City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

July 14, 2010

Street Artists Committee - July 14, 2010


Wednesday, July 14, 2010
3:00 p.m.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70


Members present: Sherene Melania, Chair, John Calloway, Amy Chuang
Members absent: Astrid Haryati
Staff present: Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel, Street Artists Program Director Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Assistant Alyssa Licouris

Commissioner Melania, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:16 p.m.

1. Action. Hearing and possible motion to amend Arts Commission Resolution #1209-96-585 (December 9, 1996) by replacing a limit of three (3) arts or crafts with a limit of two (2) arts or crafts which any applicant may submit for verification at a single screening/meeting of the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners; limit of two arts/crafts to commence upon approval of full Arts Commission.)
(Submitted by Street Artists Program Director)

Program Director Howard Lazar introduced the amendment to Resolution #1209-96-585 and stated that, an applicant was not limited to the number of arts/crafts for submittal at one time at the screening/meeting of the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners. Applicants would bring sometimes six (6) different arts or crafts to be screened. In 1996, Resolution #1209-96-585 was passed which limited the arts or crafts to three (3) per person per screening/meeting. In recent years, it has become more difficult for the Committee to accommodate the regularly scheduled 25 applicants during the screening because Advisory Committee members have become much more thorough at investigating each artist’s wares. They also have many rescreening cases, therefore taking up slots available to other artists.

Commissioner Chuang moved to amend Resolution #1209-96-585 to replace a limit of three (3) arts or crafts with a limit of two (2) arts or crafts which any applicant may submit for verification at a single screening/meeting of the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners; the motion was seconded by Commissioner Calloway

Commissioner Melania called for public comment relative to this amendment.

Street Artist Mary Mackley expressed that the amendment is discriminatory towards new artists like herself and her sister, Michelle Mackley. Cutting back to two (2) crafts hinders their enterprise since there are many start up costs associated with the Street Artists Program. Ms. Mackley stated that they should have amended the Resolution many years ago and did not understand why it has suddenly become an issue. She agreed that the Advisory Committee is thorough, but also it is efficient. Commissioner Calloway interjected and asked Mr. Lazar if this was a staff capacity issue with which Mr. Lazar agreed. Ms. Mackley ended by saying she believes the Commissioners should decline this motion.

Street Artist Michael Addario agreed with the Commissioner’s motion to approve this amendment. He stated that it is good to be thorough to make sure artists make their own work, since once someone is in the program, it is hard to get them out even if they are the most egregious violator. Mr. Addario reminded the Commissioners that the artists are competing against one another, and limiting the number of arts or crafts would be beneficial for others already in the program.

The motion was unanimously approved.

2. Discussion. Street Artists Program Director’s Report.

Introduction of new Program Assistant Mr. Lazar introduced the new Street Artists Program Assistant, Alyssa Licouris.

Translation Project Mr. Lazar reported that the Street Artists Program staff has been working on translating a “How to Obtain Certificate” document into Traditional Chinese and Spanish. This document includes details on the screening process, general information about license requirements and other necessary documents. Artists may view this PDF on the Program’s website. Hardcopies will be available in the Street Artists Program office. This project should be completed by the end of July.

Online Payment System Mr. Lazar has spoken to the Treasurer & Tax Collector (TTX) office regarding the proposed online payment system. It has been estimated that it will be about three months until it is set up. The Treasurer & Tax Collector informed him that the reason for the hold up is that there are many applications ahead of the Street Artists Program’s, not to mention their own department projects as well, and they are short on manpower. TTX strongly suggested using Link2Gov rather than another outside company. A committee will be formed made up of TTX personnel and IT staff in order to review applications and choose “easier” applications for immediate implementation. Mr. Lazar hoped that the Street Artists Program’s application would be chosen early.

United Nation Plaza The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development has been planning to develop the UN Plaza area by adding more public markets. There are regular farmers markets two days a week along with a flea market. The Mayor’s Office approached Mr. Lazar to see if there are interested artists who want to participate in a market on Tuesdays alongside flower vendors. Tad Sky, Market Manager, got 15 artists to agree to participate starting July 6. However, the flower vendors were not ready to start. The Mayor’s Office will contact Mr. Lazar once the flower vendors are ready.

Number of Street Artists & Screening updates Currently there are 421 licensed artists. The July screening has been full for a few weeks now, and the August screening only has 5 spots left. There are 25 slots allotted per screening.

Significant Enforcement Measures First, Mr. Lazar and Ms. Licouris are meeting with street artists to draft a set of rules for the lottery for three Cliff House spaces. Since the Cliff House spaces began, the artists always loosely followed the Downtown/Wharf lottery rules. With two new groups at the Cliff House, it will help solve problems if a site-specific set of rules is created. The next meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2010 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. It is hoped a finished set of rules will be presented to the Street Artists Program Committee by the September meeting and that they can be recommended to the full Arts Commission in October.

Secondly, there will be a special screening meeting on July 20, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on three artists to review their work for knit hats. There has been controversy as to how their hats are made. They are screened as handmade but there have been complaints that they are machine made. If that is the case, it will be up to the Advisory Committee to determine that the artists were using machines to make their hats.

Thirdly, a Program Director’s hearing has been scheduled for July 27, 2010 at 10a.m. on an artist’s request that a written warning be withdrawn from his record.

Commissioner Melania called for public comment relative to the Program Director’s report.

Street Artist Michael Addario, Chairman of the Street Artists Liaison Committee, requested that the Street Artists Program staff send all public meeting agendas through email to the Liaison Committee so its members are aware of what is going on in the program. It was agreed that the Street Artists Program staff would send out the agendas of public meetings by email to all participants of the Street Artists Program.

3. Discussion. Street Artists Liaison Committee’s Report.

Street Artist Michael Addario, Chairman of the Street Artists Liaison Committee reported that the Committee has not met since the last Street Artists Committee meeting. However, Mr. Addario has talked to a few of the Liaison members about his concern regarding the Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan. The Planning Department has decided to begin a major remodel of the Fisherman’s Wharf area. Mr. Addario fears this plan will be harmful to the street artists who use the Jefferson Street and Beach street spaces. The only mention of the street artists in the plan is on page 14 where it says ““Narrow sidewalks and clutter from street vendors detract from the walking environment.” Mr. Addario has contacted Project Manager & Lead Planner, Neil Hrushowy, for a meeting in order to discuss where the street artists fall within the plan. Mr. Addario is mainly concerned with the fact that the street artists are not mentioned and hopes this meeting will help include the street artists in the plan since it is still somewhat early in the planning process.

Director of Cultural Affairs, Luis R. Cancel and Program Director Lazar requested to be a part of this meeting with the Planning Department.

Mr. Addario wanted to recognize the volunteers within the program who are not reimbursed for their time and hard work they contribute to the program.

4. Action. Hearing and possible motion to approve withdrawal of warning

Leah Mazor – Certificate # 5479 - “Notice of Warning” issued April 15, 2010 by Program Director to Ms. Mazor for allegedly selling at Justin Herman Plaza items (chocolate truffles) intended for human consumption; request by Ms. Mazor for hearing to consider overruling Program Director’s decision to refuse to withdraw warning.

Program Director Howard Lazar gave a brief chronology of Ms. Mazor’s case. Mr. Lazar first received a complaint over the phone on February 2, 2010. A warning was sent to Ms. Mazor for violating the Street Artists Ordinance (Ord. 41-83), Section 2401 which bans selling items intended for human consumption. Ms. Mazor requested a hearing with the Program Director to withdraw the warning. Street Artist Pat Lloyd testified as a witness against Ms. Mazor during this hearing. Ms. Mazor produced a petition of street artists who approved of Ms. Mazor’s activities. Mr. Lazar noted that the only other document Ms. Mazor provided at the hearing was a food handling permit for Alameda. She did not have a peddler’s permit, a permit from the Department of Public Heath or a permit from the Recreation-Park Department. Mr. Lazar that the warning was still valid. Ms. Mazor requested a hearing in front of the Street Artist’s Committee.

Mr. Lazar gave copies of a letter from Street Artist Jo Ann Fitzsimmons to the Commissioners who supported Ms. Mazor.

Mr. Lazar stood behind his decision to give Ms. Mazor a warning. Ms. Mazor, he said, never consulted the Arts Commission, Rec-Park, or the Street Artists Program staff before she distributed the truffles and accepted “donations” for them. Ms. Mazor not only violated the Street Artists Ordinance but also Rec-Park policy which emphatically prohibits the distribution of food on its property without Rec-Park permission. Lastly, the street artists are guests of Rec-Park and would like to continue to have a good working relationship in order to stay at Justin Herman Plaza.

Ms. Mazor stated that she was giving away truffles to friends and was not working as a street artist on the day of the incident. According to Ms. Mazor, she is a private citizen and the Street Artists Program has no control over her private life. Ms. Mazor has witnessed many people selling food items near or on the plaza and they do not get stopped by Rec-Park. She agreed to talk to Rec-Park if they contacted her.

Commissioner Calloway asked Ms. Mazor if she had a space at Justin Herman Plaza on the day of the incident, and Ms. Mazor replied that she had not and could prove it with her FasTrak account since she uses it when she comes to work. Commissioner Calloway noted that in some parts of Civic Center it is not allowed to even give food to the homeless because it is an issue of public health. Commissioner Calloway agreed that, even if Ms. Mazor was not working that day, her giving away the food items could be an issue for Rec-Park.

Commissioner Melania noted that Ms. Mazor is a member of the Street Artists Program and, although she did not work on the day of the incident, she still held a Street Artist license. Furthermore, while she is in Justin Herman Plaza, she must abide by the rules of the Street Artists Program.

Mr. Lazar added that a 1983 letter from the City Attorney in the Street Artists Program handbook of rules states that the Arts Commission has jurisdiction over street artists in designated and non-designated areas and prohibits street artists selling in non-designated areas without peddlers permits. Mr. Lazar reiterated that even a private person needs a permit from Rec-Park to distribute food related items.

Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel asked Ms. Mazor if she was part of the Street Artists Program on the day of the incident. Ms. Mazor responded she has been a member of the program for the past 16 years.

Commissioner Chuang reminded Ms. Mazor that a warning is not as severe as a suspension of certificate. Commissioner Chuang claimed Ms. Mazor should be aware that selling food is not allowed and advised her to take the warning and to not continue to distribute or sell food items at the Plaza.

Commissioner Melania restated that the Street Artists Program has a small amount of rules and they should be followed. Since Ms. Mazor was selling food under the Street Artists jurisdiction, she needed to follow the Street Artists Program rules.

Commissioner Melania called for public comment relative to the hearing case.

Street Artist Michael Addario expressed that Ms. Mazor sells a good product and she should expand the business of her truffles. However, he agreed with the Commissioners that street artists should not be allowed to sell or donate food to other artists. He reminded the Commissioners that an issue like the truffle incident can put all street artists in the spotlight of Rec-Park which they would not want to do. The street artists are guests of Rec-Park and want to continue to have a friendly relationship with the department in order to stay in Justin Herman Plaza.

Commissioner Melania called for a motion on her warning. No motion was forthcoming.

Street Artist Sureyya Oszoy stated that she has witnessed Mr. Mazor accept $1 per truffle many times since the end of February. She has also seen her hand out her truffles to customers but she was unsure if they gave her money for them. Ms. Oszoy applauded the Committee for keeping the warning since she believed it is important to uphold the rules.

5. Discussion. New Business/Public Comment.

Street Artist Michael Addario stated that there are many fictitious emails being created by another person in his name. He wanted to remind the staff and Commissioners of his correct email address. He is working with the authorities to get this resolved. He suggested not engaging in any way with any email from him unless it is from his correct email address.

Street Artist Tad Sky, Liaison Committee member & Market Manager of Justin Herman Plaza, informed the Commissioners that he will be stepping down from his position as Market Manager at the end of the year. He suggested that the Street Artists Program hire someone to take this position once he leaves since it is extremely time consuming. Mr. Sky estimated that his job takes at least 50 hours per week.

There being no new business or further public comment, Commissioner
Melania adjourned the meeting at 4:37 p.m.

Respectfully submitted:
Alyssa Licouris, Street Artists Program Assistant

Minutes approved by:
Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Director