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Oakland Targets 102-Year-Old Wheelchair-Bound Man Over Graffiti

Graham Perdue
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The city of Oakland brought the hammer down on a wheelchair-bound 102-year-old man and his 70-year-old son. They were ordered to paint over a graffiti-covered fence vandalized by the area’s hoodlums or fork over hefty fines.

Victor Silva told reporters that he recently used a roller and a paintbrush to attempt to cover the damaged property to the city’s satisfaction. He was given a March 19 deadline to cover the blight on the residence he has lived in for 80 years.

Failure to comply would have resulted in an $1,100 fine with an additional $1,277 tacked on every time he failed a subsequent inspection. 


Silva told reporters that battling graffiti at his Oakland home is a struggle that lasted years. He said it was never an issue until recently, when officials pressured him to pick up the pace despite his advancing years.

He said previously “it was very easy because I was a contractor, you know. I’ll be 103 in two months or so. That slowed it up a bit, you know.”

Family members are not amused by the weight of the city government coming down on their elderly loved one. Daughter-in-law Elena Silva told KTVU that “it is so absurd, it’s like a joke. If you drive around the city and see the graffiti everywhere, it’s just, I don’t know what to say.”

And it’s not like the rest of Oakland is not covered with this so-called “urban art.”


As for Silva’s property, the responsibility for cleaning up the graffiti on the back fence now mainly falls to his 70-year-old son. Victor Silva Jr. explained, “It’s hard to keep up with it because as soon as we get it painted, [there’s] gonna be graffiti on it again, and it won’t last.”

The Silva family owns a small piece of commercial property nearby. It has been broken into three times in the past year.

In one instance, Silva Jr. found a trespasser inside, and in each instance 911 was called. He said he gets put on hold every time he contacts emergency services.

The son said it is difficult to determine where tax dollars are being spent. “They can’t answer 911, but they can come out and hassle you about a fence.”

Silva Jr. said he does not like to consider that there may be other 100-year-old citizens being harassed by the local government.

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