Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 61

Education. Some of it is helping bus kids from schools to arts organizations like the Crocker. The bulk is going to schools to help enrich their art curriculum, accrediting art teachers and helping organizations like 916 Ink and the Sacramento Phil- harmonic Orchestra develop arts education curriculums. THE PRICE TAG Funding will be an uphill battle. Some quick context: Ulich’s department, Convention and Cultural Services, used to be funded by 0.5 percent of the Transient Occupancy Tax, around $760,000. A decade ago (in the recession), that was slashed in half. In March, she presented a budget to city management that asked to restore her funding to the original amount. Ac- cording to Mangers, that initial request was rebuffed. “I went on record [in March] in telling the mayor and city management that I thought this was unacceptable,” says Mangers. “And that the Steering Committee from the Creative Edge process would find it unacceptable and that the creatives in the community would find it unacceptable.” He’s now work- ing on advocacy efforts — emails, social media, art support- ers at the city meetings — to put pressure on the city to raise the budget. As of press time, the question was still in flux: The city’s fiscal 2019-20 budget will be finalized June 11. Ulich remains optimistic. “Preliminarily we have been told that our budget requests are being forwarded for review and recommendation by the Measure U committees in the fall,” she clarifies. “So the request is not denied at this time.” Measure U, the 1 percent sales tax devoted to restoring pub- lic services that were scaled back in the recession, is now the best, and perhaps only, hope for funding the full $6 million to $9 million the plan requires. This year, Measure U is expect- ed to haul in $68 million in revenue. Creative Edge’s Steering Committee is asking for 10 percent of that. They’re hoping for another $2 million from the city. Mangers says he is 90 percent confident the budget will pass, or at least the $2 million from the city. (He’s less sure about the Measure U component.) And, for a moment, he gets philosophical. “Art is the soul of a community. There’s this other side of us that needs more than just go to work and raise money and meat and potatoes and the basics,” says Mangers. “There’s something we all crave, and it leads to a sense that we’re a more civilized society. Dance, music, theater, digital arts — all of these elements make us think and make us aspire to our higher and better instincts.” n Jeff Wilser is the author of “The Book of Joe: The Life, Wit, and (Sometimes Accidental) Wisdom of Joe Biden.” Twitter at @Jeff Wilser. “Act! is a great CRM for my business, and Chris is always there when I need expert software support. I highly recommend!” — STEVE STEBBINS | galt ca stebbins and associates chris pumphrey | act! software coach • 406.493.7047 • May 2019 | 61