committee is also hoping to have local newspapers write an article covering Wayne and Kiyo, and emphasizing the importance of reporting crimes.


4.      Personnel Committee


Seiko reports that the Personnel Committee met June 2nd with Linda, and Caryl will report back to the Executive Committee the results at their next meeting.


5.      Nominations Committee


Although typical terms for officers run from January to December, the Committee is asking current officers to serve the rest of the current calendar year, the Jeff Mori as President, Caryl Ito as Vice President, and Mark Moriguchi as Secretary/Treasurer.


Motion to extend the terms of officers approved.


6.      Finance Committee


David reports that a discussion arose in which it was requested that financial information be presented as a regular item on the agenda, starting next month.  Linda was under the impression that the Finance and Fundraising Committee were joined as one.  David requested that Linda look at past minutes to verify this.


H.     Other Business and Announcements


Board of Directors Potluck Dinner (Families and Children Welcome to Join)
Friday, July 11 @ 6:30pm at Caryl’s House
676 Miramar Ave (between Ocean and Monterey Blvd) San Francisco

Please RSVP by JULY 7th with Caryl Ito (334-6759 or carylito@aol.com)
Main course, drinks, and dessert will be provided.


Sandy and Jeff Mori will also be honored at this year’s San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) Silver Spur Lunch for their many contributions.  The event will take place Wednesday, October 29th at 11:00am at Moscone West (northwest corner of Fourth and Howard Streets).  If you'd like to attend, please contact Caryl Ito at carylito@aol.com or 415.334.6759. 


I.        Next Meeting:


Board: Monday, July 28th @ 6:00

Executive: Monday, July 21th @ 6:30

Communications: Wednesday, July 9 @ noon

Preservation: Friday, July 11 @ noon