STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
25 Van Ness Ave. 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, Kirk Anderson, Rod Freebairn-Smith, Denise Roth
Commissioners Absent: Andrew Brother Elk
Staff Present: Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs; Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Director; Antoinette Worthy, Certification Clerk
In attendance were street artists Barbara Bihusyak, Robert Clark, William Clark, Kathleen Hallinan, Juanita Havet, Jean Havet, Edward Steneck, and applicant for certification Jeffrey Shedrick.
Commissioner Stermer, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:09 p.m. and requested that the third item, a hearing on proposals for street artist spaces, be heard first.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE STREET ARTIST PROPOSAL(S) FOR STREET ARTIST SPACES ON JEFFERSON STREET AND AUTHORIZATION OF PROGRAM DIRECTOR TO REQUEST PORT COMMISSION FOR A HEARING TO CONSIDER APPROVING SUBMITTED PROPOSAL(S)
Program Director Lazar described the events leading to the calendaring of this item: the fire in the Haslett Warehouse which has delayed for another year and a half its reopening as a hotel and has delayed the return of thirty adjacent prime street artist spaces it has displaced during its renovation; the resultant business suffering of the street artists due to the loss of these spaces; the artists' and the Program Director's daily observations of the continuous activities of illegal vendors along Jefferson Street from the intersection of Mason Street to Pier 39, selling funsketches, commercially manufactured paintings, temporary body tattoos. Adjacent to Boudin Bakery, there was a vendor playing a Peruvian flute and manning a stand of packaged CDs and audio tapes for sale, with the vendor's Business Tax Certificate on display - while "the street artists have to have business tax registration, too," Mr. Lazar stated, the street artists are not allowed to be in that location, and neither is the music vendor. While the illegal vendors are tolerated by the Port, "it's always the Street Artists Program that has to bite the bullet: if a street artist" display, for example, "is six inches oversized, the artist could face a three weeks suspension. But here are these illegal vendors, and the Port doesn't seem to be doing anything about it", and the store "merchants aren't doing anything about it" either.
In response to a question by Commissioner Stermer, the Program Director admitted that there have been instances in which licensed street artists were selling in illegal locations on Jefferson Street.
Mr. Lazar went on to relate that the last time the artists went to the Port Commission was seven years ago just to request approval of retaining the spaces then in existence. Shortly afterwards, business relations between some of the street artists and Port personnel and commissioners deteriorated, and the Arts Commission staff did not, at the time, feel it would be proper to return with a proposal for additional spaces. At the present point in time, Mr. Lazar stated, "I personally feel that the time would be right." Any proposal from the Arts Commission to be submitted to the Port would require hearings at the both the Program Committee and full Commission levels, as well as approval in the form of a resolution by the Board of Supervisors.
Commissioner Stermer expressed his wish that spaces be obtained from the Port for artists wishing to sell near the Pac Bell ballpark - on the Embarcadero and north of the green where there is much foot traffic. The Commissioner had already seen illegal T-shirt vendors selling there. He went on to say that, as the Program Director had previously pointed out (at a recent full Commission meeting), where licensed street artists are located, "there is usually not poachers, and there is usually not the homeless, or skateboarders for that matter." The presence of street artists "discourages the very people that most of the merchants want to keep away."
The Program Director informed the Commissioners that he had invited Mr. Alessandro Baccari, the Executive Secretary of the Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association, to attend today's meeting. Mr. Baccari, who had often given input to the Arts Commission and its Street Artists Program for the past thirty years, was not present.
Commissioner Stermer called for proposals dealing with additional street artist spaces in the Wharf area and south of it along the Embarcadero.
Street Artist Kathleen Hallinan stated that she seconded what the Program Director had related: "he said everything perfectly." She added that when the artists last went to the Port, the Port commissioners' "last words to us at that meeting were 'why don't we just let things go as they are right now and come back to us with new ideas'." She went on to say that some of the artists have done walkthroughs of Port property and have ideas for new spaces. She herself has observed "thirty to forty illegal vendors at any time on Jefferson Street" (from Leavenworth to Pier 39), whereas the street artists were allotted only nine spaces (Jefferson, Hyde to Leavenworth). If street artists are given locations, she and other artists, if they see a problem, are prompt in calling the police; in addition, she has no problem in telling an illegal vendor that his activity "is not appropriate." The artists, she said, bring "order and ethics" to an area, "and beauty as well." She felt that it is time to return to the Port with new ideas.
Street Artist Edward Steneck stated that "as Kathy said, Howard covered it pretty well," and that the area of Jefferson Street between Pier 39 and 41 should be considered for new spaces - that area, he said, has "wide sidewalks" and "no stores." He went on to relate that recently his wife and he had observed, in addition to the illegal vendors mentioned by the Program Director, "one guy selling" from "a table of watches on the sidewalk near the Wax Museum, right there, brazen as hell."
The Program Director commented that on the other side of Jefferson Street, the business side of the street where the sidewalk is much narrower, many store merchants display racks of merchandise which are outright obstructions to the public thoroughfare. In contrast, the area of which Mr. Steneck was proposing has a wider sidewalk and is opposite an open parking lot, rather than storefronts.
Commissioner Anderson moved to authorize the Program Director to draw a map of proposed legal spaces on Jefferson Street, between Mason Street and the Embarcadero, and north of the Pac Bell ballpark, between the green and Pier 40, and to propose such spaces to the Port Commission for approval; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Roth and unanimously approved.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OR RENEWAL OF CERTIFICATE
Jeffrey Shedrick - Certificate #5695 (expired 11/15/01). Hearing and possible motion to approve July 23, 2002 request by Jeffrey Shedrick for issuance of new certificate.
The Commissioners reviewed events which had occurred prior to Mr. Shedrick's request. At its meeting of January 9, 2002, the Street Artists Committee found Mr. Shedrick in violation for selling in a location not designated by the Board of Supervisors, for selling within 12 feet of a doorway, and for conducting business in an improper, disorderly, hazardous manner (having his vehicle parked in a non-parking zone adjacent to his street artist display) and recommended that issuance of a certificate for Mr. Shedrick be denied. The Committee's findings and recommendation were approved by the Program Director on January 17, 2002.
Mr. Shedrick thanked the Commissioners for giving him an opportunity to discuss his request. He apologized for not having appeared at his previous hearing. He went on to say that, during the period of the loss of his certificate, his "business suffered drastically," and this was after he had built a large clientele. He admitted to having sold in a non-designated location but that the owners of the adjacent building had told him they did not care so long as he did not interfere with their business. He submitted photos of his "upgraded street vending cart", which, he said, was "downsized to a certain extent", and the craft he sold which, he said, took "a lot of packing, of tote boxes, and bins ..." He said he has a "great business" and has participated in many shows, including the recent San Jose Jazz Festival.
Mr. Shedrick further stated that his "upgraded street vending cart" is ten feet long by six feet wide in order "to downsize to a minimum."
Program Director Lazar ascertained that Mr. Shedrick, if he received approval for a new certificate, intended to sell on the sidewalks with the cart; the Program Director stated that it exceeded the regulations which call for a street artist display to be no more than four feet long by three feet wide.
The Program Director further addressed the issue of what Mr. Shedrick had been approved to sell versus that which he was showing in his photos. Mr. Shedrick had been approved to sell potpourri garlands (potpourri strung into garlands) and not loose potpourri which Mr. Shedrick's photos showed.
Mr. Shedrick responded that he believed he had submitted loose potpourri at the time of his examination.
The Program Director submitted Mr. Shedrick's application which showed the Advisory Committee's written approval of "POTPOURRI GARLANDS" and the date of the examination: "3-29-01." He contended that the Advisory Committee did not approve Mr. Shedrick to sell baskets of loose potpourri; rather, the Committee members approved potpourri garlands because they considered garland-making the craft.
Mr. Shedrick stated that, while anyone could buy loose potpourri from a store, he made his own potpourri.
Commissioner Stermer commented that Mr. Shedrick's cart would be too big for street artist selling.
Mr. Shedrick responded that he uses the cart presently to sell in other venues such as craft shows and that he was not proposing to use it as a street artist.
Certification Clerk Worthy stated that the only street artist area in which Mr. Shedrick would be allowed to use the cart is Justin Herman Plaza which is not subject to the sidewalk regulations and has room for ten-foot displays.
In response to Commissioner Stermer's request for a recommendation, the Program Director recommended that Mr. Shedrick be allowed to obtain a new certificate but with the stipulation that he follow all of the regulations of the Street Artists Program which include regulations governing the size of display. To Mr. Shedrick, he stated: "I wouldn't want to see you out there with the cart and tell me 'Oh, I'm working on it, I'll be cutting it down'. When you're ready to go out, then you are going to go out trimmed to size, like everybody else." With regard to what he would be allowed to sell, the Program Director clarified that it would be only the garlands; if Mr. Shedrick wanted to try to obtain certification for loose potpourri, he would have to apply for a screening.
If that were the case, Commissioner Stermer told Mr. Shedrick that he would have to be prepared to demonstrate exactly how he makes the potpourri - "the ingredients in their purchased state and then what you do to turn them into your product."
Commissioner Roth asked Mr. Shedrick who his "staff" was, as mentioned in his letter request.
Mr. Shedrick responded that he has "one lady by the name of Nadine Fisher and a guy by the name of Jimmy Motley" and a person named "Bench Ewing."
In response to a question by Commissioner Roth as to what these people contribute to Mr. Shedrick's craft, Mr. Shedrick stated that "they pretty much help me out because I'm so overwhelmed with a lot of people and only have two hands, like going to take money ... and bags up ... goes to the parking lot, gets more garlands ..."
In response to another question by Commissioner Roth, Mr. Shedrick stated that he made the garlands himself and that he sells them himself. He understood, he said, that he, as a street artist, could not have salespeople.
Certification Clerk Worthy informed the Commissioners that Mr. Shedrick, prior to allowing his certificate expire, brought another applicant in for a screening to be a family unit with Mr. Shedrick; it was Jimmy Motley who received approval but did not purchase a certificate.
Commissioner Stermer stated to Mr. Shedrick that, if he were to receive a new certificate and then be found in violation again, "I suspect that we're not going to be tolerant. Our responsibility is to all the street artists, and that it's a level playing field for everyone out there, and if some people are taking advantage of that level playing field like sliding by the rules, then we have to stop it on behalf of all the other people who are trying to sell."
In response to a question by Commissioner Roth, Mr. Shedrick stated that he had not renewed his certificate because at the time he had been involved "in a car accident, so it hindered me from standing up."
In response to a question by Commissioner Stermer, Mr. Shedrick stated that he understood the stipulations voiced by the Program Director.
Commissioner Roth moved that Mr. Shedrick be issued a street artist certificate with waiver of re-screening of wares; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Anderson and unanimously approved.
Mr. Shedrick expressed interest in continuing to sell in the spaces adjacent to the 55 Stockton Street Building (where he had previously violated).
The Program Director informed Mr. Shedrick that he would have to compete with the other artists in the lottery for those spaces.
- HEARING TO APPEAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR'S DECISION TO MAINTAIN WARNING; POSSIBLE MOTION TO WITHDRAW WARNING
Robert Clark - Certificate #2753; William Clark - Certificate #2735. Hearing and possible motion to approve July 3, 2002 request by Robert Clark and William Clark that warning issued by Program Director be withdrawn.
Commissioner Stermer stated that he was familiar with the complaint and the cross-complaints and that he wished to limit the hearing to ten minutes. (In actuality, the following hearing encompassed 48 minutes.) The Commissioner observed that there were no punitive ramifications to the warning. He urged the parties to be brief.
At the Commissioner's request, Program Director Lazar briefly explained the case. He received a report of a verbal altercation on Sunday, May 5th, between Lottery Committee member Juanita Havet, who allegedly was attempting to run the lottery, and Robert and William Clark. The altercation started over what Ms. Havet said or did not say to a third party, Charles Bonney, who, the Program Director claimed, was the only witness to the entire incident. Mr. Lazar referred the Commissioners to the letters he received from Ms. Havet, the Clarks, and Mr. Bonney, explaining their views of the incident.
The Program Director went on to state that he issued a written warning Robert and William Clark for having allegedly violated the street artist ordinance in the following manner: (1) obstructing Lottery Committee member Juanita Havet in the performance of her duty of running the lottery, and (2) obstructing the Arts Commission's lottery procedure (Arts Commission Lottery Rule VIII and Section 2406(a) of Ord. 41-83). The Clarks responded with a request for a hearing with the Program Director to refute the charges. Upon conclusion of the hearing on June 11th, the Program Director found that, because the lottery procedure itself commenced on time at 9:30 a.m., the Clarks had not obstructed the lottery procedure, and the warning for the second charge was withdrawn. With regard to the first charge, however, the Program Director found that a significant and essential portion of a Lottery Committee member's performance of duty of running the lottery is the half hour of preparation detail prior to the lottery itself; because of the verbal altercation that occurred between the Clarks and Ms. Havet during that time period, the Program Director maintained the warning for the first charge. The Program Director stated that, regardless of who started the row, he assessed that interference by the Clarks of a Lottery Committee member occurred. The Program Director's evidence included the testimony of Charles Bonney who, he said, expressed the view that both sides were at fault in keeping the argument going, that Ms. Havet had "started off with a chip on her shoulder", and that the Clarks also "had a chip on their shoulder" because they felt extremely sensitive about being talked to in an offensive manner as the persons who had started the Program, "that they were overly attached to their role as creators of the Program."
The Program Director went on to say that, during the course of his hearing with the Clarks and Ms. Havet, he himself had questioned why the Clarks had not walked away from the argument, to which William Clark had queried whether the Program Director would walk away if someone shouted abuse at him; the Program Director had responded with "yes, I could, and I do that frequently." The Program Director also stated (as he had at his hearing) that, had the Clarks walked away, they could have been the ones to call the Program Director with a complaint about the Lottery Committee member, which might have resulted in a warning issued to Ms. Havet for misusing her authority.
Street Artist Lottery Committee Member Juanita Havet told the Commissioners that she did not feel that she initiated the incident; "I went" to the lottery "on Sunday morning with the sole purpose of running the lottery so I would have first choice" to obtain a selling space. She went on to say that, as a Committee member, she does "a lot of work" and that the lottery members are never thanked for the work they do. In thirteen years of doing this work, she said, "I never abused anybody at my lotteries; I don't make it a point to start screaming or arguing at my lotteries. ... I go there to run, as efficient as possibly I can, the lottery, get it done", select a selling space, "and go to work. That's all the pay I get for being there early," running the lottery, "and taking a lot of abuse sometimes."
Ms. Havet further stated that the Program Director, who frequently observes the street artist lotteries, "can tell you that they're chaos ... You've got people coming at you from all sides," wanting duplicates of number slips, "they're not happy if they didn't get the space they want. And all this" for the Lottery Committee member "is basically for free. What you get for your trouble is you get first choice of your spot, and people begrudge you getting first choice of your spot."
With respect to the incident in question, Ms. Havet stated that she "didn't know until after the whole confrontation was over, and I was in tears, I didn't even know what the whole thing was about. Supposedly, I disrespected the Clark brothers. ... That was imagined as far as I'm concerned. ... I asked them over and over and over to go away so I could run the lottery. I didn't have the option to go away. I had to do that lottery, or I didn't have a spot that day; I couldn't sell. Otherwise, I would have taken a hike, rather than have stayed to "have these guys scream that I'm 'a f---ing b--ch' in front of a crowd of about fifty people over and over again, for some supposed disrespect." Ms. Havet concluded that she did not feel that a Lottery Committee worker "should have to be subjected to abuse ..."
Street Artist William Clark told the Commissioners that, while witness Charles Bonney was not present at today's hearing, he, Mr. Clark, had a video of Mr. Bonney's "testimony" which "impeached all of" Ms. Havet's "testimony" and "completely contradicted everything that she just told you ..." Mr. Clark further stated that she shouted at Mr. Clark and his brother Robert "from a distance of fifteen, twenty feet away ..." Mr. Clark, shouting, mimicked Ms. Havet's alleged words: " 'Stop encouraging him! I just told him he couldn't be lottery helper! What are you, stupid? I just spent fifteen minutes with him telling him this!' "
Mr. Clark, in a quieter tone, went on to say that his brother told her he was simply "trying to explain certain things to" Mr. Bonney. Mr. Clark said that he was sitting between Ms. Havet and his brother, and that while she was "screaming", he, Mr. Clark, was telling her " 'Stop! Stop!' and I tried to stop her; I just simply said to the lady ... 'Look, don't keep this up. If you keep this up, you're going to make him angry because you disrespected him, you disrespected him from the beginning.' And she said, 'I didn't disrespect him.' I said, 'Listen, I heard the tone of your voice; you did disrespect him.' And then she got up, left the lottery table, and went over to Charles and insisted on asking Charles if she disrespected him ..." to which Mr. Clark told her, " 'Hey, look, we're not talking about Charles; we're talking about my brother.' " Mr. Clark then stated that "she kept yelling at me, telling me to shut up, telling my brother to shut up, and then she went back to the lottery table ..." Mr. Clark's brother asked her for the time (to ascertain the exact moment when a helper is to be chosen), and "she refused to tell him what time it was; then she made comments about 'Where's Eddy's petition?' " (a petition previously circulated against a proposal of the Clarks) " 'If he was here right now, I'd sign it.' " Mr. Clark concluded that "she made these remarks that provoked this hostility."
Mr. Clark further stated that, after the remarks were made, Ms. Havet chose her helper and "did everything that was necessary to do to pick the helper, which includes signing sheets, getting them prepared, getting their spaces - that all has to be done at 9:10. She did all that." Mr. Clark then went to her to turn in his lottery slip, but "she refused to take my slip, and she told me: 'Get the hell out of here!' And I told her I wasn't leaving, I was here to put my slip in, and then she looked at me and she said: 'Get a life!' " The third time he offered his slip, Ms. Havet took it, after which "she made more comments" to "provoke" them.
Mr. Clark explained that on Sundays, "there's no lottery"; rather, at 9:30, there is an assignment of spaces. "At 9:10, the Committee member picks the helper." He went on to say that "after the helper is chosen, there is nothing else" for the Lottery member to do. Mr. Clark, referring to the Street Artists Program's "bluebook" of rules, quoted from page 90: " 'Choosing the Mini Helper. At 9:10 a.m. the Committee member must choose the one helper who assists at the 9:30 a.m. Mini Lottery and Main Lottery secondary sign-up. The method of selection is the same as in the case of the three Main Lottery helpers. The Mini Lottery helper spends the time between 9:10 and 9:30 a.m. collecting the lottery slips for the 9:30 a.m. sign-up, entering them on the "Used" number sheet established at the Main Lottery one or two days previously, and entering street artists in the Mini Lottery.' "
Mr. Clark also quoted from page 78: " 'MINI-LOTTERIES. Non designated helpers for Mini-Lotteries are chosen according to the same principles as for Main Lotteries. The work to be done is the same as in Main Lotteries, except that it is done by one helper. The Mini-Lottery helper first organizes the sign-up of Main Lottery numbers and then helps conduct the Mini-Lottery, performing all three functions as in a Main Lottery.' "
Mr. Clark also quoted from page 91: " 'The 9:30 a.m. Mini Lottery. The Committee member's first task at the 9:30 a.m. Mini Lottery is the sign-up of numbers held by street artists ...' " Mr. Clark concluded by saying that "from 9:10, once the helper is chosen ... to 9:30, the Committee member does nothing. The helper ... does all the paper work, and the Committee member is not allowed to do anything before 9:30. ... I was sitting there, minding my own business, doing nothing, and I was trying to calm her down because she was yelling and screaming at my brother, and then I was in the middle of them, and then she started yelling and screaming at me. ... I explained to her and her husband that ... after the third, fourth time of asking her to back off, she kept up, and I told my brother to back off, and I said to him: 'If she wants to act like a stupid b--ch, let her act like a stupid b--ch.' I never called her a f---ing b--ch. I never used obscenities towards her. I made that comment to my brother. ..."
Street Artist Robert Clark told the Commissioners that he wanted "to know the specific things that my brother and I did that Howard claims we obstructed." Through the Chair, Mr. Clark asked the Program Director what testimony was presented to him "at that hearing that said we obstructed anything that she did."
The Program Director responded: "The testimony from Charles Bonney that said that you kept the argument going with Juanita."
Mr. Clark commented: "So because I keep an argument going, somebody accuses me verbally...." To the Program Director, he again asked for specific evidence from the hearing. To the Chair, he stated: "I'm doing it to protect my rights."
At this point, Commissioner Roth asked both Clarks if they had received a suspension for the incident, to which they replied in the negative. Mr. Robert Clark stated: "I've been found guilty. ... If I'm accused of this one more time, my license will be taken away from me. ... I'm not pleading no contest. If I don't defend myself, ... it's a violation that I'm to be found guilty of. And I feel like, when I'm having a private conversation with somebody twenty feet away about ... her giving this guy wrong information, I pull him aside, I try to explain to him what the right information is, and then twenty feet away I've got this person screaming at me to shut up. I turn around to her and I said 'Look, let me explain to you what I'm trying to tell this guy ...' "
Commissioner Roth further questioned the Clarks as to the number of years they have been in the Street Artists Program, to which Mr. Robert Clark replied: "Thirty years." The Commissioner asked for the number of reprimands they have received, to which Mr. Clark replied: "None." The Commissioner then asked: "Do you honestly believe, having sat in as many meetings here as I've known you have sat in and having listened to us ... renew other people's licenses" after they committed "flagrant, multiple violations ... do you actually think that the four of us will take away your licenses, after thirty years in this Program, for getting into an argument? ... Do you honestly believe that that is a possibility?"
Mr. Robert Clark stated that he could not say what the Commissioners would do; "I know that if I am found guilty of this, this charge, that I have ... the possibility of anybody that wants to present a charge against me, if I am found guilty of it, that the possibility of my license" would be in jeopardy.
Commissioner Roth again offered the question: "Having sat in this room month after month after month and watched us give second and third chances to people who have repeatedly violated the rules, do you actually believe - ?"
Mr. William Clark interjected: "You may not be here. Commissioner, when there's a new mayor that comes in, there is going to be all new commissioners."
Mr. Robert Clark stated that, as evidence to support his position, he wished to present testimony of Charles Bonney (as recorded in the hearing conducted by the Program Director).
Commissioner Stermer stated that Mr. Bonney said that Ms. Havet was called "a f---ing b--ch, " to which Mr. William Clark responded: "You can do whatever you like, Commissioner; I deny that I called her that."
Commissioner Stermer stated that if the Clarks wished to show Mr. Bonney's testimony, the commissioners would consider all of his testimony.
Mr. William Clark stated that, after the Program Director hearing, "Charles Bonney clearly states that ... she started yelling at me for no reason at all ..."
Commissioner Anderson stated he found it difficult to dismiss the charge "because something happened that day." To this, Mr. William Clark responded: "That doesn't matter" because there was no evidence that he disrupted Ms. Havet from her duty, and that "first of all, she has no duty. She's claiming that she was stopped from doing something between 9:10 and 9:30. There's nothing between 9:10 and 9:30 she did. ..." Mr. Bonney's "testimony clearly states that the premise of" Ms. Havet's "complaint in her letter ... that my brother and I walked up to her for no reason and started screaming and shouting at her. ... was not true."
With regard to the alleged name-calling in the incident, Program Director Lazar stated that several years ago the City Attorney clarified for him that, while the First Amendment does not permit the Arts Commission to suspend or revoke for foul language used by an artist against another artist, the Commission does have the authority to suspend or revoke in matters where language or other forms of expression obstruct the business of another artist or the duty of staff people.
Mr. Robert Clark stated that Ms. Havet's "credibility is shot because she was caught lying."
The Commissioners viewed, on a video monitor, the Clarks' chosen excerpts of Charles Bonney's testimony from the videotape they made of their hearing with the Program Director.
Mr. Robert Clark again asked, through the Chair, the Program Director for a response as to "what specific obstructions occurred.... Was there any obstruction?" Mr. William Clark stated that he did not know from the Program Director how he specifically obstructed Ms. Havet.
The Program Director responded that while William Clark made his point that from 9:10 to 9:30 Ms. Havet did not have anything to do, "I didn't agree with that, because I was persuaded by" Ms. Havet's "argument that she did have things to do. And that was my right to accept that evidence - her testimony - over his testimony. ... My right is to assess what we feel is the weightier testimony. ... I was persuaded by the fact that there was acrimony there" which interfered with her job. Regardless of whether she did or did not "physically have something to do ... her job is to be present and to be monitoring that helper" to ensure that the helper is doing his/her job "and to monitor anything else, to be on call if there's any mishap at all prior to 9:30. I felt that was her job, her responsibility, her duty. She can't just say 'Well, I've done everything, it's 9:10, take it over, I'm leaving.' If that were the case, the rules would be written" to allow for the Lottery Committee member to leave after 9:10.
Mr. William Clark attempted to cross-examine Mr. Lazar.
Commissioner Stermer told him he had received his response.
Mr. Robert Clark interjected: "So we impeach her testimony, we prove that she's a liar ..."
Commissioner Stermer stated that if there were further interruptions, he would adjourn the meeting.
Mr. Robert Clark continued interjecting with "we present evidence that impeach her testimony, her credibility, and then Howard stands here and says he takes her credibility over us when we prove she's a liar! Go ahead and do it!"
Commissioner Anderson stated he supported the Program Director's position: "He's made a decision, and I back his decision."
Mr. Lazar stated that "we can sit here and we can" act as "lawyers and look at all the testimony and look at this and look at that, and everything kind of adds up to this and that, but, you know, it really doesn't add up. Because the result was it didn't work. There was a grand failure here. And I'm not going to say who started it or who didn't start it and who's right and who's wrong. There's a grand failure: people didn't get along; it was a sorry situation. And my feeling was ... that if both parties had come into the room" of the hearing in which he was presiding ... and they "sat down over a cup of coffee and said 'You know, it's really ridiculous ... I'm sorry that I blew up at you,' 'I'm sorry that I reacted or that I blew up at you, let's just shake, let's just forget it' ... if they had done that, I would have dismissed the whole thing."
Commissioner Stermer stated: "If they had done that today, we probably would have dismissed the whole thing."
Mr. William Clark stated: "That's baloney" and that Ms. Havet was "the one who filed the complaint."
Commissioner Stermer responded that he "brought up four kids as a single parent, and I have never in the household heard 'He did it to me', 'He did it to me first', 'They did it first' " without telling them " 'Go all to your rooms and come back down', and fifteen minutes later they're friends."
To this, Robert Clark interrupted with "Hey, I'm not your little kid! I brought in a witness that proves that she attacked me ... when I was having a private conversation."
Mr. Jean Havet stated to the Clarks that they had had time to "work it out," to apologize to his wife, and that, had they done so, the complaint would not have been pursued.
Ms. Havet stated that, at the Program Director hearing, she, too, said that `"if you" (the Clarks) "had just apologized, it would have been over, I wouldn't have filed any complaint whatsoever ... And again at the end of the ... session here, they did it again, they did the same thing again, they said 'I don't apologize for calling you a f---ing stupid b--ch. You are! ' "
Commissioner Stermer reminded everyone that all public testimony was over.
Commissioner Roth asked that the three artists be given "the opportunity once again to apologize." No apology was forthcoming.
Commissioner Roth moved to uphold the Program Director's decision to maintain the warning; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Freebairn-Smith.
Before a vote was taken, Commissioner Freebairn-Smith expressed concern over whether "the Arts Commission can maintain a sensible businesslike lottery. Does this incident demonstrate to us something else ... Is the lottery run properly? ... Should we have the staff do it?"
Commissioner Stermer asked whether altercations between lottery workers and other artists happen regularly. To this, the Program Director responded that they did not. That was why, he said, he "wanted to see the hatchet buried" so that all parties and their Program could "move on. I have no interest in prosecuting or pursuing this. I think it's an unfortunate situation between three people ..." who "reacted to each other. Like attracts like. That's an undeniable law of the universe."
Commissioner Stermer concurred by expressing an analogy of "a baseball manager who comes out and argues the pitch, and the umpire follows him back to the dugout in order to confront him. Now, yes, the baseball manager is the guy who started it, but the umpire could have turned around and walked the other way, and it would have been over. Otherwise, he walks him back into the dugout and yells at him, and the manager yells something back, and he's thrown out of the game."
In response to a question by Commissioner Freebairn-Smith on the Arts Commission's authority relative to verbal abuse, Commissioner Stermer stated "that the language" in the incident "got so inflammatory" and that the Commission had no redress for it but to "hope that it doesn't happen" again. "The world's an angry place to begin with. I'm persuaded that" the incident did not point to "a fundamental flaw in the" lottery "system." Furthermore, he acknowledged the strength of the lottery system's allowance for improvements, as the one approved at the last committee meeting, a measure which had been submitted by the Clarks and which had prompted Street Artist Edward Steneck to announce publicly that he had changed his mind about opposing it, that the measure was benefiting others and himself. This showed, the Commissioner said, that "people were willing to change their minds" which, in turn, enhanced the Commission's lottery system.
Commissioner Roth stated that she found it difficult "to imagine that" Ms. Havet "works from 9 a.m. to 9:10, then she twiddles her thumbs for twenty minutes ..."
Mr. Robert Clark interjected: "Well, tell us one thing that she does." When Commissioner Roth reminded him that public testimony was closed, he responded: "I don't care."
The motion was unanimously approved.
Commissioner Stermer acknowledged that Mr. Robert Clark was disrupting the meeting, to which Mr. Clark stated: "Hey, the next time I'll have my lawyer with me, you can tell it to him. So you wanna threaten me?"
- REPORT BY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
The Program Director shared several pieces of e-mail correspondence from customers praising the prints they purchased from street artists Barbara and Yuriy Bihusyak. The letters thanked the artists for the experience of buying from them. The Program Director stated that, while the Committee typically hears street artist issues dealing with struggle and controversy, he wanted the Commissioners to understand "that there are people who appreciate this Program - the people in it. ... It's still a novelty meeting the person who makes what they sell."
Ms. Bihusyak said she had a hundred similar letters from customers, and that one of her prints is in the Mayor's office.
- NEW BUSINESS
Street Artist Robert Clark stated that he "wanted to inform the Committee that, up until this time" the Program Director "has been telling people who come into this Program, any questions about how the Program runs, come up to the Clark brothers and they'll be more than glad to tell you about it. I just want to inform the Committee I don't want Howard telling people to do that anymore. And I don't want any of the Commissioners telling people come up to the Clark brothers and they'll help them find out what's going on. Because if I'm going to be railroaded, I don't want to have anything to do with the Art Commission."
Street Artist William Clark inquired as to whether or not the Program had ascertained the figures of its total revenue and expenditures for the previous year.
The Program Director responded that the Controller's office will be closing its books of the previous year at the end of August, and that the Program Director will request the figures at that time.
Mr. Clark stated that, in recent times, it took four years to obtain such information from the Controller's office.
The meeting adjourned at 4:42 p.m.
Street Artists Program Director
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August 29, 2002