Vision Statement: Adding Joy to People's Lives.
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
March 28, 2007 AT 7:00 P.M.
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
734 THIRD STREET
BRENTWOOD, CA 94513
CALL TO ORDER: Chairperson Ruiz called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
ROLL CALL: Commissioners Present: Ron Beatty, Patrick McCarran, Vivian Faye, Suanie Fridley, Sandra Gill, Wanda Groseclose, Barbara Guise, Patrick McCarran, Helen Myers, Catherine Perez, Greg Ruiz, Bart Schneider, Annette Seabury-Day, Joe Trebino Commissioners Absent: None. Staff Present: Craig Bronzan, Parks and Recreation Director and Rebekah Burr-Siegel, Arts Manager.
BELIEF STATEMENT: Commissioner Schneider read the Belief Statement
AGENDA REVIEW: MSC Beatty/Guise to move item #9 before item #7.
7:04 p.m. Commissioner Perez arrived.
CITIZEN COMMENTS: Mayor Taylor stated that he was greatly dismayed and upset. He wanted the Commission to know he does not support or participate in secret meetings. He was with two staff people and a Commissioner. The accusations against him are atrocious. Mayor Taylor feels very involved with this Committee, he feels very obligated to this Commission and to the City. Mayor Taylor added that if you have a meeting and you cannot show up, a courtesy phone call is needed. If you can’t be on time, don’t show up. The Mayor, Commissioners, have better things to do. We cannot be expected to wait 30-40 minutes for someone to show-up or that might show-up that is crazy. If he was 35 minutes late for a City Council Meeting, the City would become unglued. A courtesy phone call would be greatly appreciated if you are not going to show and as far as secret meetings that will never happen while I am in office.
7:06 p.m. Commissioner Trebino arrived.
CHAIR COMMENTS: Chairperson Ruiz thanked the Art Society for providing security for the critters and Ron Beatty for the Art Society monthly updates. He further stated that there are several items on the Agenda that have the potential to be volatile. He asked that the emotions of the issues be removed and that we deal with the facts and conduct ourselves in a respectful and professional manner.
Chairperson Ruiz addressed a meeting that took place last week, the Public Art Subcommittee meeting. Chairperson Ruiz stated that it may come up during the evening. If not, he would be happy to answer personally for those that don’t understand.
1. Approve Minutes of regular meeting of February 28, 2007
4. Accept Monthly Report form the Public Arts Committee
Chairperson Ruiz stated that when the Art Commission approved the three pieces for purchasing he asked if they could be voted on individually. My request was denied that it was viewed as one particular block being purchased. Chairperson Ruiz explained the public art process and referred the Commissioners to the flowchart included in the packet which was also presented to the Art Commission in June 2006.
Commissioner Trebino stated that in his opinion the Police Department would not be responsible for the pieces but they would definitely look out for the pieces. He couldn’t imagine a more secure spot. If they are kicking back the recommendation to the Public Art Committee to purchase the two pieces, we need to get on it, so that we don’t miss out on the two other pieces.
Chairperson Ruiz stated that we have a whole new City Council with a different frame of mind and different goals. It is necessary for us to mold ourselves; we are advisory to City Council. Chairperson Ruiz asked the Mayor if he wanted to add anything in terms of the direction that you would like to point us.
Mayor Taylor stated that he was under the impression that we had to buy all three pieces at the same time.
Mayor Taylor stated that in regards to the Police Station he didn’t think people would see them and it would not do the citizens any good. He was dismayed that the Police Department did not cooperate because the lobby would be a better place since people go in there.
Commissioner Gill wanted to remind everyone that we do have a process and anytime something is rejected or sent back from the Public Art Subcommittee, it automatically goes back to the Public Art Committee for review. We don’t want to pass something on for the City Council approval that we haven’t thoroughly researched and know everything about.
Commissioner McCarran stated that we need to get a collection started so that we are available for donations. One of our goals that we established at a workshop was to have an art center; this is that first step that we needed to take. Commissioner McCarran explained that the key here is that they need to reviewed as separate purchases. We will recommend next time a motion to purchase them individually.
Commissioner Beatty stated that the system is deliberately complex and is frustrating but it is working.
Commissioner McCarran stated that on a happier note, that we did have an special meeting of the Public Art Committee in regards to the farmer statue. There were issues with the base and moving it to the final spot at City Hall. Commission McCarran reported that Bill Weber and the foundry proposed a workable solution. The system is not broken, it is working, and we can improve it. Commission McCarran took partial responsibility for not seeing the picture as clear as he should have. MSC Beatty/Seabury-Day to accept item 4.
Commissioner Fridley said that Commissioner Schneider was in charge of children’s theater portion of the Festival. Commissioner Schneider reflected on the pros and cons of having the children’s theatre outside as he can see it going either way. In the end, it would be easier inside. The publicity needs to be very strong to attract people into the Community Center. Commissioner Trebino asked if Commissioner Schneider planned to have the plays for two day. Commission Schneider isn’t sure what the schedule will be yet. Commissioner Gill asked about the possibilities of having a theater group perform at the dinner, as part of the entertainment. Commissioner Schneider stated that dinner theater could definitely be a possibility.
Commissioner Beatty stated that Art Society has reduced the price of the dinner from $75 to $44 to attract people who benefit from the funds raised at the event and the docent programs.
Commissioner McCarran stated that the Arts Commission put Commission Fridley in charge of this event and this should be a recommendation from her Committee. Chairperson Ruiz agreed. Commissioner Guise said she would vote for Sunday or nothing. She can’t see it Saturday night since deter from vendors and the vendors would not be happy. Commissioner Trebino stated that he doesn’t see how this would deter from the vendors or the Festival. It may draw people earlier to the festival. Chairperson Ruiz agreed with Commissioner McCarran even though the discussion is enlightening to the Commission, a recommendation needs to come from Commissioner Fridley’s Committee to the Art Commission.
Commissioner Fridley stated that the Art, Wine and Jazz Festival is heading in the right direction and the website has received a number of hits.
Arts Manager Burr-Siegel confirmed that the Community Center and City Park were reserved earlier in the year for the Festival.
Commissioner Ruiz stated that this is an “ACTION” item. However, the Commission has not had time to peruse the report since it was just handed out. He recommends to approve it. In the future, materials need to accompany the agenda packet so the Commissioners have the opportunity to study it. If it cannot be put into the packet at that time it is understandable but we need some time to actually look it over and vote on it.
7:45 pm Commissioner Beatty left the meeting
7. DISCUSSION: Revisit Arts Commission absence policy (G. Ruiz)
Commissioner Trebino inquired about when the City Council intent to change the number of Art Commissioners to twelve. He asked if this is official. Arts Manger Burr-Siegel replied that this is Council’s intention. The Arts Commission is currently at thirteen members and when it reaches twelve, the intention is to freeze it at twelve. Chairperson Ruiz stated that to change it to twelve will require a change to the ordinance.
Commissioner Schneider asked if absences would count at emergency meetings. Chairperson Ruiz stated that the absences only refer to full Art Commission Meetings to the best of his knowledge.
7. DISCUSSION: Discuss Public Art approval process (P. McCarran)
Commission Gill stated that is a fascinating process. As Vice Chair, you are on the Public Art Committee. The Arts Manager did an excellent job educating us. It was a great process. As public art projects come up they are presented to Committee. Then it comes to the Art Commission where it is presented again and we decide whether it goes on to the Public Art Subcommittee. Then when it goes to Council, it will be more likely to be approved. Commissioner Gill highly recommends that if you have the opportunity to attend either one of those Committees, you will get an idea of the process, why it is in place and why it is important. Let’s make sure we slow the process down a bit and do what is best for the community.
Commissioner Guise asked if the process was dependent on a Commission of 25 members. Do we really need a lot of subcommittees because 25 members would be very unyielding, when you reduce to twelve members is it still efficient? Chairperson Ruiz commented that he didn’t understand the correlation between the public art process and the 25 member commission. Commissioner McCarran stated that he thinks it doesn’t matter how members we have the Commission. The process is designed to not rush things through and look at all facets of the situation. Commissioner McCarran stated the process is there for a reason and it doesn’t matter how many people we have.
Commissioner Gill added that regardless of the number of people on the Commission, this process is an ordinance and we need to follow it. We can’t do the work here on one Wednesday night a month to get the work done. In the future, she would like us to have the discussion of what is the purpose of the Art Commission, what is the purpose of the Art Society, and what happened to them working hand-in-hand; one of the groups being the “doers” or running programs and the other group being the policy makers.
10. DISCUSSION: Discuss the Art’s Commission’s goals and direction (S. Gill)
Commissioner Gill stated that if we continue to bicker, fight, send negative e-mails and be dysfunctional, we are not going to exist very much longer and then none of our goals will be met. We need to have some serious discussion on what we want to do, what do we want to accomplish, and what is the best possible way to do that. Commissioner Gill stated that she personally wanted to be a Commissioner because the arts make the community a better place to live. While Brentwood is a great place to live, there is no place on earth that can’t be better and she wants to be part of that process.
Commissioner Trebino stated that we are all different and we all will have different ideas on how things should be run. Chairperson Ruiz agreed with Commissioner Trebino however there is a difference in questioning the process and questioning a decision. Those questions are appropriate and part of the job of being an Art Commissioner. Chairperson Ruiz could only speak for himself but that is not what has been going on. If someone levels unfair, untrue, and completely inappropriate allegations against individuals and against the process, there is a serious problem. Chairperson Ruiz stated that we have far reaching problems that need to be addressed before we can move forward.
Commissioner Seabury-Day stated that her position on the Arts Commission has always been to bring the community something positive: the arts. All the petty stuff that has gone on has nearly led her to leave the Commission three to four times in her time on the Commission; she would love to see that end and these goals take flight. She added that she wanted to see something happen in a positive light without the third grade mentality.
Commissioner Faye stated that she still feels this incredible hopefulness for us to go forward with these activities. She was recently reminded of David Mas Masumoto that brought back wonderful memories at the CityRead book discussion that the Arts Manager Burr-Siegel and others had orchestrated so beautifully. For reasons like this, she thinks that we should be focusing on the good work we can do rather than worrying about disagreements. She also stated that we need to be aware of some of the community concerns and that in the bigger picture we need to be aware of and to break through of the stumbling blocks that are quietly unspoken.
Mayor Taylor stated that Commissioner Trebino reminded him of this one day that everyone complains. We have to realize that this is a volunteer group and to be on this group you have to be very dedicated and very involved. It is not in behoovment of anybody to ask anyone to leave. He added that Brentwood has changed. Mayor Taylor commented that if we are looking for places to put art, we have some wonderful schools and suggested that we put one of the pieces there, where people can actually see the art. Summerset is becoming huge; you might consider putting artwork in the senior centers. Mayor Taylor thanked everyone at the meeting and asked them to look at Brentwood not as the community it was as it has changed dramatically over last five years ago.
Chairperson Ruiz stated that he personally joined the Art Commission in order to be part of the process that influences City Council. We are advisory to City Council. There are two factions of this Art Commission; there the individuals who want to do things, they want to put on events and they are very good at that. There is another faction of individuals that want to set policy and advise Council. What he sees happening with the two combine is conflict. There must be some way for both factions to co-exist and do what their passion is without dysfunction. Chairperson Ruiz commented that he has had several meetings with City officials both elected and employed that City Council will not continue to fund the dysfunction of the Arts Commission. That is something for each and every one of us to really think very seriously about. Chairperson Ruiz stated that money dries up for the Arts Manager Burr-Siegel’s position come June or July. How will this Arts Commission continue without the Arts Manger or a staff person to do the numerous things she does. Is there a way that the Arts Commission can function with these two different factions or do these two separate factions need to go their separate ways; the Executive Committee will look into that.
Chairperson Ruiz also explained that he felt very bogged down, but that the meeting was fruitful and no one should leave the meeting feeling personally attacked. However, this is the second meeting where absences were discussed. This is a perfect example of how we get bogged down. Chairperson Ruiz asked if anyone has come to the Executive Committee. Has the Executive Committee actually been able to present policy to the City Council? Have we done anything yet in this third month of this year that guides City Council for the Arts? No, we haven’t. Chairperson Ruiz explained that as the Chair he has a goal for himself that he is going to push through a very aggressive policy making position, to help guide City Council. There is so much that this Commission could be a part of but no one is asking this Commission’s opinion because of our lack of reputation, and history of discord and dysfunction. We need to find a way to move forward together or find some way to separate the two bodies.
Commissioner Trebino stated that he does not find this Committee dysfunctional. Since we were formed, we have done a lot of stuff.
Commissioner McCarran takes offense that some people stated that we are dysfunctional have never been to one of our meetings, so how could they possibly know if we functional or not. He also pointed out for the record; well over 90% of our decisions are unanimous decisions. He absolutely does not agree that we are dysfunctional based on the number of public art pieces we have going in. We have 22 different projects and we have gotten a lot accomplished. If we were dysfunctional we would not have gotten anything done, we got the critters in at Veteran’s Park, and what a nightmare that was. How could a dysfunctional organization deal with a dysfunctional artist? Kudos to Arts Manger Burr-Siegel for putting up with the artist and getting it resolved, it took three years. We learned that we should never deal with an amateur artist. We need artists that are use to dealing with municipalities and artists who are use to doing public art elements. Commissioner McCarran stated that he takes real issue with calling us dysfunction. Dysfunctional by definition means that we wouldn’t accomplish anything, and we do, we did, and we will in the future.
Commissioner Gill explained that it is the perception outside of the actual Commission meetings where unfortunately there has been bickering and pettiness and it has been out in the public venue. There is that perception. Commissioner Gill suggested that maybe we should be discussing how do we regain our reputation, etc. If the community thinks we are dysfunctional and if City Council thinks we are dysfunctional then it doesn’t matter if we are or aren’t. Something needs to be done.
Parks and Recreation Director Bronzan stated that the Arts Commission is dysfunctional, and if no one else has told us that, that is his opinion. He is taking a chance tonight, from his perspective as a Parks and Recreational Director, the Arts Commission is dysfunctional. The fact that we have many things that we have talked about and accomplished doesn’t mean that we can’t be dysfunctional. Since 2001, we have accomplished a lot. Bronzan continued that specifically when we get into conflict, when we disagree, and we don’t like something; we are dysfunctional. Bronzan agreed with Commissioner Gill that we bicker, we fight, and we send mass e-mails. We make accusations and we do end-runs. Bronzan stated that we would not believe the hours he spends in the City Manager’s office, in the City Attorney’s office and meeting with Council Members because someone on the board decided not to bring something up to the Commission but to write a letter, to make a phone call, or make an accusation. Bronzan stated the he believes we are at a fork in the road. From a staff perspective, we are here to help the Arts Commission accomplish things, but he is spending too much time fighting fires that don’t need to be fought. The Commission needs to learn to resolve issues themselves, bring problems to staff, the Executive Committee, or the Commission. He cannot fix problems after the fact. In his opinion, until we come together and are willing to work together on issues and have a positive attitude, he can’t help us. Until we do that he doesn’t think that we will get the respect from the community or Council, and the respect from staff that we understand what it is and we may not be able to do it all.
Chairperson Ruiz asked Parks and Recreation Director Bronzan for help and for a starting point. Bronzan responded that Council is looking to reduce the number to twelve or fewer. He agreed with Commissioner Guise stating that we are volunteers but we can’t be involved in all the things we want to be involved in. We need to decide what is important to us. In the next five years the Art Commission can be a part of the design of a City Hall, a Community Center, a Plaza, a redesign for City Park, and a redesign of the library. Bronzan stated that right now the City will not ask this group to participate in any of this because we can’t understanding the systems we have, follow the systems we have or understanding how to ask the questions.
Commissioner Faye saidd we don’t know how to ask the questions. She was wondering if Director Bronzan could help the Arts Commission with that. Director Bronzan responded by stating that one of the avenues supported by the City Manager, is Gary Winters who is part of the Center for Organizational Effectiveness. They can provide an initial assessment. Bronzan stated has he looked through our notes, we have pretty much identified what are our issues. Mr. Winters is a resource. There are training and support that the City can provide on how to run effective meetings, conflict resolution, or how to create a vision mission. The question is when does it stick. Bronzan stated that he took a chance by getting up tonight and doing a little tough love. But we have, and Brozan spoke for the Mayor and City Council, the City Council’s support on doing what is best for Brentwood.
Commissioner Gill asked how can we be part of the downtown vision if all we are doing is fund raisers. We are not the PTA and we are not the fundraisers.
Commissioner Schneider inquired if we have someone attend the City Council Meetings and report out. Chairperson Ruiz attended last night’s Council meeting and updated them. Commissioner Schneider inquired if it would be a good idea to have someone at each Council Meeting to report out and let them know what our ideas are. Parks & Recreation Director Bronzan responded that we are talking about the “doing” aspect. The Commission hasn’t engaged in a higher level thinking, if the Mayor and City Manager walked in today and said they were building a plaza. If all the Commission says is “let’s put a Bill Weber statue there”, we have sold everyone short. The Commission should be researching several other community plazas in order to see what others are doing and come back and paint a vision of what could be done. That goes to the advisor side and with our interest in the programs we have not had time for that. In the next five years, there is a huge need from a City planning standpoint that the Art Commission can and should be a part of.
Commissioner Trebino stated the problem he sees is what we do with all the programs we started. Commissioner Gill responded by stating as she mentioned earlier what happened to our relationship to the Arts Society. Chairperson Ruiz asked if it was possible for the Art Society to assume some these responsibilities. Commissioner Trebino stated that the Art Society does not have enough people to take this on. He is not against being a policymaker but these things need to get done.
Commissioner Seabury-Day stated she is not a big policymaker, she is a doer. Her position on this Commission is to do things, to bring the community art. She feels that she can do without the policy making. She’s more of a “doer”.
Commissioner Seabury-Day stated that we are an amazing group of people, but we are not working collectively, we are working independently and often against one another. She stated that is where our gears are off. If we can be told what to do, we can do it and do it great.
Director Bronzan read from the attachment “where we do you see the desired state for the Art Commission in five years and the first bullet states”: “I would like to see a Commission who sees the promise of this community, and will work to make that promise come true.”
Brentwood will not be what we want it to be, if we don’t have policies, advisorsd, or doers. Bronzan stated that his challenge to us is to be the body that advises us on how to design a dynamic historic downtown City Plaza. We need a group that knows what the necessary programs are and how to we get them functioning. Some of us will choose to be on the doer side and some of us will choose to be policymakers and advisors. Bronzan stated that the hardest part of this whole discussion is that we are all volunteers so we are giving of ourselves to come and listen to paid staff person to tell us that we have some blemishes.
Director Bronzan stated that he will work through the Arts Manager to keep us up to date with the possibilities that we can be involved in. What he will need back is making some decisions on what is more important and what roles do you want to play. Bronzan stated that he liked the possibility of including the Art Society. He confirmed what Mayor Taylor said earlier that Brentwood had changed, Brentwood has also changed since this Commission has started.
Commission Guise asked Commissioner Trebino if the fences are mended between some of the members of the Arts Commission and the Art Society. Commissioner Trebino agreed that they are.
Arts Manager Burr-Siegel stated that one of the things that she has been advocating for that needs to happen is the Cultural Art Master Plan (CAMP). There is no way that this group can decide or determine the plan of direction or strategize on how to get there without help. Some unbiased and professional help is out there and available. She stated that this is the absolute first step to get this off the ground and getting a plan into action.
Chairperson Ruiz stated that the Livermore Art Commission is in their final stages of their Cultural Arts Master Plan (CAMP) process. He agreed with the importance of a CAMP as we find our way forward. The current Livermore Arts Commission was recently revamped. They had a number of personality conflicts and the group was dissolved two years ago, creating this new arts group. Their first and foremost objective was to create a CAMP. They see it as a strategic pathway for the Commission to achieve its goals by establishing the policy and funding sources to make that pathway a reality. He stated that he cannot say enough about the CAMP and how important it is. It could be our guiding document to find our way forward. There is a committee for CAMP, maybe the Executive Committee should take this on.
Art Manager Burr-Siegel stated that the Senior Advisory Board was asked to help in the development of the Senior Center. I don’t know if there was an Art Commission representative on the Community Facilities Committee or not. There are plans for an Arts Center 6-10 years down the road. The Arts Commission needs to be a part of that process and have a say in it. We need to be present when the plans are being considered and developed. Not afterwards when the public art goes in, but when the complex itself is developed.
CITY COUNCIL UPDATE
Commissioner Seabury-Day stated that in the future if anyone should need anything, if someone would like to call her and tell her what to do. She works well that way.
Commissioner Guise stated that if she remembers that the City Clerk mentioned that they need to complete form 700 by April 1st.
Commissioner Gill stated that this was actually a very productive meeting. She also stated that she is excited about possibilities for the future.
Commissioner McCarran thanked Arts Manager Burr-Siegel for delivery their Form 700 in the nick of time. He thanked Director Bronzan for his insightful comments and directions.
Commissioner Groseclose commented that she is full of questions but learned quite a bit.
Commission Perez stated that there are “arts” happening in Brentwood and that we should support these events. She mentioned that Panama Bay has an open mic night and the Kazm has a sketch night and a gallery. She stated that there are arts in Brentwood that we need to support. Chairperson Ruiz stated that he would like to be in the loop.
Commissioner Trebino stated that the ArtWalk is coming up, so anyone that knows an artist that would like to participate have them contact the Arts Manger Burr-Siegel, he would greatly appreciated it. Chairperson Ruiz thanked him for taking on the responsibility.
STAFF REPORT AND COMMENTS
REQUEST FOR FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
of Brentwood Arts Commission
35 Oak Street,
Brentwood, CA 94513
Fax (925) 516-5445