Urgent Coit Tower Repairs Moving Forward

For Immediate Release:   Wednesday, October 17, 2012                                                                                 

News Advisory

URGENT COIT TOWER REPAIRS TO BEGIN THIS WEEK

$1.7 million rehabilitation and repair plans to be brought before Historic Preservation Commission today; emergency roof replacement to prevent water leaks will begin on Friday

As emergency roof repairs get underway at Coit Tower this week, city officials are scheduled to unveil a work plan today for a comprehensive series of repairs on Coit Tower designed to fix major problems with the building and prevent further damage to the historic murals inside.

The proposed $1.7 million Coit Tower repair plan that will be presented to the Historic Preservation Commission for review today includes:  cleaning and repair of exterior walls, door and window rehabilitation, interior painting and tile repair, upgrades to mechanical, plumbing and building systems, upgrades to exterior lighting, modification of guardrails and handrails, new accessibility and directional signage, and new barriers to protect the 27 historic New-Deal era murals and paintings inside Coit Tower.

The repair plans follow the approval this June by San Francisco voters of a Coit Tower preservation policy that directed city officials to protect Coit Tower and its murals by prioritizing the funds raised at Coit Tower for preserving the murals, building, and park around Coit Tower and by strictly limiting commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower. 

The four-weeks of work to begin this Friday will consist of the replacement of the existing non-original leaking second floor roof to provide waterproof conditions and the installation of a dense deck, sheet roofing, and sealants.  All work is scheduled to be conducted without requiring the contractors to access the second floor through the second floor mural rooms, which contain fragile murals that have been damaged by construction work in the past.

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New Rules Ban Private Dinner Parties Near Coit Tower Murals

For Immediate Release:  Thursday, August 23, 2012        

News Release

SF ARTS COMMISSION ISSUES NEW RULES AIMED AT PREVENTING FURTHER DAMAGE TO COIT TOWER MURALS; RESTRICTIONS BAN PRIVATE DINNER PARTIES NEAR ART

New rules come after passage of Prop. B by voters in June and concerns raised by relatives of Coit Tower artists about past private parties putting murals at risk

Following the passage of a San Francisco ballot measure in June imposing a new city policy aimed at protecting the historic Coit Tower murals, the San Francisco Arts Commission has issued new rules for the use of Coit Tower designed to prevent further damage to the art.  The “Guidelines for Coit Tower Usage,” issued by the Arts Commission and adopted by the Recreation and Parks Department impose more than 50 new restrictions and requirements for visitors, concessionaires, construction workers, and tour guides at Coit Tower.  Among other changes, the new rules prohibit food, drinks and candles inside the Coit Tower mural rooms.  This spring, descendants of Coit Tower artists expressed outrage at photographs showing that the Parks Department in May 2011 allowed a cocktail and candlelight dinner party to be held right next to already-damaged Coit Tower murals.  (View the photographs of that dinner party here: http://lauriearons.blogspot.com/2011/05/coit-tower-benefit-dinner.html)

“As the grandson of Coit Tower muralist Bernard Zakheim and the publisher of a book about Coit Tower’s history and art, I am encouraged to see the city adopt this official new policy aimed at preventing further damage to the historic Coit Tower murals,” said Adam Gottstein, whose grandfather painted the Coit Tower mural 'The Library'.  “I am especially glad to see that the city has responded to the serious concerns I and others raised this spring when we discovered photographs of a private candlelight dinner party held right next to some of the fragile frescoes.  By prohibiting open flames, candles, food, and drinks within the Coit Tower mural rooms, this new Coit Tower mural preservation policy is a step in the right direction towards treating the Coit Tower murals like the immensely valuable public works of art they are.”

Proposition B, approved by San Francisco voters in June, made it the official policy of the City and County of San Francisco to protect Coit Tower and its murals by prioritizing the funds raised at Coit Tower for preserving the murals, protecting the Coit Tower building, and beautifying Pioneer Park around Coit Tower and by keeping commercial activities and private events limited. 

While Coit Tower supporters praised the new mural preservation guidelines, they also urged the Arts Commission and Recreation and Park Department to fully implement both Prop. B and the recommendations made in a lengthy city report issued in June which detailed the extensive damage to the Coit Tower murals and building.  Among its 100 recommendations, the “Coit Memorial Tower Condition Assessment” stated that a fresco conservation treatment should begin immediately to stabilize areas of water damage and that a live guard staff should be employed to minimize impacts from visitors and be a reminder of the value and importance of the historic artwork.

“The Coit Tower murals are absolutely irreplaceable and we sincerely hope these new preservation guidelines are an indication that the city is finally taking steps to respect them, rather than neglect them,” said Jon Golinger, Chair of Protect Coit Tower. 

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August 2012 Coit Tower News

August 2012

Friends of Coit Tower:

There are several important Coit Tower events coming up over the next month -- please attend any and all that you can.

COIT TOWER ART LECTURE

On Thursday, August 9 at 12:30 pm at the San Francisco Mechanics Institute, there will be a fabulous midday book presentation and lecture all about Coit Tower's history and art. 

Ruth Gottstein, publisher of Coit Tower San Francisco and daughter of artist Bernard Zakheim, will talk about her father’s involvement as one of the artists who created the impressive, controversial murals influenced by Diego Rivera. She presents this definitive guide to Coit Tower authored by her sister Masha with stunning color photos by Don Beatty.  Historian Gray Brechin will discuss the art, the artists, and the turbulent events during the creation of a pioneering experiment in federal arts patronage, a project that created controversy that lives on today.

Get more of the event details by clicking here:  http://www.milibrary.org/events/coit-tower-san-francisco-its-history-and-art-publisher-ruth-zakheim-gottstein-historian-gray-

COIT TOWER CONCESSIONARE MEETINGS

Following the passage of Proposition B by San Francisco voters in June, the city now has in place an official city policy placing strict limits on private events and commercial activities at Coit Tower. 

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department has decided to move forward with plans to install a new concessionaire at Coit Tower - but whether those plans comply with city policy remains to be seen.  They will be holding 3 public meetings to introduce potential new Coit Tower concessionaire Terry Grimm and allow him to describe some of his new plans for Coit Tower and hear feedback from members of the community. 

Please be sure to attend one or more of the SF Recreation and Parks Department Coit Tower concessionaire meetings on the following dates:

·         Meeting #1:  Thursday, August 16, from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at the Joe DiMaggio Playground Clubhouse in North Beach (651 Lombard)

·         Meeting #2:  Tuesday, August 21, from 2:00pm - 3:30pm at the Joe DiMaggio Playground Clubhouse in North Beach (651 Lombard)

·         Meeting #3:  Thursday, September 13, from 6:00pm - 7:30pm at the San Francisco Main Library in Latino Community Meeting Room A

FINAL COIT TOWER RESTORATION REPORT RELEASED

Following Proposition B’s passage, the city released a final version of a detailed study evaluating the condition of the Coit Tower building, assessing the damage to its historic murals, and outlining a blueprint to fix and preserve them both.  The study found an alarming array of systemic and severe damage to both the building and the art.  The study, entitled “Coit Memorial Tower:  Conditions Assessment,” was prepared for the city by the Architectural Resources Group.  It makes more than 100 recommendations, including immediate mural repairs and a comprehensive overhaul of how the historic landmark is managed.

Download a copy of the Final Coit Tower Conditions Assessment Report by clicking here: 

http://tinyurl.com/8k95ge9


 

 

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Protect Coit Tower Initiative Wins!

For Immediate Release:   Wednesday, June 6, 2012                                                                               

News Release

VICTORY FOR COIT TOWER:  PROP. B WINS

San Francisco voters approve citizen initiative to preserve Coit Tower murals and strictly limit commercial activities and private parties despite last-minute influx of big business money on negative ads opposing measure

Despite a last minute blitz of negative ads by big business groups, San Francisco voters yesterday gave Proposition B, the Coit Tower Protection Initiative, a convincing victory.  By a vote of 53.5% to 46.5% with 100% of the precincts reporting, San Francisco voters supported the measure to strictly limit commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower and to prioritize funds from Coit Tower concession operations for preserving the Coit Tower murals and building.  The win came despite the fact big business interests led by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce poured $177,000 into two political committees that ran a campaign of last-minute negative tv and internet ads, doorhangers, and mailers attacking Proposition B.

“This is a huge win for Coit Tower and for everyone in San Francisco and around the world who adores this special place and the amazing murals that reside inside,” said Jon Golinger, Chair of the Protect Coit Tower Committee.  “Yesterday, the voters of this entire city delivered a clear message to everyone at City Hall that the mismanagement and creeping commercialization of Coit Tower is unacceptable and must be fixed now.”

Prop. B was sponsored by a citizens’ coalition in response to increasing concerns about the neglect, decay, and lax oversight by the city that led to increasing problems at Coit Tower, such as paint peeling from the ceiling, poor lighting, water leaks seeping through and corroding the murals, and gashes damaging the fragile frescoes.  A recent city-commissioned report evaluating the condition of the tower and its historic murals found systemic and severe damage to both the building and the art inside and revealed safety hazards such as lead paint, asbestos, and cracks in the top of the tower.  The report made more than 100 recommendations for fixing Coit Tower, including immediate mural repairs and a comprehensive overhaul of how the historic landmark is managed.  In response to the report’s findings and the Prop. B campaign, last month Mayor Ed Lee announced the creation of a new $1.7 million city fund to begin repairing Coit Tower.

Proposition B now establishes a new official city policy directing the Recreation and Park Department and other city officials to strictly limit commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower and to prioritize the funds raised at Coit Tower for preserving the murals, fixing the tower structure, and beautifying Pioneer Park around Coit Tower.

Prop. B was backed by the descendants of Lillie Hitchcock Coit and daughters of the original Coit Tower muralists, along with a coalition of artists, environmental, and neighborhood groups including the Sierra Club, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, Labor Council, Democratic Party, and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers. 

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Big Business Spends Big Money Attacking Prop. B

For Immediate Release:  Monday, June 4, 2012                                                                                      

News Release

BIG MONEY SPENT BY BIG BUSINESS GROUPS ON LAST-MINUTE NEGATIVE AD ATTACK AGAINST COIT TOWER PRESERVATION MEASURE ON TUESDAY S.F. BALLOT

Family of Lillie Hitchcock Coit Urges Voters to Reject Attacks, Vote Yes on Prop. B

Campaign finance records show that big business interests led by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, PG&E and Committee on Jobs have poured more than $177,000 into two political committees running last-minute negative tv ads and mailers attacking Proposition B, the Coit Tower Preservation Initiative on Tuesday’s San Francisco ballot.  The family of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, whose bequest funded the construction of Coit Tower 79 years ago, urged voters to reject the misleading attack ads and pass Prop. B on Tuesday.

 “The Coit family strongly supports Prop. B to protect Coit Tower from over-commercialization and preserve its historic murals from neglect and decay,” said Michael Coit, whose great-great aunt was Lillie Hitchcock Coit.  “Coit Tower perfectly reflects a city of civic minded people.  By passing Proposition B on Tuesday, San Francisco voters can show their appreciation for my great-great aunt’s generous gift to the city she loved.”

Filings late last week with the San Francisco Ethics Commission reveal that two “independent expenditure” committees quietly set-up to oppose Proposition B took in a total of $177,150, with most of the money coming in over the last few weeks.  The Los Angeles-based Golden State Leadership Fund PAC and the Parks Alliance Independent Expenditure Committee received contributions to oppose Prop. B from 19 business groups, corporations, and individuals, including $30,000 from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, $25,000 from the Committee on Jobs, and $20,000 from PG&E.  The money is being spent on a series of negative and misleading television and internet ads, mailers, and doorhangers falsely claiming that, if Prop. B passes and the city begins restoring and safeguarding the damaged Coit Tower murals and building, it “drastically reduces the amount of spending that the San Francisco Parks Department can spend on city parks” and steals funding from playgrounds and parks across the city.

“These false attack ads make such absurd arguments that I wouldn’t be surprised if their next ad claims Coit Tower will topple over if we pass Prop. B,” said Jon Golinger, Chair of the Protect Coit Tower Committee.  “But Coit Tower holds a special place in the hearts of every San Franciscan and it belongs to the people of this city, not to the Chamber of Commerce or corporate interests.  I believe the voters will pass Prop. B on Tuesday so that we will finally be able to start fixing the damaged Coit Tower murals and making sure Coit Tower and its art are permanently protected and never neglected again.”

Proposition B will put in place a new city policy prioritizing the funds raised at Coit Tower for preserving the murals, protecting the Coit Tower building, and beautifying Pioneer Park around Coit Tower and strictly limiting commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower to maintain Coit Tower as a public place.  Prop. B is supported by daughters and descendants of the Coit Tower muralists and a citywide coalition of artists, environmental, and neighborhood groups including the Sierra Club, the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, the Labor Council, and the Democratic Party. 

Polls will be open in San Francisco on Tuesday from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm, with early election results available beginning at 8:45 pm.  Supporters of Prop. B will be gathering to watch the results at their election night party at Original Joe’s in North Beach.

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Paid for by the Protect Coit Tower Committee – Yes on B

P.O. Box 330476

San Francisco, CA 94133

 

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Family of Lillie Hitchcock Coit Endorses Yes on B

PROTECT COIT TOWER – YES ON B

For Immediate Release:  Thursday, May 31, 2012                                                                                           

News Release

FAMILY OF LILLIE HITCHCOCK COIT URGES SF VOTERS TO GO TO POLLS TO PASS PROPOSITION B ON TUESDAY

The family of Lillie Hitchcock Coit today announced their endorsement of Proposition B, a measure on Tuesday’s San Francisco election ballot to preserve and protect Coit Tower and its historic murals by limiting commercial activities and private events there and by prioritizing funds generated at Coit Tower for its preservation.  The Coit family joins the daughters and descendants of artists who painted the 27 historic murals inside Coit Tower as part of a citywide coalition of artists, preservation groups, civic and neighborhood associations backing Proposition B.

“The Coit family strongly supports the campaign to protect Coit Tower from over-commercialization and preserve its historic murals from neglect and decay,” said Michael Coit, whose great-great aunt was Lillie Hitchcock Coit.  “Coit Tower perfectly reflects a city of civic minded people.  By passing Proposition B on Tuesday, San Francisco voters can show their appreciation for my great-great aunt’s generous gift to the city she loved.”

Joining Michael Coit in the official announcement of the Coit family’s support for Proposition B were his mother, Barbara Coit, the great-niece of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, Peter Coit, Jr., the great-nephew of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, Phil Coit, the great-great nephew of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, and Karen Coit Wozniak, Debbie Coit Smith, and Susie Coit Williams, the great-great nieces of Lillie Hitchcock Coit. 

The construction of Coit Tower was funded by money bequeathed to the City and County of San Francisco by “Firebelle” Lillie Hitchcock Coit in 1929 in her will “to add to the beauty of the city I have always loved.”  After a civic debate about the appropriate way to use Coit’s bequest, Coit Tower was erected in 1933 by architect Arthur Brown, Jr., who also designed San Francisco City Hall.  The following year, the federal Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, funded the work of the group of artists who painted 3,691 square feet of frescoes and oil paintings depicting life in California on the first and second floor walls inside Coit Tower.

If approved by city voters on Tuesday, Proposition B will put in place a new policy directing city officials to protect Coit Tower and its murals by prioritizing the funds raised at Coit Tower for preserving the murals, protecting the Coit Tower building, and beautifying Pioneer Park around Coit Tower and by strictly limiting commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower to maintain Coit Tower as a public place.  The measure was proposed in response to the neglect and poor oversight of Coit Tower by the city that has led to an array of problems outlined in a recent report, such as lead paint peeling from the ceiling, water leaks corroding the murals, and a crack in the top of the tower exterior.

“As proud Coit family members, to us Coit Tower is a treasured reminder of how some of our ancestors set out from their home base of Buffalo many years ago to the west coast to pursue their dreams,” said Susie Coit Williams.  “We are delighted to hear of the new funds dedicated to repair the damage to Coit Tower and hope the people of San Francisco will now join us in supporting Proposition B to give Coit Tower the permanent protection it needs and deserves.”

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KTVU Ch. 2: Report on Coit Tower Damage Spurs City To Create $1.7 Million Repair Fund

San Francisco creates fund for Coit Tower facelift

SLIDESHOW: The Coit Tower murals inspired by Diego Rivera  gallery

Spurred by a new report finding significant damage to the landmark Coit Tower, San Francisco city officials this week announced the creation of a $1.7 million fund for its repair and restoration.

The funds, announced Thursday by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor David Chiu, include $250,000 in capital improvement funding previously set aside for work on the tower and $1.45 million in unused bond funding left over from projects that came in under budget, according to Lee.

A portion of the fund will be used by the San Francisco Arts Commission to repair the iconic tower's interior murals, which were painted in 1934 by a group of artists under the Public Works of Art Project.

In addition, it will allow work to begin on plans that include a new roof, a restoration of the lobby to its original 1933 color, renovations of the restrooms and accessibility upgrades, city officials said.

"Together, we are building the momentum to further protect a treasured San Francisco landmark," Lee said in a statement.

The funds were announced in response to a report released Wednesday by Architectural Resources Group.

The report, commissioned by the city this spring, found damage to the tower and murals and made more than 100 recommendations, including the replacement of the second-floor roof and asbestos abatement. It also calls for new protections for the murals and possible changes in the management of the tower.

Proponents of Proposition B, a measure on the June 5 ballot that would limit private and commercial events at Coit Tower and require the city to dedicate funds raised there to its preservation and upkeep, hailed the new funds and the report.

"The report is deeply disturbing, but it's great news that the public outcry about the neglect of Coit Tower and the damage to the historic murals has finally forced the city to take the problems at Coit Tower seriously," said Jon Golinger, chairman of the Protect Coit Tower Committee.

"Now we need to pass Proposition B to ensure that Coit Tower gets permanent protections instead of just a one-time fix," Golinger said.

The San Francisco Parks Alliance, a group opposed to Proposition B, has argued that the measure is unnecessary and could take money away from other city parks that do not generate as much revenue as Coit Tower.

Read more here:  http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/san-francisco-creates-fund-coit-tower-facelift/nPFBM/

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Chronicle: New Report Finds Coit Tower Decaying

San Francisco Chronicle

New Coit Tower report shows plenty of maintenance problems

May 24, 2012

A new report on the condition of Coit Tower paints a picture of a city landmark drifting into disrepair. (Read the report by clicking here)

While the study by Architectural Resource Group for the Recreation and Park Department found only a handful of major problems, the little things add up. Peeling paint, water stains, cracked concrete, corroded metal and soiled walls all contribute to a feeling of decay and a look that in many cases is worse than the reality.

The Depression-era murals also are feeling the weight of the years and their condition “warrants immediate conservation attention,” an art expert found.

The study found insect damage, flaking paint, water damage and problems caused by the more than 150,000 people who visit Coit Tower every year.

Preservation of the frescos “is inseparable from the health and repair of the building as a whole,” the report found.

Proponents of Prop. B got a boost with a new report on the condition of Coit Tower. (Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle)

To do that that will require not only building repairs, but also “a reduction of risks (to the frescos) and unrelenting maintenance and monitoring of conditions.”

It might also require “some changes in building use.”

That’s good news for the backers of Prop. B on the city’s June ballot, an advisory measure calling for limits to commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower and funneling revenue from the building’s concessions into maintenance and upkeep of the historic site.

“This is alarming information, but it is great news that the public outcry about the neglect of Coit Tower and the damage to the historic murals has finally forced the city to take the problems at Coit Tower seriously,” said Jon Golinger of the Protect Coit Tower Committee.

UPDATE: Reaction to the report was quick. On Thursday afternoon Mayor Ed Lee and Board President David Chiu announced a $1.7 million fund to repair Coit Tower and restore the murals.

While the Recreation and Park Department already had identified $250,000 for restoration work, the additional $1.45 million came from money left from 2004 lease revenue bonds.

“The timing just worked,” said Phil Ginsburg, the city’s recreation and park director. “We had always intended to use this money for deferred maintenance and when the Coit Tower report came out, we decided to use it there.”

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NBC News: Group Fights for Coit Tower's Decaying Murals

Watch the video here: 

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics/Group-Fights-for-Coit-Towers-Decaying-Murals-150698065.html

A proposition on San Francisco's June ballot hopes to funnel more revenue from Coit Tower back into the landmark and its decaying murals.

By Joe Rosato Jr.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012  |  Updated 9:16 PM PDT

On a recent day inside the echoing halls of San Francisco’s famous Coit Tower, tourists from across the world filed past the 1930s murals lining the walls. As they studied the colorful frescoes depicting Bay Area scenes of the Great Depression, no one paid much attention to 90-year-old Ruth Gottstein standing in front of a library scene. Little did they know they were passing a living character of the murals.

The library scene was painted by Gottstein’s father, muralist Bernard Zakheim. The little girl in the painting, was Gottstein herself.

"I’m portrayed in my father’s mural," Gottstein said matter-of-factly. "I’m the little girl on the left in the mini blouse."

There are 27 murals in Coit Tower, painted as part of Roosevelt’s Federal Works Progress Administration. Gottstein remembers coming to Coit Tower as a 12-year-old to watch the artists work.

"I remember the smell of the wet plaster and the scaffolds where the artists were working," Gottstein said.

But when Gottstein walks past the famous murals today she sees something beyond the vivid images.She sees the wear and tear.

"All of these murals are so damaged, it’s unbelievable," she said.

A view from San Francisco's Lombard street looking towards Coit Tower on Jan 17, 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The murals have fallen on hard times – maybe not as dire as the scenes they depict but bad enough that some are concerned.

"The place is not in good shape," said Jon Golinger of the Protect Coit Tower Committee. "Lead paint is peeling from the ceiling. The murals are in decay --  there’s no real information about what you’re looking at."

Golinger and a group of activists have created Prop B which will appear on the June ballot. The Proposition would create city policy urging San Francisco’s Parks and Recreation Department to funnel more of the revenue from Coit Tower, back into the landmark and its murals.

"Currently the way they’ve run this place, a fraction of that money, about seven percent, gets spent back on Coit Tower," said Golinger.

The non-binding proposition would also urge the city to limit private parties at the tower. The sentiment is in response to the department's search for a new concessionaire to run the tower: the city offered to allow the chosen candidate to stage a certain amount of private events inside.

The San Francisco Parks Alliance is among the groups who oppose Prop B. Director Matt O’Grady said it sets a bad precedent that parks should have to pay for themselves. He said revenue from Coit Tower goes to support other city parks, including some in underserved neighborhoods. Coit Tower is one of the only city parks that pays for itself.Three of the muralists' descendants, including Jayne Oldfield Blatchly (center) and Ruth Gottstein (right), take part in a Proposition B rally at Coit Tower in San Francisco. The proposition on the ci

San Francisco's Parks and Recreation Department recently pledged $250 thousand dollars to help the city’s Arts Commission restore the murals, with one percent of the Coit Tower’s ongoing revenue going back to the site.

But to Jayne Oldfield Blatchly, whose father Otis Oldfield painted the tower’s San Francisco Bay scene, the murals deserve more.

"It’s really sort of a sad waste that they were so done in such pride and care at the time," said Blatchly, standing in front of her father’s painting. "Now they are just absolutely treated as non-existent."

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Daughters of Coit Tower Artists Join Forces to Kickoff Yes on B Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, May 8, 2012                                                           

News Release

DAUGHTERS OF COIT TOWER MURAL ARTISTS JOIN FORCES TO KICKOFF CAMPAIGN FOR PROP. B TO CREATE COIT TOWER PRESERVATION POLICY

With election day four weeks from today and early voting at San Francisco City Hall now underway, Coit Tower supporters joined daughters of the original Coit Tower mural artists this morning on the steps of Coit Tower to officially launch the campaign for Proposition B, a measure on the June 5th SF ballot aimed at preserving Coit Tower. 

“The Coit Tower murals are a powerful reminder that publicly funded art can create enormous value that lasts for generations,” said Dr. Gray Brechin, Project Scholar at UC Berkeley's Living New Deal Project.  “That’s why it is so incredibly important that San Franciscans act now to protect this invaluable art from the damage it is suffering from.”

Joining Dr. Brechin at Coit Tower this morning were John Rizzo, Political Chair of the SF Sierra Club, Jayne Oldfield Blatchly, daughter of Coit Tower artist Otis Oldfield, who painted the Coit Tower painting “San Francisco Bay,” Ruth Gottstein, daughter of Coit Tower artist Bernard Zakheim, who painted the mural “Library,” and Mary Lou Cockcroft, niece of Coit Tower artist William Hesthal, who painted the mural “Railroad and Shipping.”  They discussed the importance of Coit Tower and its New Deal-era murals to San Francisco and talked about the neglect, decay, and lax oversight that has led to increasing problems at Coit Tower, such as lead paint peeling from the ceiling, poor lighting, water leaks seeping through and corroding the murals, and gashes damaging the fragile frescoes.          

If approved by city voters next month, Proposition B will put in place a new policy directing city officials to protect Coit Tower and its murals by prioritizing the funds raised at Coit Tower for preserving the murals, protecting the Coit Tower building, and beautifying Pioneer Park around Coit Tower and by strictly limiting commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower to maintain Coit Tower as a public place. 

Proposition B has been endorsed by a wide range of organizations from across San Francisco including the Sierra Club, the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, the West of Twin Peaks Central Council, the Labor Council, and the Democratic Party. 

Early voting is now underway at City Hall, where polls are open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday on the ground floor near the Department of Elections.  Voters can get more information about Prop. B by visiting www.ProtectCoitTower.org

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