STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, January 9, 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, Andrew Brother Elk, Denise Roth
Commissioners Absent: Rod Freebairn-Smith
Staff Present: Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Director; Antoinette Worthy, Certification Clerk
In attendance were Street Artists Bill Clark, Bob Clark, Barbara Michalak, Edward Steneck; Ms. Jessica Yang of Cushman & Wakefield
Commissioner Stermer, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m.ACTION
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE REQUEST BY PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR ORDINANCE INCREASING THE STREET ARTIST CERTIFICATE FEE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002-03 TO $93.40 PER QUARTER OR $373.60 PER YEAR
Referring to his "PROPOSAL TO INTRODUCE A GRADUAL 4-YEAR INCREASE IN STREET ARTIST CERTIFICATE FEE," the Commissioners heard Program Director Lazar's explanation of background issues relevant to the request. In recent years the Program was incurring a deficit due to the rising costs of salaries, police enforcement of the street artist ordinance, and other costs; consequently, the surplus fees savings from prior years was being used to cover the deficits, and, at the start of the current fiscal year (2001-02), the surplus had a balance of $122,645. This balance, he projected, would be depleted in the next four years or less. At that time, the program's budget would have to be self-supported entirely by its certificate fee revenue; and the fee, he projected, might be nearly a hundred dollars more - a 27% increase - for an annual certificate. The ethic behind his proposal to introduce a fee increase at the present time was, out of consideration of the artists, to gradually lessen the impact of the fee amount projected four years from now.
Mr. Lazar clarified that he was not requesting approval of a four-year plan, as it was his understanding that the Board of Supervisors is empowered to approve a fee predicated on the Arts Commission's report of current annual revenue, ensuing expenses for the following year, and its assessment of a fee amount to cover the following year's expenses. The purpose of his describing a four-year plan was simply to show a four-year projection of how the surplus fees savings would be depleted and how it would be ultimately necessary to request a new fee that would be significantly higher than the present one. If the Commission were to wait until the depletion of the entire surplus and then ask the street artists to suddenly shoulder the significantly higher fee, the Program Director stated, this might cause many artists to leave the Program, and the remaining artists would then have to face an even higher fee in order to cover the expenses. It would be better, he felt, to increase the fee gradually over the next four years to avoid a dramatic loss of artists from the Program. This view, he reported, was shared by both the Commission's Director of Cultural Affairs and the Deputy Director.
The current fee, which has not been raised since July, 1991, is $87.50 per quarter or $350 per year. The Program Director was requesting that, for fiscal year 2002-03, it be raised to $93.40 per quarter or $373.60 per year - a less than 7% increase.
The Program Director urged that the adoption of a conservative $6 increase in the quarterly fee (or $24 increase in the annual fee) for next year be reviewed by the Commission next fall. If it were found to be significantly increasing the revenue, it would not necessarily have to be raised for the following year; or the opposite situation might be the case.
In response to questions by Commissioner Stermer, the Program Director stated that he was basing next year's projected deficit of $25,030 on next year's budget of $165,030 minus fee revenue, at the present fee level, of $140,000, and that this projected revenue was based on the present mid-year collection of $70,000. Commissioner Stermer noted that these figures remained basically at the same level with the figures projected earlier by the Program Director, those of a lower budget amount of $159,820, a previous six-year average revenue of $134,400, and a projected deficit of $25,420.
Commissioner Brother Elk noted that the Program, by law, must be self-sustaining and that the certificate fee could not be greater than that required to cover the costs of managing and enforcing the street artist ordinance.
In response to a question by Commissioner Brother Elk, Program Director Lazar stated that there was a possibility of the fee in four years being greater that which he projected, depending on the costs. The Commissioner noted that, if the Program continued in its projected deficits and ultimate depletion of its surplus, the Program would have to adopt at least a 24% increase in its fee. He observed that the projection duty was akin to running a business.
Commissioner Stermer observed that "it is an interesting business" because it did not parallel other businesses in that (1) "a really bad winter - a really rainy winter - could wipe it out; a bad summer, and the tourists could wipe it out" and (2) a good economy did not necessarily mean increased fee revenue for the Program, as verified by the previous year's "dot com" boom economy which appeared to have lured many artists away from the Program for better paying jobs.
Commissioner Brother Elk expressed hesitation about returning to the Board of Supervisors each year with a fee increase request, in view of the amount of time and effort on the part of staff and Commissioners in preparing and reviewing the four-year projection.
Commissioner Stermer responded that the Commission may not have to return to the Supervisors each year if it is found that the revenue generated by next year's fee increase is sufficient to cover the costs for the next four years.
Commissioner Roth stated that if the staff had to return to the Supervisors with subsequent fee requests, it could refer to the 4-year plan submitted by way of explanation to the Supervisors at this time.
The Program Director stated that there were three factors which chip away at the accuracy of any predicted fee revenue for any year: (1) The street artists do not pay for their certificates on the same day or the same time of the year - they pay in keeping with the day they entered the Program; (2) at every renewal time, the artist has the choice to renew for a quarter or for a year; and (3) while many artists pay consistently for a year, there were others who pay for a quarter, leave the Program for one or two quarters, then return, or not return until the following year.
In response to a question by Commissioner Roth, the Program Director stated that a fee increase would not affect any artist who paid for a certificate under the current rate prior to the increase - until, of course, the artist's next renewal following the increase.
Commissioner Stermer called for public comment.
Street Artist Bill Clark stated that he was in opposition to any fee increase at this time. He submitted copies of the following: "STATEMENT MADE BY DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY AT STREET ARTIST PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING OF MARCH 14, 2001"; San Francisco Administrative Code Sections 9.113 ("CASH RESERVES"), 10.02 ("CASH RESERVE FUND AND SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS"), 10.03 ("EMERGENCY RESERVE FUND"), 10.100-1 ("ADMINISTRATION OF SPECIAL FUNDS"), 10.100-32 ("ART COMMISSION STREET ARTIST FUND"); Ordinance 511-84 ("CERTIFICATE FEE; FEE SETTING PROCEDURE"); Ordinance 383-96 ("APPLICATION/EXAMINATION FEE"); Proposition "K" passed by the voters of November 8, 1983 election ("...TO PROVIDE FOR ANNUAL CERTIFICATES AND AN INCREASE IN FEES BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS"); San Francisco Charter Section 6.306 ("Cash Reserve Fund and Supplemental Appropriations") and 6.307 ("Emergency Reserve Fund"); and a letter of January 4, 2002 written by himself and his brother, Robert J. Clark, to the Arts Commissioners.
In reference to the "STATEMENT MADE BY DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY ..." Mr. Clark stated that he felt the answer given by Deputy City attorney Adine Varah was not responding to the question which was asked. "What we were asking," he said, "was whether or not at the end of any current year, if any surplus that was left over, whether Section 10.02 required that that existing surplus at the end of the current year had to be carried over and counted as revenue for the following fiscal year. And what she answered was saying that ... they concluded that Section 10.02 did not require the Street Artists Program to spend all of its existing surplus ... in the current fiscal year ... I agree, there is no law that says that ... As has happened before, in the past, the question we asked was kind of distorted to imply that we were asking something that I considered pretty much to be a stupid question."
Commissioner Brother Elk asked Mr. Clark if the question he had asked was whether the surplus had to be spent in the next fiscal year. Mr. Clark responded that he had asked that, if there was a surplus at the end of the current year, whether there was any law that requires that it carry over to the next year and whether or not it must be counted as revenue for the next year.
Commissioner Stermer commented,"But not necessarily spent the next year," to which Mr. Clark responded: "Counted as revenue to me means spent" and to be considered in evaluating next year's fee.
In response to a question by Program Director Lazar as to whether the Clarks had asked if it was required for the Program to spend all the money it had in order to lower the fee, Mr. Clark responded that what he had asked was whether the law required that a surplus at the end of a fiscal year carry over to the next year and, if so, whether the law required that it be counted as revenue for the next fiscal year. He went on to say that Charter Section 9.113 and Administrative Code Section 10.02 "say ... that any unused balances at the close of any fiscal year, 'but exclusive of revenue or money required by law to be held in school, bond, bond interest, bond redemption, pension, trust, utility or other specific funds, or to be devoted exclusively to specified purposes other than annual appropriations ... shall be transferred by the Controller ... to a Cash Reserve Fund.' " Mr. Clark stated that under the new ordinance specifying the existence of the street artist fund, the fund was categorized as a special fund devoted to a specific purpose; therefore, he said, the Program's surplus must be retained in its fund at the end of the year.
Commissioner Brother Elk noted that, retained exclusively for the Program's purposes, the surplus could not be taken by the Mayor or the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Clark clarified that the Board of Supervisors could borrow the Program's surplus temporarily with the Arts Commission's approval, but it must be returned to the Program with interest.
Mr. Clark, returning to Section 9.113, quoted: " 'Such surplus shall be taken into account as revenue of the ensuing fiscal year.' "
Commissioner Anderson asked Mr. Clark if the essence of his question was whether, if the surplus is transferred to the next fiscal year, the surplus should be factored in with the Program's annual revenue to determine what the fee should be for that fiscal year. Mr. Clark affirmed that that was his question.
Referring to the "Fee Setting Procedure" described in Ordinance 511-84, Mr. Clark stated that the Program Director has to file a report with the Controller (by April 1st) reflecting the anticipated costs of the Program for the ensuing year and the fee which would be necessary to support the costs. In addition, this law stressed that "The fee set shall be equal to, but not greater than, the fees necessary to support the costs of administering and enforcing the provisions of the Street Artist Ordinance."
Referring to Ordinance 383-96, which established an application/examination fee, Mr. Clark quoted: " 'The funds credited to the Arts Commission pursuant to this section, in combination with funds derived from Sections 2404.1 and 2410 of this ordinance, shall not exceed the actual cost to the Arts Commission of adminstering and enforcing Proposition "L" and this Article.' "
Mr. Clark read the January 4, 2002 letter which his brother, Robert Clark, and he had written to the Commissioners. The letter opposed the proposed fee increase for the folowing reasons: " '(1) The Board of Supervisors lacks the legal authority to raise the Street Artist Certificate fee when it is not necessary, (2) The Art Commission is required by law to carry over and use any surplus in the Street Artist Fund at the end of the fiscal year as revenue for the next fiscal year.' " The letter placed emphasis on the raising of the fee only "when necessary", a phrase used in Proposition "K" of the November 8, 1983 election; according to the Clarks, it was not necessary to raise the fee for next year because " 'the Arts Commission's own records and estimates indicate there already is more than enough revenue in the Street Artist Fund to pay next year's expenses.' " Furthermore, the provisions of Charter Section 6.306 applied to the creation of the present Street Artist Fund; therefore, " 'any surplus remaining at the end of the fiscal year shall be taken into account as revenue of the ensuing fiscal year.' " This meant that " 'the surplus of $120,000 in the Art Commision's Street Artist Fund must be used as revenue for the next fiscal year.' "
Mr. Clark stated that while he understood the reasoning and logic behind the Program Director's proposal to raise the fee, it was inapproppriate to divide the Program's costs by the number of street artists without considering usage of the surplus. He urged that the Commissioners ask for another clarification from the City Attorney on this issue.
Commissioner Stermer stated that if the Commission were to follow the Program Director's long-range proposal, it could lead to having to return to the Board of Supervisors with subsequent higher annual requests and the possibility of having to admit that previous requested amounts were inadequate; whereas the Clarks' proposal "allows for no long-range planning at all."
Program Director Lazar stated that in a meeting at the City Attorney's office he had asked the question of whether or not the Program was required to use up all of its surplus revenue with its current revenue in order to possibly lower the fee (as had been suggested at a previous Program Committee hearing), and the verbal response he had received was that the Program could, if it wished, use all of its surplus in one year but the Program was not mandated to do so. The City Attorney's office told him that the method he had been using of allowing the Program to gradually use the surplus to offset its annual deficits was a fiscally prudent method.
Commissioner Stermer stated that the Arts Commission was not the forum in which to obtain a legal opinion on the Clarks' question. What the Commissioners were to approve is what they would feel appropriate to present to the Board of Supervisors, and it would be up to the Board to seek a legal response to the Clarks' question. He would urge the Clarks to present their argument to the Board and ask for a legal clarification.
Mr. Clark responded that he preferred that route to seeing the Commissioners "have a City Attorney deputy sit here who won't give you a written opinion."
Commissioner Stermer asked for additional comment from the public. None was given.
Program Director Lazar clarified that if the Committee were to vote to recommend a fee increase, the recommendation would be submitted to the Commission's Executive Committee which would be meeting on January 15th; if approved by the Executive Committee, the recommendation would be submitted for approval to the full Commission at its meeting on February 4th. If approved, the fee increase would be mentioned in the Arts Commission's budget for submittal to the Mayor. In the meantime, the Program Director would issue a report to the Controller of next year's Program costs and the proposed fee. In addition he would request the City Attorney to draft a fee ordinance for submittal to a hearing of the Finance Committeeof the Board of Supervisors in the spring, in order for the new fee to be adopted at the start of the fiscal year, July 1st.
Commissioner Brother Elk, complimenting the Clarks on their argument, stated that, in his mind, the existence of the surplus was a separate issue from the issue of the Commission's job of considering the fee on an annual basis. In other words, the Commissioners' vote on an appropriate fee to cover the expenses should be independent of the existence of the surplus.
Program Director Lazar stated that, if the surplus had not existed, the Commission, several years ago, would have had to commence requesting fee increases to cover the expenses.
Commissioner Brother Elk stated that, while the balance of the surplus at the start of the present fiscal year was $122,000 and, to many minds, represented a sizeable amount of money, to factor it all for only one budget year "is probably not the way we want to go."
Commissioner Anderson stated that the existence of the surplus actually detoured consideration of what the fee should in reality be to fully cover the expenses.
Commissiner Brother Elk concurred and noted that the Program's budget next year showed a $25,000 deficit.
Commissioner Stermer stated that, since the surplus was projected to be depleted in four years and since the fee at the time fee would supposedly be sufficient to fully cover the budget, he felt it was appropriate for the fee to gradually address the surplus and that this was "responsible planning."
Commissioner Brother Elk stated that the fee setting procedure provides for an annual accounting which, he felt, is quite separate from the surplus issue; "we may decide to provide $25,000 every year for the next four years out of the surplus to bring the budget in line ... I really see those as two different issues."
Program Director Lazar stated that there was a possibility, with the gradual fee increases and resultant increased revenue, that the surplus with its accrued interest may exist for a longer period of time; but, inevitably, the fee would have to stand on its own, without the benefit of a surplus, to fully cover the Program's expenses.
Commissioner Stermer noted that many street artists were "working on a very small margin" which has not been helped by the inclement weather. If the surplus were not considered, the fee would have to be be raised nearly a hundred dollars more at the present time which, the Commissioner said, would be "immoral."
Street Artist Robert Clark stated that Sections 10.02 and 9.113 "seem to mandate that the surplus be used to calculate next year's fee." He went on to say that the present $70,000 in revenue (collected July through December, 2001) added to the surplus of $122,000 would more than cover next year's $165,000 budget. "So in effect, technically, we shouldn't have to pay any fees for six months. ... We're saying we have to go by the law ..." He and his brother, he said, will present the same argument at the Board of Supervisors and "hopefully we'll have a new City Attorney that's going to give an honest answer. ... Our position is that if you didn't have the surplus, we would gladly pay whatever fee you decide is best."
Program Director Lazar stated that he wanted to see the Commission, at the Board of Supervisors, "present a posture of responsibility, that this is how we've been doing it, the City Attorney has said that that has been fine, and that this is what we predict. If the City Attorney ... says 'no, you've got to factor in all of your surplus money now and keep the fee the way it is now', and we bottom out that surplus, then that will mean that next year we'll be before the Supervisors asking for a much higher fee. ... I wouldn't want to see us back down and not offer what I feel is a prudent course."
Commissioner Roth moved that the request by the Program Director for an ordinance increasing the street artist certificate fee for fiscal year 2002-03 to $93.40 per quarter or $373.60 per year be approved; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Brother Elk and unanimously approved.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE PROGRAM DIRECTOR'S RECOMMENDATION OF DENIAL OF CERTIFICATE OR RENEWAL
Jeffrey Shedrick - Certificate #5695 (expired November 15, 2001). Mr. Shedrick was not present.
Program Director Lazar chronicled Mr. Shedrick's alleged violations and the course of his hearing procedure with the Arts Commission:
On August 26, 2001, it was reported that Mr. Shedrick was (1) selling in a location not designated by the Board of Supervisors (55 Stockton Street); and (2) Conducting business in an improper, disorderly, hazardous manner (parking his vehicle adjacent to his display in a non-parking zone and with both wheels up on the curb). The report of these violations was received from an observer who telephoned it to the Program Director the day after the incident. As a result of this report, the Program Director sent Mr. Shedrick a written "NOTICE OF WARNING" against continuing to violate.
On August 30th. Mr. Shedrick and his partner, Jimmy Motley, attended a screening of their wares by the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners; the Committee members verbally warned them to adhere to all the rules of the Program.
On October 3, 2001, Mr. Shedrick was reported to be allegedly committing the same two violations for which he had been warned against and, in addition, he was in violation for selling within 12 feet of a doorway (55 Stockton Street). The report of these violations was telephoned to the Program office on the day they were occuring. The next day (October 4th), the Program Director sent Mr. Shedrick a written "NOTICE OF INTENT TO RECOMMEND DENIAL OF CERTIFICATE OR RENEWAL." The notice offered him an opportunity to have a public hearing with the Program Director to discuss the charges, and, at the hearing, if he were to agree in writing to comply with all the rules, the Program Director would recommend issuance of certificate or renewal; if he were not to agree, or not even meet with the Program Director, the matter would be referred to the Program Committee for action on the Program Director's recommendation of denial of certificate or renewal.
Three weeks later, on October 26th, Mr. Shedrick telephoned to say that he wished to meet with the Program Director. The Program Director asked the Certification Clerk to ask him to say what days and hours he would be available to meet. Three days later, Mr. Shedrick returned the call and left a message stating that he would telephone again with possible dates on which he would be available to meet.
On November 15th, Mr. Shedrick's certificate expired.
By December 18th, the Program office had received no further communication from Mr. Shedrick. In keeping with the hearing procedures, the Program Director sent Mr. Shedrick a "NOTICE OF HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE PROGRAM DIRECTOR'S RECOMMENDATION OF DENIAL OF CERTIFICATE."
On January 8th (the day before his hearing), Mr. Shedrick telephoned the Certification Clerk and stated that he would attend his hearing.
The Program Director introduced Ms. Jessica Yang of Cushman & Wakefield as a person who observed Mr. Shedrick in violation. Ms. Yang told the Commissioners that she was the associate manager of the 55 Stockton Street building. She stated that the Program Director's description of the alleged violations was accurate, but that she wanted to add a charge against Mr. Shedrick of soliciting outside his space: not only was his sales stand occupying an illegal space, but he was away from his stand "approaching my students" (of her building's fashion school) "as they would leave the building, to purchase his products."
In response to questions by Commissioners Brother Elk and Stermer, the Program Director stated that Mr. Shedrick had been a licensed street artist for less than a year (March 30 - November 15), and that he had not seen Mr. Shedrick - nor received a report of him - selling during the winter holiday season.
The Program Director stated that Mr. Shedrick had not only received the rules governing sales activities but had also received an earlier warning (August 24th) in reference to a report with photos submitted by the Advisory Committee of his allegedly (1) exceeding the display length regulation and (2) having a salesperson.
Commissioner Brother Elk observed that Mr. Shedrick had received "multiple opportunities for him to get educated about what he needs to do." The Commissioner added that it was clear that Mr. Shedrick had committed "some serious violations."
In response to a question by Commissioner Roth, the Program Director stated that Mr. Shedrick has not re-applied for a certificate.
Commissioner Brother Elk moved that Jeffrey Shedrick be found 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 a vehicle parked in a non-parking zone adjacent to street artist display), and that issuance of a certificate for Mr. Shedrick be denied; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Roth and unanimously approved.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO REQUEST BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO DESIGNATE FORMER WINTER HOLIDAY SPACES "Z-48", "Z-49", AND "Z-50" (STOCKTON STREET, EAST SIDE, O'FARRELL TO GEARY STREETS; ADJACENT TO MACY'S MEN'S STORE) AS PERMANENT, YEAR-ROUND SPACES
The Program Director was informed that Mr. Louis Meunier, Executive Vice President of Macy's, had been out of town for a month and had returned only two days before. Because Mr. Meunier had not had sufficient time to review the request, the Union Square Association's executive director, Ms. Linda Mjellem, requested that the item be continued to the next Program Committee meeting.
Commissioner Stermer asked that the item be continued to the next meeting.
- REPORT BY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
The Program Director joyously informed the Commissioners that, on December 7, 2002, Ordinance No. 234-01 was adopted. The ordinance corrects a legislative error made a year before which had eradicated the Arts Commission's hard-won provision in a previous law for interest to be credited by the Controller on any balance of funds in the Street Artists Fund. With the passage of the new ordinance, the provision was restored; its timeliness was of extreme importance in relevance to the Program's usage of its surplus in covering its deficits (see the Item I discussion).
In reference to the winter holiday selling season, the Program Director stated that, minutes before this meeting, he received a packet of police reports and copies of citations written by the officers hired by the Program to enforce the street artist ordinance against the unlicensed vendors in the Downtown area. He will study the reports and inform the Commissioners of the results at the next Program Committee meeting.
The Program Director went on to say that, during the winter holiday season, he himself cited 11 street artists in violation; copies of the "cites" were sent to the Commissioners. In addition, the Program's Advisory Committee observed 5 street artists in violation; as a result of these observations, the Program Director was able to issue written notices of warning or, as the case may be, notices of hearing to the violators.
Commissioner Stermer asked the four street artists present how the winter holiday season had been for them economically. Street Artist Barbara Michalak said, "Terrible," and that the inclement weather was a major factor. Street Artist Bill Clark said that "all the stores had so many sales going on." The Commissioner stated that he was thinking about the artists all during the season.
Commissioner Roth asked about the police performance in apprehending the illegal vendors. Street Artist Bob Clark responded that "apparently, the Police Department allowed the non-profits to sell all Christmas long two feet from the doorway ..." and that he, Mr. Clark, had personally spoken to one such "non-profit" vendor who told him that, during the entire season, he had not been approached by the police.
Commissioner Roth commented: "In a season of bomb threats, that's unacceptable."
Commissioner Brother Elk asked for the names of the non-profit organizations that were violating the regulations. Mr. Bob Clark responded that he "couldn't tell because they didn't put their signs out."
The Program Director responded that he had detected four separate displays exhibiting the metal wares of a former certificate-holder; one of the displays did show a required two-foot-by-two-foot sign which stated "Peaceful Streets" as the name of the organization. The Program Director went on to describe his frustration in enforcing the distance-from-doorway regulation against the street artists who, in their midst, had to tolerate the daily wintertime presence of the afforementioned "Peaceful Streets" vendor who, the Program Director himself photographed, was selling within two feet of the doorway of the Crate-n-Barrel store. At one point, the Program Director called a beat officer who met him at the site and moved the vendor to a location ten feet away from the door, after the Program Director proved the vendor's illegal location with a tape measure.
The Program Director further stated that since the Crate-n-Barrel store had obviously not had a problem with the vendor's presence near its entrance during the entire season, the Program Director would consider proposing the vendor's site as a temporary street artist location for next year's winter holiday season, the site to be exempted, of course, from the artists' twelve-feet-from-a-doorway regulation.
Commissioner Roth asked that pressure be put on the Union Square merchant associations - "all those Union Square people who come here and complain every time we try to get" street artist spaces - "to be a little more vigilant about who is in their doorway and to call the police."
The Program Director stated that Executive Director Linda Mjellem of the Union Square Association telephoned him one day during the season to relay a complaint of the head security officer of the main store of Macy's who, ironically, construed one of the non-profit vendors as a street artist set up too close to the door. The Program Director, himself having observed the vendor's presence repeatedly, told Ms. Mjellem the name of the "non-profit" organization represented by the vendor and advised her to inform the security officer to call the police in such circumstances.
The Program Director expressed dismay over "Macy's tolerating this one display" - which was also manned by a former street artist - "not only opposite Macy's service entrance, which is an entrance, but opposite the standpipes on the building ... Macy's wouldn't do anything; this was going on daily."
Street Artist Barbara Michalak spoke of instances in which she herself had gone up to one of the vendors of the "non-profit" organizations to ask for identification, only to be told that the vendor was "watching" the display for someone else who had all the documents. Commissioner Brother Elk stated that, in such situations, the police should be called.
Street Artist Edward Steneck stated that, in prior winter holiday seasons, the police would always check the artists' certificates, but during the last season, no police officer asked him for his certificate. Referring to the $8,500 in street artist fees spent by the Program on the police during winter, Mr. Steneck said: "I think we got screwed; they disappeared, they were gone, they never came around. What's happened to our money?"
The Program Director commented that, one day during the season, he informed the head officer, who coordinated the activities of the officers hired by the Program, of the presence of six flourishing illegal displays at the intersection of Market and Sutter Streets. Several days later, a sunny Friday afternoon when the street artists and the public were out in numbers, the Program Director rode a streetcar down Market Street from the Embarcadero to 4th Street and saw no illegal display.
Commissioner Stermer asked for an accounting of the time spent by the officers. The Program Director stated that the materials he received from the police prior to the meeting would contain - as it had in prior years - copies of the officers' hourly logbooks which he would have to examine in order to make his report for the next meeting.
Commissioner Roth recommended that, for next year, the staff encourage the big stores - even by letter - to call the police on any vendor too close to the door or breaking any other regulation.
- PUBLIC COMMENT/OPEN FORUM FOR POSSIBLE PRESENTATION OF PROPOSALS FOR NEW SELLING SPACES
Proposal for street artist workshops
Commissioner Stermer related a discussion held at this month's full Arts Commission meeting in which the commissioners were asked to set goals for the upcoming year. Commissioner Freebairn-Smith, he said, wanted to find some way to help the street artists raise the standards of their work sold on the street. The Commissioner, he said, "was talking about bringing the bottom quality up to match" the calibre of better items. Commissioner Stermer acknowledged that while there was no legal way to mandate quality - "as an artist, I'm glad we can't" - he considered the possibility of having workshops offered by street artists which could be co-funded by street artists taking the workshops as well as by matching funds of the Arts Commission.
Street Artist Bill Clark responded that anything that offers people an opportunity to improve their craft would be worthwhile. Along the Commissioner's lines, he favored what he and the Program Director had talked about long ago: the creation of a website for the Program which could encourage artists who expend time and effort in their work by offering them web page recognition of their items.
Street Artist Bob Clark stated that the proposal might not be worthwhile, that is, a teacher street artist might one day find that "the little bit of money I make teaching this guy may end up hurting me in the long run" if his student takes his selling space and sells "what I taught him." To this, Commissioner Stermer replied that that person did not have to teach.
The Commissioner went on to say that it would not be mandatory, that it would be for people who would want to teach and would not be afraid of competition and would teach the people who would "genuinely want to learn to get better."
Street Artist Bill Clark stated that he felt it was a very good idea, that there was no place for such street artists "to get that kind of education," and that it should not be too expensive to fund.
Commissioner Stermer perceived such a training lesson to be an hour long, costing the student $10 to be matched by $10 from the Arts Commission; ten students would yield for the teacher $200.
Mr. Clark suggested that some of the workshops be held in the Arts Commission's Suite 70 toward the end of the month when, typically, there are not many meetings scheduled.
Commissioner Brother Elk saw an educational opportunity in making one of the teaching sessions a time for artists, commissioners, staff, and store merchants to get together with refreshments "to give people the feeling they are actually in a very valuable program."
Commissioner Roth suggested that it would be beneficial if such a session, in which the merchants would be gathered, were to occur prior to the winter holiday selling season.
Commissioner Stermer asked that the mattter of Street Artists Program workshops be calendared for the next Program Committee agenda.
Proposal to amend lottery procedures to allow artists to enter into lotteries names of artists not present at lotteries
Street Artist Bill Clark stated that under the present lottery rules, a certified street artist is allowed to enter only his/her own name in a lottery for an opportunity to obtain a selling space; he proposed that the rules be amended to allow an artist to enter not only his own name but the name of any other certified artist who would not be present at the lottery. While inclement weather, health, or other reasons could prevent an artist from physically coming to and participating in a lottery, the artist would be able to have a friend enter his/her name in his/her behalf. To be sure, the requirement for an artist to be present to sign in for a space (which occurs after the lottery) would not be changed; but it would no longer be necessary for the artist to be present at the lottery itself. "What we're trying to do," he said, "is make the program more user-friendly for everybody."
Commissioner Stermer asked that this item be calendared for the next meeting.
Proposal to amend lottery helpership designation procedure
Street Artist Bill Clark stated that presently the lottery procedures allowed for a "designated helper": at a lottery, an artist who receives one of the last four ranking numbers (in the pull out of artists' names) is designated as a helper for the next lottery and this is so designated on the artist's lottery slip. If the artist appears on the day he/she is assigned to the helpership, the artist must have in his/her possession the blue slip he/she received in order to be allowed to do the helper's job, even though the lottery sign-up sheet lists the artist's name as a helper. If the artist fails to present his/her lottery slip, the artist loses the opportunity of being a helper and being able to have first choice of selecting a space. Mr. Clark said that the artists and he were proposing that the rule be amended to allow a designated helper to fulfill his/her helpership without having to present his/her lottery slip, so long as the sign-up sheet which would indicate the artist's helpership is present.
Commissioner Stermer asked that this item be calendared for the next meeting.
Request for "COMMISSIONERS' COMMENT/PUBLIC COMMENT" agenda item
Commissioner Brother Elk requested that, for future agendas of the Committee, there be an item entitled "COMMISSIONERS' COMMENTS/PUBLIC COMMENT" and that this be separate from the existing item "PUBLIC COMMENT/OPEN FORUM FOR POSSIBLE PRESENTATION OF PROPOSALS FOR NEW SELLING SPACES."
Commissioner Stermer asked that this item be listed on future agendas.
The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Street Artists Program Director
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January 20, 2002