Fire Commission - August 25, 2021


    SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco Fire Deprtment Official Seal FIRE COMMISSION

    Fire Commission Regular Meeting

    August 25, 2021, 5:00 p.m.



    Remote Meeting via video and teleconferencing (see below links and phone numbers)

    This meeting is being held by WebEx pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders Mayoral Proclamations Declaring the Existence of a Local Emergency.

    During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) emergency, the Fire Commission’s regular meeting room at City Hall is closed, and meetings of the Fire Commission will convene remotely.

    Watch live at

    Participating During Public Comment: By Phone

    Public Comment Call in number is: 


    Access Code: 146 382 3282

    Members of the public will have opportunities to participate during public comment. The public is asked to wait for the particular agenda item before making a comment on that item. Comments will be addressed in the order they are received. When the moderator announces that the Commission is taking public comment, members of the public can:

    1. Raise hand” by pressing * 3 and you will be queued.
    2. Callers will hear silence when waiting for your turn to speak. Operator will unmute you.
    3. When prompted, callers will have the standard three minutes to provide comment.
    • Ensure you are in a quiet location.
    • Speak clearly.
    • Turn off any TVs or radios around you.




    Item No.
    1.         ROLL CALL



    Katherine Feinstein

    Vice President

    Stephen A. Nakajo


    Francee Covington


    Ken Cleaveland



    Chief of Department

    Jeanine Nicholson


    Members of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes on any matter within the Commission’s jurisdiction that does not appear on the agenda.  Speakers shall address their remarks to the Commission as a whole and not to individual Commissioners or Department personnel.  Commissioners are not to enter into debate or discussion with a speaker.  The lack of a response by the Commissioners or Department personnel does not necessarily constitute agreement with or support of statements made during public comment.


    3.         APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]

    Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.


    • Minutes from Regular Meeting on August 11, 2021.


    4.         CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT’S REPORT [Discussion]


    Report on current issues, activities, and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting on August 11, 2021, including budget, academies, special events, communications, and outreach to other government agencies and the public.



    Report on the Administrative Divisions, Fleet and Facility status and updates, Finance, Support Services, and Training within the Department.



    [Discussion and possible action]

    Discussion and possible action to adopt Resolution 2021-01, Ramaytush Ohlone Land Acknowledgement


    6.         COMMISSION REPORT [Discussion]

    Report on Commission activities since last meeting of August 11, 2021.


    Discussion regarding agenda for next and future Fire Commission meetings.


    8.         ADJOURNMENT      

    San Francisco Fire Commission





    Commission Meeting Schedule and Location


    The Fire Commission will meet regularly on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102. The second Wednesday in Room 416 at 9:00 a.m. and the fourth Wednesday in Room 400 at 5:00 p.m.


    Commission Office


    The Fire Commission Office is located at 698 Second Street, Room 220, San Francisco, CA 94107. The Fire Commission telephone number is (415) 558-3451; the fax number is (415) 558-3413. The web address is  Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.


    Language Access


    Per the Language Access Ordinance (Chapter 91 of the San Francisco Administrative Code), Chinese, Spanish and or Filipino (Tagalog) interpreters will be available upon requests. Meeting Minutes may be translated, if requested, after they have been adopted by the Commission.  Assistance in additional languages may be honored whenever possible. To request assistance with these services please contact the Commission Secretary at (415) 558-3451, or at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing.  Late requests will be honored if possible.


    Information on Disability Access


    The hearing rooms in City Hall are wheelchair accessible.  The closest accessible BART station is the Civic Center Station at United Nations Plaza and Market Street. Accessible MUNI lines serving this location are: #42 Downtown Loop, and #71 Haight/Noriega and the F Line to Market and Van Ness and the Metro Stations at Van Ness and Market and at Civic Center. For information about MUNI accessible services call (415) 923-6142. There is accessible curbside parking adjacent to City Hall on Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue and in the vicinity of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue adjacent to Davies Hall and the War Memorial Complex.  For more information about MUNI accessible services, call (415) 701-4485.


    To obtain a disability-related modification or accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services, to participate in the meeting, please contact the Commission Secretary at least two business days before the meeting at (415) 558-3451 to make arrangements.  Late requests will be honored, if possible.


    To assist the City’s efforts to accommodate persons with severe allergies, environmental illnesses, multiple chemical sensitivity or related disabilities, attendees at public meetings are reminded that other attendees may be sensitive to various chemical based products. Please help the City to accommodate these individuals.


    Policy on use of Cell Phones, Pagers and Similar Sound-Producing Electronic Devices at and During Public Meetings


    The ringing and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at Fire Commission meetings. Please be advised that the Chair may order the removal from the meeting room of any person(s) responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound-producing electronic device.


    Documents for Public Inspection


    Documents referred to in this agenda, if not otherwise exempt from disclosure, are available for public inspection and copying at the Fire Commission Office.  If any materials related to an item on this agenda are distributed to the Fire Commission after distribution of the agenda packet, those materials, if not otherwise exempt from disclosure, are also available for public inspection at the Fire Commission Office, 698 Second Street, room 220, San Francisco, during normal office hours.


    Know Your Rights under the Sunshine Ordinance

    (Chapter 67 of the San Francisco Administrative Code)


    Government's duty is to serve the public, reaching its decisions in full view of the public. Commissions, boards, councils and other agencies of the City and County exist to conduct the people’s business. This ordinance assures that deliberations are conducted before the people and that City operations are open to the people’s review.  For more information on your rights under the sunshine ordinance or to report a violation of the ordinance, contact the sunshine ordinance task force. You may contact the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Administrator, as follows: Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, City Hall, Room 244, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102-4689, Phone: (415) 554-7724, Fax: (415) 554-5784, E-mail: Copies of the Sunshine Ordinance can be obtained from the Clerk of the Sunshine Task Force, the San Francisco Public Library and on the City’s Web site at


    San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance


    Individuals and entities that influence or attempt to influence local policy or administrative action may be required by the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance (San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code sections 2.100 – 2.160) to register and report lobbying activity. For more information about the Lobbyist Ordinance, please contact the Ethics Commission at 30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 3900, San Francisco, CA 94102, telephone (415) 581-2300, fax (415) 581-2317 and Web site:





    Wednesday, August 25, 2021 – 5:00 p.m.

    This meeting was held remotely on WebEx



    The Video can be viewed by clicking this link:


    President Feinstein called the meeting to order at 5:04 p.m.


    Commission President

    Katherine Feinstein


    Vice President

    Stephen Nakajo



    Francee Covington



    Ken Cleaveland





    Chief of Department

    Jeanine Nicholson



    Bryan Rubenstein

    Deputy Chief -- Operations

    Jose Velo

    Deputy Chief --Administration



    Shayne Kaialoa

    Division of Training

    Sandy Tong


    David Brown

    Airport Division

    Ken Cofflin

    Bureau of Fire Prevention

    Dawn DeWitt

    Support Services

    Erica Arteseros

    Homeland Security

    Natasha Parks

    Health and Wellness

    Tom O’Connor


    Brice Peoples

    Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

    Simon Pang

    Community Paramedicine




    Mark Corso

    Deputy Director of Finance

    Olivia Scanlon

    Communications and Outreach



    2.         PUBLIC COMMENT


    There was no public comment.


    3.         APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]

    Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.


    • Minutes from Regular Meeting on August 11, 2021.


    Commissioner Covington wanted a more robust report out on the vaccination conversation, and President Feinstein put this item over to the next commission meeting so that Secretary Conefrey could amend the minutes. 



    There was no public comment.


    4.         CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT’S REPORT [Discussion]


    Report on current issues, activities, and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting on August 11, 2021, including budget, academies, special events, communications, and outreach to other government agencies and the public.


    Chief Nicholson reported on activities since the last meeting on June 23.   She announced that the Delta Variant is still causing concern for the entire nation but fortunately, for San Francisco, the numbers are starting to plateau and come down a bit.  She added that the Department at this time, has 30 people off with either COVID or they are quarantined and they continue to communicate with the members the importance of mask-wearing, PPE, and hygiene, and she and CD2 and 3 have been visiting different stations over the last couple of weeks to express how important the vaccine is and what ramifications could be if they do not meet the timelines that the Department of Human Resources has scheduled.  She discussed the timeline deadlines which she stated they put much effort into educating the members of those deadlines


    Chief Nicholson announced that they had 18 EMTs graduate from the academy and many will start in the field on Saturday.  She also provided a brief update on the wildland fires and stated Chief Velo will provide a more detailed report on that during his report.  She announced that they hired Dr. Joseph Graterol as the Community Paramedicine Medical Director   She also announced that there will be a remembrance ceremony for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.  She stated that tomorrow is Women’s Equality Day, and she will be attending a ceremony at City Hall with Mayor Breed, Congresswoman Pelosi, and many others.


    Commissioner Cleaveland confirmed that the BLS authorization memo that allows the BLS providers to be able to come into the 9-1-1- system as a backup to address increased call volume which allows the system to accept up to four BLS ambulances to assist with transport to hospitals and has been extended for two weeks and that once it expires on August 31, 2021, it will be extended again for two weeks, expiring in September where they will reevaluate to see what the staffing levels look like.  He asked the chief what their position is on Slow Streets.  Chief Nicholson responded that they are looking at all of the data in terms of response times and she is concerned that there are some variabilities over the city and response times have gone up over the past three years which she believes has to do with traffic calming, speed humps and bumps, and bulb-outs and they are talking to the policymakers and working with MTA to figure out next steps and where they go from here.  She added that they weigh-in and have conversations all the time, along with Fire Marsal Cofflin and they make recommendations on what is best for the Department.


    Commissioner Covington asked for more information about the role the SFFD has in the Transportation Advisory Safety Committee (TASC).  Chief Cofflin explained that Captain Ed Londono is assigned to the TASC program representing the Fire Department and he meets with the other TASC Committee members where they have representatives from different city agencies where they discuss upcoming projects such as installing a stop sign, changing the color of a curb or changing the permit parking area or adding a speed bump or hump and it’s the TASC Committee that gets together and provides their input if it does or does not affect their particular agency.  If it’s a project that may affect the Fire Department, Captain Londono works with the members in the field, the chiefs, the engine drivers, and the companies that will be using those areas to get some input and then they work with the command staff to address any problems and give recommendations at the TASC meetings.  He added that SFMTA has agreed that many of the Slow Streets will be going away, and they have 120 days to remove them, also some will succeed to be Slow Streets, such as Lake Street, Shotwell Street, and Sanchez Street, but the SFFD has not agreed to anything permanent.  He stated that they have an agreement with SFMTA that if the response times significantly increase or become an even greater concern for the Chief, she can meet with the director of SFMTA and conclude that they are not working out for the Fire Department response times, and they can be removed before that time frame.  Commissioner Covington confirmed that the SFMTA chairs the TASC Committee meetings and sets the agenda and she thinks it’s helpful information for everyone as to how these decisions are made and by whom and the more information they have, the better.


    President Feinstein agreed with Commissioner Covington and asked if the TASC meetings are open to the public.  Chief Cofflin stated that no in-person meetings are happening, but the SFMTA does post the agenda on their website, along with the minutes and results.  He also mentioned that the agencies at the TASC Committee are SFMTA, Public Works, SFPD, Planning Department, Fire Department, and Golden Gate Transit.  President Feinstein expressed her concern that if these meetings are not open to the public, does it mean that government representatives are going around without public input determining what is in the public's best interest?  Chief Cofflin responded that the agenda is posted with a list of projects the public has the right to provide comments on.  President Feinstein also described the slow streets surrounding her and how she can drive through the middle of the speed bumps which doesn’t slow her down, but that a fire engine cannot, and it concerns her that it is damaging the Department’s equipment and she also doesn’t think it’s working to reduce the number of accidents.  She added that if the Slow Streets are slowing our response times and causing damage to the equipment, she would like to know about it and decide whether the Commission should weigh in on it as she is not particularly interested in being politically correct about it as it is a matter of safety and receiving the emergency services the citizens expect  She added that she knows the detriments but not the benefits of the Slow Streets program.  She also confirmed that the Physician’s Office had vaccines available and some of the members received their first dose.


    Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Nicholson for her comprehensive report and details on the important issue of the vaccine for the members of the Department and the timelines that she spoke about that have been issued by DHR.


    There was no public comment.



    Report on the Administrative Divisions, Fleet and Facility status and updates, Finance, Support Services, and Training within the Department.


    Chief Velo presented his June 2021 report.  Chief Velo gave a mutual aid update stating 24 members are currently assigned to different fires in the State of California and all deployed personnel are in good health.


    Chief Velo touched on the Training Division and the 128th academy that started August 2, 2021, with 41 recruits.  He added that active shooter training took place at SFO and Chief Brown is doing a tremendous job making sure the crews are always engaged and prepared.  Chief Velo, Chief Kaialoa, and Lieutenant Mota went to New York to their training academy that sits on Randall’s Island and learned of things they do in their academy, what kinds of props, buildings they have and brought that information back to start the process of preparing for the SFFD new training facility.  He mentioned that Chief Peoples is busy working on projects including enrollment of the City EMT interns and McCarthy Fellow Internship Program.  He touched on some of the changes going forward with future recruit classes, including orientation for recruits and their families and a pre-academy kick-off.  He touched on NERT, Health, Safety, and Wellness under Chief Parks who was able to secure rapid COVID testing from CDPH and has been going to stations that had some positive cases and makes sure the members can be tested; the Physician's Office where they are working on several projects; The Investigative Services Bureau; Support Services; and PUC Liaison.


    Commissioner Covington asked what the status was of the artwork for the gates at Station 49 was.  Chief DeWitt responded that because the fence changed in size, there have been major changes made to the artwork and they have an art meeting tomorrow and she will have more information following that meeting.  Commissioner Covington confirmed that the Art's Commission will be paying for the new artwork, and she expressed her concerns on prior images that reminded some of the images used in World War II, not calming images.  Commissioner Covington also confirmed that there are no funds to maintain the large green space behind the Chief's Residence, but a company comes out and does the front yard to keep it looking tidy.  She asked Chief DeWitt to follow up with Rec and Park to see if it’s something they can consider and maintain as it is the only official residence in the City and County of San Francisco and she would appreciate knowing how it’s being kept and not overtaken by weeds.


    Commissioner Cleaveland thanked Chief Velo for his comprehensive report and confirmed that the firehouse recipe book will be in electronic form and will not be published and it's a project that the Doctor's office along with nurse, Stephanie Phelps has been working on gathering some healthier recipes as part of the overall health and wellness projects that they are working on.  Commissioner Cleaveland also confirmed that the moose boat is part of their fleet of boats and is used for rescues.  He mentioned that he is keenly interested in the upkeep and maintenance of the firehouses and other buildings that are managed and owned by the Fire Department and he thinks it is incumbent on us to make the living conditions for our firefighters as good as possible and when there are repairs that need to be done, that they are done as expeditiously as possible.  He confirmed that Station 19 got a new extractor and that polishing the fuel for the generator at Station 3 was more reasonable than replacing it entirely.  He added that he couldn’t think of anything more critical at a fire station than having emergency generators that are operable if there is a power outage, so they are still able to respond to fires or emergencies and get the doors open.  He was glad to hear that the relationship with DPW and BBR has improved and has made the SFFD a larger priority.


    Vice President Nakajo stated he appreciated how comprehensive Chief Velo got on reporting of the wildfires and was glad to hear all personnel are good.    He confirmed that the morale of the members deployed is high, even after 4 rotations.  Chief Velo added that he is also concerned about their health because they are breathing that smoke day in and day out with long shifts.  Vice President Nakajo confirmed that the department has enough members trained as he feels it's going to be a long fire season.  Chief Velo added that the issue they are having is a shortage of staff as more people are off with COVID and that's reducing the pool of people that can be deployed for mutual aid.  Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Nicholson for her commitment to the mutual aid and for the members who have responded and that his heart and prayers go out to all the members and the residents in Northern California who are dealing with these fires.


    Commissioner Covington confirmed that the Training Division is working with the driverless vehicle companies Cruise and Waymo to develop a training video for the Department so that if the vehicles were to get in an accident members will know how to control the vehicle.  She also confirmed that Target Solutions is an online platform for training, instead of going to a classroom.


    President Feinstein confirmed that Station 35 is making progress but a move-in date is not known.  She expressed her concern for members who can't socially distance themselves while sleeping in the firehouses and not knowing who is vaccinated and who is not.  She asked if adjustments can be made.  Chief Nicholson responded that they are following every guidance that they get from DHR and the Department of Public Health and putting those messages out to the members regularly and they cannot at this time, ask someone if they're not vaccinated to go and sleep elsewhere.  President Feinstein confirmed that the members who are deployed to the wildfires do not have equipment that prevents them from breathing in smoke and there is nothing in the industry that the NFPA has adopted as a mitigating measure for folks to respond to wildland areas. President Feinstein expressed her concern over damage to the department's vehicles when they must travel over speed humps and bumps.  Chief DeWitt responded that she reached out to Central Shops, and they confirmed there has been an increase in broken leaf springs but there is no way to discern whether it's because of the speed humps or the age of the rigs.


    There was no public comment.



    [Discussion and possible action]

    Discussion and possible action to adopt Resolution 2021-01, Ramaytush Ohlone Land Acknowledgement


    Commissioner Secretary read the Resolution into the record.


    There was discussion for and against the resolution.


    Commissioner Covington moved to adopt the Resolution.  Commissioner Nakajo Seconded.  The motion passed 3 to 1.  (Ayes:  Nakajo, Covington, Feinstein; No:  Cleaveland)


    Francisco DaCosta stated the land belongs to the Muwekma Ohlone and suggested having the right facts and history.


    5.         COMMISSION REPORT [Discussion]

    Report on Commission activities since last meeting of August 11, 2021.


    Vice President Nakajo gave a progress update on the Commission Secretary’s evaluation.


    President Feinstein explained that she is working with the labor attorney in the City Attorney’s office on how to proceed with evaluating the Department physician as the form that DHR provided doesn’t apply in any way and it is not a meaningful evaluation.


    There was nothing to report.



    Discussion regarding agenda for next and future Fire Commission meetings.

    There was no public comment.


    • Findings of Fact
    • Commission Secretary evaluation
    • Chief’s evaluation
    • Physician’s evaluation


    There was no public comment.


    8.         ADJOURNMENT

    President Feinstein adjourned the meeting at 7:19 p.m.


    City and County of San Francisco

    London N. Breed, Mayor

    San Francisco Fire Department Official Seal

    Katherine Feinstein, President

    698 Second Street

    Stephen A. Nakajo, Vice President

    San Francisco, CA 94107

    Francee Covington, Commissioner

    Telephone 415.558.3451

    Ken Cleaveland, Commissioner



    Maureen Conefrey, Secretary


    Resolution 2021-01


    Ramaytush Ohlone Land Acknowledgement



    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC) published a report in 2007 entitled, Discrimination by Omission: Issues of Concern for Native Americans in San Francisco, detailing the ways in which Native American communities experience systemic erasure and exclusion in San Francisco and identifying numerous recommendations for improved outcomes, a process which was guided by members of Native American communities, including the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples; and


    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Fire Commission joins with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and numerous other commissions and boards of the City and County of San Francisco in acknowledging that the Ramaytush Ohlone are the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula; and


    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Fire Commission acknowledges that the area comprising the City and County of San Francisco was originally inhabited by the Yelamu, an independent tribe of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples; and


    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Fire Commission acknowledges that the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples have survived the brutalities of colonialism, enslavement, genocide, discrimination, racism, gender-based violence, theft, forced assimilation, and other atrocities driven by local, federal, and state government; and


    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Fire Commission acknowledges that Ramaytush Ohlone peoples are not a mythical population of the past, but an integral and active community in the present San Francisco Bay Area region, and beyond, whose ongoing exclusion and invisibility denied the greater Native American community’s inclusion and respect in San Francisco; and


    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Fire Commission acknowledges that the City and County of San Francisco was founded on unceded territory, and that the existence of the City and County on this land continues to contribute to the erasure and exclusion of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, the American Indian community, and their history; and


    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Fire Commission acknowledges that the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone has actively worked to research, expand public awareness of, and preserve Ohlone history and culture; and


    WHEREAS, To acknowledge the truth of a land’s history is a human right and demonstration of honor and respect for he contributions and sacrifices of the ancestors that inhabited and cared for this land before us; and


    WHEREAS, A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories; and


    WHEREAS, The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the HRC, and the Office of Racial

    Equity have urged all boards and commissions in the City and County of San Francisco to begin each meeting with the below land acknowledgment, which was written and approved by the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone; and now therefore


    BE IT RESOLVED, that the following land acknowledgement will be read aloud at the start of each San Francisco Fire Commission meeting that is open to the public:


    The San Francisco Fire Commission acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula.  As the indigenous stewards of this land, and in accordance with their traditions, the Ramaytush Ohlone have never ceded, lost, nor forgotten their responsibilities as the caretakers of this place, as well as for all peoples who reside in their traditional territory.  As guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland.  We wish to pay our respects by acknowledging the Ancestors, Elders, and Relatives of the Ramaytush Ohlone community and by affirming their sovereign rights as First Peoples.


    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The San Francisco Fire Commission recognizes that the land acknowledgement is just the first step needed in acknowledging and honoring the land, culture, and contributions of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.


    Adopted at the Regular Meeting of the San Francisco Fire Commission on August 25, 2021.









    Maureen Conefrey, Fire Commission Secretary