I was heading down 24th, just past the intoxicating smells of George’s Barbeque. A rather handsome beagle pulled a tethered human to the corner for a sniff-n-squirt. I noticed a very official notice taped to the entry gate. It said that Navarda, Donald has been cited for graffiti blight.
It’s a clear violation of Section 80.5 of San Francisco’s Administrative Code, and Navarda, Donald has only 15 days to repair and/or improve or face abatement. Wow. How will Navarda, Donald ever get the word in time, since he lives way up in Sparks, Nevada?
I edged a little further down 24th Street and saw the wall at Cypress and 24th covered with tags. I stepped aside as a mixed-breed German shepherd examined and added to the preexisting puddle. Wow, a blight right here in our neighborhood. Now get me straight on this issue: I love street art. It expresses our neighborhood in ways words simply can’t tell. But these “scribbles,” as Archie my neighbor calls them, don’t do anything much for the street.
We have all seen how this tiny wall gets tagged, tagged and tagged again, until Navarda, Donald abates the wall. What I find curious is that the vandals don’t figure into the remediation. It seems that the victim — Navarda, Donald — takes the hit.
So I asked around a bit. And got the “duh” look followed by, “So what do you want the police to do? Drop everything and scour the neighborhood for spray-can toting scribblers?” Nope, I think, the police really don’t have the time to fool with this crime (applying graffiti, not failure to abate).
From what I have read, the police do take time to examine the scribbles, as they often foretell unfortunate activity. So what’s the domain of the folks who enforce Section 80.5 of the Administrative Code? Well, they aren’t in the criminal enforcement business. What they know and we all understand is that scribbles beget scribbles. So if you allow the mess to go on unabated, it will expand to become real graffiti blight. And nobody wants that, especially Navarda, Donald, who must pay for the abatement.
The wall across Cypress from the blighted wall has been decorated with a mural from one of the Mission’s finest. It has been respected. I wonder why Navarda, Donald hasn’t tried one? Over the years he sure has bought a lot of paint.
So, what do you think? Be practical, now. Remember spray cans are cheap and city resources are slim. And Navarda, Donald lives way up there in Sparks, Nevada. What would you do?
Postscript: It could be that the culprits have been caught. The wall’s been clean for a few days now, and CBS reported that in a graffiti crackdown, dozens were arrested in San Jose.