Supes approve funds for street artists displaced by Super Bowl City

San Francisco supervisors voted Tuesday to reimburse street artists and vendors displaced by Super Bowl City, many of whom lost several weeks worth of income.

The board voted 8-2 Tuesday to in support of legislation by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Jane Kim that would allocate $100,000 for reimbursements of up to $600 each for those most directly affected by street closures for Super Bowl celebrations.

The city closed streets around Justin Herman Plaza and Market Street for nearly three weeks in February for Super Bowl City, a free fan village, displacing 116 spaces normally reserved for artists to sell their wares as well as street vendors with permits to operate in the area.

In testimony before the board, those affected have said they were given little warning and in some cases were incorrectly told that they would be able to continue to operate until shortly before the event.

Peskin Tuesday said the $600 payment was so small as to be largely “symbolic,” given the amount of income some potential claimants lost:

“This offers really a very small modicum of support. … At this point it really is about showing San Francisco is a city that knows how to take care of its own.”

The fund will be administered by the Arts Commission, which handles permits for street artists, and the city controller’s office.

Supervisors Katy Tang and Scott Wiener voted against the ordinance. Tang said she would prefer to see such issues dealt with before major events rather than after, and noted that the board is still waiting for a final report tallying up the costs and benefits of the city’s Super Bowl 50 celebrations.

Wiener said he could not support the fund because it failed to include merchants such as those in the Castro District, which he represents, who were harmed financially by the shutdown of the F Market Street line during Super Bowl events.