City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

November 10, 2010

Street Artists Committee - November 10, 2010


Wednesday, November 10,2010

3:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue,Suite 70

Second Amended Minutes


Members present: Greg Chew, Chair, John Calloway, Jessica Silverman
Members absent: Sherene Melania, AmyChuang
Staff present: Street ArtistsProgram Director Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Assistant Alyssa Licouris

Commissioner Chew, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:14 p.m.

1.   Action. Hearing and possible motion to approveissuance of certificate or renewal of certificate.

Steven Goldberg – Certificate #5142.
“Notice of Withholding of Certificate or Renewal PendingHearing” issued to Mr. Goldberg forthe following alleged violations: Conductingbusiness in an improper, hazardous manner (1) Sexual harassment of a streetartist; (2) Threatening a street artist; (3) Interfering with lotteryspace-assignment procedures. (7/30/10; 8/10/10; 8/12/10)

ProgramDirector Howard Lazar presented the hearing procedure to the Committee. Theprocedure was as follows: Mr. Lazar would state a brief synopsis of item #1,the plaintiff would speak, the defendant would speak, witnesses and supportersof each party would speak, the Commissioners would make a possible motion of afinding, the Commissioners would complete the motion and find a penalty if theysaw fit. Mr. Lazar read a letter from the City Attorney which was received 15minutes prior to the hearing. The Commissioners requested the City Attorney’s guidancesince this is the first case dealing with alleged sexual harassment charges.According to Mr. Lazar’s synopsis of the City Attorney’s letter, the CityAttorney stated that the Arts Commission’s scope for taking action about such complaintsis limited to the Street Artists’ designated areas during business hours orduring the lottery process in order to determine if the alleged offenseinterferes with an artists’ ability to do business.

Mr.Lazar briefly read his synopsis of the complaints which included salientremarks via email that the plaintiff and defendant made relative to each of thethree incidents.

Theplaintiff, Street Artist Amanda Nordquist, was called to speak in front of theCommissioners. Ms. Nordquist gave a brief summary of events leading up to theincidents. On July 29, 2010, Ms. Nordquist and Street Artist Marc Melancon wereadding new crafts to their licenses at a screening examination where they met StreetArtist Trevor Burkhart for the first time. The next day on July 30, 2010, Mr. Burkhartdemanded to see Mr. Melancon’s license. Arguments against the street artists atPoint Lobos (Cliff House area) started and Mr. Burkhart got into both Mr.Melancon and Ms. Nordquist’s faces. Ms. Nordquist explained that she used to bea massage therapist and that Street Artist Steve Goldberg knew this about her. Mr.Goldberg made sexual remarks and gestures towards Ms. Nordquist which relatedto her previous career. On the same day, Mr. Melancon, Ms. Nordquist and StreetArtist Sarah Huntoon spoke to Mr. Lazar about this incident and Ms. Nordquistsent an email complaint. Ms. Nordquist encountered many technical difficultieswith transferring the audio recording of July 30, 2010 from Ms. Huntoon’s phoneto a computer. Mr. Goldberg was granted a continuance at the last StreetArtists Committee meeting on September 8, 2010. Before the November 10, 2010hearing, Ms. Nordquist submitted all documents which included full audiorecordings, edited and unedited scripts of the recordings, email complaints anda cover letter for the Commissioners.

Ms.Nordquist further related that on August 10, 2010, Mr. Goldberg was arguingwith Mr. Melancon. Mr. Goldberg yelled ‘sluts’ and ‘whores’ at Ms. Huntoon andMs. Nordquist. It was not the first time Ms. Nordquist had heard Mr. Goldbergyell those words. Mr. Goldberg also made inappropriate statements and gesturestowards Mr. Melancon about his religious background. On August 12, 2010, Mr.Goldberg was pulling the lottery slips and failed to pull the last slip, Ms.Nordquist’s slip. Mr. Goldberg again yelled at Mr. Melancon inappropriately.

Ms.Nordquist explained that she provided the Street Artists Program office withresponses to all of Mr. Goldberg’s emails. The previous week, Mr. Lazar, Ms.Huntoon, and Ms. Nordquist met to talk about the hearing procedure. Mr. Lazarheard the audio recording where Mr. Goldberg called Street Artist MarilynBurkhart names but was unable to see a video recording which showed Mr.Goldberg’s inappropriate behavior.

CommissionerCalloway asked Mr. Lazar if street artists are supposed to have their licensewith them at all times. Mr. Lazar responded that street artists are supposed tohave their licenses to show at all times while open for business. Ms. Nordquistreferred to page 46 of the Bluebook which stated that an artist can sign up fora lottery but the lottery committee must check later with the street artistsoffice to make sure they have a valid license which is what the street artistsdid on July 30, 2010 when Mr. Melancon didn’t have his license.

CommissionerChew stated that the continuation of the hearing had been the decision of theArts Commission since they had not felt at the time that they were prepared.Mr. Chew asked Ms. Nordquist if she had been physically harassed and shereplied that she had not. Only two specific incidents had been directed towardsMs. Nordquist while the other incidents had been directed at other streetartists.

Mr.Goldberg was asked to speak in front of the Commissioners. Mr. Goldbergrequested seating while giving testimony for medical reasons. Mr. Goldberg wasasked to make his statements before the Commissioners decided if they wanted tohear or view his recordings. Mr. Goldberg reiterated that for the September 8,2010 hearing, Ms. Nordquist had only provided 2 minute recordings of the July30, 2010 incident and the August 10, 2010 incident. The full recordings werenot received until October and Mr. Goldberg believed that the end of the August10, 2010 recording is missing some name calling by Mr. Melancon towards Mr.Goldberg. Mr. Goldberg admitted to his vulgar statement on August 10, 2010 but,as Mr. Goldberg was riding his bike home, Mr. Melancon shouted inappropriately athim, and this, Mr. Goldberg said, was not on the recording.

Mr.Goldberg further related that, regarding the July 30, 2010 incident, Ms.Nordquist had stated in her email complaint that she was threatened by Mr.Goldberg all day but Mr. Goldberg didn’t receive a spot in the lottery and hedidn’t sell at all that day. Mr. Goldberg also wanted to make it clear that itwasn’t his idea to confront Mr. Melancon about his license and when he wasyelling at Mr. Melancon, he was a good distance away from Mr. Melancon.

Mr.Goldberg briefly explained his medical history which consisted of switchingmedications, and experience withdrawals and side effects of his medicationssuch as hostility, irritability, restlessness to name a few. At the time of theincidents, Mr. Goldberg had been suffering withdrawals from having quit certainmedications for depression.

Mr.Goldberg again explained to the Commissioners that the August 10, 2010recording did not adequately present the exchanges between the street artists atPoint Lobos (Cliff House area) on that day. On June 3, 2010, Mr. Goldberg hadsent a complaint to the Street Artists office due to what he termed a hatespeech by Mr. Melancon against Mr. Goldberg and name calling.

Mr. Goldberg said he was apologetic for his actions on July 30, 2010, that hisgestures had been vulgar and he wanted to apologize to Ms. Nordquist at theweekly Point Lobos (Cliff House area) meetings but Ms. Nordquist, Mr. Melanconand Ms. Huntoon stopped coming to the meetings. He has been on the program formany years and he stated that this behavior will not happen again since itreflects badly on the Street Artists Program. Mr. Goldberg admitted to vulgargestures on July 30, 2010 but he stated he was at least 20 feet away from Ms.Nordquist and that there was no physical abuse.

Ms.Nordquist’s witnesses were called to speak in front of the Commissioners. Ms.Huntoon replayed the events of July 30, 2010. She said that Street ArtistsToney and Marilyn Burkhart and Mr. Goldberg ambushed Mr. Melancon to check hislicense. Only 7 street artists regularly work at Point Lobos (Cliff House area)spaces so they all know each other and know when each other’s licenses expire.Ms. Huntoon was on the phone with Mr. Lazar when Mr. Goldberg made comments atMs. Nordquist but Ms. Huntoon did see his hand gestures. On August 10, 2010,she was present at the lottery which, she said, got out of control. Ms. Huntoonsaw Mr. Goldberg’s gestures towards Mr. Melancon and heard him yelling at Mr.Melancon. Ms. Huntoon stated she didn’t want to have to work in an unpleasantenvironment that has been created by the street artists at Point Lobos (CliffHouse area).

Mr.Melancon also related the incident of July 30, 2010. The other street artistswere persistent in seeing his license which he did not have with him on thatday. Mr. Melancon was a witness to seeing and hearing Mr. Goldberg harass Ms.Nordquist. On August 10, 2010, the lottery, he said, was again out of control.Mr. Goldberg made an inappropriate gesture and remarks towards him about churchand Mr. Goldberg threatened Mr. Melancon.

Thedefendant’s witnesses and supporters were called to speak in front of theCommissioners. Mr. Toney Burkhart brought up an incident which occurred onAugust 9, 2009 where he and Mr. Melancon got into a fight because Mr. Melanconspit in his face and Mr. Burkhart punched him. Mr. Burkhart’s son, Mr. TrevorBurkhart, joined the program so he could witness the incidents that occur at PointLobos (Cliff House area). Mr. Toney Burkhart has been aware that Mr. Goldberghas been off and on different medication and that Mr. Goldberg has yelled athim and his wife Ms. Burkhart in the past. However, Mr. Burkhart has forgivenMr. Goldberg because he knows the medication is affecting Mr. Goldberg’spersonality. Mr. Burkhart believed that Mr. Melancon, Ms. Huntoon and Ms.Nordquist wanted to get rid of his family and Mr. Goldberg from Point Lobos (CliffHouse area). Although Mr. Goldberg has said inappropriate things towards theBurkharts, Mr. Goldberg has apologized to them.

Mr.Trevor Burkhart described the incident that occurred on July 30, 2010 which washis first day as a street artist. He had previously read the Bluebook rulesabout needing to show your license at all times and he had heard that Mr.Melancon had sold without a license in the past, so he wanted to make sure hehad his license on that day. In the script of the July 30 incident that Ms.Nordquist provided, Mr. Burkhart pointed out that Mr. Melancon stated that hewanted to fight Mr. Goldberg and that Ms. Nordquist encouraged the fighting.Ms. Nordquist had also insulted Mr. Trevor Burkhart.

Street ArtistBrian Linwell stated that although he had never worked at Point Lobos (CliffHouse area) with Mr. Goldberg, he knew Mr. Goldberg when he worked atFisherman’s Wharf. Mr. Goldberg used to run the lottery at Fisherman’s Wharf andMr. Linwell had never heard Mr. Goldberg say anything bad before.

Ms. MarilynBurkhart stated that she has been selling at Point Lobos (Cliff House are) forthe past 22 years. Since Mr. Melancon began selling two years ago, he has beenaggressive towards her, Mr. Goldberg, and Mr. Toney Burkhart. Ms. Burkhartstated that Mr. Melancon has called them “old people” and wanted them to goelsewhere.

In Mr.Goldberg’s final comments, he again admitted that what he had said to Ms. Nordquistand that his gestures towards her were inappropriate. But, he said, the August10, 2010 recording was not complete because it didn’t include the name callingand hate speech that Mr. Melancon gave to Mr. Goldberg or what Ms. Nordquisthad said to Mr. Goldberg.

CommissionerCalloway requested to hear the recording from July 30 relative to Mr.Goldberg’s comments to Ms. Nordquist. Ms. Nordquist played the specific part ofthe recording on her stereo.

CommissionerChew reminded all street artists that the Street Artists Program is a placewhere tourists visit and that the street artists represent the City of San Francisco. He feltvery disheartened about this situation at Point Lobos (Cliff House area) withthe rival parties. He noted that there were not any physical harassments.

CommissionerCalloway added that they spent the whole time on the first incident of thethree-part hearing.

CommissionerSilverman agreed that she was disheartened by hearing the case. She stated thatshe was uncomfortable making a decision because of the aggressive situationbetween all of Point Lobos (Cliff House area) street artists since there seemedto be aggression and taunting from both sides.

CommissionerChew asked Mr. Goldberg to publically apologize to Ms. Huntoon, Ms. Nordquistand Mr. Melancon for his actions. Mr. Goldberg sincerely did so to each of thethree street artists. 

CommissionerChew began to make a motion but Commission Calloway wanted to make a fewstatements before a motion occurred. Commissioner Calloway stated that everyoneinvolved in the incident was not innocent. Furthermore, the only threewitnesses to Mr. Goldberg’s actions are not neutral parties. CommissionerCalloway stated that he takes sexual gestures very seriously but it seemed thatMr. Goldberg’s harassment was more of a statement than harassment directed at Ms.Nordquist.

CommissionerSilverman agreed that both parties are at fault. The edited scripts, she said,have bold and smaller text; one would assume that the smaller text is not asimportant but there are still statements in the smaller text which showaggressive behavior. Furthermore, she sensed that the acrimony between theparties had existed for some time.

Mr.Lazar added that, during the summer, he set up meetings between the two groupsto help draft a set of rules for Point Lobos (Cliff House area) as well as tryto bring them together to communicate harmoniously. But this culminated in animpasse between the groups.

CommissionerCalloway stated he wasn’t comfortable making a motion to find a violation. CommissionerSilverman stated that the Commissioners were not agreeing with Mr. Goldberg’sbehavior, but it did not warrant disciplinary action. Commissioner Calloway reiteratedthat there were no neutral witnesses at the hearing.

No motion to find the defendant inviolation was forthcoming; and the Commissioners unanimously voted to dismissthe complaint and the charge.


2.    Action. Hearing and possible motion torecommend rescission of screening criteria for “Slumped/Flattened Bottles andLabels” approved by Arts Commission as Resolution No. 0913-10-250 on September13, 2010 and to recommend adoption of the following criteria recommended by theCity Attorney for “Slumped/Flattened or Re-Shaped Bottles”:

“Slumped/Flattened or Re-Shaped Bottles: Street Artists wishing to sell slumped,flattened, or re-shaped commercially manufactured bottles must prepare, finish,and significantly alter the original form of the bottles.”

The item was continued to the nextmeeting.

3.    Action. Hearing and possible motion to approve re-issuance of former certificatenumber (#373) to street artist David Brancato (currently #5345).     

Mr.Lazar described to the Commissioners the licensing process of what happens whenan artist drops out of the program. Once the 10-day grace period is over and anartist does not renew their license, that number is considered to be “dead”.When a former certificate holder wants to re-enter the program, the artistreceives a new street artist certificate license number. Mr. David Brancatoentered the program in 1973 with the number #373. Over the years, he has beenin and out of the program, thus his latest street artist certificate number is#5345.

A reasonwhy Mr. Lazar didn’t give former certificate holders their old numbers isbecause in prior years he caught unlicensed vendors with fake licenses bearingthe numbers which had belonged to former license holders. Because the oldmembers were easy to identify, he had been reluctant to re-issue an old numberto a street artist. However, he had not observed counterfeit old numbers beingused by illegal vendors in recent years.

Mr.Brancato stated that he wants his number back out of respect and that it issentimental. It shows other artists how long he has been involved with theStreet Artists Program.

CommissionerChew was concerned about what would happen if they approved Mr. Brancato and ifother street artists want their numbers back as well.

Mr.William Clark provided the Commissioners with a document from the City Attorneyissued in 1977 which stated, he said, the Street Artists Program has the legalauthority to grant former certificate holders their previous numbers.

Mr. RobertClark reiterated what Mr. William Clark had said about the City Attorney’sopinion of 1977. He told the Commissioners if they give Mr. Brancato his numberback, then he and Mr. William Clark will want their old numbers back too.

Commissioner Chew motioned to approve re-issuance offormer certificate number (#373) to street artist David Brancato (currently#5345); the motion was seconded by Commissioner Silverman, and unanimouslyapproved.


4.    Action. Hearing and possible motion torecommend amendments of lottery space- assignment procedures for Downtown andFisherman’s Wharf areas.

Mr. Lazar introduced the item to the Commissioners. It was decided thatthey would discuss as much about the item as they could with the little time thatwas left in the meeting. There were two proposals to Mr. Lazar’s knowledge: theMillard proposal and the Clark proposal. Whilehe had provided the Commissioners with a synopsis of the proposals, he did notfeel comfortable outlining the details of the proposals on behalf of theauthors who were present.

Mr.Millard presented first with his “teammates”, Brian Hopper and Brian Linwell. The Millard proposal team wanted tostart with a presentation demonstrating how the lottery works so theCommissioners would have some background before they began presenting theproposal. Mr. Millard presented diagrams and examples of white and blue lotteryslips for the Commissioners. Mr. Millard shared that Street Artist MichaelAddario had proposed similar lottery procedures in 2004.

Mr.Millard stated that when street artists want to save their lottery slip butstill want to sell, the first-come first-served basis gets confusing. A seconddrawing that would be legally binding would help with these problems. With thecurrent lottery procedures, the white slips that are used (in an unofficial“mini-mini” lottery for unclaimed spaces) are not legally binding so a streetartist with an unused blue slip can kick out or “bump” another artist out oftheir spot if that person has an unofficial white slip.

In thepast, Mr. Millard said, there has been a kind of “gentleman’s agreement” thatthe white slips act as legally binding even if technically they are unofficial.The two main problems with the current lottery procedure is that artists can “bump”each other out of the spaces, and there is an early “squatting” loophole wherean artist who sets up in a space before the unofficial “mini mini” lottery startstells the lottery committee so that the specific space is not available forartists involved in a “mini mini”.

TheMillard proposal team has a list of 100 signatures from other street artiststhat support their proposal. The main proposed change would be that the Millardproposal would have the white lottery slips of a “Secondary random drawing” tobe official and legal. Mr. Millard stated that if it had a name, it would becalled “The People’s Proposal.”

Mr.Brian Linwell submitted the petition of signatures to show to the Commissioners.Mr. Linwell believed that if the street artists can’t have the gentleman’sagreement like in the past, then the “mini mini” should just become legal.

Mr.Lazar reported that the City Attorney advised that if the Commissioners chose aproposal, the City Attorney would look it over to determine whether or not anamendment to the ordinance would be required.

Mr.William Clark was asked to speak on behalf of the Clarkproposal. Firstly, he disputed the characterization about him by other artistsof using the early “squatting” loophole and not letting anyone take the spacefor the “mini mini”. The Clark proposal wantsto take the unused spaces and distribute them so a street artist with thelowest unused number would have priority in selecting an unused space. Theordinance, he said, never stated that there should be two different lotteries.

Mr. RobertClark reiterated what his brother said about the ordinance never stating thatthere should be two different lotteries.

Commissioner Chew motioned tocontinue the item to the next meeting; Commissioner Silverman seconded and itwas unanimously approved.


Commissioner Chew adjournedthe meeting at 5:20 p.m.


 Posted on November 17, 2010,  Amended on November 18, 2010, Second Amended on November 22, 2010

Respectfully submitted:

Alyssa Licouris, StreetArtists Program Assistant


Minutes approved by:

Howard Lazar, Street ArtistsProgram Director