SF restaurant owner frustrated after city fined him over constant graffiti on his business

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A business owner has expressed frustration over repeated graffiti vandalism of his San Francisco restaurant after receiving a notice of violation from the city to clean up or be fined.

Viet Nguyen, owner of the soon-to-open Gao Viet Kitchen at Inner Sunset, said NBC Bay Area that he is tired of his restaurant being the target of vandals and having to repeatedly repaint the graffiti.

The latest marking of his restaurant also came with a notice of violation from the San Francisco Department of Public Works last week. The notice ordered Nguyen to clean up the graffiti within 30 days or face a $362 fine.

“Graffiti costs me a lot of money because with each tag, I have to paint this thing. I don’t really expect this to stop, but the most frustrating thing is that I keep getting tagged by the city, but what can I do? Nguyen said ABC7 News. “I clean it, ship it, or whatever I have to do and it comes back.”

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Gao Viet Kitchen is expected to open in September. While the owner was busy transforming the space of his Vietnamese restaurant, he lost count of the number of times his business was tagged.

The San Francisco Department of Public Works has suspended its enforcement of graffiti code violations during the pandemic. However, enforcement resumed last week after two years, according to Rachel Gordon, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Works.

“Properties that are repeatedly impacted can make what’s called a hardship claim,” Gordon told NBC Bay Area. “San Francisco Public Works will use our crews or contractor crews working for us to go on a courtesy cut for six months.”

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Additionally, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reportedly gave initial approval to a public works graffiti reduction pilot program on July 20. The proposal includes a $4 million budget over two years to clean up and help business owners like Nguyen, who are often tagged.

The Board of Supervisors will vote for final approval before sending the ordinance to the city mayor for final signing. The city’s graffiti reduction program could begin this fall if the proposal is officially adopted.

“He’s going to focus on the commercial corridors in the neighborhood to really try to alleviate – as the supervisor (San Francisco supervisor Myrna Melgar) wanted to do – a burden on landlords and business owners in those areas,” Gordon told ABC7 News.

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“This is great news for the city as a whole as it means the beacons will be removed quickly so they don’t proliferate,” she added.

Image selected via NBC Bay Area

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