$4M SF Public Works pilot program helps small businesses remove graffiti

Lyanne Melendez Image
Thursday, December 1, 2022
$4M program helps San Francisco businesses remove graffiti
A new pilot program by San Francisco Public Works is helping small businesses remove graffiti.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Graffiti has been a problem in San Francisco. So much so, that over the past three months, the 311 customer service center has received 20,000 calls from people reporting graffiti that specifically targets businesses.

Mayor London Breed showed off her painting skills, kicking off a new pilot program to reduce the amount of graffiti in commercial corridors around the city.

Six new employees will be added to the Public Works roster.

RELATED: San Francisco inches closer to $4M graffiti removal pilot program for small business owners

"Our goal is to be able to address graffiti within 72 hours," announced SF Public Works Interim Director, Carla Short.

Business owners can proactively call the city or respond to a notice of violation. Either way, they will not be charged.

"Give us permission and allow us to do it," said Mayor Breed.

Ivan Calvo Perez has had to paint over graffiti about once a month.

"I'm all for art, I'm all for expressing yourself, I just don't want it on my business," said Perez.

"It's really important that our neighbors and people coming to visit out city feel welcomed and feel that the commercial corridors are not neglected, they're clean, well taken care of, they're safe," expressed Supervisor Myrna Melgar, who introduced the legislation.

The two-year pilot abatement program dictates that the city spend $2 million each year removing and covering up graffiti rather than forcing businesses to do it themselves.

The city responded to a call for help from many small businesses who barely survived the pandemic.

"They emailed us and asked, 'Where is the support?' and I thought that was a very good question and I think this legislation is an excellent answer to that question," revealed Sharky Laguana of the San Francisco Small Business Commission.

Graffiti is typically a community's blight, which studies have shown could lead to the decay of a neighborhood.

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