A business owner expressed his frustration over the repeated graffiti vandalism of his San Francisco restaurant after receiving a violation notice from the city to clean up or be fined.
Viet Nguyen, owner of the soon-to-open Gao Viet Kitchen in the Inner Sunset, told NBC Bay Area that he is tired of his restaurant being targeted by vandals and repeatedly having to paint over the graffiti.
The latest tagging of his restaurant also came with a violation notice from the San Francisco Department of Public Works last week. The notice instructed Nguyen to clean up the graffiti in 30 days or face a $362 fine.
“The graffiti, it costs me a lot of money because every tag, I’ve got to go paint that thing. I don’t actually expect it to stop, but the most frustrating thing is, I keep on getting tagged by the city, but what can I do?” Nguyen told ABC7 News. “I clean it up, I board it up, or whatever I need to do and it comes back.”
Gao Viet Kitchen is scheduled to open in September. While the owner has been busy transforming the space of his Vietnamese restaurant, he has lost count of the amount of times his business has been tagged.
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The San Francisco Department of Public Works paused their enforcement of graffiti code violations during the pandemic. However, enforcement resumed last week after two years, according to Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Public Works.
“Properties that are hit time and time and time again can do something called applying for a hardship,” Gordon informed NBC Bay Area. “San Francisco Public Works will use our crews or contractor crews working for us to go and do courtesy abatement for six months.”
Moreover, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reportedly gave initial approval for a public works graffiti abatement pilot program on July 20. The proposal includes a $4 million budget for over two years to clean up and help business owners like Nguyen, who often get tagged.
The Board of Supervisors will vote for final approval before sending the ordinance to the city mayor for a final signature. The graffiti abatement program in the city could begin this fall if the proposal is officially passed.
“It’s going to be focused on neighborhood commercial corridors to really try to alleviate — as the supervisor (San Francisco Supervisor Myrna Melgar) wanted to do — a burden on property owners and business owners in those areas,” Gordon told ABC7 News.
“It’s great news for the city as a whole because it means that the tags will be removed quickly, so they don’t proliferate,” she added.