City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

January 12, 2011

Street Artists Committee - January 12, 2011


Wednesday, January 12, 2011
3:00 p.m.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
San Francisco, CA 94102

Amended Minutes

Members present: Greg Chew, Chair, Jessica Silverman, Amy Chuang
Members absent: Sherene Melania,John Calloway
Staff present: Director of CulturalAffairs Luis Cancel, Director of Programs Jill Manton, Street Artists ProgramDirector Howard Lazar, Street Artists Program Assistant Alyssa Licouris

Commissioner Chew, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.

Commissioner Chew praisedthe January 3rd positive San Francisco Chronicle article “Street Artists Program thrives as economy sags” thathighlighted the Street Artists Program.

1.   Action. Hearingand possible motion to recommend amendments of lottery space-assignmentprocedures for Downtown and Fisherman’s Wharf areas. (continuedfrom 11/10/10 meeting)   

Mr. Howard Lazar describedthe two proposals by authors James Millard (Millard proposal) and William andRobert Clark (Clark proposal).

The Commissioners consentedto Mr. Millard’s request to present a brief summary of the lottery process.Street Artists James Millard and Brian Hopper used diagrams and lottery sign-upsheets and slips to help present how the lottery process works. They explained thecolor slips corresponding to the lotteries and that there are three mainlotteries per week. Blue slips can be used for one of the main drawings whilewhite slips are used for unofficial “mini-mini” drawings. Blue slips count as alegal binding relationship with the selling space. White slips are non-bindingand used for mini-mini drawings to help get rid of the leftover spaces. Alottery is a multi-day process while a random drawing is a sub-element of thelottery system.

According to Mr. Millard,his proposal would remedy the problem of “early squatting” (prematurely occupyinga space and seizing someone else’s space) and “bumping” (losing anspace to another artist) by having a lottery process that is fair,orderly and completely binding. The lottery process would be simple and no “bumping”or “early squatting” would be allowed. Mr. Millard’s proposal would make thewhite “mini-mini” lottery slips legal on main lottery days. Mr. Millard wouldlike the “mini-mini” to be replaced with the name “leftover random drawing”.

Street Artist Brian Linwell,one of the Millard proposal authors, submitted a petition of over 100signatures which supported the Millard proposal. Mr. Linwell agreed that theirproposal would be successful since Street Artists have been following thisprocess for nearly 20 years.

The Millard proposal authorsbelieve that the Clark proposal would allow “bumping”as well as give the artists an unfair hand in the lottery process because thefirst blue slip an artist receives sets precedent for the rest of the lotteryprocess. If an artist started out with a bad, high number, the artist would bestuck with a bad number for the whole multi-day term of the lottery process.

Street Artists William andRobert Clark presented their proposal which, they said, would logicallyallocate spaces to street artists since the artists would use the order of themain lottery. This, they said, benefits artists that were given a lower numberso they would be given first choice of leftover spaces. Their method would befaster and save time as well as simplify the process of which artist gets thefirst choice of spaces during the lottery process. It would also cut down on thenumber of lottery workers required as well as the amount of time to completethe sign up, and it would be fairer since the artist with the lower numberchooses first.

The Clarksstated that the ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors specifies that 3days of the week are for the holding of lotteries. It does not say that theArts Commission can create as many lotteries as they want. With the Clark proposal, they stated that a secondary lottery wouldnot be needed because the order already was established in the first lottery.In addition, the Millard proposal would punish the lottery helpers. Also, ifadopted, the Millard proposal would have to amend the ordinance since itdoesn’t conform to the law.

Commissioner Chew asked forpublic comment.

Street Artist Perrie Harrison, who supported the Millard proposal, stated she wasupset when her space was occupied when she arrived one day to sell. She had tofind another place to sell that day. She stated she does not believe “squatting”or “bumping” is fair.

Street Artist AdrianaBerneike, who supported the Clark proposal, isa Lottery Committee member. She stated that she thought the “mini-mini” is badand does not follow it because it is unofficial. The Millard proposal wouldtake too much time for the process. She stated that Kathy Hallinan, who has alot of experience working with the lottery, also supported the Clark proposal. The Clarkproposal would cut down lottery slip costs as well.

Street Artist Brian Hopper,an author of the Millard proposal, is a Lottery Committee member. He statedthat he sees no problem in running a secondary lottery. He did not believe the Clark proposal is fair to artists because an artist wouldbe stuck with a bad number for the whole lottery process. With the Millardproposal, an artist would be more likely to get a better number in thesecondary drawings.

Street Artist Steve Kogansupported the Millard proposal since it would create an orderly system.

Street Artist Cheryl Chen statedthat she has been in the Program for 21 years and a Lottery Committee memberfor 15 years. She supported the Millard proposal since “bumping”, she said,creates a lot of problems.

Street Artist Homan Yim statedthat he has been in the Program for 2 years. He supported the Millard proposal.

Street Artist Drew Flores, aLottery Committee member, stated that, he has been in the Program for 20 yearsand that all but one Lottery Committee member favored the Millard proposal. He didnot have a problem with executing two drawings since the second drawingsometimes is the only chance for a street artist to get a good space.

Street Artist Maria Hillius didnot say she supported either proposal but just wanted to resolve this issue.

Commissioner Amy Chuangstated that it seemed that the Millard proposal had more Street Artist support.

Commissioner JessicaSilverman stated that her instinct was to support the proposal that did notallow “bumping” since “bumping” seemed to cause the most tension.

Mr. Lazar reiterated (fromthe previous meeting) that the City Attorney wanted the Commissioners to feelcomfortable about choosing an appropriate proposal and that the City Attorney’soffice would determine whether it would require an amendment to the ordinance.Mr. Lazar pointed out that Street Artist Committee actions have historically placedemphasis on petitions since they help show the majority of the street artistsupport.

Commissioner Chew motioned to adopt the Millardproposal; Commission Chuang seconded the motion.

James Millard reiteratedthat there is no legal problem with his proposal and would not require amendingthe ordinance. He wanted to remind the Commissioners that there is a bigdifference between the terms “lottery” and “random drawing”. A street artist “lottery” has a timeduration of multiple days while a “random drawing” has a duration of about 20minutes.

William Clark reminded Commissionersthat many street artists have other artists put their numbers in for them inthe lotteries. The Millard proposal would make it impossible for those streetartists who can’t attend to use their number later. “Bumping” is a positivething and street artists should be willing to vacate the space.

Street Artist Tad Sky statedthat he has been in the Program for 38 years. He proposed that, in the future,the street artists should vote on a proposal instead of bringing it to theCommissioners.

The motion was passed unanimously.

After agendaitem #1 was approved, a number of individuals were acting in a disorderly anddisruptive manner. The public that was present received a warning that anyfuture outbursts, slurs, epithets, and disruptive actions will not betolerated. This will result in being escorted out the building with the help ofSFPD.

2.   Action.Discussion and possible motion to:

(a) approve Street Artists Program budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 andcorresponding proposed Street Artist certificate fee for Fiscal Year 2011-12.As required by Proposition “K” of November 8, 1983, any certificate feeincreases would be limited to those necessary in order to finance the costs ofthe Arts Commission in administering and enforcing the provisions of the StreetArtists Ordinance; and

(b) authorize the Street Artists Program Director to ask the City Attorney’sOffice to draft a corresponding fee ordinance for submission to the Board ofSupervisors for approval.

Mr. Lazar introduced theproposed Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget to the Commissioners. He stated that, sincerevenues and expenditures were predicted to be the same as for the current year,there would be no street artist fee increase.

Director of Cultural AffairsLuis R. Cancel stated that although there could be slight variation within theline items of the budget, there would be no street artist fee increase.

Commissioner Chew asked forpublic comment.

Robert Clark began his public comment by stating he had some questions about the figures in the proposed budget. Before Mr. Clark could continue his public comment Mr. Cancel stood up, interrupted him and loudly informed Mr. Clark that he could not ask questions under public comment but could only make comments about an agenda item under public comment. When Mr. Clark disagreed with Mr. Cancel, Mr. Cancel continued to insist that members of the public could not ask questions under public comment. A short heated verbal exchange between Mr. Clark and Mr. Cancel over who was correct then occurred after which Mr. Clark stated he was going to ask some questions regardless of Mr. Cancel’s opinion. Mr. Clark then asked several questions about the proposed budget which included how Mr. Lazar had determined the budget, staff salaries, and benefits. Mr. Lazar and Mr. Cancel both refused to answer all of his questions claiming they were under no obligation to answer any questions. Mr. Clark requested that the StreetArtist certificate fee be decreased.

Street Artist William Clarkstated that he believed the numbers were inaccurate and did not agree with thefee setting procedures. He questioned the charge for Administrative supervisionand read from a text relating to reserves and surplus procedures.

Street Artist MichaelAddario stated that there are many other street artists programs in the countrythat have a much lower street artist license fee compared to San Francisco’s program. He questioned manyof the budget line items.

Street Artist James Millardstated that the Street Artists Program is incurring too many expenses relatingto the Sunshine Task Force. He believed that a way to prevent public documentrequests is for the Street Artists Program to clearly provide the streetartists with more detail regarding the budget.

Commission Chew motioned to approve the Fiscal Year2011-12 budget and corresponding certificate fee presented by the ProgramDirector. Commissioner Silverman seconded the motion. The motion wasunanimously approved.

3.    Discussion. StreetArtists Program Director’s Report.

Online Payment: The Street Artists Program has been working with a third party vendor(by the City) to get the online payment mode started. It will most likely becompleted by late spring. The Street Artists will be able to renew theirlicenses online but a fee will be added that will go directly to the vendor.

Translations: The Program’s document “How to obtain a street artist license” has beentranslated into Mandarin and Spanish.

Santa Fe, NM Street Artists Program: A representative from the Santa Fe Street ArtistsProgram asked and received advice from Program Director Lazar about establishingcriteria for photography.

Public records requests and Sunshine Task Forceitems: Since July 1, 2010, the staffhas spent 79 hours fulfilling public record requests and Sunshine Task Forceduties. In the FY 2009-2010, staff spent 153 hours fulfilling public record requestsand representing the Arts Commission at Sunshine Task Force hearings and in FY2008-2009, staff spent 76 hours in these duties.

Accomplishments during the Mayor Gavin Newsom term: Program staff obtained 38 additional spaces grantedby Board of Supervisors for the Street Artists and 65 holiday spaces grantedinperpetuity; the 6th edition of the Program’s Bluebook waspublished online; the Program continued to be cost-neutral and self-sufficient (for38 years) providing opportunity to over 400 artists to earn a living forthemselves and their families; the Program continued to contribute $4 milliondollars annually to the San Francisco economy. For managing the Program, theStreet Artists Program Director was awarded a Certificate of Merit by MayorNewsom.

4.    Action. Hearingand possible motion to recommend rescission of screening criteria for“Slumped/Flattened Bottles and Labels” approved by Arts Commission asResolution No. 0913-10-250 on September 13, 2010 and to recommend adoption ofthe following criteria recommended by the City Attorney for “Slumped/Flattenedor Re-Shaped Bottles”:

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

Mr. Howard Lazar gave abrief background history about the slumped bottle screening criteria. Thecriteria that was to be considered for rescission was criteria that the AdvisoryCommittee drafted in September. This criteria prohibits slumped bottle artiststo keep commercial labels on the bottles unless they significantly alter thelabels or they create their own labels. On review, the City Attorney decided theact of slumping the bottle satisfies the ordinance by significantly alteringthe product sufficiently and it is not necessary to alter the label. Mr. Lazarasked the Street Artists Program Committee to rescind the September criteriaand adopt the new criteria advised by the City Attorney.

Commissioner Chew asked forpublic comment.

Mr. Michael Addario statedthat he found a section in the Administrative Code stating that anythingalcohol related cannot be sold on City property, and he wanted to know why thiscode does not apply to the slumped bottles. He also commented on a recentstudio visit by the Advisory Committee and said he believes that the familyshould be rescreened to keep their license.

Street Artist PhyllisWilliams, a glass artist, supported Mr. Addario’s argument against the slumpedbottle studio visit. She explained the kiln process and stated that she believedthat 6 hours is not enough time to complete the process.

Street Artist Tad Skydisagreed with the City Attorney’s advice to rescind the screening criteriasince he assumed that office is not a craft expert. He wanted a copy of theCity Attorney’s letter stating to rescind the criteria.

Mr. Lazar was asked torespond and stated that a letter of an outside attorney of one of the slumpedbottle artists was considered by the City Attorney and that the City Attorney’sadvice was given in discussion with the exception of the new criteria which wasin writing.

Commissioner Chew motioned to rescind the screening criteriaapproved by the full Commission on September 13, 2010 and to replace thiscriteria with the criteria advised by the City Attorney; the motion wasseconded by Commissioner Chuang and unanimously approved.

5.    Discussion.Report by Street Artists Liaison Committee.

Liaison Committee ChairmanMichael Addario commented on the SF Chroniclearticle that was published in January 2011. He stated that he believed that thearticle was misleading and presented false information about the program. Healso stated that the street artists are paying too much in fees that relate tostaff benefits and salaries.

Commissioner Chew asked Mr.Addario if he was speaking on behalf of the Liaison Committee or on behalf ofhimself. Mr. Addario responded that he was speaking on behalf of himself.

Mr. Tad Sky, LiasionCommittee member, submitted a preliminary copy of the Art Inspector checklistthat the Liaison Committee talked about at their last meeting. He believed atighter inspection checklist was needed in order for Advisory Committee membersto be more efficient in catching illegal artwork. He said he would like to seean art inspector or more Advisory Committee members that will inspect moreseriously. Mr. Sky stated that the budget for the Advisory Committee is toosmall. He would like to see inspection 3 days per week especially on theweekends. Another problem he introduced was that there are many illegal vendorswho provide imported goods located on MarketStreet. Although Advisory Committee inspectors caneasily call the police and have these people removed, they don’t necessarily dothat. This encourages artists to add illegal items to their booths in order tokeep up with import people

Commissioner Chew and Mr.Luis R. Cancel both agreed to make inspection a higher priority.

Ms. Debra King, LiaisonCommittee member, agreed with Mr. Tad Sky. She stated she would like to see betterqualification standards while a screening occurs so Advisory Committee memberscan catch illegal artwork in the beginning steps.

6.    Action. Hearingand possible motion to approve Program Director’s recommendation of denial ofcertificate or renewal.

Mucheru Njaga – Certificate #8173 (expired 9/8/10). Alleged violation: Selling jewelry items not createdby Mr. Njaga.

Mucheru Njaga was not present.Mr. Howard Lazar described Mr. Njaga’s case to the Commissioners. It had beenobserved by Mr. Lazar and Advisory Committee members that Mr. Njaga was sellingitems at Justin Herman Plaza.The Advisory Committee submitted photos of Mr. Njaga’s work to the StreetArtists Program office. It was decided that a studio visit would be done tolook at Mr. Njaga’s inventory and to watch him create pieces of jewelry.According to the Advisory Committee, Mr. Njaga did not present adequatereceipts or raw materials, he showed a limited number of items in progress, andhalf of his finished pieces were not approved by the Committee at his initialscreening. Most of the receipts he furnished were not in his name and he statedother receipts he had destroyed. On the basis of the Advisory Committee’sstudio visit report, Mr. Lazar decided to deny Mr. Njaga a renewal of hiscertificate and to schedule his case before the Street Artists Committee.

Commissioner Chew motioned to find Mr. Mucheru Njagain violation for selling items not of his own creation; the motion was secondedby Commissoner Chuang and was unanimously approved.

Commissioner Chew motioned to approve the ProgramDirector’s decision to deny Mr. Mucheru Njaga a license certificate; the motionwas seconded by Commissioner Silverman seconded and was unanimously approved.

7.   Discussion. NewBusiness/Public Comment.

Maria Hillius stated that shebelieved the budget and the street artist fee is fair. She wanted to see moreservices from the Street Artists Program such as more inspection and morestudio visits. In terms of the budget, however, she was bothered by the CityAttorney expense that artists must pay. She demanded that City Attorneydecisions be submitted to street artists in writing.

Commissioner Chew adjourned the meeting at 5:22 p.m.

 ADL 10/16/12

Respectfully submitted:


Alyssa Licouris, StreetArtists Program Assistant


Minutes approved by:


Howard Lazar, Street ArtistsProgram Director