Street_Artists_Committee2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
Members present: Commissioners Alexander Lloyd, Topher Delaney,
Lorraine Garcia-Nakata, Sherene Melania
Members absent: John Calloway
Staff present: Director of Cultural Affairs Luis Cancel, Street Artists Program Director
Howard Lazar, Program Assistant Evelyn Russell
Commissioner Lloyd, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.
1. Action. Hearing and possible motion to approve issuance or renewal of certificate.
Roger Fierro – Certificate #5398. Alleged violation: Participating in Arts Commission space-assignment lottery system with an expired certificate (November 8, 2008).
Street Artists Program Director Howard Lazar explained that a Lottery Rule III, initiated in 1976 by the Arts Commission’s street artist Lottery Committee, requires a street artist to have a valid certificate in order to enter the lottery for spaces. On November 14, 2008, Mr. Lazar received a written report from a Lottery Committee member and an accompanying list of the certificate numbers of the artists participating in the lottery of November 8th. He now presented the report and the list to the Arts Commissioners of the Street Artists Committee who observed that Roger Fierro’s certificate number was recorded. Mr. Lazar stated that Mr. Fierro’s certificate had expired four days previously, on November 4th. Mr. Lazar further stated that this type of violation was not covered in the Arts Commission’s list of penalties for violations.
Lottery Committee Member Kathleen Hallinan stated that, while running the lottery, it had come to her attention that Mr. Fierro had entered the lottery. She submitted the report and the list to Mr. Lazar.
Lottery Committee Member Carlos Cuzma stated that on November 8th, upon verifying each artist’s certificate, he informed Mr. Fierro that his certificate had expired and that he was not permitted to take a space. Mr. Fierro complied.
Director of Cultural Affairs Luis Cancel asked Mr. Cuzma in Spanish if he wished to add any comments. Mr. Cuzma replied (Mr. Cancel translating) that Mr. Fierro had received assignment of a space, but, when he was requested to show his certificate, he was informed by Mr. Cuzma that it had expired, and Mr. Fierro declined to accept the space.
Street Artist Roger Fierro told the Commissioners that he had forgotten to renew his certificate, that there had been no big demand for spaces on Beach Street, but that the moment he learned of its expiration from Mr. Cuzma, he refused to claim a space.
In response to a question by Commissioner Garcia-Nakata, Mr. Lazar stated that, two years ago, he had sent Mr. Fierro a written warning for having entered the lottery with an expired certificate on August 24 and 26, 2006. Prior to the present hearing, he had sent Mr. Fierro a written offer to meet with him to review the current violation and, if he agreed to sign a statement promising to obey all the Program’s rules, to receive renewal of his certificate. But Mr. Fierro had not contacted Mr. Lazar for such a meeting, and the Program Director, according to the Arts Commission’s procedures, referred the matter to the Street Artists Committee.
Commissioner Loyd commented that Mr. Fierro’s certificate had been expired for only four days when he had entered the lottery, and that he had renewed the certificate the following week.
Commissioner Lloyd moved that Roger Fierro be found in violation for participating in the space-assignment lottery system with an expired certificate, that he be issued a warning against any future similar violation, and that the Program Director authorize renewal of Mr. Fierro’s certificate contingent upon Mr. Fierro’s agreement in writing to abide by all street artist regulations; the motion was seconed by Commissioner Garcia-Nakata.
Commissioner Lloyd called for public comment.
Street Artist Michael Addario stated that this has been a recurring problem in the Program, and that there was no provision in the law for the Program to receive payment from an artist for the time the artist is working without a certificate. He stated that if the artists had been furnished a monthly roster of artists, such violations could have averted.
Program Director Lazar clarified that the cases to which Mr. Addario was referring were about artists who had been selling – some for over a month – whereas Mr. Fierro’s certificate had expired for only four days, and the Program had received no evidence that he had sold during that time.
Street Artist Bill Clark stated that, in reference to the Arts Commission’s allowance of a grace period for the renewal of street artist certificates, the City Attorney had clarified that it would be illegal to back-date a renewal to the date of the certificate’s previous expiration because the ordinance stated that an artist receives a certificate upon payment of the fee, and that guarantees a full period of certificate validity (three months or one year) for which the artist is entitled. Furthermore, the Arts Commission could refer street artist violations to the District Attorney to prosecute and/or collect fines which could then be deposited into the Street Artists Program’s street artist fund.
Upon closing public comment, Commissioner Lloyd called for a vote on the motion.
The motion was unanimously approved.
2. Discussion. Street Artists Program Director’s Report.
Street Artist Linda Pedersen’s work. Program Director Lazar submitted a copy of the fall/winter 2008 edition of edible EAST BAY magazine which showcased the art work of long-time San Francisco street artist Linda Pedersen. Ms. Pedersen’s reduction linocut prints in color are featured on the magazine’s cover, on pages of a lead article, and on a page listed the locations where her work is exhibited as well as the process involved in her work.
Salt Lake City’s request for advice. Police personnel of Salt Lake City contacted Mr. Lazar on December 22nd requesting his advice on enforcement procedures for Salt Lake City’s street artists/vendors ordinance. In the course of the consultation, Mr. Lazar was told that San Francisco’s Street Artists Program has the reputation of being one of the finest run programs in the nation. Mr. Lazar was requested to furnish a copy of the Street Artists Ordinance for possible use as a model to improve Salt Lake City’s ordinance.
List of current street artists. Mr. Lazar reported that his office published a list of current street artist certificate-holders with certificate expiration dates. The list revealed a significant climb in the number of artists in the Program. From an annual average of 390, the number rose to 433 from last summer to now.
Director of Cultural Affairs Luis Cancel’s promotion of street artists. Mr. Lazar expressed his thanks to Director of Cultural Affairs Luis Cancel for publishing in the Arts Commission’s website December newsletter an appeal to shoppers to buy from the street artists during the holiday season. Mr. Cancel had urged people “to patronize the many wonderful local artisans and craftspeople who are part of our Street Artists Program … and I am sure that you will find that unique and special gift you are looking for.”
Enforcement measures. Mr. Lazar (a) concluded a three-month investigation of a complaint filed by one artist against another, resulting in a determination of a lack of witnesses and preponderance of evidence; (b) conducted as hearing officer on November 20th a hearing with an artist whose work was found to be not in accord with Arts Commission criteria, resulting in the artist’s signing an agreement to abide by all of the Program’s regulations and receiving the Program Director’s authorization of renewal of certificate; and (c) is currently investigating four separate large-scale complaints by artists against artists, resulting in a backlog of eight other complaints.
Fillmore Saturday Art Market. Mr. Lazar reported that he was contacted by personnel of San Francisco’s Fillmore Saturday Art Market to convey a request for street artists to participate in the Saturday Market. He e-mailed the Fillmore’s announcement to the Program’s Lottery Committee and to various representative artists.
Street artist “Steering Committee”. On January 9th Director of Cultural Affairs Cancel and Program Director Lazar met with six street artists who had appointed themselves to an ad hoc committee they called the “Steering Committee” to submit requests for program improvement, some of which may ultimately be heard by the Street Artists Committee.
Director of Cultural Affairs Cancel stated that, upon his arrival as the Arts Commission’s director, he had expressed a desire to see the street artists have a committee which could formally speak on their behalf and interact with the Mr. Cancel and Mr. Lazar on ideas and proposals for program improvements. He was, therefore, pleased to have been approached by the newly formed “Steering Committee.” He said that the January 9th meeting was very productive and covered some policy issues for which the committee artists expressed their views and to which Mr. Lazar and he responded from an administrative perspective. While there had not been agreement on certain issues, there was a good exchange of information. He added that Mr. Lazar and he welcomed the committee and looked forward to working with its members while finding a way to having the committee’s membership validated by its street artist constituents.
Commissioner Lloyd expressed appreciation of these efforts and stated that the meetings held by his own committee were not necessarily the best venue to “brainstorm” new ideas and proposals, whereas meetings of the “Steering Committee” might be best suited for the purpose. He urged that representation on the committee be achieved through a fair manner.
Mr. Cancel stated that the “Steering Committee” members, Mr. Lazar, and he had agreed to ask Commissioner Lloyd to allow on future agendas of the Street Artists Committee an item devoted to a report by the “Steering Committee.”
Commissioner Lloyd concurred with this and clarified that any business to be reported by the “Steering Committee” which required a vote of the Street Artists Committee would have to be noticed as such on an agenda.
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata stated the “Steering Committee” could help the Commissioners be informed of current street artist issues.
At Mr. Cancel’s request, the following members present of the “Steering Committee” identified themselves, their arts/crafts, and their current duration of time in the Street Artists Program: Brian Hopper, “funsketch” portraits, twenty-eight years; Kathleen Hallinan, leathercraft, thirty-four years; Lucinda Page, jewelry (did not give duration of time); Michael Addario, photography, five years. Mr. Addario stated that the members not present were Oscar Bevilacqua, painted clothing, and Virginia Travers, paintings and prints.
3. Action. Discussion and possible motion to: (a) approve Street Artists Program budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 and corresponding proposed Street Artist Certificate fee increase for Fiscal Year 2009-10. As required by Proposition K of November 8, 1983, any certificate fee increases would be limited to those necessary in order to finance the costs of the Arts Commission in administering and enforcing the provisions of the Street Artists Ordinance; and (b) authorizing the Street Artists Program Director to ask the City Attorney’s Office to draft a corresponding fee ordinance for submission to the Board of Supervisors for approval.
Program Director Lazar summarized that, at the last meeting of November 12, 2008, Commissioner Lloyd requested Mr. Lazar to present for today’s meeting two types of budget: (1) the same budget proposal which he had submitted at the November 12th meeting; and (2) a budget proposal to reflect compensation for the maximum legally-allowed number of thirty-five (35) meetings/monitoring assignments for the Program’s Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners, representing an increased expense of $4,000. Accordingly, Mr. Lazar presented “Proposed Budget I” and “Proposed Budget II”.
Mr. Lazar explained the changes he made in “Proposed Budget II” over “Proposed Budget I”: a reduction of $1,459 for “Materials & Supplies”; an increase of $4,000 to achieve a full complement of 35 meetings or assignments for four members (not the legally allowed five) of the Advisory Committee; an elimination of $ 950 for “Photo-finishing”; and a reduction of $1,667 for “Reproduction” (printing of lottery supplies, street artist certificates, fee receipts, etc.). With these changes, the proposed annual certificate fee of $607.64 for “Proposed Budget II” – even covering the added $4,000 expenditure of the Advisory Committee – would be only $3.56 more than the proposed annual fee of $604.08 for “Proposed Budget I”. Similarly, the proposed quarterly fee of $151.91 for “Budget II” would be only $.89 more than that of $151.02 for “Budget I”.
The Program Director went on to explain that, compared with the current (FY 2008-09) annual fee of $532.28, the proposed annual fee of $607.64 for “Budget II” would represent a 14.16% increase: an annual increase of $75.36; a quarterly increase of $18.84; or a daily increase of $.20.
In order to realize the full potential annual revenue of any street artist fee to be adopted, Mr. Lazar stated, the new fee must commence on July 1st, the start of the fiscal year. If it does not, the potential revenue would be diminished. Therefore, he urged the Commissioners to take their vote of recommendation at today’s meeting, so that the full Arts Commission would be able to vote on it at the meeting of February 2nd; a month would be allotted for the City Attorney to draft a new fee ordinance; the better part of two months – April and May – would be allotted for Board of Supervisors hearings; and finally, after Board of Supervisors and Mayor’s approval, a required thirty days would be allotted in the month of June before the new fee ordinance could take effect.
Director of Cultural Affairs Cancel commented that one of the points he discussed with the “Steering Committee” was that the ordinance made it clear that the Street Artists Program is supposed to be “revenue neutral” from the City’s perspective. He had observed that, for some time, the Arts Commission, during years of its receiving increased funding, had not been allocating its costs of overhead to several of its programs, including the Street Artists Program. After doing an “overhead allocation” exercise, Mr. Cancel observed that a street artist fee increase for the current year (FY 2008-09) would have been substantially more had the Commission required a full overhead allocation from its programs. But he made a decision to not levy a full overhead cost on the Street Artists Program for the current year. Now, however, with the present economic situation of the City, it became imperative for him to levy full overhead costs for the following year on all of the Commission’s programs; and that was why the proposed fee for next year would be significantly higher than the current fee.
Mr. Cancel went on to clarify that he had also informed the “Steering Committee” that next year’s proposed budget for the Street Artists Program reflected all overhead costs except for one: an allocation for legal services of the City Attorney’s office. The City Attorney’s office issued a report on the Arts Commission’s usage of City Attorney time for the first quarter of the current year. Mr. Cancel was startled to see that his Commission had already used approximately forty per cent of the legal services time which had been allotted to the Commission for the year. In the course of examining the report, he saw that the Street Artists Program had already used up a very substantial portion of the allotted time. Nevertheless, the costs related to such City Attorney service were not reflected in the Program’s upcoming budget. However, as Mr. Cancel had mentioned to the “Steering Committee”, if, by the end of the current year, it is discovered that the Street Artists Program is continuing to require City Attorney opinions on Sunshine Ordinance requests and other matters, the Commission would have to seek a revision of the Program’s budget to reflect such cost.
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata asked whether it was within the purview of the Arts Commission to seek pro bono service from a large-scale outside private law firm, in order to offset the Commission’s use of City Attorney time.
Mr. Cancel responded that he would be willing to explore this idea, first seeking an answer from the City Attorney as to whether such service from an outside law firm would be allowed.
Commissioner Delaney commented that she continued to see a “systemic problem”: The Arts Commission was shepherding a private group forward, taking private money from the group to pay for public services such as legal staff which she was not convinced was the most effective way of dealing with legal issues. She questioned whether the accounting provision in the budget was fully operational, whether the Commission was fully computerized, and whether the IT, as well as the other budget provisions, was at a level commensurate with what an active private business would require in the current economic climate. She asked whether the computerization within the Commission was commensurate with that of a private company. She questioned whether the street artists were represented at a level that a private company would give them. While she stated that she did not know the answer, she commented that the street artists are “private people” and “not public”, that it was a complicated issue which she did not know how to resolve.
Responding to the Commissioner’s questions, Mr. Cancel stated that the IT service lent to the Arts Commission was not commensurate with that given to the private sector; however, the Commission was moving in a direction to improve it. He cited the current major database project which had been delayed by the City’s telecommunications union who had objected to the Commission’s private contractor performing the service for the Commission; the issue now has been improved, and the database project is moving forward. In the next fiscal year, the project should facilitate the street artist information required by the Program, such as a day-by-day listing of current certificate-holders.
Commissioner Melania questioned whether the present street artist lottery system could be upgraded by computerization.
Program Director Lazar responded that such a question had been raised before the Street Artists Committee several times during the previous twenty years and each time the Commissioners heard the majority of artists insist that their lottery remain as it is and not be computerized.
Commissioner Delaney stated that cities traditionally are not as effective in their infrastructures generally as are private companies for various reasons including their being encumbered by procedures of payment. Because the street artists, she said, were “private people”, her concern was whether they were beleagured by the City’s costs that, she said, were not effective for them.
Commissioner Lloyd affirmed that the Street Artists Program is a public program and not a private program - for example, it assigns spaces on public property; it is overseen by people who are appointed as public commissioners.
Commissioner Delaney stated that it is a public program which is paid for by private resources, which makes it, she said, significantly different from any other program.
Mr. Cancel stated that any business which is licensed by the City falls in the same category as that for the Street Artists Program: the City imposes a fee for licensing and review, an expense capture relative to the particular business.
Commissioner Delaney stated that the proposed budget’s figures should be further examined.
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata stated that, without the Arts Commission, there would be a great deal of structure which the artists would not have. This would include the artists having to deal with a high number of people competing with them not on fair ground.
Commissioner Lloyd stated that the Commissioners’ actions were restricted by the Street Artists Ordinance which stipulates that the licensing of street artists is exclusively under the purview of the Arts Commission; it does not provide for the service to be administered by a private company.
Commissioner Delaney stated that she believed that the Program’s positions could be cut because the program is not a computerized program and does not run effectively. Were it up to a level of computerization, the Program, she said, could be run by one computer-savvy person.
Mr. Cancel responded that, while it was one matter to ask for an operational review report to be prepared by Mr. Lazar, he observed that there were various tasks involved in administering the Street Artists Program – for example, much of it is an administrative, paper-handling aspect; another is the oversight and investigative duties involved in enforcing the ordinance. From his perspective, Mr. Cancel stated, he would have to say that the Program is minimally staffed. Furthermore, as he had stated to the “Steering Committee”, if there were to be a large number of additional complaints between artists or issues that required investigation and enforcement, the Commission would have to consider adding employees or finding a better way to police the Program.
Continuing, Mr. Cancel stated that the Commissioners and staff, once they receive a report from Mr. Lazar describing the Program’s operations, could engage in a further discussion as to whether the Program is, in Mr. Cancel’s view, minimally staffed or whether it is, in Commissioner Delaney’s view, overstaffed.
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata commented that the IT issue is an area that all government agencies, including the Arts Commission and its programs, are working hard to elevate.
Commissioner Delaney stated that her own business has young people working dexterously with computers, and that, while she herself does not know how to do what they do, this is the type of operation which needs to administer the Street Artists Program.
Commissioner Melania stated that, while the Commissioners would want the Program to run as efficiently as possible and that a big part of it is having the proper IT resources, she has observed, having served on the Street Artists Committee for over a year, that the Program is moving in that direction, but it requires additional funding for that mode.
Program Director Lazar addressed Commissioner Delaney’s remarks by stating that in an ideal world a program like the Street Artists Program could probably be run by one person if a computer could intervene in all of the fights between street artists, could arbitrate all of the arguments between street artists, and could negotiate with the merchant organizations for additional spaces for the street artists. If a computer could monitor the activities of the artists, consideration could be given to placing cameras on the streets to observe what all the artists were doing. But, he said, until that happens, and until the Program elevates itself to a higher IT level, it should be understood that the IT level is not the only level to be required to run the Program.
Commissioner Delaney stated that she understood this and that monitoring was absolutely essential, but she reaffirmed her opinion that the Program was not up to the level of efficiency of private industry. She added that this was a privately funded organization which has not met the requirement.
Commissioner Lloyd clarified that, while the artists pay their fees, the Program and its Commission is not at all a private organization. The very fact that Commissioners weigh in on the Program’s issues attest to its not being a private organization.
Commissioner Delaney stated that the street artists were people going out in the cold and the heat selling their wares.
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata stated that there was established much precedence on the government level where individual artists – private individuals having to make a living - are administered by government.
Commissioner Delaney proposed that if the Program Assistant’s position were reduced to half-time, it would be a $45,000 savings. It would decrease the annual certificate fee for 400 artists by $112.50.
Director Cancel stated that the Arts Commission’s employees are governed by Civil Service rules. Therefore, when an analysis is made to determine whether the right level of expertise and efficiency exist in the various duties of the Program, it will have to be verified that the employees are operating within the Civil Service rules.
Program Assistant Evelyn Russell, through the Chair, asked Commissioner Delaney about the status of the ID card system [the electronic certification system which the Commissioner had, at the previous meeting, offered to contribute to the Program] which was to save the Program money. Currently, under the present certificate-issuance system, plastic lamination envelopes needed to be ordered to laminate the artists’ certificates; the arrival date of the new system would determine the amount of plastic envelopes to be ordered for use in the interim.
Commissioner Delaney responded that she wished to work with Commissioner Lloyd on this project.
Commissioner Lloyd stated that he was certain the new system would arrive by the time the new budget is implemented. Commissioner Delaney agreed that the system would arrive by July 1st.
Commissioner Lloyd called for public comment.
Street Artist Kathleen Hallinan stated that she agreed with Commissioner Delaney. She said there were two different realities, and that one was a budget of $237,000 out of which $180,000 would fund two salaried positions. The amount of the salaries did not make any sense for a self-funded organization, and it did not make sense in the present economy. In order to cut costs, she proposed that the hours of the Program’s office for renewing certificates be reduced from five days a week to two days a week or even one day a week. Presently, it was a poor time of the year for the artists. The two current staff members are enjoying $90,000 benefits “on the backs of the street artists who are suffering.”
Continuing, Ms. Hallinan stated that the artists should have a say in the budget and operation of their Program because they fund it. She went on to criticize the time taken by the City Attorney’s office to answer a question submitted by Mr. Lazar on behalf of the artists.
Street Artist Michael Addario thanked Mr. Cancel for meeting with the “Steering Committee”. He stated that in the last few years the artists have witnessed some difficulties in the staff’s production of certificates – incorrect expiration dates, certificates issued out of sequence, certificates filled out incorrectly, and untimely processing. He said that there appeared to be minimum oversight by the Arts Commission over the staff of the Program, and that, as far as he knew, there has never been a financial audit of the Program. He went on to say that there was no accountability for bad issuance of checks submitted by artists. One artist’s fee amounting to $400, he said, was stolen from the office and was never brought to the artists’ attention. The artists’ fees, he said, are received by the Program Assistant and then are submitted to the bank with no reconciliation by the Arts Commission’s accountant.
Mr. Addario went on to say that, formerly, he had worked at a Toyota dealership. He held up an account sheet for the Commissioners and described it as Toyota’s showing a monthly breakdown of expenses. If the Commission wished to run a program correctly, a monthly accounting should be required.
Mr. Addario recommended that the office staff be downsized which, he said, would save the Program $80,000. He further recommended that it be investigated as to whether the service of issuing certificates could be transferred to “the clerk’s office” which, he said, issues ID cards for immigrants. That office could also validate the artists’ business licenses.
Mr. Addario stated that, for every new employee to be added, it would cost each street artist $200.
He further recommended that the Program stop taking cash for street artist fees. He also requested that an audit be done and, after which, the artists and the Commissioners return with recommendations.
Street Artist William Clark expressed opposition to any street artist fee increase until all street artist fees that have been collected by the City are allowed to be used by the Street Artists Program. Previously, his brother and he had been instrumental in getting the City to return $100,000 of the artists’ fees to the Program. However, there had been $200,000 that had been collected and deposited into the general fund and not allocated to the Program. Also, there was approximately $40,000 in interest on street artist fees collected from 1991 to 1997, and this interest is owed to the Program. This was denied, he said, by the City Attorney who had held that the street artist fees are not held in trust; but Mr. Clark had presented state law, city attorney opinions, attorney general opinions, and case histories which affirm that the street artists’ fees are held in trust. Mr. Clark stated that his brother and he intended to bring up this issue at the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Clark stated that the Street Artists Ordinance, a ballot measure, stipulates that the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners “shall consist of five members …” Therefore, it is mandated that the Advisory Committee have five members, regardless of the Commission’s efforts to attempt to trim costs by having only four members on the Committee. Mr. Clark urged Mr. Lazar to go forward to obtain a fifth member.
Street Artist Robert Clark stated that Director Cancel was correct: the Street Artists Program is a self-funded program. In 1972, he said, when the Clarks first convinced the City to start the Program, Supervisor Terry Francois, at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, told the artists: “Don’t any of you dare to ask for one single dime from the general fund.” The artists agreed to fund the Program entirely by their certificate fees. What they were not told, he said, was that their fees would be deposited into the general fund. While some $200,000 artists’ fees were deposited into the general fund, the Supervisors allocated only very small amounts, such as $4,000, to the Arts Commission to run the Program. Mr. Clark now requested that the Commission ask for the return of the money before the Commission chooses to raise the artists’ fees. His brother and he have been arguing for this each time the Commission considered raising the fee since 1983. They intended to argue this point again at the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Clark went on to say that the present Arts Commissioners were adopting all of the problems the Clarks have had with the City Attorney. For twenty years they have been arguing with the City Attorney over whether it was legal to have had the fees placed in the general fund and whether they should be given to the Arts Commission to run its Street Artists Program. A year and a half ago, he had asked the Street Artists Committee to calendar this matter, as well as the matter of the interest owed to the Program, for hearing; but these matters were never calendared.
Street Artist Maria Hillius stated that she has been a street artist for twenty years and that, when she entered the Program, there were three or four staffpeople; she was not in favor of reducing the number any further. She went on to say that it was acceptable to her if the certificate fee were increased. She works as a street artist for one hundred days a year, primarily in the summer. While this translates to about $4 a day for her, as well as a cost of $15 a day for parking during certain weeks, she does not have to sit in the rain during off seasons and wait for customers. When artists enter the Program, she said, they already know what lies ahead of them in terms of the weather and business potential; therefore, they should make a reasonable work schedule for themselves.
Ms. Hillius reiterated that she did not object to the certificate fee being increased so long as some improvements were made such as eliminating three-month renewals of certificates and making all renewals for a year, and putting more inspectors on the streets to monitor the Program. Many artists, she said, were in favor of these proposals. She finished by saying that $600 [for a certificate] “is a giveaway to be able to work in a prime space in the city.”
Seeing that there were no additional persons from the audience requesting to speak, Commissioner Lloyd closed public comment.
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata moved to approve Proposed Budget II for the Street Artists Program for Fiscal Year 2009-10 and corresponding proposed Street Artist Certificate fee increase for Fiscal Year 2009-10 with the provision for increased expense for the Advisory Committee and the caveat that the Commission look toward improving the Program’s services within its resources. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Melania.
Commissioner Lloyd affirmed that the corresponding annual certificate fee for the budget would be $607.64.
The following vote was taken:
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata Commissioner Delaney
Commissioner Melania Commissioner Lloyd
At the request of Commissioner Lloyd, Program Director Lazar explained the process involved in soliciting candidates for referral to the Mayor for appointment to the voter-mandated Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners. He also described the required qualifications of such candidates.
Commissioner Lloyd moved to amend the motion to include the following: the proposed budget to include expense for a fifth member of the Advisory Committee should a fifth member be required (the Commissioner expressed that the member be selected by the start of the new budget); a financial review of the Program by the time the new budget commences; and a policy restricting certificate fee payment to checks or money orders, rather than cash. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Melania.
With the assistance of Director Cancel, the Commissioners reviewed the entire motion as follows:
Motion to approve Proposed Budget II for the Street Artists Program budget for Fiscal Year 2009-10 and corresponding proposed Street Artist Certificate fee increase for Fiscal year 2009-10 with the caveats that if the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners is required to have five (5) members, the fifth member be included and its associated expenses be reflected in the budget, that the Program be restricted to receiving certificate fee payments in the form of checks or money orders and not cash, and that the Arts Commission ask the Controller’s office to conduct a financial review of the Street Artists Program.
The motion was unanimously approved.
4. New business/Public comment.
Street Artist Bill Clark stated that the caveat restricting certificate fee payments to checks or money orders should be rescinded from the final motion of agenda item 3 because it should be noticed on an agenda to allow for the public to speak on the issue.
Commissioner Melania moved to amend the previous motion by deleting from the motion the “caveat” which restricts certificate fee payments to checks or money orders and not cash.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Garcia-Nakata and unanimously approved.
Commissioner Lloyd stated that the issue of restricting certificate fee payments to checks or money orders would be placed on the agenda of the next Street Artists Committee meeting.
Commissioner Delaney stated that she was concerned over observing Program Director Lazar write by hand notes on the meeting, whereas if someone was writing with a laptop computer, the notes would immediately be fed to the Internet. Someone, she said, would not have to be paid to listen to the audiotape of the meeting in order to draft the minutes.
Street Artist Michael Addario stated that he was speaking for himself and not for the “Steering Committee” and that he requested calendaring “a discussion and motion to assist the artists in creating a nonprofit and to move the duties and responsibilities of the Program from the Arts Commission to this new created nonprofit where the artists would be on the board.” He said he agreed with Commissioner Delaney, and that the certificate fee would continue to rise to probably $1,000 in four years. He went on to say that it [street artist selling] “is supposed to be a First Amendment right.”
Commissioner Garcia-Nakata stated that the “Steering Committee” should investigate whether the majority of artists are in favor of the nonprofit proposal and, if they are, it could be calendared.
Commissioner Lloyd clarified that the proposal would require a ballot measure.
Street Artist Maria Hillius stated that a petition should be circulated among the artists to see if the majority agree with the proposal before requesting that it be calendared.
There being neither further new business nor public comment,
Commissioner Lloyd adjourned the meeting at 4:46 p.m.
Street Artists Program Director
January 28, 2009