tv [untitled] April 27, 2014 7:00am-7:31am PDT
>> good morning, this is the regular meeting of the government audit and oversight committee. i am the chair of the committee, supervisor london breed, and to my right is the vice chair, kate tang, and to her left is david chiu. today the clerk, is erica major and thank you to sfgov tv. >> items will be stated on the agenda than stated. >> okay, call the first item.
>> item 1, ordinance amending the park and police codes to ban convicted graffiti offenders. >> today, i am proud to introduce this comprehensive overhaul of graffiti here in the city of san francisco. this is a month-long of collaboration with various city departments to discuss things that are both administrative as well as legislative. the police department and the department of public works and the 3-1-1 board and advisory board, so many folks that have participated and bringing us together to make sure that we are taking a responsible
approach towards dealing with graffiti ban throughout the city. i want to thank city attorney, herre herrera, in particular that will spend a lot of time collecting restitution and dealing with issues with this legislation. and i want to thank ed miskin, from the eta, and mohamed urer, and mrs. kelly, and chief of police suhr and director of finance. and the san francisco police department that is in charge of managing a lot of graffiti cases, and the gab members, the san francisco arts commissioners and staff and artists and san francisco beautiful and its
members. thank you all for helping to craft this proposal. i want to give a little background about the reason why we came together to really address this particular issue. according to our knowledge and legislative analyst, it costs the city close to $20 million annually to abate graffiti on our buses and property and all throughout the city. and the city could use this money to use for other things. as former director and supervisor now, i see the huge cost of graffiti incur. and i hear from property owners that paint over offensive graffiti and to return the next day. i have seen people wait for the muni buses. many trying to remove graffiti,
and needs solutions. i didn't want to use those who view crime as a harsher punishment. but yet to research best practices in jurisdictions all over the country, new york and chicago and san diego, and to create a nuance plan to reduce graffiti and provide better outcomes for offenders. most of our proposal is administrative, not just legislative. but i want to explain all elements. we will pursue repeat offenders. we estimate that over 90% of graffiti in san francisco are tagged that are by serial offenders. pursuing a criminal case for one act of graffiti, one tag, is an effective use of resources. but the criminal courts have
proven that it's not a medium for the same tag. the proof beyond a reasonable doubt is difficult to achieve unless you have many incidents. civil courts have preponderance of evidence and they recognize that a unique tag is specific to an offender. we will collect and tag evidence, we will as a result centralize evidence collection of tag employees, and particular particular particularly photograph offenses with their smartphones, with their reports to the san francisco police department leveraging existing resists. we have customized the 3-1-1
office to give san francisco police department the best data possible. and so reporting employees don't have to make estimates on each offense. chief suhr is providing for analysts to catalog offenses and reports of unique tags. and another expert officer would be needed on as-needed basis. for serial offenders, not withstanding the last item, all of this is administrative and several on the way. other jurisdictions in california are using a similar system. in east los angeles they saw a drop of 55% in the first four
years of implementing this program. if that happens in san francisco, we expect to save over $11 million. now the second element of this legislation before us today, it tightens graffiti controls and codifies new procedures. i have a few amendments that i will ask my colleagues to support today, just clerical related. i want to give you what we are trying to accomplish with the legislative piece. we will revise the city code evidence public code 1300 so it can be exercised against the perpetrator and not just the victim. we want to use rules for public and private property and provide for spray paint and eching tools and slap tags in any city park.
and revise the code to provide for any conviction of carrying spray paint and eching tools on any city vehicle. and finally for graffiti evidence and to pursue all effective avenues. i want to thank anyone who has worked on overhauling this system. it's been a long time coming. we have a lot of support, not just from supervisor tang, and chiu but also the mayor and chamber of commerce are all in support of this legislation. over all we are to reduce the cost of graffiti removal, not
costing the city much additional dollars. and we want to intervene in the lives of those folks committing these graffiti offenses, so that those things don't elevate into more serious crimes. i think restitution and community service could make a big difference. overall we want to be sure that the city is better for graffiti victims, and yes, better for graffiti offenders. we have a lot of speakers here today and our public works director, i will start with you. i know you have another appointment to get to. >> i don't know if that's a promotion or demotion, but i run the department of parks.
but i work closely where my colleagues in the department of public works. thank you, i want to voice our department's support for supervisor breed's proposed graffiti prevention and abatement ordinance. as we have discussed in previous discussions about this. the department spent $300,000 last year to abate graffiti in san francisco parks. it's more than the parks, it's just sightfully painful for our staff to work as hard as we can to keep our parks beautiful. and to come in almost every morning to find our most beautiful and precious assets tagged with spray paint. whether a playground, a tree or building or ball field, it just
stinks. and to put that amount of money, that amount of cost into perspective. that $300,000, is equivalent of more than three arborists to maintain the health of our trees. we don't have enough arborists to touch our trees once every 300 years, we could invest in more officers to help keep our parks safe. or it's worth four additional swim instructors to help meet that demand. there are just better uses for money than cleaning up after other people's bad behavior. we appreciate this board's effort to give us another tool in the tool box to take this on. >> thank you, next speaker,
officer herrera from the san francisco police department. >> good morning, supervisor, i have been an officer for 13 years, starting in 2001, i have been with the graffiti abatement officer for the last three years. and i think, i just wanted to thank you first and foremost for your hard work on this program. i am really excited about it. i am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work, and looking for the resources that you dedicated and for your interest in graffiti vandalism. do you have any questions for me at this time? >> supervisor chiu? i think we are good to go, thank you. >> thank you. >> nancy alfaro from the 3-1-1
center please is next. just want to start thanking you and your team for working hard on revamping the 3-1-1 system to make this so much easier to report. >> thank you, supervisors and thank you supervisor breed for taking leadership on this issue. we are really excited to make enhancements to our 3-1-1 mobile app, and at no extra cost to report graffiti. and we are leveraging existing data platforms so we can centralize reports and provide reports to the police department, that will include maps and pictures and cost estimates and size and tag i.d.s, so they can identify trends and use this valuable information if taken to court. we are happy to be a part of this and collaborate with your office and all the various departments so we can improve on
this important issue. >> thank you. and thank you again for helping us with this. i am going to ask larry stringer to come up from the department of public works. so many different departments involved. >> morning, supervisor. >> morning. >> larry stringer, department of public works and deputy of operations and chair of the graffiti board. i want to thank you supervisor breed for bringing this ordinance forward, it was definitely needed and overdue. the department of public works currently processes 50,000 issues regarding private and public graffiti, and spends close to $3 million in efforts to deal with that. the thing i would say, it's not
fair, the public and the city are victims. the private property owners are victim, and there is no means to rectify that. this legislation will help not only deter but hopefully reduce the overall graffiti within the city. and i would like to say, i think it's fitting because the graffiti advisory board sponsored its first international graffiti conference in your district last year. and you were there, that's right. and i think it's both fitting and right that you bring this legislation forward. hopefully that we get to the goal of zero-graffiti for san francisco, thank you again for that. >> and shall i say that it was a very well-done conference and diverse people from the community and arts community. and what bothered me the most,
the challenges that artists go through the process of permits for these murals and now their work is vandalized. and this is out of hand and glad that we are working together to get it done. >> much appreciated. >> i will ask john hanley from the mta to come up and say a few words. >> thank you, supervisor. good morning. i will focus on what we need to do at the sfmta to help ensure that the legislation that is proposed will be effective and make an impact. and i would also point out there is no better timing than to
introduce this than right now. because as you can see from the photo here, we are making over a five-year period a billion dollar investment in our rolling stock fleet. and one of the things that you heard and we have looked at best practices for doing that. we expect when we are making the public investment that we are making, to keep the vehicles in the kind of condition and prevent some of this kind of stuff that has happened over the past. just a moment you talked about kind of the impacts of all of graffiti. it's not just on the money in particular. it has a severe service impact. we have to pull buses off the street, or hold buses in to take care of graffiti. certainly erodes the public confidence that our riders have in our ability to take care of the system, and create an
environment that is user friendly on the vehicles. as pointed out earlier, we are taking a number of crafts at the sfmta, everything from grazers to painters off of their regular work to deal with this problem. and it's also a great morale problem for the employees. that you are asking them to operate a vehicle that is less than it should be. that has an impact on the way that we deal with the public. this is a quick snapshot and i emphasize here reported incid t incidents. i say reported is what is in our log. at the bottom of the chart that is not visible on the screen, but we will pass around the paperwork. as i said this 220 incidents is reported in our control center
log. but a division like presidio division that runs along the mission street corridor, on average has 12,000 tag hits annually. and many occur on the back of the bus and overhead panels and many are not reported until the vehicle pulls in. what we are showing here is a snapshot of what we are reporting. but the bigger problem for us and i will get to what changes we need to make to make sure that everyone is in a position to report graffiti incidents. and again i won't highlight that. for us this is a direct cost to clean the vehicles and the facilities. it's $15 million, it doesn't include things like lost revenue
or loss of service. it's simply direct clean-up costs and people leaving other activities to deal with this problem. some actions we have taken, the cleaning techniques. we have looked at all kinds of things, many places if painted over and over we have to replace interior panels and that has a cost. what we are doing and back to the timing. first of all with the two-year budget for july includes an additional resources for cleaning. and also we will introduce first at the two division operating, woods and kirkland a zero-tolerance program. what that means and basically, that's where the new vehicles are and the rehab vehicles. vehicles will be held in if they have any kind of graffiti.
we are reinforcing standards in that regard. we have employed 12-14 hours a day at this point mobile cleaning crews. so we are encouraging people to report it and see if we can clean it up in the field. we have made a huge investment in upgrading the onboard videos, that will help us in follow-up and penalties. i think one thing we have do a better job of is public outreach on this and inreach as well. one of the things over a period of years, we haven't been proactive and encouraged and expected people to report graffiti. all employees, not just operators. but we need to do that. and we have been working with pd, not only to make arrests, but also to use our existing arrangement with them. to get more police presence on the system as a preventive
measure, not just for arrests. but to deter any kind of anti-social behavior including graffiti. so with that, i want to thank you again for your leadership with this legislation. and for us, we will do our part to help address what is a very serious and problem that impacts us both financially and our image very negatively. i thank you for your time and i am happy to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you. okay, so we are going to open this item for public comment. if any member of the public who would like to speak on this item. please come on up. i just want to acknowledge, i think we have someone here from the arts commission, that i know dede workman is here from the
san francisco chamber and members from the graffiti advisory board as well as san francisco beautiful. feel free, and bright business alliance is another group of folks who are here. why don't you come on up. yes. come on up. >> good morning, supervisors, i am allison cummings with the san francisco art commission, i manage the art collection. and i want to thank you supervisor breed for bringing this forward. the support was unanimously approved by the arts commission in the last meeting. and you know that we spend our entire maintenance budget dealing with vandalism abatem t abatement, and any efforts in our ability and supporting our ability to deal with graffiti
and deal with vandalism at all levels is tremendously helpful for us. our collection is nationally known, internationally known cultural asset. we struggle to maintain it with our limited resources. and it's expensive to maintain. these are materials that require expertise to clean. we can't just paint over the vandalism. because of this and because of our abilities in the past to not bring criminal charges against vandals to the collection. we do document extensively when it happens and filed many please reports. we are encouraged for this legislation that allows for civil prosecution, and if any
questions, i am happy to take care of them. >> thank you. >> good morning, supervisors, i am dede workman, with the san francisco chamber of commerce. we want to applaud supervisor breed for bringing this legislation forward. representing businesses in san francisco, and the vast majority are small businesses. many struggle daily with recurring graffiti on there is properties. and i can tell you after talking to the owners of these businesses, they feel doubly victimized, by the graffiti and the process which they are responsible for eradicating the graffiti. and they try hard to do that, but they can't keep up with it. and many don't have the resources to do that. so this ordinance will make the graffiti vandals financially
responsible for the destruction of property they are causing. and we feel that is appropriate. the price tag to the city is astonishing, and where that money could be spent makes this legislation important. this legislation works in other cities, we know that it works well. it's very overdue here in san francisco, so the chamber supports it, and we urge the board of supervisors to support it as well, thank you. >> thank you. next speaker. >> good morning, chair, vice chair and president, i am the executive director of san francisco beautiful. i want to thank supervisor breed for bring forward this legislation. san francisco beautiful's board and membership supports this legislation which will reduce costs that could be otherwise spent protecting our public investment. whether it be park land or our
transit system or public furnitur furniture. graffiti vandals cost the city money and impact our private property owners and business owners in the way that mrs. workman described. we support this legislation and encourage the board of supervisors as well. and we thank you supervisor breed to bring on this nuance approach, that works not to punish artists but rather to fight the problem, which is vicious vandalism, thank you and for your good work. >> thank you, next speaker. >> good morning, supervisors, i am stephanie greenberg, and i represent district 3 on the graffiti advisory board. i must say that i was thrilled when i heard about supervisor breed's legislation, i couldn't wait to get involved and this is game-changing for the city.
for too long this burden has fell on the city and property owners. and there is a general feeling that there is too few consequences for graffiti vandals. and this is true for repeat offenders. with the legislation offering new ways for graffiti offenders. all is important as the information streaming and costs, and the ability for the city to seek civil and administrative actions against the offenders. and of course better protection of our parks and public vehicles against graffiti vandals. i hope that you support this effort to hold graffiti offenders for the damage they cause this city. it's a step in the right direction to shift the burden from the victim to the offender.
and it sends a message that san francisco is able and willing to take steps to address the offensive and destructive graffiti problem. this is the right thing to do for the city and thank you for your effort and time. >> thank you, next speaker please. >> good morning, madam chair, london breed and board president chiu and board of supervisors tang, thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak. i am here to represent, i am a member of the graffiti advisory board and a long-time resident and property owner of san francisco, where i live and work. i have been a member of the graffiti advisory board for over six yearyears, and i have seen challenges in terms of its