STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, April 9, 2003
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70, San Francisco, California
Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Ave, Suite 60, San Francisco, CA 94102 during regular business hours. Tel: 415-252-2581.
Commissioners Present: Dugald Stermer, Rod Freebairn-Smith, Denise Roth
Commissioners Absent: Kirk Anderson
Staff Present: Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs; Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Director; Antoinette Worthy, Certification Clerk
In attendance were Leigh Ann Baughman, Executive Director of Union Square Business Improvement District, Mathew Porkola, Chairman of Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners, and street artists Oscar Bevilacqua, Linda Hagen, Kathleen Hallinan, Steve Kogan, Barbara Michalak, Susan Pete, Albina Pietrzak, Pamela Quattrochi, John Thomey, Sean Yore.
Commissioner Stermer, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE PROPOSAL BY PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR STREET ARTIST SELLING SPACES ON JEFFERSON STREET, BETWEEN MASON STREET AND THE EMBARCADERO
In accord with the Arts Commission's September 9, 2002 vote to authorize the Program Director to draw a map of proposed street artist spaces on Jefferson Street, Program Director Howard Lazar submitted his drawings of 31 proposed spaces on Jefferson Street, north side, Mason to Powell Streets. He stated that the spaces would meet the public safety requirements of the street artists ordinance. He thanked street artists Kathleen Hallinan, Oscar Bevilacqua, and Robert Siu for their assistance in surveying the proposed area and for their suggestion to place most of the spaces in front of the adjacent parking lot, rather than at curbside. Mr. Lazar further reported on a meeting he attended with Port Commission property managers of the Fisherman's Wharf area.
The Commissioners commented that the area of Jefferson Street in question was the site of public safety obstructions and other hazards created by unlicensed vendors, card-game hustlers, panhandlers, inebriates, and the homeless. The Commissioners observed that the proposal, if approved by the Board of Supervisors and the Port Commission, could replace these problems with a well-monitored and regulated program of licensed street artists selling in specific legal spaces. After discussion, Chairman Stermer directed Mr. Lazar to request the Port to place the proposal on the May 20th agenda of the Port's Fisherman's Wharf Waterfront Advisory Group and to present the proposal at the meeting.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OR RENEWAL OF CERTIFICATE
Paula Grundman - Certificate # 5795 (expired December 27, 2002). Alleged violations: (1) Selling within five feet of a fire hydrant; (2) Selling in a location not designated by the Board of Supervisors, 2nd offense; (3) Selling items not certified by the Arts Commission, 2nd offense; (4) Conducting business in a disorderly, improper, hazardous manner by (a) threatening in writing a street artist and (b) threatening verbally, and disrupting the businesses of, street artists.
Ms. Grundman was not present. She had been notified that failure to appear could result in a Street Artist Committee recommendation of the penalty for the violations of which she had been charged.
Mr. Lazar clarified that, under the authority of the Arts Commission's Section 5 procedures, the Director of Cultural Affairs had withheld the issuance or renewal of Ms. Grundman's certificate because of the charges of selling items not certified by the Commission and of conducting business in a disorderly, improper, hazardous manner/threatening and disrupting the businesses of street artists. Such charges, according to the language of the procedures, belong to the category of "serious violations" which are considered by the Commission to include "violations of a violent or threatening nature and violations that significantly threaten the integrity of the Street Artists Program."
Relative to these charges, the Program Director introduced as evidence the following documentary material and testimony of witnesses who responded to questions by the Commissioners:
Leigh Ann Baughman, Executive Director of Union Square Business Improvement District, testified to having observed Ms. Grundman on November 12, 2002, selling next to a fire hydrant on the southeast corner of Geary Street, at Stockton Street. Ms. Baughman further testified to having seen Ms. Grundman selling in other locations not designated by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Lazar presented photographs of Ms. Grundman allegedly selling within five feet of the same fire hydrant on December 8, 2002.
The Program Director presented photographs of Ms. Grundman allegedly selling on November 10, 2002 in a location not designated by the Board of Supervisors: former temporary winter holiday space "Z-54" on Stockton Street, east side, at Geary Street. He stated that he had previously received reports from other artists who said that Ms. Grundman had been selling in the space many times. Mr. Lazar had verbally warned her against continuing to do so. As Ms. Grundman last year had been found in violation and had been suspended for selling in an illegal location, the present incident constituted a second offense.
Mathew Porkola, Chairman of the Arts Commission's Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners, testified to the written report, presented as evidence, that his committee had observed Ms. Grundman selling on November 16, 2002, items not certified by the Commission. The report said they were "numerous mother of pearl and abalone non-artist made pendants suspended on non-adorned cords" which Ms. Grundman "declined to remove ..." Mr. Porkola further stated that this was one of numerous instances in which his committee had observed Ms. Grundman selling items that were not certified and not of her own creation. Mr. Lazar pointed out that, as Ms. Grundman last year had been found in violation and had been suspended for selling uncertified items, the present incident constituted a second offense.
Mr. Lazar submitted a November 1, 2002 letter written by Ms. Grundman which stated: "One day I will loose my cool and smack Ms. Thing" (street artist Susan Pete). Former street artist Pamela Quattrochi testified to being in the space next to Albina Pietrzak on December 1, 2002 and witnessing Ms. Grundman harass and verbally threaten Ms. Pietrzak with the repeated words "You're going down." Street artist Barbara Michalak testified that Ms. Pietrzak, her 77-year-old mother, has a heart condition and, at the time of the incident, was recovering from heart surgery. Ms. Michalak also testified to having her own business disrupted many times during the course of the day of November 30, 2002, by Ms. Grundman. Street artist John Thomey testified to Ms. Grundman threatening him on October 19, 2002 with the statement "I am coming after you next" and disrupting a potential sale. Ms. Susan Pete corroborated Mr. Thomey's testimony and also described how she herself had been harassed on the same day by Ms. Grundman.
The Commissioners heard testimony regarding other incidents of alleged violation by Ms. Grundman:
Street artists Linda Hagen and Sean Yore testified to being harassed and threatened by Ms. Grundman on November 23, 2002 for a continuous five hours which resulted in their loss of business. They submitted photos of the incident that also depicted Ms. Grundman's table in an illegal location: the center of the sidewalk of Geary Street facing the Neiman-Marcus store.
Street Artist Steve Kogan testified to a December 22, 2002 incident in which the police had to be called to remove Ms. Grundman from the selling space ("Z-54") which belonged by lottery to Mr. Kogan and his unit member Ching Sun. After the police removed her, Mr. Kogan stated, Ms. Grundman thereafter "threatened" for the duration of the winter holiday season "that she was going to get us."
The Commissioners ascertained that no one was present to speak in Ms. Grundman's defense.
Commissioner Roth moved that Paula Grundman be found in repeated violations of the street artists ordinance by (1) selling within five feet of a fire hydrant; (2) selling in a location not designated by the Board of Supervisors, 2nd offense; (3) selling items not certified by the Arts Commission, 2nd offense; and (4) conducting business in a disorderly, improper, hazardous manner by (a) threatening in writing a street artist and (b) threatening verbally, and disrupting the businesses of, street artists. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Freebairn-Smith and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Roth moved that issuance of a certificate to Ms. Grundman be denied; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Freebairn-Smith and unanimously approved.
HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OR RENEWAL OF CERTIFICATE
Benjamin Delgado - Certificate # 5670. Alleged violation: Selling items not of the artist's own creation.
Mr. Delgado was not present. Program Director Lazar submitted a March 21, 2003 letter by Mr. Delgado which stated that he would not appear and that he wanted to accept the penalty for his violation and to have it commence as soon as possible.
Mr. Lazar presented a November 30, 2002 written report by the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners with accompanying photographs of Mr. Delgado allegedly selling items not of his own creation: leather and cowrie shell bracelets, metal and metallic cord necklaces, and commercially manufactured pendants on cords. Mr. Lazar also presented a June 29, 2002 report by the Advisory Committee which stated that Mr. Delgado had been warned against continuing to sell commercially manufactured pendants; photos of his display of these items had accompanied the report. At the invitation of the Program staff, Mr. Delgado, on February 27, 2003, had submitted wares to the Advisory Committee for the purpose of verifying whether he had created the items observed by the Committee. Based on the samples he presented, the Advisory Committee could not verify that the items in question were of his own creation.
Commissioner Roth moved that Benjamin Delgado be found in violation of the street artists ordinance by selling items not of his own creation; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Freebairn-Smith and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith moved that the certificate of Mr. Delgado be suspended for a period of two months; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Roth and unanimously approved.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE RESCISSION OF AMENDMENT TO LOTTERY RULE V WHICH PROHIBITS ANY LOTTERY COMMITTEE MEMBER WHO HAS SERVED TWELVE (12) MONTHS CONSECUTIVELY FROM BEING CONSIDERED AT THE NEXT TIME OF THE COMMITTEE'S SELECTION OF MEMBERS
Lottery Committee members Kathleen Hallinan and Susan Pete expressed their support of rescinding the amendment. They explained that it was difficult to find street artists willing to serve on the Lottery Committee during slow season months, and that the present amendment to Lottery Rule V precluded any willing member who served for twelve consecutive months from continuing to serve. Ms. Hallinan explained the duties of the Lottery Committee members and the hours of service they entail.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith moved to approve rescission of the amendment to Lottery Rule V for the duration of one year subject to the rescission's continuation unless a complaint warrants a new hearing on the issue. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Roth and unanimously approved.
There being no report by the Program Director and no new business to consider, Commissioner Stermer adjourned the meeting at 4:20 p.m.
Street Artists Program Director
April 11, 2003
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April 11, 2003