Street_Artists_Committee2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
- Roll Call
Members present: Commissioners Dugald Stermer, Anne Brauer, Rod Freebairn-Smith
Member absent: Commissioner P. J. Johnston
Staff present: Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth, Street Artists Program
Director Howard Lazar, Certification Clerk Evelyn Russell
In attendance were Street Artists Michael Addario, Rona Barnes, Linda Hagen,
Barbro Haglund, Brian Hopper, Dolores Kalom, Dik Knoble, Sharon MacDougall,
Enrique Perez, Jimmy Sha, Alithea Shuey, George Shuey, Edward Steneck,
Matt Summers, Sean Yore; Ms. Lorna Feria representing Madison Marquette,
building managers; Ms. Paula Datesh Grundman and Attorney Ananda J. Norris.
Commissioner Stermer, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:20 p.m. and
took the agenda items in the following order:
2. Program Director's report
Program Director Howard Lazar reported on having received a petition of twenty-
five street artist signatures urging the Arts Commission to adopt a policy requiring
that any proposal to change a street artist regulation, rule, or procedure be
submitted by twenty-five or forty street artist signatures supporting it in order for
the Commission and/or the Street Artists Committee to hear the proposal. The
Program Director requested the City Attorney's office for a response as to whether
the Commission has the authority to adopt such a policy.
Street Artists Linda Hagen and Sean Yore expressed opposition to the proposed
At the request of the Chairman and the street artists present, the Program Director
read aloud the wording of the petition.
3. Hearing and possible motion to approve proposal by Program Director to
request Board of Supervisors for permanent designation of temporary winter
holiday spaces "Z-45", "Z-46", and "Z-47" (formerly known as "FAO
Schwartz spaces") (Stockton Street, east side, at O'Farrell Street) to
replace spaces "S-0", "S-00", and "S-000" (Stockton Street, west side, at
O'Farrell Street) (continued from 2/11/04 meeting)
Program Director Lazar reported that the proposed bus zone eliminating spaces
"S-0", "S-00", and "S-000" was scheduled to be created two years ago but did
not occur. Last January he was informed by the Department of Parking and
Traffic that the bus zone was again about to be created and that the street
artists had to vacate the three spaces. Now, three months later, DPT informed
him that the project was being re-evaluated and that, until further notice, the
artists could resume using the spaces.
Relative to this, the Program Director further reported that, two years ago, he
had proposed permanent designation of two former winter holiday spaces
adjacent to Macy's Men's Store contingent upon the elimination of the above
three spaces by the bus zone. Macy's had consented to this proposal, and
the full Arts Commission had approved it. Honoring the conditions of Macy's
consent, the Program Director had refrained from submitting the proposal to
the Board of Supervisors pending the bus zone's creation.
Because many artists had recently requested that three former winter holiday
spaces adjacent to the former FAO Schwartz building be permanently desig-
nated in place of the three bus zone spaces, the Program Director requested
that the Commissioners hear from the artists as to whether they preferred
these over the two "Macy's spaces".
Street Artist Enrique Perez expressed preference for the two "Macy's spaces".
Commissioner Stermer asked if anyone present disagreed with Mr. Perez's
preference. No one disagreed.
Ms. Lorna Feria, representing Madison Marquette, manager of the building
which formerly housed FAO Schwartz, stated that her company had 38,000
square feet to fill and would prefer that the artists not be in front of the
building with the exception of during the winter holiday season.
The Commissioners clarified that, in the event of the bus zone's creation, the
proposal previously approved by the Commission for permanent designation
of the two "Macy's spaces" would be the measure for submission to the
Board of Supervisors.
4. Hearing and possible motion to approve street artist proposal to amend
lottery procedure for assigning selling spaces by (1) eliminating Downtown
and Wharf lotteries system and replacing it with a single lottery system
held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with sign-up days on Monday,
Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday; (2) eliminating the mini-lottery as well
as the unofficial "mini-mini lottery" for unassigned spaces and replacing
these lotteries with an allocation of unassigned spaces by ranking order
of lottery numbers beginning with the lowest number; (3) allowing Lottery
Committee members and helpers to enter the lottery and receive a number,
allowing for the free selling space they receive for working to be considered
as a first use of their number (continued from 2/11/04 meeting) and (additional
provision submitted 3/9/04) (4) allowing helperships received through the
lottery to be for the same lottery period of the following week
The authors of the proposal, Street Artists William and Robert Clark, were not
Program Director Lazar explained the recently received fourth provision of the
proposal and reported that the artists with whom he had spoken on the street
had expressed favor of the provision.
Street Artist Edward Steneck clarified that, while the Clarks had added it to their
proposal, the fourth provision had been authored by Street Artist Rich Trager.
Commissioner Stermer expressed his appreciation to the artists for relinquishing
a selling day to attend the meeting and express their feelings on the issues.
The Commissioner asked for a show of hands of those persons in favor of all
four provisions of the proposal. No hand was held up. He asked for a show of
hands in favor of the first three provisions. No hand was held up. He ascertained
that several artists were in favor of the fourth provision.
Street Artists Edward Steneck and Linda Hagen spoke in favor of the fourth
provision as a means of increasing helpership opportunity for those street
artists who work only on weekends.
The following artists voiced opposition to the first three provisions: Rona
Barnes, Dolores Kalom, Barbro Haglund, George Shuey, and Edward Steneck.
The following comments were made: (1) The provision for a Friday sign-up day
would preclude artists who have other weekday jobs from obtaining a good
space on Saturday. (2) The proposal was flawed and incomplete. (3) The
present lottery system was running well, was not "broken", and there was no
reason therefore to change it. (4) The present dual lottery system, rather
than the proposed single lottery system, provided more opportunity for the
artists to obtain good spaces and less opportunity to scam the rules. (5)
Elimination of the present unofficial "mini-mini lottery" could be done without
adoption of the proposal and would prevent artists from signing in to two
spaces on a given day.
Mr. Steneck read a rebuttal which he and Street Artist Sharon MacDougall
wrote to the Clarks' proposal. The rebuttal cited the present system's
allowance for a single license-holder to enter both lotteries in order to work
both days of a lottery period - for example, Saturday in the Downtown area
and Sunday at the Wharf - and this made up for the ability of a two-member
family unit, two numbers, which "usually" obtains "a decent space on both
days of a lottery period." The argument went on to criticize the proposal's
"rotation system of" an artist's "main number for all mini sign-ins" as complicated
and problematic for keeping track of numbers that have been used.
Mr. Steneck presented a poster he prepared showing "a street artist's
chances of getting a good space during a lottery period." The poster showed
that, under one combined lottery, there would be one chance; under two
separate lotteries (one for Downtown, one for the Wharf), there would be two
Commissioner Stermer asked that a hearing and possible motion be held at
the next meeting on the issue of providing for a daily mini lottery and
eliminating the unofficial "mini-mini lottery".
Street Artist Michael Addario volunteered to write up a proposal on these
issues for submittal to the Program Committee.
Commissioner Stermer expressed his appreciation of William and Robert Clark
as "clear ... smart ... innovative thinkers"; to find such opposition to a
proposal of theirs, which had withstood the test of two months of discussion,
was surprising to him.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith stated that the element of notice for the street
artists was crucial for anything the Committee was expected to vote on. He
observed that the consensus int the room was that the fourth provision of the
proposal was a good idea. He questioned whether the Committee would be
missing a minority voice which had not been informed.
Commissioner Stermer responded that he did not feel the Committee's action
would be a rush to judgment, and that he felt that everyone in the Street
Artists Program who cared about the issue had known about the hearings.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith moved to disapprove the following three
provisions of the proposal to amend the lottery procedure for assigning
selling spaces: (1) eliminating the Downtown and Wharf lotteries system and
replacing it with a single lottery system held on Tuesday, Thursday, and
Saturday with sign-up days on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, (2)
eliminating the mini-lottery as well as the unofficial "mini-mini lottery" for
unassigned spaces and replacing these lotteries with an allocation of un-
assigned spaces by ranking order of lottery numbers beginning with the
lowest number, (3) allowing Lottery Committee members and helpers to
enter the lottery and receive a number, allowing for the free selling space
they receive for working to be considered as a first use of their number; the
motion was seconded by Commissioner Brauer and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith moved to approve the following fourth
provision of the proposal to amend the lottery procedure for assigning
selling spaces: (4) allowing helperships receivied through the lottery to be
for the same lottery period of the following week; the motion was seconded
by Commissioner Brauer and unanimously approved.
5. New Business
Street Artist Linda Hagen inquired about the status of the painting of the Hyde
Street spaces that were to be relocated to the east side of the street.
Street Artist Michael Addario spoke against the artists' move to the east side of
the street because of its difficult wind conditions and the continuous exhaust of
curbside tour buses idling their engines.
Street Artist Enrique Perez asked when former winter holiday spaces "Z-3" and
"Z-4" were going to be made permanent. The Program Director responded that
the project was on his list for the drafting and submittal of legislation to the
Board of Supervisors.
Ms. Ananda Norris identified herself as an attorney on behalf of former
certificate-holder Paula Datesh (Grundman) and requested a hearing for a
reinstatement of her client's street artist certificate. She explained that
Ms. Datesh had been in custody at the time the Street Artists Committee
heard the charges against her (and voted to not renew her certificate).
Program Director Lazar informed the Commissioners that the City Attorney's
office investigated this issue and clarified that the Arts Commission was not
obligated to provide such a hearing, as the Commission had notified Ms.
Norris's client at the address she had consistently given the Program.
Ms. Norris stated that when the notice was mailed, her client was in custody.
Commissioner Stermer stated that, whether or not the Commission was
legally obligated, a hearing to consider reinstatement of Paula Datesh
Grundman's certificate should be calendared; he asked the Program Director
to do so.
Street Artist Sean Yore submitted a written proposal to the Committee to
calendar a hearing for a motion to eliminate the sale of all prints from the
Street Artists Program within thirty days.
The Program Director stated that he had previously received the proposal, and,
because it raised a question about possible liability for the Arts Commission, he
had submitted it to the City Attorney's office for clarification.
Commissioner Stermer recalled his Committee's hearings on prints and stated
that, while the subject was a complex "minefield", he was not inclined to
favor eliminating the sale of prints from the Street Artists Program.
Upon the Commissioner's verbalizing the text of Mr. Yore's proposal, Street
Artist Dik Knoble and others expressed outrage and asked that the proposal
not be calendared.
Street Artist Edward Steneck countered Mr. Yore's written assertion that
there was no enforcement of the prints-labels criteria by stating that each
time the Program Director has come to Mr. Steneck's display, as well as to
the displays of others, he has examined the backs of all of the prints to verify
their labels. As for the cases of violation submitted by Mr. Yore, Mr. Steneck
said that the Program Director adjudicated the cases.
Mr. Lazar clarified that, out of twenty-one complaints submitted by Mr. Yore
on various types of alleged violations, he acted on fifteen of them by way of
sending written warnings and notices of withholding of certificates and by
sitting as a hearing officer in two cases disputing the charges that ultimately
were withdrawn due to a lack of preponderance of evidence.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith stated that, after years of attending prints
auctions of Pacific Book Auction, he was told by the auctioneer that the law
could be quoted ad infinitem but that what was needed was an enforcement
vehicle. Furthermore, there were such bizarre cases of fraud in the world of
printmaking that it was extremely difficult to enforce this area. The Commis-
sioner went on to say that it was up to the consumers to be extremely
careful about what they were buying. Given the limited resources of the
Street Artists Program, he invited anyone to come forward with a proposed
fair enforcement mechanism which would be reasonable and less draconian than
the elimination of prints.
At the request of Mr. Steneck, Commissioner Stermer questioned Mr. Yore as
to the purpose of his proposal. Responding to the Commissioner's questions,
Mr. Yore stated that he himself sells prints, that the elimination of prints
would not help him, but that he saw "other issues besides" his "immediate
Commissioner Stermer stated that he appreciated Mr. Yore's concern but that
his proposed solution was far too drastic for the Commissioner to calendar.
His Committee, however, would be willing to hear proposals for better methods
Commissioner Brauer ascertained that Mr. Yore attended the hearings on two
of his complaints and was aware of the enforcement process taking place.
Street Artist Linda Hagen stated that the Program had only one person, the
Program Director, to do the enforcing, and that it was not possible for him to
be in the three major street artist locations at the same time. Mr. Yore had
attempted to furnish reports of violations.
Street Artist George Shuey stated that he was a board member of the
California Society of Printmakers and that for the Street Artists Program to
venture into the issue of prints constituted a gray area which would make
it increasingly difficult to define.
Commissioner Stermer reiterated his position of not wishing to eliminate prints
from the Street Artists Program and of his willingness to hear proposals for
improved enforcement given the Program's limited resources.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
Street Artists Program Director