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TBA Online: News & Features: January 2018

Executive Director's Note: Back to the Ballot!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rotimi Agabiaka
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by Brad Erickson

Brad Erickson, TBA executive director and official proponent for the 2018 Arts and Homelessness Measure

 As you may have heard, the coalition that drove forward San Francisco’s Proposition S in 2016 has reconvened to put a new measure on the ballot this June. Like Prop S, our new measure would secure stable, long-term, and growing funding for arts and culture and for programs addressing family homelessness (1 of 25 San Francisco public school children is homeless–-a tragedy and a disgrace). With this measure, we aim to reconnect funding for arts and culture to the city’s hotel tax. This 40-year nexus was severed by the City Attorney several years ago, and now arts funding is completely dependent on the pleasure of City Hall. Our measure would reestablish the long-time link with the hotel tax and secure stable, steadily increasing funding for Grants for the Arts and the SF Arts Commission.

 In November 2016, we came very close to winning with Prop S. Just a few months ago, the California Supreme Court issued a decision that says citizen-driven measures of this kind need just 50 percent plus 1 vote to win, not the two-thirds we needed in the last election (and which we very nearly reached with 64 percent of the vote). Our polling says the SF electorate still supports this measure at 64 percent. In all likelihood, if we present this measure to the voters this June, we will win.

What we need now is signatures to put our new measure on the ballot. A growing group of nonprofits—arts organizations, homeless service groups, cultural districts—are coming together to gather the 15,000 signatures we will need, by the end of January, to qualify for the ballot.

Let’s get the San Francisco theatre and dance community fully on board. Here’s how you can help: If you’re with a theatre company, identify individuals who can commit to gathering at least one book of signatures (38 per book). If your company has shows this month, post one of your signature volunteers in your lobby to gather signatures before the show, during intermission, or after. If you don’t have a show this month, recruit your staff, board, and volunteers to commit to filling one book (or more!).

If you’re an individual artist or theatre supporter, help us gather those 15,000 signatures and put this game-changing measure on the ballot. Signature gatherers must be eligible to vote in California. People signing must be San Francisco registered voters. There are other guidelines included in the link below.

Signature books can be obtained at the TBA offices (1119 Market Street, Second Floor, at 7th Street) from 10 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

We have two weeks to put this measure before San Francisco voters. All petition books must be turned in to TBA by 5:30 pm, February 1. Everything else you and your volunteers will need to know is contained in the link below:

When you come by the TBA offices, staff here will be able to review the information and guidelines with you.

Help us get the signatures to put this measure on the ballot in June and finally secure the funding we need to bring theatre and dance and all the arts to every San Franciscan!