Arts and culture is what the Mission is about and companies can help pay for some of it, said Supervisor David Campos, who spoke at the San Francisco Arts Town Hall at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Monday evening.
“Arts and culture make District 9 what it is,” said Campos when asked how the arts are a cultural asset to his constituency.
Campos and other candidates running for supervisor in November took the stage Monday in front of 450 people to answer questions from award-winning journalist Belva Davis about the future of the city’s arts funding.
“The talent you can find in [the Mission District] is comparable to what you can find in the rest of the city, or even the rest of the world,” he said, pointing to Balmy Alley as a great example of some of the creativity one can find in the neighborhood.
Despite the city’s vibrant arts culture, Campos said the amount of money currently going toward the arts is “less than it should be.”
Giving Twitter a tax break to move into the mid-Market area resulted in less funding for the arts, Campos said later in a phone interview.
The District 9 supervisor voted against that tax break in part because it meant losing various community benefits that the tax would help fund, including potential infrastructure projects, such as public artworks, designed to mitigate the local effects of a development.
“Specifically for larger developments,” said Campos, “community benefit agreements should be part of the deal. We should make sure that the arts are included.”
Campos said that startup companies in the Mission District present an opportunity to the city. Many of them will benefit from the gross receipts tax reform measure on November’s ballot, if it passes. The measure would replace the city’s current payroll tax with one that taxes business revenues. The money businesses save could help fund art projects, Campos said.
“We should approach these businesses that are going to be saving money and see if they can make a contribution.”
Proposition 30, which would establish a temporary tax to fund primarily K-12 schools and community colleges, could also help bring in more money — but that is up to voters.
“We still need to do much more if the state doesn’t step up, if Proposition 30 doesn’t pass,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who sat alongside Campos at the town hall meeting.
Campos agreed, adding that he plans to request a hearing in September before the Joint City and School District Committee, which he chairs, to talk about a “plan B” for arts programs if Proposition 30 doesn’t pass.
“Part of it is just getting more info about what the expected level of funding will look like, locally,” Campos said. “I think there’s a lot of hope that the tax measure will pass. But you have to prepare for the worst.”