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<  Miscellaneous  ~  "Gum balls" and "Major Contributors"

Russell Blackwood
Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 10:47 am Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
Hello All!

Yesterday, I got a piece of political mail from San Francisco Mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez (Green Party). Gonzalez is in a neck and neck runoff election with Democrat Gavin Newsom that will be decided this Tuesday (12/9). It features this sidebar ?

Artists and the Economy

A very special category of small business in San Francisco is the array of activities known collectively as the arts. Like other small businesses, arts groups in San Francisco have long been ignored and marginalized, not recognized as major contributors to a sustainable urban economy. The facts indicate that their contribution should be taken more seriously. Consider the following facts reported by the Chamber of Commerce:

- One in 11 jobs in San Francisco is related to the arts.

- Arts organizations provide a $1.3 billion boost to the local economy.

- The arts are the fourth-largest growth industry in San Francisco.

- The Bay Area has the largest arts attendance per capita of U.S. metropolitan areas.

- 50 percent of visitors to San Francisco from nearby communities say museum attendance is a reason for their visit; another 40 percent come to the City for live theater.

Arts groups have needs currently unmet by city programs and policies. Chief among them is the need for affordable space, not only for performances but also for housing.

My administration will tackle that issue. I have proposed a property transfer tax, similar to the ones in place in Berkeley and Oakland, which would be assessed on properties valued at over $2 million. The funds raised would be used to acquire land for affordable housing and nonprofit development.


Reading the Chamber of Commerce statistics gave me pause. Made me proud. And, dare I say, ?empowered? me. I?d certainly read equally persuasive local and national stats before. Why was I more impressed by these numbers when they came via a would-be mayor rather than the arts advocacy groups that normally peddle them?

In addition to making me even more curious about the details of Gonzalez's plan, it reminds me how easily numbers from studies and polls can become a kind of mantra for me. Not that this ditty from the November 17 Sacrament Bee doesn?t still stick in my craw - Canadians spend an annual $145 per capita to fund the arts; Germans, $85; New Yorkers, $2.75; Mississippians, $1.31; Californians, 3 cents - "That's gum balls," says Barry Hessenius, director of the California Arts Council. Three gum balls a year.? I know that these two sets of stats are still going to be "apples and oranges" to most politicians. Perhaps more favorably balanced thinking could do us all some good these days.

For the many of you who don't live in San Francisco, consider investigating your cities equivalent to the SF Chamber of Commerce study. I can't guarantee the picture will be rosy, but it may "give you pause" nevertheless.

Major Gum Balls!
Russell Blackwood
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jimmy1988
Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:56 am Reply with quote
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Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:30 pm Reply with quote
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Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:04 am Reply with quote
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