STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, June 12, 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, Andrew Brother Elk, Rod Freebairn-Smith, Denise Roth
Commissioners Absent: Kirk Anderson
Staff Present: Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs; Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Director; Antoinette Worthy, Certification Clerk
In attendance were Ms. Leigh Ann Baughman, Executive Director, Union Square Business Improvement District; Ms. Sarah MacIntyre, General Manager, Pacific Place Management Office; Mr. Arrickco Bell, Manager, Old Navy; Street Artists Barbara Bihusyak, William Clark, Edward Steneck, Matt Summers
Commissioner Stermer, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:17 p.m. and stated that, out of courtesy to the building and store management representatives present, Item II of the agenda would be heard first.ACTION
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE AUTHORIZATION OF PROGRAM DIRECTOR TO REQUEST BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR PERMANENT DESIGNATION OF SEVEN (7) FORMER TEMPORARY WINTER HOLIDAY SEASON STREET ARTIST SPACES: "Z-1", "Z-2", "Z-3", "Z-4" (MARKET STREET, SOUTH SIDE, AT 4TH STREET - ADJACENT TO OLD NAVY AND WALGREEN STORES) AND "Z-40", "Z-41", "Z-42" (MARKET STREET, NORTH SIDE, AT MONTGOMERY STREET - ADJACENT TO CROCKER PLAZA)
Program Director Lazar explained that temporary spaces "Z-1", "2" and "3" were approved by the Board of Supervisors as temporary winter holiday spaces in their present sidewalk locations first in 1983 and then every year from 1986 through 2001; and space "Z-4" was approved in its present location from 1986 through 2001. For all these years, the Program Director stated that he never received nor heard of any report describing a problem caused by the spaces, despite the fact that they are on a heavily trafficked sidewalk.
In recent years many street artists, at the end of the winter holiday season, asked the Program Director to seek permanent year-round designation of the four temporary spaces. The issue was put on "the back burner" due to more urgent matters of the Program - until recently, that is, when the Program Director observed the four spaces being inhabited by unlicensed vendors selling commercially manufactured jewelry, sweaters, sunglasses, and other items, selling such illegal merchandise directly in front of Old Navy and Walgreen's and to the frustration of the street artists who are forbidden to use the spaces other than during the winter holiday season.
For the record, the Program Director read to the Commissioners an excerpt from his logbook: "March 8, 2002 - 4:30 p.m., Market Street at 4th Street: Observed a continuous line of 30 feet of tables displaying illegal merchandise by unlicensed vendors adjacent to the BART wall and right in front of Old Navy and Walgreen's. The tables were predominantly displaying sweaters and scarves. ..." Mr. Lazar stated that, at the time of the incident, he could not imagine why the two stores were tolerating the illegal sale of merchandise which was in direct competition with their own.
Upon seeing the illegals using their spaces, the street artists expressed outrage to the Program Director with such questions as "How can unlicensed vendors get away with selling merchandise they don't make?" "How can they get away with selling it in our spaces and displaying it on enormous tables?" (while street artists must be licensed, must sell merchandise they do make, must sell it in legal spaces, and sell it on tables only 4 feet long). The artists' indignation, added to the Program Director's frustration in observing that the street artist and peddling ordinances were being abused, prompted the present submission of the request to make the spaces permanent for the artists.
Ms. Leigh Ann Baughman, Executive Director of Union Square Business Improvement District, stated that she opposed making "Z-1" through "4" permanent spaces because they are on "an incredibly heavily traveled intersection, especially on the Market Street side." She went on to describe that the spaces were in an area where the sidewalk narrows due to the wall of the BART escalator, rendering the area "a safety hazard" as well as a "confusing intersection for visitors to our city" who have to cross Market Street in an elongated intersection.
Ms. Baughman stated a second reason for opposing the proposal: many spaces in nearby Hallidie Plaza were not being used by the artists. While she understood the artists' quest for additional permanent spaces in order to take advantage of new travel patterns created by shoppers, she asked that the artists consider relinquishing some spaces each time they ask for additional ones. She summed up by saying that her organization felt that there was a sufficient number of street artist spaces in the area that were underutilized. Ms. Baughman added that she did not oppose the retention of the spaces as winter holiday spaces.
Ms. Sarah MacIntyre, General Manager of Pacific Place Management Office, stated that she is the building manager for the building which houses Old Navy, Walgreen's, and Palomar Hotel, and that she represented the building owners and developers "who rehabilitated that entire corner at great expense." She went on to say that her group did not support the proposal for permanent designation of the four street artist spaces but supported their continued existence as temporary winter holiday spaces "because we appreciate and understand that the holiday season can make or break small businesses."
Ms. MacIntyre described the intersection as heavily trafficked with people crossing the street at an angle, people coming up 4th Street converging at the corner,and people on their way to Walgreen's; the corner, she said, "is actually chaos." To have two permanent street artist tables in "Z-1" and "Z-2" and a crowd of people congregating around the tables, looking at the wares, would make the situation worse. Adding to the congestion, she said, are obstructions caused by a fire hydrant, a light pole, and newspaper racks. "Safety is our biggest issue for not just our tenants" but for all people in the intersection.
Concurring with Ms. Baughman, Ms. MacIntyre stated that, in addition to the underutilized spaces at Hallidie Plaza, there were 8 permanent spaces just 50 feet away from "Z-1" and "2", located across the intersection on the south side of Market Street, between the Humboldt Bank building and the Four Seasons building. The 8 spaces, she said, were located on a sidewalk that is "pretty much a mirror image" of the "Z-1" and "2" location; in addition, the sidewalk is wider and has a nearby bus zone.
Ms. MacIntyre further stated that the owners of her building supported the arts and were "not against street artists." The building's lobby has ongoing art programs by Visual Aid artists; Ms. MacIntyre herself, she said, is "married to someone who actually got a street artist license, so I actually understand and appreciate how distinct street artists are with licenses versus someone who is without." Nevertheless, the building owners and she were of the position that, "from a safety perspective", the corner was "too tight" to tolerate permanent artists' displays.
Mr. Arrickco Bell, Manager of Old Navy, stated that the congestion and traffic "flow like a river" in front of his store; added to the jamming of the corner are news racks and a hydrant.
Ms. MacIntyre addressed the issue of illegal vendors in the location and stated that her building's store tenants and she were "the eyes and ears of that corner" and that they would be willing "to take a more active role, with the guidance of" the Street Artists Program Director, to call the Police on unlicensed vendors.
Mr. Bell concurred and said he understood "where" the staff and Commissioners "were coming from" and pledged his help in the matter.
Commissioner Stermer thanked them and stated that what the street artists, the Program Director, and the Commissioners wished to see was "a level playing field": if street artists are paying their dues and are staying in certain spaces restricted to regulations and are asked not to be in other locations, then other people should not be selling in those locations.
Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth clarified that "street artists are not getting more spaces" in comparison with the number of spaces they have lost and continue to lose due to curb zone changes, building alteration, retrofitting, or demolition, and traffic detours. He asked the Program Director to mention a few examples. Mr. Lazar pointed to the fact that the current three-year projects of retrofitting many buildings of Grant Avenue, Geary to Post Streets, as well as the tearing up of the street and sidewalks themselves by water- and other pipe installations, have eradicated many of the best street artist spaces in the Downtown area. In addition, the spaces between the Humboldt building and the Four Seasons building on Market Street, mentioned by Ms. MacIntyre, are a mere 10 spaces that were salvaged from an original 34 permanently designated for the artists by the Board of Supervisors in 1977; the other 24 were eradicated by another City department's creation of an adjacent "enormous bus zone." Furthermore, the business value of the 10 spaces were not nearly as good as that of "Z-1" through "4" because the flow of pedestrian traffic from Grant Avenue onto Market Street paled in comparison with that of Stockton Street onto Market Street.
Ms. Baughman again pointed out that many spaces at Hallidie Plaza were not being used by the artists.
In response, Mr. Newirth stated that he has lived in San Francisco for 22 years and, with respect to the spaces between the Humboldt and the Four Seasons buildings, "I don't walk over there" because it is a commercially "dead" area ... "I walk between 4th and 5th" streets.
Ms. MacIntyre stated that she, too, lives in the city, and, while she sometimes takes the cable car home, she avoids the Hallidie Plaza cable car turnaround because the line of riders is too long.
Mr. Newirth stated to Ms. MacIntyre that the Arts Commission spends money to hire police officers during the winter holiday season to remove the illegal vendors, "and so I think that if you hired policemen to get rid of those illegal vendors, then the artists wouldn't be upset because they wouldn't see" the illegal vendors being able to sell. Ms. MacIntyre noted the volumes of property and payroll taxes that her building owners and tenants pay the city and stated that "to hire a separate police person to" monitor "that corner is ludicrous."
Commissioner Roth asked how it could be considered "dangerous" to have two small street artist displays on that corner while "a thirty-foot long table" (manned by illegal vendors) "not be dangerous. ... There are plenty of illegals out there; I've seen them."
Commissioner Stermer urged Ms. MacIntyre and Mr. Bell to make a telephone call a day for a police officer to remove any illegal vendor in front of their property. He urged them also to utilize their building's security guards to go out on the sidewalk, "without a cop, just flash their badge, and say 'leave - if you don't, you'll be arrested'."
Ms. Baughman stated that the particular corner of 4th and Market in question was not within the Business Improvement District's boundaries. The B.I.D., she said, has a hired "10B officer ... working very diligently twelve months a year" verifying licensed street artists from unlicensed vendors, as well as verifying street artists selling in legal spaces. She further stated that she was trying to get Pacific Place Management and Old Navy into her organization so that they, too, could benefit from such enforcement.
Street Artist William Clark, who identified himself as having been "a street artist forever," responded to Ms. Baughman's statement regarding vacant spaces at Hallidie Plaza. Mr. Clark stated that street artists have often felt that they have been "forced into certain locations", even "ghettoized," and, as a result, the artists have been wanting to get spaces elsewhere throughout the city. In reference to requesting that temporary spaces be made permanent, he said that he "would like all of the temporary locations" to be made "permanent."
Mr. Clark went on to address Mr. Lazar's clarification of the salvaging of 10 spaces out of an original 34 on Market Street. Mr. Clark stated that he was present "when we were given those spaces ... And we were told to just wait it out, wait it out during the whole construction" period, and the 34 spaces would be returned to the artists. "I've waited 30 years and watched those locations be taken away. I was looking forward to working down there ... Now it's a little bit different situation." In view of the fact that the artists have lost many locations, Mr. Clark stated that a few temporary spaces should be made permanent.
Commissioner Stermer asked Ms. MacIntyre whether she would be willing to revisit the issue of seeking permanent status for the four temporary spaces if the illegal vendors were to be successfully removed. "Right now," he said, "the street artists aren't the ones who are causing the problem on that corner; it's the illegals and the fact that it's a heavily trafficked corner." If, after 6 months of policing the illegals with suggestions from Mr. Lazar, it was found that this appreciably reduced the traffic and the confusion, would she be willing to revisit the issue?
Ms. MacIntyre responded that she would have no problem with revisiting the issue. For the present, she proposed that spaces "Z-3" and "4", which are by the BART wall and where the sidewalk "is significantly wider," be made permanent spaces. She said that she spoke with Mr. Roman Ng, the manager of the adjacent Walgreen's store, about this and found out that "he has a huge problem with homeless people there that he can do nothing about because they're not really doing anything illegal according to the city of San Francisco." Mr. Ng, she said, would rather have two street artist displays there rather than the homeless, and this would be better for Walgreen's. The area occupied by "Z-3" and "4", she said, is wider and is not as much of a safety concern because it is west of the crosswalk and not where the two crosswalks "collide" where spaces "Z-1" and "2" are located.
Ms. MacIntyre also stated that her group would do as much as it could to police the corner at least once a day.
Mr. Lazar stated that the street artists would be very grateful to receive the two spaces as year-round spaces.
Ms. Baughman stated that the Moscone complex will be creating more pedestrian traffic and will impact the 4th and Market corner where ("Z") " '1' and '2' are the greatest concern." She endorsed making "3" and "4" into permanent spaces.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith stated that "being sensitive about the 'Z-1' and 'Z-2' locations seems wise to me; it is very crowded there." Nevertheless, he did not want to see illegal vendors in street artist spaces. He went on to explain that it was anticipated years before, "in the early Yerba Buena days, that some of our visitor traffic from Moscone would come to Grant" Avenue and would eventually assist business in that location. But "until the Jewish Museum and the Mexican Museum" and related activities "finally get going, there really isn't very much traffic" for the 10 street artist spaces on Market Street between the Humboldt and Four Seasons buildings.
The Commissioner went on to express reservation about possibly "favoring the illegals" at the Market and 4th corner. In contrast, he related seeing an outdoor security agent for stores in a Boston area who is a street "presence" greeting people and dissuading possible dope deals and other problems; the Commissioner wondered if the house security of Old Navy and other stores at 4th and Market "couldn't do a little more on the sidewalk."
In response, Mr. Bell stated that his store has cameras and a security team and he could order the team to increase surveillance on the sidewalk - possibly do "a sweep" of illegal vendors every half hour, if necessary.
Commissioner Stermer stated that if illegal vending in front of Old Navy and Walgreen's "is an issue, you're the only ones who can address it; I'm not going to walk down there and say 'Oops, illegals' and call up the cops."
Ms. MacIntyre responded that the manager of the Palomar Hotel has been calling about a man who plays drums on the sidewalk, disturbing the peace; the hotel itself has a security person who spends time getting the homeless away from the door. The hotel, Old Navy, and Walgreen could all help out on the illegal vending issue, she said; but the Police Department should be a part of this united effort. "I pay lots of taxes ... I don't want them" (the police) "spending too much time on the illegal" vendors when "I've got this huge homeless problem," and until "the laws change, homeless can sit there all day, and nobody can do anything about it. ... Even when there's a convention in town, they just sit there, and unless they catch them urinating, I can't get them arrested."
Mr. Lazar stated that "it has been a proven fact that where street artists are, homeless are not." The artists "displace them, they dissuade them" from being on the sidewalk. "And conversely, when the street artists don't inhabit their spots for a length of time, the homeless move in."
Ms. MacIntyre stated that she was willing to do what she could with limited resources to address the illegal vending problem in front of her building, but she also wished to meet with a representative of the Police Department.
Ms. Baughman stated that the Business Improvement District covers the other three corners of the 4th and Market intersection; "because of what we're doing in keeping the illegals away" as well as the homeless, such persons go across the street to the fourth corner.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith clarified that, years ago, he and other developers "made those sidewalks the widest sidewalks in town until the Embarcadero was rebuilt ... and they were designed to have benches, to have magazine stands, to have kiosks ... And to find ourselves denying our licensed street artists those very sidewalks ... it does bother me. The only argument that is persuasive to me is that the flow from Moscone is so strong on that corner because there is the St. Francis, the Fairmont, the Drake, and a number of other hotels - their patrons don't go down to Hallidie Plaza and go up Powell; they come right through" the Market and 4th intersection when they return "from the conventions; it's a very intensely used corner at certain times of the day." He urged Ms. MacIntyre, Ms. Baughman, and Mr. Bell to assist the Arts Commission with the illegal vending problem.
Commissioner Brother Elk stated that at the recent Parks Conference, the former mayor of Bogota attended and stated that he banned all cars from Bogota for one day a year, "and it got people out on the sidewalks - not just certain kinds of people ... but everyone, mothers, grandmothers." In keeping with this, the Commissioner observed that "basically, everybody uses the sidewalks as a place where we all interact with each other. ... I would love to see a day where we're not sitting here talking about the problems that are happening on" the 4th and Market "sidewalk, but we're talking about San Francisco putting its best foot forward and using those spaces in the way that they were originally designed. But we obviously have some steps to go before we get there. ... All of us are concerned about the illegals throughout San Francisco. It's just become a huge problem. And my concern, as a Commissioner on this Committee, is that if we don't do something in each of these instances where these illegals are starting to take over, we risk losing the whole Program. Really, in my mind, it's one of the best programs in San Francisco; it really is San Francisco putting its best foot forward." Therefore, the Commissioner expressed appreciation for the business representatives offering to assist the Commission on the illegal vending issue.
The Commissioner went on to state that "the illegals are smart; they realize where they can go where they're not going to be harassed or security is a little lax. An important point that hasn't been raised is they also know when they're not being convicted. You can have police come by and shoo them away and give tickets, but unless they're getting convicted," the illegal vendors will continue their activities. This, therefore, falls within the responsibility of the District Attorney. The Commissioner wanted to see a conviction once in a while "so that word will kind of ripple out there that there is a risk of being arrested."
For the matter at hand, the Commissioner was in favor of the compromise of obtaining "Z-3" and "4" as permanent spaces for the artists while helping Walgreen's and the artists with the homeless and illegal vendors issues. The Commissioner further stated that "that is the block that I'm on ten times more than any other block because I'm a big Metreon user ... San Franciscans, not just conventioneers, use that block consistently. ... I walk by your businesses three or four times a month, and I consistently see illegals in those spots, sometimes even harassing tourists." His friends who live in the Bay Area will not want to come to 4th and Market "if people are hounding them when they get out of the subway. I'd love to see the whole corner quieted down a little. ... Let's see what we can do to get the illegals out of there" and later revisit the issue of whether "Z-1" and "2" should be permanent.
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith pointed out that, in comparison with the sidewalks of Stockton at Post Streets which host other street artist spaces, the Salvation Army, and musicians, the sidewalks of Market Street "are vast."
Prior to calling for a motion on "Z-3" and "4", Commissioner Stermer asked for information about spaces "Z-40", "41", and "42" (Market Street, north side, at Montgomery Street). In response, Mr. Lazar stated that he notified the Building Owners and Managers Association about the proposal to make the spaces permanent, and that no one from BOMA responded. Mr. Lazar went on to say that the three spaces have been temporary winter holiday spaces existing on the same sidewalk from 1986 through 2001, and that it is an extremely wide sidewalk adjacent to the McKesson complex's steps, far from any doorway or entrance.
Commissioner Stermer ascertained that no one was present to object to the three spaces.
With respect to spaces "Z-3" and "4", Street Artist Barbara Bihusyak stated it would be to the advantage of the stores to have the street artists rather than the homeless or illegal vendors; ... We are an asset to the city. Tourists love us." She testified to seeing 20 feet of illegal tables; whereas the artists set up their displays in "elegant, small spaces. ... Give us those spaces for one month and see if we improve" the area by keeping the illegals out.
Commissioner Roth moved to approve authorization of Program Director to request Board of Supervisors for permanent designation of five (5) former temporary winter holiday season street artist spaces: "Z-3", "Z-4" (Market Street, south side, at 4th Street, adjacent to Old Navy and Walgreen stores) and "Z-40", "Z-41", "Z-42" (Market Street, north side, at Montgomery Street, adjacent to Crocker Plaza); the motion was seconded by Commissioner Brother Elk and unanimously approved.
At the request of Commissioner Freebairn-Smith, Commissioner Stermer asked the Program Director to schedule a hearing in 6 months to revisit the issue of possibly making "Z-1" and "2" permanent.
- HEARING AND POSSIBLE MOTION TO APPROVE CONTINUATION OF AMENDED LOTTERY PROCEDURES TO ALLOW STREET ARTISTS TO ENTER INTO THE LOTTERIES NAMES OF STREET ARTISTS NOT PRESENT AT THE LOTTERIES
The Commissioners reviewed their April 10, 2002 recommendation to the full Arts Commission to amend the lottery procedures to allow street artists to enter into the lotteries names of street artists not present at the lotteries for a trial period of May 7 to July 2, 2002, a recommendation which was approved by the full Arts Commission. At the same time, the Commissioners requested the Program Director to schedule for the June meeting a hearing to review and possibly vote to continue the amended procedures and asked, for the hearing, that street artists testify as to whether the amended procedures afforded them an increase or decrease in opportunity of obtaining selling spaces, as well as testify to specific incidents in which they were helped or not helped by the amended procedures.
Street Artist Matt Summers stated that he was opposed to the amended procedures. He said that "street artists as a whole are very reluctant to come to a meeting at any time"; therefore, the Commissioners should recall that, at the last meeting on this issue, they received a petition of "125 signatures against the proposal" versus "5 for it ... the vast majority" of the artists were against it. He went on to say that three weeks ago, at the Downtown Lottery, when "everybody comes Friday to use" the number they obtain from the lottery to get a space for Saturday or Sunday, the names of "at least three people were pulled out of the lottery who weren't here. Of course, that impacted on my choice because I had a later number. The second week, it was the same thing ... The third week, two people who weren't in the lottery were on vacation - they were out of state - and two different people had put their names in to the same lottery, and there was a kind of fuss about that because their names appeared twice - they were pulled out twice. If this type of thing can happen now, consider what it would be like when we have 150 or 200 people all going Downtown - in other words, nobody sells on the Wharf at Christmastime - " and there would be "this heavy press of people and people putting in other people's names."
Mr. Summers further stated that last year, during June, "every single" weekend lottery "went past eleven o'clock in the morning ... Sometimes it goes into twelve noon ... You can see that the problems that come up now" can increase "when you have everybody coming down to the lottery."
He also pointed out the possibility of well-meaning artists putting into the lottery names of their friends who are not present, without bothering to find out if their friends had arrived earlier, had put their own names in, and then left the lottery.
He also stated that the amended lottery procedure discriminated against artists who do not have cell phones and are therefore, if stuck in traffic and it is close to lottery time, unable to telephone anyone at the lottery to put their names in for them.
Mr. Summers' final point was that the amended procedure "has impacted me ... The lottery is the first point where competition comes in - in other words, competition for selling spaces; it isn't what you sell."
Street Artist Edward Steneck read a statement prepared by his wife, Street Artist Sharon MacDougall: "Although I haven't experienced any negative problems in the trial period, and sometimes it can be pretty convenient, I still believe big problems will occur at Christmas and in summer when lotteries are already huge. Right now lotteries have been fairly small ... but this summer it could be difficult ..."
Mr. Steneck stated that, while he had been the one to circulate the lengthy petition opposing the proposed amended lottery procedure, his "own personal experience" since the passage of the procedure "is that it hasn't been a problem." He explained that, usually on Saturdays and other days, he usually calls out the names of the artists during the lottery; "at the end of the lottery, I usually have some numbers" corresponding to "the names I've called" and these people have "not picked up their numbers. These are called unclaimed numbers. ... Now, since this new system has been in effect, the amount of numbers I'm usually left with at the end of the calling period is not really any more than I was having before - maybe a couple, that's all." While there did not seem to be a significant change for Saturdays, Mr. Steneck said he noticed a difference on Thursdays which tend to have a larger group of unclaimed numbers: "These are people who would have been to the lottery on Thursday, put their names in, and would have gone home, because they really want to work on Friday. Now they can have a friend put their name in" so they do not have to spend the time coming to, and participating in, the lottery.
Mr. Steneck went on to say that Sharon MacDougall and he have on occasion taken advantage of the new system themselves. As he had known even when circulating the petition against it, the system was proving to be "very convenient." He added: "It saves gas." Nevertheless, he still had a problem with envisioning its practicality during the winter holiday season.
Commissioner Stermer asked Mr. Steneck if recently he had actively sought the opinion of the people whose signatures he had solicited against the proposal.
Mr. Steneck responded that he had not; he had felt that if they had encountered problems with the system, they would have complained to him.
Street Artist William Clark stated that several artists who had signed the petition came up to him and told him that "they felt bad that they signed it" and wanted their names crossed off . Mr. Clark went on to relate what he felt were positive incidents resulting from the amended lottery procedure:
- A photographer named "David" noticed that on Saturday he had a very high (poor) number, but because several artists who had their names put into the lottery that day were not present to take spaces (but would take spaces on Sunday), he was able to get a good space on Beach Street.
- Another incident, occurring on the past weekend, involved a street artist who was "assaulted by an ex-lover and she had to call the police that morning ... The police came" and she, who had signed the petition against the amended lottery procedure, was able to ask "another person to throw her name into the lottery" while she was filling out and signing the police report.
- Another artist named "Roger" telephoned Mr. Clark on a Thursday to put his name into the Thursday lottery in order to use his number to obtain a space on Friday; as a result of this, Roger was able to be a helper on Saturday.
- Two jewelers named "Marcia" and "Max", who live in Oakland, told Mr. Clark that they "are always a couple of minutes late" for the lottery and asked him to put their names in for them last Saturday; as result, they were able to use their numbers to get spaces and sell on Sunday.
- George Shuey, whose wife Kathleen Taylor recently passed away, made arrangements with Mr. Clark to put his name into the lottery on occasions when he will be taking the ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco, whose schedule will make him several minutes late for the lottery.
- Two artists named "Bob" and "Silina", who like to go out for breakfast on Saturday morning, asked another artist to put their names into the lottery; they were able to enjoy their breakfast without having to rush back to participate in the lottery, yet still have enough time to sign in for spaces.
- Charles Bonney, a portrait artist who lives out of town, called Mr. Clark on two occasions to put his name into the Thursday lottery so that he could sell on Friday.
- Mr. Clark and his brother Robert have on occasions put each other's name into the lottery.
- Shannon Murphy, who has to travel across the city, has asked Mr. Clark to put her name into the lottery as a precaution against being late.
Commissioner Stermer asked if some of these people had signed the petition opposing the proposal. Mr. Clark replied that some of them had signed it. Mr. Steneck interjected: "Almost every one of them."
Mr. Clark stated that some of the artists who had personally argued with him about the proposal "were the first people" to use the new system. He added that many artists have told him that the new system has allowed them more time in their studio to do their work. In response to the issue raised by Matt Summers that names have been erroneously put into the lottery, Mr. Clark stated that those people were not there on the day of the lottery to claim spaces, and therefore other artists, who were present, got the benefit that day of having more spaces from which to choose.
Street Artist Barbara Bihusyak stated that she felt, with the new system, there was a "very good chance" for an artist to get good spaces during the winter holiday season. While she belongs to a three-member family unit (three licenses that can be entered into a lottery), last winter holiday season she nevertheless "went seven times home" without being able to get a space. "We have no guarantee, because it's a lottery system."
In response to a question by Commissioner Stermer, Mrs. Bihusyak said she felt there would be a better chance of getting a space with the new system, because of the accessibility to the lottery for artists who, otherwise, would have difficulty participating in it. She stated that Street Artist Harlan Simon, who lives in the East Bay, missed several lotteries last December due to traffic on the Bay Bridge and other reasons. Recently, he asked her to put his number in because he had to work a Saturday and Sunday art festival; because she did so, Mr. Simon was able to use his number to sell on Monday. The new system, she said "is the best thing to happen to us in three years, and I hope you can continue it."
Commissioner Stermer stated to Mr. Steneck: "I would really like to thank you, Eddy ... You gave me faith in the ability of people to change their mind and come and say 'I've changed my mind because something is working'. And I want to compliment you. I'm very, very grateful."
The Commissioner went on to say that he acknowledged "that this room isn't filled with nay sayers. We had a lot of people here last time who were very vocal" in their opposition to the proposal. "They're not here today ... Something has changed between last time and this time. I'm persuaded the big change" in the artists' thinking "is 'Oh, that's not so bad; it actually helped me a couple of times'; and the abuses haven't happened yet."
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith stated that it appeared that the new system was working very well.
Commissioner Roth stated that if the Commission extended the system through the upcoming winter holiday season, and if it were found to be problematic, the Commission could review it next January and possible readopt it with the exclusion of its application during the winter holiday season.
Commissioner Roth moved to approve continuation of amended lottery procedures to allow street artists to enter into the lotteries names of street artists not present at the lotteries; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Brother Elk and unanimously approved.
Program Director Lazar clarified with the Commissioners that their intent was to recommend that the full Commission vote in July to continue the new system, allow the Street Artists Committee to review it next January, and, if it is found to be satisfactory, to not take any action but let the July vote stand indefinitely.
Commissioner Stermer requested Mr. Lazar to schedule a review of the amended lottery procedures for the Committee's January, 2003 meeting.
The Commissioner thanked Mr. Clark for his and his brother's efforts in submitting the proposal and monitoring its effectiveness.
- REPORT BY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Program Director Lazar reported that, after its initial introduction for consideration by the Street Artists Committee, the measure voted by the full Arts Commission to remove the limit on the number of meetings/studio visits/monitoring duty assignments of the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners finally was adopted, with modification, as an ordinance by the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor after a year and five months.
Mr. Lazar reported that the Supervisors did not approve an unlimited number of meetings, etc., for the Advisory Committee but increased the limit from 25 to 35. With the passage of the ordinance, the Program Director has commenced assigning the Advisory Committee to more frequent visits on the streets to monitor compliance with the wares approved for sale by the street artists.
The Program Director further reported that he was informed by the Department of Parking and Traffic that there will be a 4th of July celebration at Fisherman's Wharf, and that street artists are requested to not move their displays into the interior of Jefferson Street until the street is closed to vehicular traffic and the police allow the artists to do so.
- NEW BUSINESS
Commissioner Freebairn-Smith expressed appreciation for the letter which Mr. Tom Vosper of Wells Fargo Bank wrote to Mayor Brown, requesting that an ordinance be passed to allow the City to permanently confiscate merchandise being sold by illegal vendors and requesting that the City clothe the homeless with the confiscated clothing merchandise and auction the rest of the merchandise to feed the homeless. The Commissioner suggested that the members of the Street Artists Committee, the Director of Cultural Affairs, and the Program Director sign a shared letter to Mr. Vosper, thanking him for his letter and expressing the Commission's interest in securing better enforcement of the illegal vending problem.
Street Artist William Clark asked about the status of the Arts Commission's request to amend the safety regulations for street artist spaces. The Program Director responded that it still had to be drafted in the form of an ordinance for submittal to the Board of Supervisors.
Commissioner Stermer adjourned the meeting at 4:35 p.m.
Street Artists Program Director
Copyright © 1999-2004 City & County of San Francisco. All rights reserved.
June 21, 2002