A flashmob concert in support of Arts Funding yesterday at the Civic Center brought together musicians and dancers from several of the many arts organizations in favor of Proposition S, a ballot initiative that would call for specific allocations of funds from the city’s hotel tax to benefit arts groups and try to prevent homelessness.
The initiative spells out percentages of the hotel base tax that would go to the Arts Commission, the War Memorial, Grants for the Arts, the Cultural Equity Endowment and the Moscone Center. It would also call for the creation of the Neighborhood Arts Program Fund and the Ending Family Homelessness Fund. From the early 1960s, there had been a mechanism in place to use hotel tax money to help arts groups, but that had been scaled back for several years before all but disappearing a few years ago. Proposition S would not call for any new taxes, but would reallocate existing money that would otherwise go into the general fund. Critics of the measure see that as harming other possible beneficiaries of discretionary spending, but the arts organizations argue that by ensuring steady support, the city would bolster the financial security of culture in San Francisco, which makes it a more appealing travel destination.