Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Mayor Newsom announces $475,000
for graffiti abatement

Citywide anti-graffiti campaign launched

From the Mayor's Office of Communications

July 13, 2006

San Francisco - Mayor Newsom announced today that nearly half a million dollars has been newly earmarked to aid the city’s efforts ton eradicate graffiti. The funding will foster a historic interagency collaboration between the Pubic Utilities Commission, Municipal Transportation Authority, and the Department of Public Works.

Currently, several city departments respond to graffiti removal and abatement. At the Mayor’s behest, the City conducted a thorough analysis in order to streamline these inefficiencies. As a part of the Mayor’s Cleaning Initiative for 2006, graffiti abatement will become centralized through DPW. The new streamlined system will help the City abate graffiti on public property more quickly, and will help improve city worker’s efficiency and accountability. SFPUC and MTA have committed $475,000 to the new effort, while DPW will provide the abatement services.

“This partnership will foster a greater coordinated effort between the three agencies and will afford a more centralized and efficient response to ridding the city’s public areas of unsightly graffiti and tagging,” said Mayor Newsom. Graffiti is an unattractive blemish on our city that affects the quality of life, economic development, social fabric, and environmental health of San Francisco,” continued the Mayor.

The level of graffiti vandalism has reached new levels in San Francisco. DPW alone received nearly 20,000 calls last year complaining about graffiti. Vandals travel from all over the Bay Area and even from around the world to leave their mark in the city. A 2001 Civil Grand Jury estimated that graffiti cost SF taxpayers in excess of $22 million annually. Today, that cost is estimated to be much higher.

“To truly make an impact on graffiti in San Francisco, our programs must engage the private sector, as well as other government agencies. DPW will work hard to reach out and communicate with property owners who are impacted by this crime,” said Fred Abadi, Public Works Director. “By working together, we can prevent this activity that really degrades the quality of life in our City,” he added.

"This new City partnership will help make sure our facilities and streetlights are kept free of graffiti and still allow our staff to focus on doing what they do best -- delivering reliable water, wastewater and municipal power services," said SFPUC Assistant General Manager for Business Services Scott MacDonald.

“The MTA is thoroughly committed to eradicating graffiti and I applaud the Mayor's commitment to create a citywide team effort,” said Nate Ford, Director of MTA.

"I welcome any and all substantive efforts that help us turn around this frustrating and costly graffiti problem,” noted District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

In addition to the newly earmarked funds and public service campaign announced today, Mayor Newsom has established several anti-graffiti initiatives including the launch of a city-wide Anti-Graffiti Campaign.

The mayor’s new Street Cleaning Initiative for 2006-07 includes a “pro-active” graffiti abatement program, where DPW works with private companies and private property owners to clean up graffiti quickly on 100 heavily-used and visible blocks in the City. In addition, DPW is leading the effort to improve the response of all private companies and state and federal agencies with structures in the right of way to secure their commitment to a quick turnaround. The Mayor’s Office has funded a public information officer to focus on educating private property owners about anti-graffiti strategies, as part of the Mayor’s cleaning initiative. Also, DPW continues to implement the Graffiti Ordinance, which requires property owners to abate graffiti on their own property. Currently, there is a 66% response rate once property owners receive a notice from DPW..

The Mayor today also launched a new Anti -Graffiti Campaign as part of his graffiti abatement program. BBDO West, a national advertising agency, approached the City with a pro-bono advertising campaign to try to help in the war against graffiti. The company developed the Anti-Graffiti Campaign as a gift to the City. The goals of the campaign are to: (1) Make people ‘see’ graffiti again. Graffiti is not part of our urban culture, but a blight on our quality of life; (2) Graffiti: it looks just as bad on the inside of your house as the outside; and (3) If you let graffiti linger in your neighborhood, it will spread. The purpose of the campaign is to be provocative and get the public’s attention to call in to report graffiti, abate it quickly and volunteer for Graffiti Watch, a volunteer anti-graffiti program. Washington Mutual and Clean City donated printing and CBS Outdoor and JC Decaux volunteered ad space for the campaign.

“As a member of the San Francisco business community, we welcome the opportunity to work with public service groups to help tackle issues that affect our city,” said Peter Sherman, EVP, Managing Director, BBDO West. “In this instance we're addressing graffiti. To raise awareness of this problem, we developed an out-of-home campaign that places this vandalism in our own homes in order to communicate that the outdoors is everyone's personal space and should no longer be ignored.”

For more information regarding the Mayor’s Graffiti Abatement Program or to report the occurrence of graffiti, please call DPW’s 28-CLEAN.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa