City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

July 13, 2011

Street Artists Committee - July 13, 2011

STREET ARTISTS COMMITTEE

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue,Suite 70

Minutes


 

Members present: Greg Chew, Chair, Amy Chuang, Sherene Melania, Jessica Silverman
Members absent:
John Calloway
Staff present: Street ArtistsProgram Director Howard Lazar

Commissioner Chew, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m.

 

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

StreetArtists Program Director Howard Lazar reported on the following:

Street Artist highlighted in Chronicle:Craig Goldman, sea glass jewelry artist, was featured in the June 16-19, 2011edition of the SF Chronicle. A photoof his work was included in the article which also featured activities on Hydeand Beach Street.

Meeting with China Ministry: Mr. Lazarwas approached by the China Ministry of Culture Delegation to discuss how theStreet Artists Program works including lottery and licensing processes as wellas the Arts Commission in general. On July 6, 2011, Mr. Lazar and ProgramAssistant Alyssa Licouris met with 27 individuals who represented differentcultural institutions from 15 provinces of China and their interpreter. Mr.Lazar felt honored that the Ministry chose to meet with the Street ArtistsProgram. 

Street Artists spaces relocated: On July7, 2011, Mr. Lazar met with the Union Square Business Improvement District, theForever21 manager and several street artists to relocate street artists spacesat Hallidie Plaza due to the placement of the new Muniticket booth. They agreed to move street artists spaces near the rail of thePlaza in order to permit a wider pedestrian thoroughfare and for street artiststo have more access to the public.

Highlights of past fiscal year:

1
. For the entire FY 2010-11, 227 staff hours weredevoted to fulfilling public documentrequests and Sunshine Task Force items. This number does not include accounting staff time or City Attorney time.For the previous fiscal year (2009-10), 153 hourswere devoted to these tasks. In 2008-09, 76 hours were devoted to these tasks.

2. Street Artists gained 8 additional permanentselling spaces designated by the Board of Supervisorsin the Castro area (“MiniPlaza” created by GavinNewsom) at 17th and
Marketstreets.

3.The Street Artists Program continued in its 39th year of operation as acost-neutral, self-sufficientlicensing program entirely supported by its license revenue and providing opportunity to over 400 artists to earn aliving for themselves and their families.

4.The Street Artists Program continued to contribute an estimated annual $4million in sales to San Francisco's economy.

5.During the fiscal year 2010-11, the Street Artists Program received presscoverage in six articles (twice inthe SF Examiner and four times in theSF Chronicle).

6.The Street Artists Program document "How to obtain a street artistslicense" was translatedinto Mandarin and Spanish.

7.A two-tiered lottery system favored by artists and comprised of two randomdrawings for assignment of sellingspaces was adopted by the Arts Commission.

8.Program Director Howard Lazar was contacted by the Santa Fe Street ArtistsProgram asking for advice aboutestablishing criteria for photography.

9.The Street Artists Program remained an avenue for people to earn a living especially during the present economy.

10. Enforcement of street artist rules andregulations for 2010-11 included 3 studio visits, 47 warnings, 4 Street Artists Program Committee hearings, and3 Program Director hearings.

Therewas no public comment.

 

2.  Discussion. Report by Street Artists Liaison Committee.

Liaison Committeemember Tad Sky reminded Commissioners that the Liaison Committee’s term ends onJuly 31, 2011. He stated the members received a letter from Mr. Cancel and Mr.Lazar saying that they valued their input of the committee and appreciatedtheir work. Mr. Sky proposed that, in the near future, another LiaisonCommittee be formed and asked the Arts Commission to consider restarting thecommittee. Mr. Sky submitted a petition with 82 signatures of street artists urgingthe Arts Commission to form another 5 person committee which would be eitherelected or appointed. Mr. Sky stated that the committee is valuable and saves Mr.Lazar a lot of time since many questions can be answered before having to takethem to Mr. Lazar.

CommissionerChew asked how the committee was formed. Mr. Lazar answered that the 5 memberswere elected. Commissioner Melania agreed that they should keep the Liaison Committee.

LiaisonCommittee Chairman Michael Addario agreed that the committee should go forward thatit’s members should be elected and that it should operate as an independentcommittee.

Mr.Addario reported that the audit of the Street Artists Program had beenpublished after a two year wait. According to Mr. Addario, the report validatedthe claim that it was not necessary to raise the street artists fees, that Mr.Cancel had no authority to charge the Street Artists Program with $18,000 forhis and Director of Programs Manton’s salary and benefits, that the ArtsCommission staff have mismanaged the program, that the street artists deservean apology and refund for the overcharge during Mr. Cancel’s tenure, and thatit confirms that Arts Commission staff is not competent or trustworthy and shouldn’tbe handling funds. 

Mr.Addario reported that a letter has been sent to the Ethics Commission by theSunshine Task Force asking to discipline Mr. Lazar for multiple violations ofthe City’s Sunshine Ordinance. Mr. Addario also stated that Mr. Cancel nevertook the Sunshine training until April 2011, and last August, Mr. Lazar wasasked to talk to the Port about getting additional spaces and he has not doneso at this point in time.

Mr.Lazar responded by urging Commissioners to read the full audit since only oneside of the story was discussed by Mr. Addario.

CommissionerChew asked for public comment.

StreetArtist and Liaison Committee member Debra King, a 35 year program participant,appreciated the audit but claimed that no program is perfect and that the StreetArtists Program has helped her make her career for the past 35 years. Ms. Kingstated that the Liaison Committee has been very helpful to the program andprovides a forum. Ms. King claimed that only 10% of issues ever go to the StreetArtists Program Committee level because 70% of the issues are resolved anddiscussed by the Liaison Committee first at the market place and 20% of issuesare resolved at the Liaison Committee level.

Mr.Lazar and Commissioner Melania answered Commissioner Silverman’s questionregarding the committee process by explaining that the committee is based on anelection with the help of the Street Artists Program Committee.

StreetArtist Maria Hillius commented that she liked the fact that street artistscould send in their votes for Liaison members last year. She suggested thatstreet artists who would want to be a part of the committee should first sendin their resumes along with their issues they want to see discussed orchanged.

StreetArtist Leah Mazor credited the committee for helping to deter the establishmentof a flea market at JustinHerman Plazawhich the Department of Recreation and Park was considerin
g.

Market Manager John Tunui said that the Liaison Committee is valuable to Justin Herman Plaza because it can help fix issues on the spot that the managers can't deal with or don't have experience handling.


 

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

Leah Mazor – Certificate #8345.
Allegedviolations:  Conducting business in animproper, disorderly, hazardous manner (disruption of artists’ businesses) – 10incidents.

        Mr.Lazar presented the case involving Ms. Mazor and her primary violations which mainlyincluded disruption of artists’ businesses from March 18 - May 8, 2011consisting of a variety of disruptions dealing with members of the public,market managers, and other artists. Mr. Lazar recommended denial of renewal ofcertificate of Ms. Mazor since her actions were a significant threat to the StreetArtists Program and her violations were considered serious. Mr. Lazar statedthat the history of Ms. Mazor’s actions for the past three years has included:a warning on April 15, 2010 for selling items intended for human consumption (theStreet Artists Program Committee refused Ms. Mazor’s request to withdraw thewarning); and on August 13, 2009, Ms. Mazor was found in violation forattempting assault by throwing a glass bottle at a person and was given a 2week suspension which Mr. Lazar called “lenient”.

CommissionerChew expressed frustration over so many violations during a short period oftime by Ms. Mazor. Commissioner Melania agreed and stated that they have triedto reason with Ms. Mazor but it hasn’t seemed to work and that they owe it to theother street artists to think about the working environment that they must dealwith.

Mr.Lazar called upon Market Manager John Tunui to speak about the original letterthat stated the incidents of the case. Mr. Tunui explained that the marketmanagers keep a daily incident report for Justin HermanPlaza which enables themto watch for patterns of street artists behavior. Once the report was taken toMr. Lazar in May, he said, Ms. Mazor’s disruptive behavior stopped.

FormerMarket Manager Tad Sky reminded the Commissioners that the manager position isvolunteer only. He stated that the hardest part is when street artistschallenge authority and have disruptive behavior. For the most part, Ms. Mazorhas been more of a hindrance at JustinHerman Plazain his manager experience. He witnessed the report’s April 29, 2011 incidentwhere she was yelling at Mr. Tunui. Mr. Sky stated that an anger managementclass would be helpful for Ms. Mazor. He reminded the Commissioners about howshe challenged the market manager position in 2007 which was part of herhistory.

LiaisonChair Michael Addario stated he was a witness to the bottle throwing incidentat Justin Herman Plaza.Ms. Mazor admitted to him that she threw the beer bottle across Justin HermanPlaza which shatteredeverywhere. He said he didn’t actually see her throw it but Ms. Mazor admittedto throwing the bottle. Mr. Addario didn’t call the police because he didn’twant the Plaza’s spaces to get taken away. He said he was upset to see her receiveonly a 2 week suspension for the bottle throwing incident and that he wouldlike to see her license revoked this time around. 

MarketManager Susan Levinson witnessed the incident on April 23, 2011 involving Mr. Tunui.Ms. Levinson told Ms. Mazor that she should write a letter to Mr. Lazarregarding Mr. Tunui’s actions if she wasn’t happy with them. Ms. Mazor startedscreaming at Ms. Levinson while she was dismantling her booth. They did have a talkabout her behavior and Ms. Mazor agreed she had an anger issue. Ms. Levinsonstated that Ms. Mazor’s behavior continues to be disruptive and does not seemto stop.

MarketManager Ron Vanini witnessed one of the incidents regarding Ms. Mazor sellingchocolate which many of the artists claimed were gifts. Mr. Vanini stated thatMs. Mazor said she had sold the chocolate while she had been packed up and shecould do whatever she wants at JustinHerman Plaza.Mr. Vanini explained he had witnessed Ms. Mazor overact many times, even when achild touched her booth and Ms. Mazor began a confrontation with customers. Mr.Vanini agreed she should no longer be part of the program.

StreetArtist Leah Mazor asked if she could appeal the Program Committee’s decision tothe Board of Appeals. Mr. Lazar said she could not appeal to the ArtsCommission but could appeal to the Board of Appeals. Ms. Mazor explained thatshe was not selling on March 18, 2011 as it said on the report by Mr. Tunuisince her FasTrak bill did not show her crossing the bridge on that day. Ms.Mazor submitted a copy of a FasTrak bill. Ms. Mazor requested more detailsregarding a May 19, 2011 incident with a member of the public and wanted to seethese show up at the meeting. Ms. Mazor stated she is accused of certainviolations but that people are lying and need to prove these allegations. Shealso claimed the April 2, 2011 incident didn’t exist and that she didn’t workon April 21 according to her fastrak bill. She agreed that the only incident thathappened with Mr. Tunui dealt with smoking but she wasn’t smoking near a booth.She was upset with Mr. Tunui because he gave a space away illegally. Regardingthe bottle incident, she wanted to know what steps Mr. Lazar took when Mr.Addario attacked a customer on the plaza.

CommissionerSilverman confirmed that they were looking at just March through May incidents.She asked Ms. Mazor if she was interested in continuing to be a street artist.Ms. Mazor stated she was only concerned about the next two weeks and then shewas done with the program.

CommissionerChew suggested that there were other venues for Ms. Mazor to to sell herchocolates. Commissioner Chew said he was bothered by the amount of violations hiscommittee received by her fellow artists.

Mr.Lazar reiterated that the sum of the incidents showed a disregard for the rulesand the well being of the street artists, and that the artists were at Justin HermanPlaza at the pleasure ofthe Department of Recreation and Park. He again recommended denial of renewalof certificate. Ms. Mazor’s permit expires August 9, 2011.

CommissionerMelania stated she was disappointed to see these incidents continue by Ms.Mazor and reminded Commissioners that she was warned that she wouldn’t be givenleniency if she continued to violate.

Commissioner Melania moved that Ms. Mazor befound in violation by conducting business in an improper, disorderly, hazardousmanner and that her continuation in the program threatens the integrity of the StreetArtists Program and the well being of the artists; Commissioner Chaung secondedthe motion.


CommissionerChew asked for public comment.

Mr.Addario commented that Ms. Mazor has diminished credibility and, because shehas a reputation for returning even when she says she is leaving, he believedthe best option for her punishment would be to revoke her license.


Commissioner Melania moved that Ms. Mazor's certificate (#8345) be revoked; Commissioner Silverman seconded the motion.

Both motions unanimously passed.

 


4.  Action. Hearing and possible motion topapprove Program Director’s recommendation of denial of certificate or renewal.

Homan Yim – Certificate #8005.
Alleged violations: Conducting business in an improper,disorderly, hazardous manner (selling items not previously approved by AdvisoryCommittee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners; exceeding display sizeregulations; not displaying certificate prominently; allowing a salesperson tosell Mr. Yim’s wares). 

Program Director Lazar recommendeddenial of renewal of certificate since Ms. Yim’s actions constituted asignificant threat to the integrity of the Street Artists Program. Mr. Yim wasfirst licensed on July 9, 2009. On August 4, 2010, a warning was issued to Mr.Yim for exceeding display size regulations. In December 2010, he was issuedanother warning for his display size as well as selling in an illegal space forwhich he requested a hearing with Mr. Lazar. At the Program Director’s hearing,Mr. Yim signed a statement agreeing to abide by all the street artists rulesand regulations. The last violations consisted of 4 specific rules of whichmany were serious violations such as having a sales person. Another seriousviolation that occurred was that he was selling many items that had not been approvedby the Advisory Committee of Crafts Examiners. Mr. Lazar submitted picturesfrom the Advisory Committee report along with the Committee’s checklists ofviolations and he stated the report and photos with the history of violationsmake this case fall under the serious violation category.

StreetArtist Homan Yim explained that the reason he got into trouble was because hewas trying to help other people sell. He stated that he didn’t sell a singleshirt on that day of the violation and that he designs the shirts but someoneelse does the screen printing on them.

Mr.Lazar reminded Mr. Yim that the rules of the Street Artist Program state thatan artist is only allowed to sell what the artist makes himself.


Mr.Yim explained that he can make the bracelets himself but he was selling otherbracelets to help someone else.

CommissionerMelania reiterated that an artist is only supposed to sell what he or she hasbeen approved to sell. Mr. Yim stated that at the time of the incident he hadhis own table and there was a table with other merchandise he didn’t make nextto his table, and that he did not believe he set up illegally.

CommissionerMelania and Commissioner Chew corrected him by stating that he was illegallyset up. The commissioners warned Mr. Yim that he could not sell things that hedidn’t make because he could get into trouble.


CommissionerMelania asked why Mr. Yim signed the agreement without following the rules. Mr. Yim stated that he tried to help other people.

Mr.Lazar reiterated that the photos of Mr. Yim showed him with two display tables.Mr. Yim explained that one table belonged to another artist. Mr. Lazar statedthat the Advisory Committee report noted that Mr. Yim had set up two tablesalong with a large number of t-shirts and bracelets that were not just namebracelets.

Inanswering a question by Commissioner Melania, Mr. Lazar stated that Mr. Yimjoined the program in July 2009 and that there were no violations by Mr. Yim dealingwith aggressive behavior.

CommissionerSilverman stated that she wanted to make sure that Mr. Yim understood the problemso he could continue to be successful in the program. Mr. Yim agreed that hedid understand.


Mr. Yim said that he wanted to help the street artist, Ms. Tan, with her table. Mr. Yim said that what he did was wrong and that his friend was signed up for a screening for t-shirts. Mr. Yim stated he would only make his name bracelets.

CommissionerSilverman stated that she wanted to make sure Mr. Yim was aware that the rulesare not negotiable and that his new items will need to be screened if he wantsto continue to sell them.

CommissionerChuang spoke in Cantonese to Mr. Yim.

CommissionerMelania advised that Mr. Yim should report any violations he sees other artistscommitting and that he should follow the rules even though other artists maynot be following the rules.

CommissionerChuang spoke in Cantonese again to Mr. Yim. Commissioner Chuang translated thathe said that he didn’t understand why other artists were getting away withviolations. Commissioner Silverman reminded Mr. Yim that he needs to focus onhimself and again advised Mr. Yim to follow the rules and not worry about otherstreet artists. 

Commissioner Melania moved that Mr. Yim be found in violation for selling items not previously approved by Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners; exceeding display size regulations; not displaying certificate prominently; and allowing a salesperson to sell Mr. Yim's wares; Commissioner Silverman seconded the motion.


Street Artist Tad Sky stated thatthe violations were serious and that the Commissioners should revoke hislicense.

Street Artist Maria Hilius commentedthat Mr. Yim had gotten many opportunities to abide by the rules and that thecommittee should take action against him.


Street Artist Danny Yin stated thateach street artist should be punished for their actions and that Mr. Yimshouldn’t violate the rules even if other people are not following them.

Street Artist Michael Addario statedthat the committee should be spending more time on other things but that Mr.Yim should receive some kind of penalty so other street artists understand theseverity of breaking the rules and that they can’t get away with violations.


The motion unanimouslypassed.


Commissioner Melania moved to denyrenewal of Mr. Yim’s certificate (#8005) for 3 months; the motion did not pass.

Commissioner Chuang proposed 2months for a denial of renewal since it would give him a little more time to beable to sell. Commissioner Silverman agreed that more time might not make adifference if he would change his habits.


Commissioner Chaung moved todeny renewal of Mr. Yim’s certificate (#8005) for 2 months commencing on July13, 2011; Commissioner Silverman seconded.


CommissionerChew asked for public comment.

Ms. Hillius commented that the amountof time for a denial of renewal would reflect the severity of the punishmentand sets the standard.


Mr. Sky said that Mr. Yim needs the maximum punishment because he hurt other street artists' business.

The motion unanimously passed.

 

5.   Discussion. New Business/Public Comment.

Ms. Hillius commented that she willmiss former Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel because they used totalk in Portuguese together at the end of the meetings.

CommissionerChew adjourned the meeting 4:45pm.




Respectfully submitted:                                                                                     

 

Alyssa Licouris, StreetArtists Program Assistant

 

Minutes approved:

 

Howard Lazar, Street ArtistsProgram Director

7/26/11