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San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders is in the market for someone to tell him how to draw up a new city arts policy and find ways to spend arts funds collected from developers by the city, according to a request for quotation posted online by the city purchasing department last week.

Any consultant selected will play a key role in determing the fate of future city contributions to public art projects, a controversial topic in years past.

"The City of San Diego has had a public art policy on the books since 1992," the document says.

"In May 2011, San Diego City Council voted to accept the Mayor’s recommendation to suspend the policy until June 30, 2012."

During the hearing that resulted in the council's 6-1 vote to suspend the policy, city staff argued that the more than $630,000 being spent by the city on art might be diverted to street repair and other more essential needs.

Opponents of the arts policy included city councilman Carl DeMaio, who said during the hearing, "The prettiest fire station is an open fire station and that's what we really have to remember."

Hillcrest councilman Todd Gloria opposed the move, arguing that artists' jobs were at stake, according to a Union-Tribune report. "Those people deserve work too. More importantly, they can do it cheaper now than they will a few years from now. ... I can't support something that's going to put people out of work."

According to Sanders' new request for quotation, "Prior to the end of the suspension period, the Commission for Arts and Culture must analyze the policy's effectiveness and flexibility in achieving its stated purposes and submit any recommended policy amendments or modifications to the City Council."

"In addition, the City collects money from certain private developers in lieu of public art. A new policy must be created to direct the expenditure of this money."

Based on the job description, Sanders is also looking for a good promoter of his new arts agenda.

Would-be consultants must "Provide rationale for each recommended amendment and point to evidence of success in other public art policies in effect in California," and, "Recommend advocacy strategies to encourage the adoption of the amended policy and the new policy."

The estimated budget is $10,000 and deadline for applications is December 22.

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Comments

InOmbra Dec. 13, 2011 @ 1:22 p.m.

It's hard to understand why the 15-member Commission for Arts and Culture can't do this. http://www.sandiego.gov/arts-culture/about/index.shtml The City pays six Commission staffers ("professional administrators") to support the 15 Commissioners. The Commission has utilized seven Advisory Committees, with members of the public sitting on Advisory Panels, to direct their processes and policies.

Also, we have Councilmembers and their staffers, all of whom should be able to fulfill much of what the RFP describes.

Most puzzling is the RFP statement that "A new policy must be created to direct the expenditure of this money." In Commissioner Chair Reed's background description it says that she "helped guide the development of a collections management mission..." (the money collected is the TOT, plus some funds from corporations or various people or groups.

I would expect that the Commission could develop a collections expenditure mission on their own.

Oh well. Something else is afoot.

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monaghan Dec. 13, 2011 @ 2:02 p.m.

No kidding, "Something else is afoot." Could this be about paving the way for the proposed hideous titanium, tall-as-the-Hyatt-Hotel Bunny Ears called "Wings of Freedom" at the harbor?

And who writes those RFPs anyway -- "guide the development of a collections management mission?" What in holy hannah is that?

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