JTF Board Meeting

September 29, 2003 @ 6:00 p.m.

1765 Sutter St.



A.    Director’s Report:


1.      Update on SB307


The Japantown Task Force, was designated the planning entity for Japantown by the Board of Supervisors.  However, the SB307 legislation language does not match that of the Board resolution so the Task Force will work with the Landmarks Planning Advisory Board (Tim Kelley) and the Planning Department (Larry Badiner) to discuss how the city can apply for and receive the funds. 


2.      Signage: Street Signs and Directional Signs Update


Many of the Japantown directional signs have been put up, although a sign on Franklin pointed in the wrong direction, which is being fixed.  The 65 street signs around Japantown will have 2 individual signs, one in English, one in Japanese. 


3.      Update on Certificates of Preference for 1600 Webster St. Site


Individuals who lived in Japantown and had been displaced by the Redevelopment Agency all received a certificate of preference for priority housing in any developments in project areas.  Several families, through the Task Force, have applied for the affordable units.  Caryl brought up the need to know of other opportunities for certificate holders since only 2 units will be available at the 1600 Webster site. 


B.      Recognition of Quorum


C.    Chair’s Report:


1.      Vote on Approval of Akira Minamiura:


Motion made, seconded, and unanimously approved to accept Akira Minamiura as a member of the Japantown Task Force Inc. board.


Due to Colin Gomez’s temporary and indefinite absence, Akira Minamiura, who has similar contacts as Colin, will be occupying his spot on the board.  Akira, however, states that he is unsure how long he will be able to be a board member, as he may be returning to Japan in six months or possibly earlier.


2.      Meeting of the Advisory Board 9/3/03


Jeff reports that overall, the meeting went well with a good turnout.  Many advisory board members stated that they are willing to serve in various capacities, including the possibility of becoming board members.  Caryl states that the advisory board also suggested another meeting, as well as identifying short-term and long-term goals. 


D.     Approval of Minutes:

Meeting of August 25, 2003


Motion made, seconded, and unanimously approved to accept the minutes of the meeting of August 25, 2003.


E.      Review of Email Vote:


Minutes for July 28th and Orei for Reverends Oda and Grange approved by vote of email, with 8 board members unanimously voting to accept the motion.


F.      Director’s Report:


1.      Standards for Orei


Linda suggests two approaches; first to develop a “pot” and use that until it is exhausted, or second, to look at the budget at the end of the year and decide then how much orei should be given, and to whom.  Jeff also suggested buying gift certificates as a way to support local businesses and make the orei more easier to document.  Benh suggests cash donations in the amount of $25-$35 or as high as $50, depending on the situation. 


2.      Cathal Hennessy: Report Back


Cathal Hennessy from the Department of Parking and Traffic, had been reading the JTF concepts plan, and was ready to adopt certain parts of the plan.  The plan however, did call for narrowing Post St., which conflicted with the merchant’s desires to maintain the current number of lanes.  The Task Force will be reporting to Cathal not to proceed with the narrowing as it causes a conflict with the merchants’ needs and Task Force wishes.  Linda also reports that she has asked Manito Velasco to expedite the installation of timed pedestrian signals in and around Japantown. 


3.      JPRN Intern:


Midori Kitahashi, a student from Osaka, will be interning at the Task Force for three months through the Japan Pacific Resource Network (JPRN) organization. 


4.      Aki Matsuri/Halloween Festival


Aki Matsuri, sponsored by the Merchants Association, will be October 25-26.  There will be many cultural performances, and games, rides, haunted house, and activities for kids and youth.


5.      Fundraising Letter


Scott Belser is working with Linda two develop two draft letters to solicit funds from corporations as well as community members.



G.    Chair’s Report (cont’d):


3.      Jikei Kai Fundraiser


Jeff reports that the Japanese Benevolent Society will be holding its annual event on November 9th.  The Task Force would like to have a table (requires 10 people) at the event.  $2 raffle tickets are also for sale as part of their fundraising efforts.  An organizational raffle will also be held.  The Task Force may participate by selling raffle  and event tickets and by becoming honorary members of the campaign committee for the event. 


Motion made, seconded and unanimously approved to have the Japantown Task Force, Inc., become part of the honorary campaign committee for the Japanese Benevolent Society.


4.      Committee Reports:



1.   Cultural and Historical Preservation Committee: Historic Context Statement


Ros reports that the historic context statement is calendared to be heard on October 1st at the Landmarks Planning Advisory Board.  David suggests adding 1.) the negotiation of the 2012 Pine St. between JCYC and the United Methodist Church and 2.) the relationship with the Redevelopment Agency and nonprofit organizations who received free space in Redevelopment Agency-owned properties.  Ros also announces the NJAHS Shibata Gardens fundraising event on Saturday, October 11.


2.   Communications Committee: Newsletter Advertising


The Communications Committee is looking at producing an inexpensive 1-page brochure for Japantown to go into the bags of conventioneers.  At the end of October, the Fall edition of the JTF newsletter will be available for distribution at Aki Matsuri.  David also adds that the committee will be looking at creating a Japantown calendar of events.  In the New Years edition of the newsletter, the Task Force will also be providing advertising space to defray the costs of printing.  Doug also brings up the idea of expanding our mailing list through opportunities such as community events to outreach to a broader segment of the community.  Linda adds that Cynthia Gouw from KQED will feature Japantown and the Task Force activities on her program.


3.   Business and Economic Development Committee:


Caryl reports that the Business and Economic Development Committee will be inviting directors of BIDs to meetings to hear more about how they work.  Tak however, brought up concerns that the cost of BIDs may put too great a burden on merchants, especially if the BID is not immediately effective. 


Regarding the koban, Tak states that the Merchants Association has decided that it will be selling the koban to Chinatown.  After many discussions and cost considerations, the Merchants realized that it is no longer financially feasible nor is there any good alternative use for the koban.  


4.Health and Safety:


The Health and Safety meeting met on October 10th at which Pi Ra, of Walk SF and the Bicycle Coalition and Bea Richardson from Namiki Apartments joined the committee.  Benh reports that the committee will be looking at which intersections will need countdown lights to enhance pedestrian safety.  Another issue that was brought up was the upkeep of Post St. since it is Japantown’s main commercial area.  It was suggested that merchants police themselves to keep the area clean and attractive.  Benh suggests an educational piece on businesses such as Iroha or Kansai which do a good job of keeping their areas clean.  David suggests writing an article in the next newsletter highlighting the efforts of those who take the time to keep Japantown clean.  The Nichi Bei also published the article which the health and safety committee requested on Kiyo and Wayne.


5.      Other Business and Announcements:


6.      Next Meeting:


Board: Monday, October 27 @ 6:00

Executive: Monday, October 20 @ 6:30

Communications: Wednesday, October 15 @ noon

Preservation: Friday, October 17 @ noon

Health and Safety: Tuesday, October 14 @ 6:30

Business and Economic Development: TBA