The art of clearing taggers' work in San Francisco
Monday, February 21, 2011
Nobody knows more about graffiti than Joe Padilla. The paint-shop supervisor for the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Padilla oversees graffiti removal for all of the city's 220 parks.
A San Francisco native, Padilla, 50, was baptized at Mission Dolores and grew up at 15th and Noe streets. He lives in Richmond with his wife of 24 years, Silvana, and has three children and three granddaughters.
This shop spends $280,000 a year on graffiti abatement alone. People tag retaining walls, benches, sidewalks, pathways, curbs, signs, light poles, picnic tables, pump houses, irrigation boxes. Trees get tagged. Yes, we faux-finish a lot of trees.
We're damn good at graffiti removal. Mayor Newsom made an executive order about four, five years ago, saying all departments must deal with graffiti within 48 hours of it being reported. I have eight guys on my crew, and we average about 80 percent for removing graffiti within two days.