money.jpgFriday at SoMa’s best little hidden cafe Radius, the California Music and Culture Association (CMAC) hosted an “insider lunch” offering venue owners and operators, industry professionals, artists and fans the opportunity to hear a politician’s perspective on the music, culture and entertainment industry’s impact on local and state economies through job creation, tax revenue and tourism, as well as existing and future financial policies effecting the industry.

State Board of Equalization Chairwoman and November Candidate Betty Yee addressed a crowd of about 40 people including owners of Cafe Du Nord, Bottom of The Hill, and Janet Clyde – San Francisco’s Small Business Association Commissioner.

A native San Franciscan, Betty Yee currently represents the State Board Of Equalization’s First District, comprised of 21 counties in northern and central California. Previous to that, Yee served as Chief Deputy Director for Budget with the California Department of Finance.

Yee stayed focused on her audience, and appropriately addressed issues that matter to CMAC members. As we learned on Call The Mayor Day, San Francisco’s nightlife culture appears to be at odds with law enforcement officials – this includes music venues like Bottom Of The Hill as well as bars, restaurants, wine shops, and even hair and nail salons that serve champagne.

In the midst of this conflict, venues lack the numbers to prove the value of their music and entertainment culture. Yee knows it, too – and expressed dedicated support to the needs of CMAC.

“With respect to the music and culture industry in San Francisco, it brings in upwards of $8 million and this is just an estimate,” said Yee.

“Sales tax revenue generated by these music events, we don’t even have a category for it, but when we look at nightclubs, bars, hotels and the like – it generates millions more in sales tax revenue for the state. I mean, the $8 million isn’t even referring to the restaurant revenue around music and culture events. We need to make sure music and culture stay vibrant.”

New York West
A 2004 Audience Research and Analysis study found that the New York City nightlife industry generated 9.7 billion in economic activity, $2.6 billion in earnings, and 95,000 jobs. It also concluded that the entertainment industry contributed an estimated $391 million in tax revenues to the city and an additional $321 million to new york state.

San Francisco hasn’t commissioned any such studies, but we do know that the restaurant industry employed 1.3 million people at 86,310 locations with collective annual sales of $51.5 billion in 2005. The Golden State’s restaurant industry sales were the largest of any state – more than 75% greater than second-ranked Texas and more than twice as large as third ranked New York, providing indication of contributions, but still eluding the big picture that organizations such as CMAC say is necessary to make appropriate city-wide political and financial decisions.

Not to mention alcohol and venues, which they say has been at risk in San Francisco for well over a year now.

Yee continued to address the crowd, emphasizing support of small business, citing that “small business is where and how jobs are created. We’ve lost 1.3 million jobs in California since the recession and we’re not going to get those jobs back, so where we are seeing job growth is in the small businesses.”

Yee also briefly addressed weed. Marijuana. Prop 19.

“Prop 19 is a measure I support, and it will be challenging to implement. It could develop into a very patchwork system. I’m tired of sticking dollars into the failed war on drugs. But there will definitely be some implementation issues that we’ll have to get around.” Not to mention the feds (which she did briefly mention, as the crowd giggled nervously).

This an issue that concerns you? Then here’s how you can get involved: CMAC is a membership-based trade association made up of venue owners and operators, industry professionals, artists and fans dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of music and culture in the state of California. Visit for more on the organization and to learn about upcoming CMAC luncheons featuring candidates up for election in the city of San Francisco.

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