Graffiti taggers could face a much bigger price tag
Graffiti in San Francisco is a mess - literally and figuratively. That's not a scoop, it is merely a discouraging reality.
It begins with the city being a mecca for spray paint vandals from across the country. (Check YouTube.) It continues to the criminal courts, where, when taggers are finally caught red- (or yellow- or green-) handed, they are generally treated as misguided youths and given community service instead of meaningful punishment.
And then there's the final insult. Property owners who have their buildings tagged - sometimes daily - are ordered by the city to clean up the mess themselves or face a fine or even a lien on their property.
"It cost me $15,000 to clean up my building last year," says Laurance Mathews, who owns the building at 245 Van Ness, which, ironically, houses a paint store. The Department of Public Works had a mural painted on his building to try to stop the tagging, "but since they did the tagging increased from a few times a week to several times a day. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it."
A new strategy
Well, maybe there is. It's just a start, and Mathews is skeptical, but Supervisor London Breed has announced a citywide graffiti plan that might begin to turn the tide.