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tv   [untitled]    July 16, 2014 7:00am-7:31am PDT

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>> all right. good morning, everyone. we're going to have this meeting come to order today. this is the regular meeting of the government and audit and oversight committee. i'm supervisor tang and breed will join us shortly after -- maybe around 11:00 today and to my left is supervisor david chiu. the committee clerk is alisa miller and i want to thank charles and tim today. do you have amendments. >> silence all cell phones and any documents to be submitted part of the file should be submitted to the clerk. >> great. thank you. and madam clerk, if you call item
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number 1, please. >> ordinance amending the administrative code to create a cancer presumption for firefighter and police officer industrial disability and death as a result of duty retirement benefits. >> ordinance amending the administrative code to create a cancer presumption for firefighter and police officer industrial disability and death as a result of duty retirement benefits. >> thank you. and since supervisor chiu is the sponsor of this item, i'm going to turn it over to him. >> i want to thank members of the public on this topic. and this is an ordinance that would amend our code to have a cancer presumption for firefighter and police officer, indid us -- industrial -- this legislation came out of conversations i had several months ago involving some stunning evidence of the link between our first responders and cancer. 230 firefighters since 2000. at the turn of this year within a 3-month period, there were five first
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responders who died with their boots off due to cancer. and i was educated on the fact that the national institute of occupational safety and health studied 35,000 firefighters around the country who had a risk of cancer compared to the general population due to their work. i thank those men and women who are our first responders are not surprised to learn that there had been too many instances where they put their lives on the line but they've had to fight to get a disability retirement in the face of cancer. given we're a city and how we take care of our workers, this legislation before us was drafted to take care of those individuals struggling with cancer by creating a presumption for first responders who have developed cancer that is work related, that
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there be a presumption unless there's evidence to the contrary. under our proposed ordinance if a police officer or firefighter applies for an industrial disability based on cancer who can expose work -- defined by the international center for cancer, that cancer is considered industrial. the presumption would apply when a qualified survivor applies on a disease member. this standard exactly mirrors the standard in our fate, california workers competition cancer which applies to the majority of responders around the state as well as disability standard. our system actual consulting conducting a report and it proposed ordinance. it found if all of recent and pending cancer cases were to be decided due to
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this cancer presumption, the increase in the liability would be very small. it would be an increase of point 0.15% of a retirement system of over $20 billion. from my perspective, i think we need to insure and assure first responders if you get cancer due to your work, you will be taken care of. we need to send a message to our responders that we will do our best to take care of you and your loved ones if tragedy ever hits. our heroes should not have to prove cancer is job related while they are disabled and struggling. their families should not have to two through the drama approving that they're grieving the deaths of their loved ones due to cancer. in the city of saint francis, this is important to make sure we're protecting those who are protecting us. i want to thank the men and women in uniform who are here who are working with us on this issue and with that, i know our fire chief is
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expected to come to say a few words, but what i would like to do is bring up the head of retirement system. jay, if you can come up and say a few words given the analysis that you provided under our city law, our retirement department is require today do an analysis of the impact and i'd like to ask for your comments on that. >> thank you president chiu. jay, the president of the retirement system. as required by the charter, with he submitted this proposed ordinance to our action. we prepared a report that you have a copy up. it's very difficult and impossible for them to project what the impact into the future having this presumption will be on the outcomes of even the pending disability application and future applications so they think looking back over the last 15 years to identify the cases that didn't meet the charter within the presumption, how many are
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cancer basis. that first group of ten and as you pointed out, had those all been determined based on the cancer presumption to be industrial disabilities, it would have increased the liability by $900,000 which is less than half of a basis point. as we we looked at the second group which are currently undetermined applications which could easily qualify industrial without the presumption, they're less convincing numbers, but even that doesn't bring it up to more than one and a half basis point on a $20 billion liability, so the report basically says the impact will be minor and that is important for the city to know because obviously increases in liability impact the employer contribution rate as well as the employee contribution rate. if you have questions, i'll be happy to answer them. >> i appreciate your analysis and while the impact on our
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system is minor, the impact for individuals that could be helped by this would be very significant and i think those are good things. >> okay. thank you. >> thank you. >> i also want to take a moment and acknowledge our budget analyst, campbell and her office did a retirement analysis and i understand they verified the information we received. is there anything else you want to add to that? thank you. with that, i do not see our fire chief and i spoke to her within an hour ago and i expect her momentary and when she comes i'll interrupt public comment to say a few words but i would like to go to public comment. let's start first with the head of the san francisco firefighters cancer prevention tony followed by anita from the fire department, dan, marty from the san francisco police officers association,
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michael havel, larry mac, and tom. >> i'm the president of the san francisco firefighter preventions. we have been involved with studies through out the united states. all our studies are pointed to the same conclusion and that's firefighters have higher rates of cancer due to toxic exposures. in 2010 of the national health contacted san francisco and chicago fire departments asking us to be apart of the study that was going to be the largest study in the history of the firefighters profession. we were told by the especially deemologist that they did not feel that firefighters were going to show cancer. the reason being, we're considered to be a healthier population in the work force. the first phase of the study was published and this is the results. it showed that firefighters have higher rates of cancers, digestive
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cancers, respiratory cancers and two times the rate of prostate cancer. last month, i was invited by the arizona northwestern firefighters association to speak at a conference and update them on the studies we've been involved in. i contacted david daniels the head of especially deemologist that running the study. i asked him for some statistical information. what i wanted was the deaths due to cancer from the year to 2000 to 2009 and he gave me that that information and that was active firefighters in that 9-year period. and it wasn't the 50 plus that died up to this point in 2014. he -- told me it was 32% of all deaths of firefighters during that period of time. if you take that into consideration, 32%, and you bring in the firefighters that have been diagnosed with cancer over that period of time, we're very close to
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having one and two firefighters contracting some form of this disease. in december of this year, we lost five firefighters, three retires and two active. one that was retired was dan. we group in san francisco. he was a play mate of mine and a best friend since we were 4 years old. little did we know we would be working at station one. i contracted transitional marcinoma in 2001. he was the 5th firefighter in that period of time to contract transitional cell kars know that from station one and the third firefighter to lose his life to it. the evidence is this, the direct correlation has been made in our profession to our elevated rates and toxic exposures we have. thank you. >> thank you very much. thank
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you for your testimony. is there -- i want to also -- because you're the head of this town dags, could you give more of a picture of the impact of what you've seen on our firefighters as well as any other data that we should be apprised of? >> one thing i did not mention is we have the largest female population of firefighters of any major metropolitan city in the city. and break rates is six times the national rate of our group of females. we started a study in conjunction with uc berkeley looking at this problem. it's a study that's going to take 3 years, that will bio monitor blood levels, different carcinogens with the women in the department. we also did
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a study with ucsf in 2007 that was published and it showed we had higher rates of bladder cancer, which one would think, why bladder cancer. the fact is being is the toxic exposures that firefighters are in contact with at every worker fire. these chemicals do linger in the bladder and when those toxics linger in the body, it has a problem in the issues and continuous exposure to these chemicals is a problem. even with all the equipment that the firefighters wear, some of these chemicals permeate the equipment. they did a study and said we have a problem with dermal exposure and that's the neck. again, continued
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exposures build up and these problems exists. >> you're saying the neck because there's a gap in the equipment between your head gear and the rest of the equipment? >> there should not be a gap, but these chemicals permeate the equipment. >> you it. i want to take a moment to recognize the fire chief. your time is short, but if you would like to say a few words, i would like to give you an opportunity to do that? >> thank you president chiu. joanne from the san francisco firefighter. thank you for addressing this important issue. we are concerned, as you heard from retired tony about the high rates of cancer within our membership. i personally witnessed people suffering from pretty significant health challenges with the cancer diagnosed and i think your
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proposed legislation will make it better for those firefighters and their families. i did want to point out with the cancer foundation is doing all we can to provide protection to the extent that we can and eliminate dangerous occupation. i wanted to let you know we are retired captains, we're actively participating in studies with usf and partnering with various agencies to do all we can to combat these cancer diagnosed. we received some new self apparatus breathing machines and we're trying to do all we can to protect our members and thank you for what you're proposing. >> i want to thank you for your support and i want to thank the cancer foundation and the leadership of local 798 with the firefighters as well as the san francisco poa for work with my office to bring this to my attention as we move it forward. thanks
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chief. >> with that, i had called a number of other individuals and folks can come up in any order you would like. whoever is first up to the mic. >> good morning president chiu and supervisor tang. my name is martin and i'm the president of the san francisco police officer's association. i want to thank president chiu along with supervisor wiener introducing this legislation. many san francisco police officers are exposed to carcinogenics and this is gasoline fumes, exhaust fumes during traffic collisions and many police officers are first responders to a number of fires, setting up perimeters and before the firefighters arrive, they're exposed to a number of
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tar and sut. hall of justice over the years, over the past couple of decades have been notorious for having ex speck sus problems. our field officers s especially those in the narcotics department are exposed through chemicals for indoor marijuana growth and meth labs. this exposes them to pesticides and herbacides. these officers who respond to these incidents do not have any protective gear much like the firefighters. there are studies out there that show urban police officers are exposed to health and safety risk in their occupation including exposures that have been shown to cause or potentially cause cancer. police officers whose benefits fall under the counties employment act receive the
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benefits of the worker's comp presumption in koeks with their retirement benefits. this will give san francisco officers the benefit the same workers compensation presumption in the retirement benefit process. this legislation adds cancer to the two conditions in part, currently presumed okay national in nature for police officers and firefighters per san francisco administration code 16.85. the addition of cancer is a reflection of the public -- it provides public safety to city employees and i thank you supervisor chiu for introducing this. >> thank you. next speakers. >> good morning soup --
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supervisor tang and chiu. thank you for hearing our testimony. i'm a firefighter in san francisco and i'm on the cancer foundation with tony stephany and i get nervous when i hear tony because he has the facts and i don't like hearing the facts because they're true, but i'm hear to shed a like on what it's like in our culture and what my experience has been. earlier in my career i was off probation and a firefighter came in and he was skinny, he looked like he was close to death but he was going through the journals so he can get a retirement benefit for his family and his death was imminent and i helped him. i never knew who he was. but that was early in my career and i remember when -- i've said this before when i raise my right hand to swear in to protect and serve
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san francisco which i still love to do, i never once thought of cancer. i thought be safe at fires and be smart and follow your protocols or whatever, and i also in 2003 contracted breast cancer and at the time was working with worker's comp on this and they said can you prove it. at the time there were no women's studies on breast cancer. there was one study on a chp officer that worked in an area that contracted breast cancer because of pesticides which is a link, but i had nothing to show, so i joined the cancer prevention foundation and learned more about these facts and slowly we worked on changing our culture. our culture is one to question risk assessment of going into a burning building and saving a life if we know there's a life in there, but our culture has not been to -- we wear our equipment but to think about our own personal safety around
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disease. >> if you elaborate more about the impact of this legislation on hopefully the culture within the firefighter as well as more broadly within -- >> we've been working with people directly that have contacted cancer that has fear just like the general population and wondering if they can come back to work because the treatment and leave them limited or disabilities. we have a few people that had to retire early because of cancer and the effect of cancer. they're worried about money and if they can support themselves and we do all we can to give them the facts and this legislation -- i know right now will change a woman's firefighters life completely who is probably near poverty level. she saved as much as she could, but she owns a house and she fears loses her house if they didn't get the disability pension. she can't come back to work, so our culture is slowly moving in a protective
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direction. i know tony has the statistics about the equipment doesn't fend off the chemicals. i know it without knowing the chemicals. i come after a shower and i shower and i'm clean and i go home and go to the gym and start sweating on the equipment and i smell the sut. we don't know what it's going to do to us later. i got the cancers in my 40s. i don't have the gene so i holdup my end of the bargain. i work out. i keep healthy. i eat as best as i can. sometimes too much, but i eat as best as i can and i held up my end the bargain and i love my job, and i will continue to do the best i can protecting myself in assuming some risk, but i want
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the city to support us. that's all i ask. thank you. >> thank you for sharing your perspective. next speaker. i want to take a moment and thank mr. ocon nshg -- oconner to bringing this to my attention. >> i'm a proud member of the firefighter cancer foundation. we stand before you to advocate for this legislation that can make the difference of a life of firefighter who have given their all for the city of san francisco. too often our firefighters are contracting deadly job related cancer that render them unable to work any longer. too many our firefighters are circuming to these cancers at a young age right in the prime of their life and these firefighters or their family was left in the state of economic distress trying to keep their financial ship a float
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applying for disability pension and applying for benefits and these benefits have been denied by the retirement board. they have been denied after this cancer has been recognized as job related by the board and denied as it has been recognized by study. the result -- these brave men and women are short changed by the city that they gave their health and well-being to. this is not an example of san francisco's values. this is not the way we treat those who sacrifice for the greater good of this city. this will end this practice, the legislation that you advance will insure that every firefighter and police officer while they're fighting for their life won't have to fight for a check and their families who are left behind in the event they don't win that battle won't be left to start over again and be left in economic
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distress. we witnessed a dramatic increase in the job related cancer that many firefighters are circuming. new chemicals that mass camacho raid that's in our furniture and clothing. a flat screen computer in every room that releases deadly toxins. our cancer foundation has led the way in research and prevention to mitigate this to ourselves and the efforts of tony, our president, he really has become the national figure head on this, and he's been inspiring and amazing to work with and we need to back up the work that he's done and insure that all the firefighters that he's advocating for, again, aren't left economically damaged once they give their bodies to the city san francisco and we've taken
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effect to call this abby's law. >> if you can tell us about that? >> he's one of the -- he's been an advocate for cancer and his cancer has returned and he can't come here to speak, but we're going to speak for him, and hopefully we're going to deliver this legislation for him and know all of his efforts hasn't been in vein and the woman who we talked about was anice who spoke at our rally at the steps of city hall and a month after her testimony she received a letter saying that her pension -- disability pension was denied. she's been told by the state that her cancer is job related and she's been told by the state board that her
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cancer is job related and she can't come back to work. what you're doing is critical for the firefighters of san francisco and i hope this goes through and i'm sure it will. thank you very much, supervisors. >> thank you for sharing your perspective. next speaker. >> president chiu, and supervisor tang. my name is mike. i'm a letter tired san francisco police officer. i'm in my 41st year. i represent police officers, firefighters deputy sheriff's and other employees from the appeals board and the city's retirement system. i have noted an extraordinary difference between my representation of the deputies sheriff's and the san francisco police officers and san franciscos before the retirement board and that's because deputy sheriff's by virtue of being
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apart of the retirement system -- they join the same presumption that we're asking the board to give to our firefighters and police officers. i would like to bring to your attention, there's three types of retirement systems in california. the 1937 county's act which applies to 20 counties in california. the public employees retirement system which applies to the vast majority of public safety officers in the state of california and small independent systems such as ourselves. for 20 years, firefighters and police officers who are in public retirement system have received and obtained what we're asking in fairness inequity that police officers and firefighters receive. when you say president chiu this is a city of saint francis which year accurate and you're proposing your legislation to protect those
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who protect us, also quite accurate, what we're really talking about financial protection. but the financial protection is emotional protection. as they protect, as you say supervisor we'll be protected. thank you for entertaining this legislation and i'd like president oconner [inaudible]. thank you. >> thank you mike he will. thank you for educating my staff and i on the complexity of our state and various retirement systems which i'll say to supervisor tang, overly complicated creating an establishing different standard and we have deputy sheriff's that enjoy one starts, but our police officers and firefighters haven't been able to enjoy that. thank you. next
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speaker. >> good morning, president chiu. supervisor tang. my name is lawyer mac. i'm a 51 native san franciscan. i'm a husband, and father to two teenager daughters in. in 2001 i was diagnosed with stage one colon cancer. in 2011 my rectum was removed and i was given a bag while i recovered. in january of it 2012, a biopsy revealed that my cancer has spread. my cancer was now stage 4. since that day, you can imagine the different emotions that not only i have experie