San Mateo seeks injunction against ‘eyesore’

A Cottage Grove Avenue resident whose home is an “eyesore,” according to the San Mateo city attorney, may be forced to remove 73 square feet of written statements from the outside of the building.

According to City Attorney Shawn Mason, the city of San Mateo filed a civil complaint seeking an injunction against Estrella Benavides to force her to comply with city sign ordinances.

In question is the size and placement of the multitude of signs that bear passages against the U.S. government, which she said uses witchcraft, mind control and technology to abuse the poor and force people such as convicted murderer Scott Peterson to commit atrocities.

The injunction — filed in San Mateo County Superior Court — will likely take between six and eight months to process if it is issued by the court. A deadline for compliance will be set at that time, according to Mason.

If it does not lead to an agreement between the city and Benavides, the city will enter into a civil trial against her.

“In general, our approach is to not criminalize violations of our code, and I think that it’s unlikely that a court would want to put her in jail if we were to establish a violation,” Mason said. “[The house] is not an imminent threat to safety — it’s an eyesore.”

The legal action by the city comes after exhaustive city meetings, private meetings and repeated requests to reduce the size of the signs to the city’s accepted maximum of 10 square feet of signage.

According to city code, properties must not have any signs on the roof or that exceed six square feet in size.

The compensation from the civil case could offset the city’s costs for removing and covering the signs, an expensive and invasive last-resort endeavor, because the signs are on both sides of her roof, her garage door and windows, in addition to several homemade banners.

“If the court issues the injunction and she fails to comply, she could be held in contempt,” Mason said.

jgoldman@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read