COSW Meeting Information - May 25, 2016 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
May 25, 2016 - 4:00pm



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

4 – 6 pm

                        City Hall Room 408

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102




Members Present

President Andrea Shorter

Vice President Debbie Mesloh

Commissioner Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez

Commissioner Olga Ryerson

Commissioner Julie D. Soo

Commissioner Breanna Zwart




Staff Present

Executive Director Emily M. Murase, PhD

Executive Management Assistant Herschell Larrick

Fiscal Analyst Natalie Alvarez

Director of Women's Policy Minouche Kandel

Workplace Policy & Legislative Director Elizabeth Newman

Grants Management Fellow Richa Dhanju

Policy Fellow Maria Tourtchaninova

Policy Fellow Shani Winston

Policy Fellow Elizabeth Yang




President Shorter called the meeting to order at 4:13 pm.

All Commissioners present.

No changes to the Agenda. No public comment.

Action: To approve the agenda.                                          m/s/c (Soo/Zwart/Unanimous)


No changes to the minutes. No public comment.

Action: To approve the minutes from March 23, 2016.      m/s/c (Soo/Mesloh/Unanimous)


Dr. Murase provided a summary of the Executive Director's Report. She highlighted the Mayor’s Guide as a good policy tool.

President Shorter asked Dr. Murase to provide an overview of the It’s Time Network(ITN) organization. The President also highly recommends that all City Departments acquire a copy of The Mayor’s Guide and read it. Dr. Murase talked about the start of the ITN two years ago, explaining that it was born of the idea of a collective action model so that all of the local women’s networks could come together for a stronger effect. Betsy McKinney has led the charge, with a special focus on women mayors across the nation. There are a number of key cities participating, and San Francisco is the first implementation of their program. The network is focusing on domestic violence and economic empowerment.

Commissioner Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez extolled the Mayors Guide and agreed with President Shorter that it is a very good resource and a great accomplishment. She commended the ITN vison. Commissioner Julie Soo spoke about planting seeds and the hard work that goes into the reports we and others produce. She agrees that the Mayor’s Guide is a good step. Commissioner Soo discussed Supervisor Wiener’s Paid Family Leave Ordinance, a similar movement on the state level, and possible remedies that employers could use to help employees with their family care. She concluded with the importance of a good work life balance. Commissioner Breanna Zwart thanked the Department for all their work, and specifically commended Women’s Policy Director Minouche Kandel for her contributions to the Hackathon for Human Trafficking event that took place May 29 – April 1. President Shorter highly recommends everyone acquire a copy of the Mayor’s Guide.

No public comment.


Action: To approve the consent agenda.                                        m/s/c (Zwart/Soo/Unanimous)

Action: To approve the Consent Agenda.

  1. Resolution Recognizing Shawna Reeves, Director of Elder Abuse Prevention at Institute of Aging and her work against Elder Abuse in San Francisco.

Ms. Reeves thanked the Commission for the recognition. She explained that she has been working in this field for many years and has found a wonderful and supportive community here in San Francisco.

Public Comment:

  1. Tamari Hedani, Associate Director of the Institute on Aging Elder Abuse Awareness Program, expressed how dedicated Ms. Reeves is to her work and that she is a wonderful mentor.
  2. Liz Aguilar-Tarchi, Managing Attorney of the District Attorney's Office Domestic Violence Unit, stated that Ms. Reeves is a very effective advocate for seniors and, as a tri-chair of the Family Violence Council, she convened an elder abuse sub-committee that is doing crucial work.
  3. Commissioner Soo commended Ms. Reeves and the District Attorney's Office for their work addressing elder abuse.
  4. Commissioner Kirshner-Rodriguez stated that the California Commission on the Status of Women is taking a special interest in elder abuse and will be convening an event in Los Angeles on June 3.
  5. Dr. Murase thanked Ms. Reeves for her leadership as a tri-chair of the Family Violence Council.
  6. Commissioner Zwart spoke of her personal experience caring for several family members who are over the age of 90 and thanked Ms. Reeves for her important work.



  1. Resolution Recognizing Adriana Gonzalez Felix of the Mexican Consulate for her work on improving the lives of women in San Francisco.

Consul Adrianna Gonzalez Felix thanked the Commission for the acknowledgement not only of her work but the work of her colleagues at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco and the Mexican government.

Public Comment:

  1. On behalf of Dr. Roemer, Consul General of Mexico in San Francisco, Pabla Henares, Consul of Cultural Affairs and Gender Equity Affairs, congratulated Consul Gonzalez Felix.
  2. Adriana Flores of the Mexican Consulate stated that she feels very honored to have worked with Consul Gonzalez Felix and thanked her for being a wonderful mentor.
  3. Carlos Sanchez, Lt. of Investigations, District Attorney's Office, thanked Consul Gonzalez Felix and explained that her work has received widespread attention locally, regionally, and internationally.
  4. As former chair of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking, Commissioner Soo thanked Consul Gonzalez Felix for hosting a meeting of the Collaborative and presenting on the status of Mexican citizens and human trafficking that brought new information to the table.
  5. Dr. Murase stated that Mexico is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination on the All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and has prioritized gender equality in its foreign affairs, including the Consul General, as demonstrated by the dedicated Women's Resources Window recently opened at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco, under the leadership of Consul Gonzalez Felix.
  6. Resolution Recognizing the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco District Attorney Team on the Jamar Geeter Human Trafficking case.

Molly Braun, District Attorney Investigator

Vanessa Cerda, Human Trafficking Advocate

Tony Flores, San Francisco Police Department Special Victims Unit

Kim Hunter, Crime Strategies Unit

Delia Montiel, Victim Advocacy Supervisor

Rani Singh, Assistant District Attorney

Nina Stellini, District Attorney Paralegal

Sgt. Antonio Flores explained that then-Police Chief Greg Suhr and his command staff prioritized this case and allocated the necessary resources that Assistant District Attorney Rani Singh advocated for in order to secure a conviction. He recognized the entire team who contributed to the successful case, including then-Captain Edward Santos, Lt. Mike Dudoroff, and his investigator colleagues who supported him directly.

Assistant District Attorney Rani Singh thanked the Commission. She spoke about the importance of this case to her professionally and personally, as a career prosecutor, working mom of two daughters, and San Francisco native. She also acknowledged her mentor, Liz Aguilar-Tarchi.

Public Comment:

  1. On behalf of District Attorney George Gascón, Ms. Aguilar-Tarchi recognized the partnerships within and between the Police Department and the District Attorney's Office that made the successful case possible.
  2. Beverly Upton, Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Consortium, expressed her appreciation to Ms. Reeves, Consul Gonzalez Felix, and the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco District Attorney Team.
  3. San Francisco Police Department Captain Una Bailey of the Special Victims Unit thanked the Commission for recognizing the team.
  4. Commissioner Mesloh who previously worked for the District Attorney’s office stated that the individuals recognized tonight are the "unsung" heroes of their departments.
  5. President Shorter remembered Norma Hotaling, founder of Stand Against Global Exploitation, who brought the issue of human trafficking to the forefront in the early 1990’s.
  7. Presentation on 2015 Human Trafficking Data for San Francisco

Policy Fellow Maria Tourtchaninova presented 2015 human trafficking data for San Francisco.

President Shorter asked clarifying questions about the data on native language. Ms. Kandel explained that the statistic indicating that most of the reported victims spoke English reflected the fact that the statistic referred mostly to minors. Among adults, there are many more non-native speakers of English.

Commissioner Soo asked about strategies for reducing the number of duplicated individuals. Ms. Kandel responded that there are confidentiality issues that prevent the identification of specific individuals by number.

Commissioner Zwart recommended that this report be issued annually and made other suggestions for strengthening the data presentation.

Dr. Murase recognized Ms. Tourtchaninova, a master's student at the Graduate School of Social Work at UC Berkeley, for her tremendous work on the report.

No public comment.

  1. Update on Bay Area Women’s Summit

Autumn McDonald of the Mayor's Office provided an update on the planning for the June 21 Bay Area Women’s Summit. Registration is open at Ms. McDonald stated that there are three unique characteristics of the Women’s Summit.

  1. Focusing on policy solutions and change.
  2. Targeting "everywoman" from the working class, middle class, and working poor.
  3. Incorporating men as allies and co-problem solvers.

Ms. McDonald said that the Women’s Summit is tied to and supported by the White House Summit on Women and Families that will be held on June 14 in Washington D.C., and also supported by the United Nations Foundation.



Ms. McDonald reviewed the components of the Bay Area Women’s Summit:

  • Morning Keynote speaker Anne-Marie Slaughter.
  • Workforce Benefits & Policies.
  • Equity in the Workplace/Implicit Bias.
  • Leadership & Visibility.
  • Afternoon Keynote speaker Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Followed by these breakout sessions:

  1. Shattering Stereotypes.
  2. Women in the Workforce.
  3. Dollars & Sense.
  4. Educational Pipelines.
  5. Exploring Childcare Policies & Resources.
  6. Women and Their Allies.
  7. Entrepreneurship, Mentorship, Networking.
  8. Mayoral Pledges, with personal pledges by all attendees.

The Summit will have a SmartPhone app to encourage active participation and sharing across breakout sessions.

The conference is scheduled for 8:30 am - 4:30 pm on Tuesday, June 21 and will be held at Moscone Center North.

Ms. McDonald announced that Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, is a confirmed speaker. She stated that organizers are inviting 30 women mayors to attend. The Executive Summary of the 2016 San Francisco Status of Women Report will be distributed to all attendees at the Women’s Summit.

Commissioner Mesloh recognized Ms. McDonald's work on the Summit. She asked what outcomes will reflect a successful summit. Ms. McDonald stated that she intends the Summit to showcase existing work being conducted by the Commission, for example, and creating a sense of urgency around a women's policy agenda.

Commissioner Soo stated that she was thrilled to hear that Valerie Jarrett would be speaking at the Summit. She recounted that the Commission hosted Ms. Jarrett and Tina Tchen, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, when then-Secretary Hillary Clinton hosted the APEC "Women and the Economy" conference.

Commissioner Zwart recommended scholarships be provided for women who cannot afford the ticket price ($100). Ms. McDonald responded that many tickets are being distributed to non-profits throughout the city to expand participation. Commissioner Zwart invited Ms. McDonald to return to the Commission for a post-mortem report after the conclusion of the Summit. Ms. McDonald stated she would do so gladly.

President Shorter recounted that she was heavily involved in the planning of the women's summits under the administration of Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. She lauded the policy focus of the upcoming summit.

Dr. Murase thanked Ms. McDonald for her partnership with the Department and, in particular, in meeting regularly with Workplace Policy Director Elizabeth Newman. Ms. McDonald thanked Ms. Newman for her collaboration as a thought leader.

No public comment.

  1. Presentation of 2016 San Francisco Status on Women Report

Ms. Newman introduced the City Hall Fellows who worked on the 2016 San Francisco Status on Women report. City Hall Fellows Josie Ahrens, Scott Blood, and Sydnee Robinson presented the highlights of the 2016 San Francisco Status on Women report. The Commissioners appreciated the report information, the format, and the team presentation, but they were concerned with the limitations of the data. Commissioner Soo articulated the concerns and set them into the approval.

“Subject to the limitations of the existing data and subject to further clarification and explanation.”

Action: To approve the San Francisco Status on Women report.  m/s/c (Soo/Shorter/Unanimous)

Commissioner Kirshner-Rodriguez exits the meeting.

No Public Comment.


Commissioner Soo announced that the two oldest living Korean Comfort Women have recently passed away, their names are Grandma Jeong-yup Gong and Grandma Soo-dan Lee. Commissioner Soo urged the Commission to support the Comfort Women memorial.

Public Comment:

  1. Russ Lowe, Comfort Women Justice Coalition, Retired. Speaking to commemorate the two Comfort Women that Commissioner Soo spoke of who recently died. He said that the recognition of the Human Trafficking law enforcement team was uplifting, but he wished such a team existed in the past to have stood up for the Comfort Women. He explained that there are historical links between WWII comfort women and today’s sex trafficking.
  2. Sung Sohn, Comfort Women Justice Coalition, Former Unified Teacher SF School District, said, she believes that the comfort women would like us to know about their sufferings and to redress the comfort women history so that we do not repeat these atrocities. Ms. Sohn reviewed other global atrocities, and told the Commission that it is important that we educate the public about these crimes against humanity.
  3. Christopher Chow, San Francisco native. Retired journalist. Retired educator. Recently learned about the comfort women. He said that if he had known earlier in his life, he would have educated everyone he could. He urged the Commission to support the comfort women memorial.
  4. Roberta Guise, President of Fem Resources, non-profit. She said, that she was part of a team that helped put on an employer equal pay conference. Ms. Guise commended and acknowledged Ms. Newman for her extraordinary organization skills and hard work. She stated that she believes without Ms. Newman’s effort the event would not have been the success it was. She relayed that the hosts at Gap were also very impressed with Ms. Newman.

President Shorter agreed with Ms. Guise and thanked Ms. Newman.


President Shorter adjourned the meeting in memoriam for Grandma Jeong-yup Gong, Grandma Soo-dan Lee, and Eileen Hansen.