JTF Board Meeting

July 28, 2003 @ 6:00 p.m.

1765 Sutter St.



Attendees: Scott Belser, Sheila Chung, Seiko Fujimoto, Rosalyn Tonai, Caryl Ito, Mark Moriguchi, Jeff Mori, Jon Osaki.


Excused: David Ishida, Tak Matsuba, Pat Shiono.


Absent: Doug Dawkins, Colin Gomez, Benh Nakajo, Bob Otsuka.


Guests: Miho Tokuyama (Nichi Bei Times), Michelle Otani (JCCCNC Intern), Judy Hamaguchi (NJAHS), Stuart Scheinholtz (Anasazi Properties), Masanori Okuda (UBOC), Sandy Mori (Advisory), Shirley Wysinger (SFRA), Olivia Swilley (Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services), Yoko Tsukuda.



A.          Presentation Stuart Scheinholtz, Anasazi Properties


Work to date includes the demolition of the old building, excavation of the site, shoring of walls, installation of elevator pit, weatherproofing, underpinning work, basement slabs, columns, and grand level slabs.  Another floor can be expected to come up every 3-4 weeks setting the superstructure completion date for November.  The entire building is expected to be complete by July of 2004.  One-bedroom units (28 units) will average roughly 814 ft., and 2-bedrooms (20 units) will average 1328 ft.  No prices have been established yet.  Anasazi is keeping a list of interested clients from advertising in such publications as the Cherry Blossom Festival program.  In terms of site cleanliness and disruptions to neighbors, Stuart reports that the project is going well with a clean work area.  Kazuko Morgan with Cushman and Wakefield (415-773-3546) who specialized in retail brokerage was asked to contact Japanese clients first, after which the marketing will be opened to retailers at large.  At present, no interest has been expressed in the retail space.  Stuart reports that the rooflike structures have been slightly modified, but other than that, no other modifications have been made.  Ryan Sondgroth, Webcor Manager can be reached at 650-823-5670 if there are any problems with the site.


B.            Approval of minutes:


Meeting of June 23, 2003


C.          Chair’s Report


1.      SB 307 Resolution and Prop. 40 update


The SB307 resolution introduced by Sup. Gonzalez went before the Board of Supervisors was approved.  The Task Force will soon directly receive the money and is on track to be the second Japantown to receive the funds after Los Angeles.  As part of the agreement, the Task Force will have to created a committee of 50% JTF members and 50% community members to define cultural preservation.  

         In regards to Prop. 40 funding, NPC will be the sponsoring organization, and the JCCCNC will be the fiscal agent for the streetcape project on Buchanan.  This project will have to also obtain check offs from the SFRA and Arts Commission as part of the process.  Paul will be the contact person for JCCCNC and Allen for NPC on this project. 


2.      Potluck Dinner


The Task Force thanks Caryl for hosting a potluck party for the board and staff.


3.      Opening Brokerage Account


As part of the fundraising effort the Task Force will be opening a brokerage account to receive donations of appreciated equities that can be converted to cash contributions.  A vote will be taken when quorum is recognized to authorize the opening of this account.


D.           Director’s Report


1.      Bicycle Coalition Meeting


         The Bicycle Coalition sent the Task Force a letter stating that they are no longer pursuing a bike lane on Post St.  Linda also received a letter from Gerald Norman from DPT stating that they do not support a bike lane on Post St.   Mr. Gardner, Bicycle Plan Outreach Coordinator requested time at the next meeting to present their updates on the plan.  Seiko, Tak, and Japantown merchants attending the community meeting to express their concerns regarding the bike lane.  All 16 speakers attended at the Task Force’s request. 


2.      Neighborhood Beautification Fund


         After applying for NBF funds and receiving a letter stating that the JTF will receive $28,000, the mayor’s office sent a letter stating that the fund has been overexpended.  Ed Lee is now in charge of the fund and the award has been reduced to $12,000 primarily to redo the banners in and around Japantown and for some cleaning. 


3.      Letter to DPW


         Ed Lee has agreed to proposed cleaning measures as outlined in a letter to DPW.  Such measures include steam cleaning prior to festivals, replacement of broken slate tiles in the peace plaza, and replanting of Cherry Trees.  DPW is currently pursuing a lawsuit against the architect of the Plaza. 


4.      Japantown Signage


         DPT has completed the 60 Japantown directional signs as designed by Mr. Kimura of PMP.  The Task Force however, underestimated the number of signs needed and will have to order additional signs.  The sign shop put a sign on a pole so that the Task Force can stage an unveiling at the Peace Plaza with the pagoda in the background.  Manito Velasco will bring photos of where they plan to put the signs.  On the 280 exit however, board members suggest taking Lincoln rather than going through Golden Gate Park.


E.Committee Reports


1.      Communications Committee: SFCVB Meeting (Sandy), Database (Yoko)


         Yoko Tsukuda and Ben Kobashigawa have been working on a community database for the past 6 months.  Included in the database are over 1,100 restaurants, community based organizations, cultural organizations, churches, and other such bodies in the 8 counties of the bay area (excluding the South Bay).  The database can be used as a directory for marketing and outreach for Japantown organizations, and is listed as one of the objectives in the Task Force plan.  Jeff suggests applying to the Communications Technology Foundation for funding for such projects.  Jon reports that JCYC is applying for a grant at this foundation to pursue a web-based data system. 

         Sandy reports that communications has been meeting with conventions bureau representatives to put Japantown on the map.  Sandy and Linda met with Geraldine O’Brien and Deborah Reinow, who were interested in working to promote Japantown.  They suggested meeting with John Ontiveros to help disseminate the JCGC map.  Chip Connelly, hotel owner and owner of Kabuki Hot Springs, has been very supportive of the Task Force and was willing to put the JCGC maps in his hotels.  Images from the JCGC map will also be shared with the conventions bureau to promote tourism in Japantown.  Seiko emphasizes the need for good relations with the Merchants Association and the need to work in conjunction to work together.  Kathy Reyes remarks that the back stairs to the Peace Plaza is extremely dirty, and presents a bad entrance for the many visitors who do come to Japantown from that way.


2.      Cultural and Historical Preservation Committee: Update on Draft Historic Context Statement (Ros)


         The initial draft of the historic context was written approximately a year ago and since has come through the preservation committee with many revisions and corrections.  The committee is still in the process of reviewing and making corrections and plans to have the document approved on August 20th, 2003.  All comments/suggestions should be sent by August 13th.  The document will be used to establish what can be considered a landmark.  Sandy expressed concern about the impact the document may have on building owners who may become subject to stringent restrictions if they become landmarks.


Quorum Recognized.


Motion made, seconded, and approved to accept the draft historic context statement in concept. 


Motion made, seconded, and approved to accept the minutes of June 23,2003.


Motion made, seconded, and approved to grant authority to open a brokerage account to receive appreciated stock.. 


Motion made, seconded, and approved to grant authority to approve the Japantown directional signs. 


Motion made, seconded, and approved to approve the Communications Committee report.


3.      Personnel Committee (Caryl)


         The personnel committee (Seiko, Jeff, Linda, Sheila) met with Linda who signed off on the review with added information on the context of the evaluation


Motion made, seconded, and approved to approve the Personnel Committee report.


4.  Finance Committee (Mark)


         Mark reports that the budget is based in part on past figures, which includes a projected surplus of $1,900.  The budget also includes carry over from the last fiscal year.  In order to help fundraise, the Task Force is also asking that the board and advisory board help in the dissemination of the fundraising letter to friends and acquaintances. 


Motion made, seconded, and approved to approve the 2003-2004 budget.


5.  Business and Economic Development Committee (Caryl)


         The Business and Economic Development Committee is looking at inviting representatives from San Jose Japantown and Union Square to discuss the implications of a Business Improvement District (BID).

         The issue of the koban is also still on the table, and the Merchants Association who still own the koban have not decided on what they would like to do with the structure.

         Regarding SB 211, the bill is still in the Board of Supervisors hands.  Sandy reports that a 12 member entity will be created to act as a community advisory group on this issue.  A representative from the Task Force is recommended for the committee.


Motion made, seconded, and approved to approve the Business and Economic Development Committee report..


F.Other Business and Announcements:


1.      Volunteers Needed: Nihonmachi Street Fair: Sat. August 9th & Sun. August 10th 

Shifts on both days from 11:00-2:00 and 2:00-5:00


2.      Proposition 54: Proposition 54, also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative, will be on the ballot on October 7th.  As of yet the Task Force has not taken a stance on the issue.  Sheila is suggesting that the Task Force take a position on this proposition.  What support would entail is the endorsement of a statewide campaign with the Task Force name placed on materials stating their support for the anti-54 position.  Due to time constraints, it was suggested that individuals take a position using the Task Force name for identification purposes only until the the item is sent to Executive Committee and action taken.


3.      SFRA update: Shirley reports that June17, 2003 eight proposals were received for two central freeway sites.  The sites are located at Franklin and Golden Gate (Parcel C) and another at Gough and Turk (Parcel A).  At parcel A, AF Evans and Chinatown CDC, Bridge Housing and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Housing Affiliate of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, and Mission Housing Development Corporation and Agahe(?) Outreach Center.  For Parcel C, Bridge Housing and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Domis Development and John Stuart Company, Housing Affiliate of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, and Mission Housing Development Corporation and Agahe(?) Outreach Center.  Proposal presentations will be made on Saturdays (date TBA) with one meeting per site. 


G.          Next Meeting:


Board: Monday, August 25th @ 6:00

Executive: Monday, August 18th @ 6:30

Communications: Thursday, August 21 @ noon

Preservation: Friday, August 22 @ noon

Health and Safety: TBA

Business and Economic Development: TBA