New law would force taggers to clean up after themselves

San Francisco will establish a pilot program that will require graffiti offenders to clean up graffiti — even if they settle their case out of court — under a new state law.

Many offenders are escaping misdemeanor vandalism charges by settling cases outside of court and agreeing to pay a property owner the costs of removing the graffiti, without ever appearing before a judge or performing any graffiti cleanup, according to the office of Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, who authored the legislation.

The City of San Francisco spends more than $20 million annually to clean up graffiti, according to Ma’s office.

“The signing of this law is a win for San Francisco neighborhoods,” said Ma in a press statement. “Graffiti is blighting bus stops, Muni, store fronts, and other properties across The City.”

The former San Francisco supervisor added that she hopes the law — which was signed into effect by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday, will prove to be a success in San Francisco and then replicated statewide.

The San Francisco Graffiti Advisory Board and the California Business Properties Association co-sponsored the bill, which received unanimous bipartisan support throughout the legislative process.

“AB 1767 is a very important bill that will reduce graffiti vandalism in San Francisco,” said SFPD Officer Chris Putz, who helped draft the legislation as a graffiti-abatement officer with the department. “This bill is a victory for every taxpayer and business owner who has been victimized by graffiti vandalism in The City.”

SF art school investigates theater class practice that had students undressing together

‘I remember being mortified and humiliated’

By Ida Mojadad
Wine in a can: San Francisco startup backed by music heavyweights

Jay-Z and The Chainsmokers backing this year’s hit holiday gift

By Jeff Elder
Is the future of farming moving indoors?

Bay Area startups are using tech to grow food in the face of climate change

By Jessica Wolfrom