February 18, 2003

4:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70

Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Ave, ste 240, during regular business hours.

Commissioners Present:
Denise Roth, Andrea Cochran, Janice Mirikitani

Absent: Stanlee Gatti, Ralph Guggenheim

Staff Present:
Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs, Jewelle Gomez, Sarah Lenoue, Jenny Louie, Judy Nemzoff


Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

Commissioner Roth called the Meeting to order at 4:10 p.m.



  1. Discuss and motion to approve the allocation of $3,000 to repair and refinish the custom made conference tables.

    Commissioner Cochran expressed concern about the cost of the repairs while Commissioner Mirikitani wondered about the cost of buying new tables. It was agreed that more information was needed before approving this expenditure.

    The following motion was continued until the full commission.
    Motion: Discuss and motion to approve the allocation of $3,000 to repair and refinish the custom made conference tables.

  2. Discussion and motion to approve revision to the FY 2003-04 budget submission.

    Richard Newirth explained that since the last Executive Committee meeting in January, the city's budget deficit has gotten worse. Originally, City Departments were told to a) absorb 3% during the current fiscal year; b) absorb an additional 4% in cost of living increases next fiscal year and, c) prioritize additional 5% cuts. However, Mr. Newirth explained, as he handed out a revised budget, due to the fact that the deficit was closer to $350,000,000 as opposed to the originally projected $170,000,000, departments have been asked to absorb another 3% in cuts and prioritize Phase C cuts at 10% instead of the 5%. He explained that they have cut expenses and charged back to the programs as much as possible. The only other place to go is into salaries and benefits. What he is proposing this time, in addition to the agency restructuring discussed in the January Executive Committee meeting, is to cut a portion of positions out of the General Fund. There are five program positions with salary and benefits covered by the general fund including the Director, Deputy Director and some administrative positions.

    Other possible sources of income, such as, the Youth Arts Fund supporting portions of a position, or charging Grants for the Arts an administration fee for the PIC program are also being examined. He also requested that the Mayor's office and DPW credit $17,000 for the use of the Decaux kiosks against the SFAC budget target. The proceeds from Pops are the agency's only discretionary funds and 70% of these funds are already supporting salaries. Commissioner Cochran asked if this was the fix for this year alone. Mr. Newirth said, yes.

    Mr. Newirth said the positive thing is that the Mayor and his budget staff are treating all the departments equitably. Mr. Newirth added that the Mayor did say that according to voter approved legislation, certain funding can't be touched: Children Youth & Their Families, libraries & Muni. Mr. Newirth added that the agency has continued to be conservative in our projections of the Hotel Tax Fund, more conservative than the Mayor's Office even which Commissioner Roth felt was a good idea.

    Moved: Cochran/Mirikitani

  3. Discussion and motion to approve a grant of up to $20,000 from the public art fund to a yet-to-be determined organization for publishing.

    Mr. Newirth opened by saying that this is a project that staff has been working on for a long time and that he'd anticipated allocating funds for, when the time came. Judy Nemzoff explained that in response to a survey of Arts Commission staff by the Image Committee, it was decided that the Commission needed an agency wide brochure to be used for public information, as well as a binder folder with changing inserts and an upgraded web site. Mr. Newirth added that the Arts Commission needs to be able to present ourselves professionally through more than just our logo and that we looked at Grants for the Arts and were impressed with their consistently recognizable materials. There was a formal process to find a graphic designer for this work and several possible organizations are already in mind to serve as fiscal sponsors for this project and will be named at the Full Commission meeting.

    Moved: Cochran/Mirikitani

  4. Discussion and motion to approve the merging of Cultural Equity Grants and Community Arts and Education into one program.

    Mr. Newirth explained that this item was discussed at length last meeting but was not formally acted upon. He reiterated that the merging of these two programs allows the Arts Commission to avoid layoff's or reductions in salaries as it permits a portion of the Program Directors salary to be paid from the Hotel Tax Fund rather than the General Fund. It also accomplishes long range restructuring goals with the identified purpose of restructuring management so that the Director of Cultural Affairs can have more time to advocate for the arts, and serve the San Francisco arts community more directly by bringing the arts organizations of the city together.

    Moved: Cochran/Mirikitani

  5. Discussion and motion to approve an increase of the amount awarded for Special Project Grants from $900 to $1,000.

    Ms. Gomez responded to Commissioner questions by explaining that Special project grants are for organizations with no paid staff, only volunteers, and that the program give about 6 per year, with a budget under $10,000

    Moved: Mirikitani/Cochran

  6. Motion to review and approve the following to the Cultural Equity Grants panel pool:

    Trisha Lagaso
    Marie Jones
    Jill Shiraki
    Mark Best
    Steven Oliver
    Steven P. Harris
    Brian Keith Thomas
    Stan Yogi
    Adan Griego

    Moved: Cochran/Mirikitani

  7. Cultural Equity Grants Program Director Report.

    Jewelle Gomez reported that there was a meeting about the merger of CEG and CAE that was the beginning of discussion about specifics, and she expressed her desire for the commissioners to be available for input. Commissioner Mirikitani asked what the process was for this change.

    Judy Nemzoff, Director of CAE said there are some basic questions to be resolved. While there shouldn't be overlap in programs, there needs to be sensitivity to staff so the agency can serve the community.

    Commissioner Mirikitani asked how long the agency has been in this process of reorganization. Mr. Newirth said over a month. Ms. Gomez said that there has only been time for one full meeting with Nancy Gonchar, Judy Nemzoff, Jewelle Gomez and Rich Newirth in the past 2 weeks. Commissioner Mirikitani commented on the importance of staff buy-in. Mr. Newirth said he met with both program directors before he came to the Executive Committee, and has received quite positive feedback from staff and commissioners.

    Mr. Newirth said that if the agency is faced with layoffs, it could centralize functions and eliminate positions through attrition rather than layoffs. He added that it is important to him that the agency reorganize sensitively, and not force this change on people. However, these two programs work closely already and some of the work they do is similar.

    The meeting adjourned at 5:06 p.m.


    Submitted by Sarah Lenoue, Cultural Equity Grants Program Associate.
    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs

    February 27, 2003


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