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STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
November 21, 2005
- Roll Call
Members present: Commissioners P. J. Johnston, José Cuellar, Alex Lloyd
Members absent: none
Staff present: Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth, Street Artists Program Director Howard Lazar, Certification Clerk Evelyn Russell
Members of the audience: Street Artists Robert Clark, William Clark, Brian Hopper, Jimmy Sha, Edward Steneck, Julia Zhang
Commissioner Johnston, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m. and welcomed Commissioners Cuellar and Lloyd to the Committee. Commissioner Johnston described major duties of the Committee and the Street Artists Program.
- Hearing on question of increasing street artist certificate fee for fiscal year 2006-2007; possible motion to increase certificate fee
Program Director Lazar profiled the Street Artists Program’s current flow of certificate fee revenue and the continued augmentation of its surplus fees savings to meet its budget. He gave projections of consistent fee revenue and reduced savings balances for fiscal years 2006-2007 and 2007-2008.
In response to a question by Commissioner Lloyd, Mr. Lazar described the history of the enactment of the current three-tiered fee increase ordinance for the self-sufficient Street Artists Program.
Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth commented that, when the Arts Commission had considered increasing the fee three years ago, the Commissioners and staff had considered it to be common business sense to introduce a gradual annual fee increase while drawing down on the remainder of the surplus. The alternative would have been a sudden hefty increase later on for which many of the artists might not have been prepared.
In response to a question by Commissioner Johnston, Program Director Lazar recommended no increase of the certificate fee for FY 2006-2007 and advised that the Committee hold a hearing in the autumn of 2006 to consider increasing the fee for FY 2007-2008.
Commissioner Johnston called for public comment.
Street Artist William Clark informed the Commissioners of his involvement in the creation of the Street Artists Program and submitted a copy of the legislation which established the street artist fund as an interest-bearing special fund. He requested the Commissioners, in their future consideration of the certificate fee, to factor in the total balance of the Program’s surplus fees savings rather than let the savings decrease gradually by augmentation of each year’s revenue.
Street Artist Robert Clark commented on his perception of conflicting City Attorney opinions relative to street artist fees held in reserve, and requested the Commissioners to obtain independent legal advice—outside of the City Attorney—as to whether the Program would be entitled to receive surplus fees it had deposited in the general fund during the years 1972-1980.
Director of Cultural Affairs Newirth stated that the City Attorney had clarified that the Arts Commission’s fee-setting procedure was legal and that the Board of Supervisors had not deposited the street artist certificate fee revenue into the general fund since the period of 1972-1980.
Mr. Robert Clark requested a response regarding interest due on the street artist fund for the years 1991-1997.
Commissioner Johnston stated that the Clarks had each exceeded three minutes for public comment and that he would close public comment—at which point Mr. William Clark expressed opposition to Mr. Newirth’s last comment. Commissioner Johnston warned that he was about to adjourn the meeting. Both Clarks continued speaking. The Commissioner stated that he wished to address the rest of the agenda. The Clarks continued speaking loudly.
Commissioner Johnston adjourned the meeting at 3:40 p.m.
Street Artists Program Director