Tomorrow Graffiti clean up at Toxic Tire Beach… please read…
OK. So as many of you know the Mayor of SF, Gavin Newsome has a project called operation Green Connect. It’s about improving our parks. That sounds great. They are going to go to Toxic Tire Beach tomorrow and white wash all the artwork. Why? Because graffiti is a crime. Please read the email back and forth with Fred Abadi. I challenge them to leave a mural. Lets see what they say. The work day is tomorrow, Saturday at 9:00 AM. They are providing lunch. I don’t know that there is really anything we can do. We could go down there and look sad, but I don’t really see the point. I would like to be kept in the loop if anyone is doing anything else. Let me know.
Here is the exchange, read from the bottom…
I’m a homeowner in SF. I pay taxes. I run a business. But I must say that the choice of things to ‘improve’ is in question. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that there was a group think happening that the powers that be would prefer the artists of SF to go away. Bit by bit, the machine is making SF impossible to enjoy. You guys are gonna go paint over artwork that makes that place magical. Because that’s what you think is the right thing to do. No matter if I brought thousands of people down there tomorrow, you would defend your actions and the law. You would insist that you were right. You would point out that there is some process that you could sink some time into, but your too late now. Because you think that that place needs to be beautified. We disagree. We like it just like it is. You likely think that getting rid of this graffiti is somehow gonna improve the crime rate. The murder rate. Hell, you’d probably say that if you like the graffiti the terrorists have won. Your contribution to the park, in our opinion, won’t do a lick to make it more safe. And it will make it in-hospitable to us. But there is no mechanism in place for you to do anything else. So this is what you do. I understand. I don’t blame you, actually. I’m sure you do your job well. I guess in my utopia… ‘MY” San Francisco… graffiti is a crime unless it’s stunning. But I understand that in order to do that there would need to be an art critic. And nobody likes a critic.
So I guess in the end I don’t really understand what process is available to me that would be effective. Although you may not notice this, or see this as bad… this is actually a step towards all the people in that community leaving. Clean up the park, put in the 3rd street rail, in comes the fancy coffee shop, up go the rents, 4 years of construction of hideous condos, nowhere to park… everyone who lived there gets their little check to go on their way and they are all out of SF. It’s all that simple to us. So the way we see it, you guys are gonna go raise the rents in the dogpatch tomorrow. And the funny thing is that you guys likely have a completely different opinion of what you’re doing and what’s gonna happen. I understand. But if you were me and the reason you moved here and invested in this city was being corrupted and your entire network of people… this amazing, fragile eco-system of art…. was literally being forced out. Well you’d write a letter asking if there was any tolerance or room for the idea that your gonna eliminate works of art tomorrow.
I wonder if we could just save one of the murals. Just a measure of respect that we do like art. Just to champion the idea that painting over works of art, although executed without permission, is still damaging to the soul. I wonder if we couldn’t bring people together instead of rip them apart. We could do that. You could say to paint over all but one, and then make a date in a month to paint over that one, just to show that if you write letters to the city, that real people answer and are sensitive and responsive and want to help and would like other people to get involved. That would get people from my community involved. Maybe someone would spearhead a mural project, and get funding and permission. Maybe it will encourage people to use the park more, and share in it’s stewardship. Or maybe you’ll write me back on Monday and tell me that although you’d like to help me, you’ve got a job to do.
So I’m make it more interesting. I’ll commit to getting 50 people to help on another Project Green Connect (after Sept 15th) if you leave one mural. Just one. Not forever, just for like another month. Just to show faith that there is wiggle room and that each and everything doesn’t have to be by the book, inflexible & boring. I will commit to these 50 people, and have a list of them in your mailbox 48 hours after you agree to the terms. I have just under 100 emails in my box.
I enthusiastically await your response.
Chicken John, mission art guy candidate for mayor of San Francisco 2007 voteforchicken.com
San Francisco, California
On Aug 3, 2007, at 10:19 AM, Goldstone, Merle wrote:
Re: The Difference between Art and Graffiti is Permission
We received your message opposing the cleanup of Warm Water Cove graffiti. We respectfully disagree with the idea that this graffiti is public art; it is vandalism.
The legal definition of graffiti vandalism is any person who defaces, damages or destroys property that is not his or her own with paint or any liquid (California Penal Code 594). The graffiti at Warm Water Cove was done without permission from the property owners, whether it is the Port of San Francisco, which owns the park or the owners of the surrounding buildings, whose walls and fences have been defaced. It is therefore considered to be graffiti and the City is required by statute to have it removed.
The Department of Public Works and the Port of San Francisco are working closely with Warm Water Cove businesses and property owners, as well as with members of the community, who want to remove the graffiti and make the park clean, safe and hospitable for community use.
If artists wish to play a role in the beautification of Warm Water Cove Park, they have to respect the public space and ask for permission to put artwork in the park or on private walls. If people continue to graffiti the park and private property walls, the graffiti will be removed and they will risk being arrested and prosecuted.
The second phase of the planning process for Warm Water Cove Park will include community input. We encourage you to be come involved in this planning process, if you wish to have a voice in the beautification and stewardship of the park.
Fred V. Abadi Monique Moyer
Director of Public Works Executive Director
Port of San Francisco
Hey there. This Saturday you guys are doing a clean up at warm water cove. My community is going balistic. I’m kinda getting flooded with email of people trying to figger out what they can do to stop you from eliminating all that art work. I wonder if there isn’t anything we could say or do to that end? Short of us comming down there and making a scene or whatever that seems like a waste of everyone’s time… I just thought I could drop you a note and see if, indeed, you do see the difference between someone tagging on the wall of someone’s home and the amazing artwork at warm water cove… which will always be called toxic tire beach. We’ve been using that space for over a decade. It’s a great venue. We’ve had circus shows, bands, dance performance… all for free all for fun. What may look unsafe or an eyesore to you is beautiful to us.
any ideas? Or is it all “Graffiti is a crime” standard pitch?
chicken john, mission art guy
San Francisco, California
Filed under: Uncategorized | 36 Comments