Western Addition’s Supervisor London Breed has been tackling San Francisco’s multi-million dollar graffiti problem by unveiling new measures to target repeated taggers with civil court cases. This tactic to force the abusers with the financial bourdon of their acts looks great on paper, but may be targeting the lowest of income families dealing with financial missteps of their children.
I recently wandered through the Western Addition to see if any reoccurring artists had been preying the neighborhood leaving their markings, to get an idea of who this measure might affect.
Unlike other neighborhoods in SF like the mission of the Excelsior, Breeds district is fairly tame compared to the shape-shifting doodles that I see blossom over night in my own neighborhood of the Outer Mission. I see names like Thefer, Coze, and Sparks all through the Outer Mission streets, I was expecting to find another tagger have their names lamented in the streets of the Fillmore.
Walk north of Post and Fillmore and you wont see any graffiti bearing its un-wanted head amongst the mass of high-end boutiques and granny apparel. Yet go just south of Geary and Fillmore you can see the walls patched with freshly painted squares, hiding up the tags from days prior. The Western Addition appears to be defensive when it comes to maintaining the walls from succumbing to the unwanted attraction and keeping areas relatively graffiti-free. The spots that do get hit are small and usually only a one-colored name of some lowly tagger-attempting to get noticed amongst the “Wheres-Waldo”-esque background.
I was’nt able to notice any one tag be more pronounced than any others and didn’t see any one artist shine out this landscape than any of its competitors, mainly because most of the tagging that goes on in this district is bound to the floors of sidewalks and government issued parking signs. Sharpies and acrylic paint-pens were the tools of destruction as far as I could see. Breed’s district appears to be signifier of how the rest of San Francisco can look if civil court cases deem to be the answer to this costly problem.