Chapter 9.30
GRAFFITI PREVENTION AND ABATEMENT

Sections:

9.30.010    Purpose and intent.

9.30.020    Definitions.

9.30.030    Regulation of sales and purchases of aerosol paint containers and etching solution.

9.30.040    Regulation of the possession of graffiti implements.

9.30.050    Graffiti prohibited.

9.30.060    Graffiti reward.

9.30.070    Liability for damages and reimbursement of reward payments.

9.30.075    Determination and recovery of costs by probation officer.

9.30.080    Graffiti removal from private property by owner.

9.30.090    Graffiti removal from private property by the City.

9.30.100    Penalties.

9.30.010 Purpose and intent.

The City Council finds and declares as follows:

(A) Graffiti on public or private property is a condition of blight that not only depreciates the value of property which has been the target of such vandalism, but also depreciates the value of the adjacent and surrounding properties so as to create a negative impact upon the entire community.

(B) Graffiti has also been found to be associated with criminal activity and delinquency. It is also a means of identification and intimidation utilized by gangs and its presence may further gang-related activities. The power of graffiti to create fear within the community and blight upon the landscape, devaluing property and detracting from a sense of community enjoyed by the residents of the City of Palmdale, goes beyond the cost of clean-up or removal. Not only is graffiti a criminal act of vandalism, but it is also a social crime upon the quality of life and freedom from intimidation that citizens desire in their neighborhoods.

(C) Acts of graffiti are most-often committed by persons under the age of 18 years using aerosol containers of spray paint and/or etching solution. Minors frequently steal these implements of graffiti from retail stores, and, as such, retail stores that display and/or sell these implements should be prohibited from selling them to minors and should be required to take reasonable steps to prevent their theft.

(D) California Government Code Section 38771 authorizes the City to declare what constitutes a nuisance. Section 53069.3 further authorizes the City, under certain circumstances, to provide for the removal of graffiti and other inscribed materials from private as well as public property. The Council finds and determines that graffiti is obnoxious and a public nuisance and unless the City causes it to be removed from public and private property, it tends to remain. Other properties then become the target of graffiti with the result that the entire neighborhood is affected and becomes a less desirable place in which to be.

(E) It is the purpose and intent of the City Council of Palmdale, through the adoption of this chapter, to provide enforcement tools to protect public and private property from acts of vandalism and defacement, including the application of graffiti on public and private property, walls, vehicles, and other structures. Such acts are destructive of the rights and values of private property owners as well as the entire community. It is the further intent of the City Council, through the adoption of this chapter, to provide to all of those who disregard the property rights of others, that the City’s Code Enforcement and Public Safety Divisions, the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and the City Attorney/Prosecutor’s Office will strictly enforce the law and vigorously prosecute those persons engaging in the defacement of public or private properties. (Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms used shall be defined as provided in this section:

(A) “Adhesive label” shall mean any so-called “bumper sticker,” sheet of paper, fabric, or plastic, or other substance with an adhesive backing.

(B) “Aerosol paint container” shall mean any aerosol container, regardless of the material from which it is made, which is adapted or made for the purpose of spraying paint, undercoating, spray insulation, or other substance capable of defacing property.

(C) “Etching solution” shall mean any product or compound manufactured for the purpose of permanently altering a glass surface.

(D) “Felt-tip marker” shall mean any indelible marker or similar implement with a tip which, at its broadest width, is greater than one-eighth of an inch and which contains an ink or other pigmented liquid.

(E) “Graffiti” shall mean any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, or design that is marked, etched, scratched, drawn, or painted on or otherwise affixed to or on any surface, regardless of the nature of the material to the extent that the same was not authorized in advance by the owner thereof.

(F) “Graffiti implement” shall mean an aerosol paint container, a felt-tip marker, gum label, paint stick, etching tool or solution capable of scarring glass, metal, concrete, wood, or other surface, adhesive label, or any other device capable of being used to leave a visible mark at least one-eighth of an inch in width upon any surface of any material.

(G) “Paint stick” shall mean a device containing a solid form of paint, chalk, wax, epoxy, or similar substance capable of being applied to a surface by pressure, and, upon application, leaving a mark at least one-eighth of an inch in width.

(H) “Structures” shall mean any structure as defined in the City’s building code, and shall include, but not be limited to, buildings, walls, fences, poles, signs, and cargo/shipping containers.

(I) “Vehicle” shall mean a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails. (Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.030 Regulation of sales and purchases of aerosol paint containers and etching solution.

(A) It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation, except a parent or legal guardian, to sell or give or in any way furnish to another person, who is in fact under the age of 18 years, any aerosol paint container or etching solution without first obtaining bona fide evidence of majority and identity. As used herein, the phrase “bona fide evidence of majority and identity” means any document evidencing the age and identity of any individual which has been issued by a federal, state or local governmental entity, including, but not limited to, the acceptable forms of photographic identification outlined in PMC 1.04.100.

(B) It is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to purchase an aerosol paint container or etching solution.

(C) Every retailer or other business establishment selling or offering for sale in the City aerosol paint containers and/or etching solution shall store and maintain all such aerosol paint containers and etching solution in a place that is locked and secure, or which is otherwise made inaccessible to the public except upon request.

(D) Every retailer or other business establishment selling or offering for sale in this City aerosol paint containers and/or etching solution shall post in a conspicuous place a sign in letters at least three-eighths of an inch high stating: “Any person who maliciously defaces real or personal property is guilty of vandalism which is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both.”

(E) It is unlawful to sell, trade, give, exchange, or display for sale at any swap meet, flea market, open-air market, or yard sale any aerosol paint container or etching solution. (Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. 1317 § 9, 2007; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.040 Regulation of the possession of graffiti implements.

(A) It is unlawful for any person to carry on his or her person and in plain view to the public an aerosol paint container, or a container which contains paint or dye, or any writing instrument having a porous point, tip, or nib in excess of one-eighth of one inch in width at its widest point, or a glass etching tool/solution or similar device while in any posted public facility, park, playground, swimming pool or recreational area, other than a highway, street, alley or way, unless he or she has first received valid authorization from the governmental entity which has jurisdiction over the public area. As used herein, the term “posted” means a sign placed in a reasonable location or locations stating that it is a violation of this code to possess the above-referenced instruments and devices in such public facility, park, playground, swimming pool, or recreational area without valid authorization.

(B) It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person under the age of 18 years to have in his or her possession any instrument described hereinbelow while upon private property without the prior written consent of the owner of such property, or upon a public highway, street, alleyway, park, playground, swimming pool, public building or any area open to the public:

(1) Any aerosol paint container or other spray can containing anything other than a solution which can be removed by water after it dries;

(2) Any spray can tips, other than those affixed to a spray can not meeting the description of subsection (B)(1) of this section;

(3) Any felt-tip marker containing anything other than a solution which can be removed with water after it dries;

(4) Any container holding anything other than solution that can be removed with water after it dries and which can be used to apply that solution. This includes acrylic paint tubes, oil paint tubes, shoe dyes, and bottles and cans of such solutions; and

(5) Objects capable of etching glass or ceramic surfaces, including, but not limited to, bits, grinding stones, glass cutters, scribes, broken spark plug ceramic, chisels, and any solution capable of etching these surfaces when applied, including acids and etching baths.

(C) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person under the age of 18 years attending or traveling to or from school, at which time the minor is enrolled, if the minor is participating in a class at said school which has a written requirement of the class for the possession of the implements or instruments described in this section. The burden of proof in any prosecution for a violation of this section shall be upon the minor student to establish enrollment in a class that requires the possession of the implements or instruments described in this section. (Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. 1135 § 1, 1998; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.050 Graffiti prohibited.

It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person to apply graffiti to any building, structure, tree, shrub, curb, or vehicle located within the City. It shall also be unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person to apply or affix any adhesive label to any building, structure, tree, shrub, curb, or vehicle not owned or lawfully possessed by such person, or without advance authorization by the owner thereof. (Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.060 Graffiti reward.

(A) Pursuant to California Government Code Section 53069.5, the City does hereby offer a reward in an amount to be established by resolution of the City Council for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person for a violation committed within the State of California Penal Code Sections 594 or 594.3 (by the use of graffiti), 640, 640.5, 640.6, or PMC 9.30.030, 9.30.040, 9.30.050, or this section. In the event of multiple contributors of information regarding a single event or suspect, the reward amount shall be divided by the City in the manner it shall deem appropriate. For the purposes of this section, diversion of the offending violator to a community service program, or a plea bargain to a lesser offense, shall constitute a conviction.

(B) Claims for rewards under this section shall be filed, in writing, with the City Clerk. Each claim should:

(1) Specifically identify the date, location, and kind of property damaged or destroyed;

(2) Identify by name the person who was convicted; and

(3) Identify the court and the date upon which the conviction occurred.

(C) The City Council shall review each claim for reward submitted pursuant to this chapter and either accept, accept in part, or deny the claim. No claim for a reward shall be accepted by the City Council unless the City investigates and verifies the accuracy of the claim and determines that the requirements of this section have been satisfied. The investigation must determine that the claimant’s information was relevant and directly responsible for the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

(D) The offer of reward is made to members of the public generally. However, no law enforcement officer, municipal officer, employee of the City, or person(s) apprehended shall be eligible for such reward.

(E) Any person committing graffiti vandalism, and if said person is an unemancipated minor, then the parent or lawful guardian of said minor, shall be civilly liable for any reward paid pursuant to this section. (Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.070 Liability for damages and reimbursement of reward payments.

(A) Pursuant to Section 1714.1(b) of the California Civil Code, any act of willful misconduct of a minor which results in the defacement of property of another with paint, graffiti implement, or any similar substance or device shall be imputed to the parent or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages, including court costs and attorney’s fees, to the prevailing party, and the parent or guardian having custody and control shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for any damages resulting from the willful misconduct. The liability of each parent or guardian shall not exceed $37,100, or any future amount set by the California Judicial Council in accordance with Section 1714.1(c) of the California Civil Code, for each such act of the minor.

(B) Any person violating the provisions of PMC 9.30.050 shall pay to the City the amount of any reward paid pursuant to PMC 9.30.060, and, if such person is an unemancipated minor, such minor’s parent or guardian shall be liable therefor and shall pay the amount of any such reward to the City. Failure to pay any amount demanded by the City pursuant to this subsection within 30 days after written demand therefor shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this subsection. (Ord. 1416 § 1, 2011; Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. 1135 § 2, 1998; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.075 Determination and recovery of costs by probation officer.

(A) The Los Angeles County probation officer is hereby authorized to recoup on behalf of the City and to promptly transfer to the City, the City’s graffiti abatement costs through juvenile court proceedings pursuant to the Graffiti Removal and Damage Recovery Program (California Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 742.10 et seq.) and the provisions of this chapter.

(B) For purposes of this section only, “graffiti abatement costs” means:

(1) The average law enforcement costs incurred in identifying and apprehending a person convicted of Section 594, 594.3, 594.4, 640.5, 640.6, or 640.7 of the Penal Code or a minor subsequently found to be a person described in Section 602 by reason of the commission of an act prohibited by Section 594, 594.3, 594.4, 640.5, 640.6, or 640.7 of the Penal Code; and

(2) The average costs incurred in removing graffiti or other inscribed material; and

(3) The average costs incurred in repairing and replacing property of a type frequently defaced with graffiti or other inscribed material.

(C) The City Council shall make findings and establish graffiti abatement costs, consistent with California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 742.14, by Council resolution. The findings and graffiti abatement costs shall be reviewed and updated by the City Council at least once every three years. Immediately after the adoption of each council resolution establishing and updating graffiti abatement costs, the City Clerk shall cause a certified copy of the Council resolution to be forwarded to the clerk of the Los Angeles County juvenile court and the Los Angeles County probation officer. (Ord. 1462 § 1, 2014)

9.30.080 Graffiti removal from private property by owner.

It is unlawful for the owner of any privately owned real property to permit graffiti or other unauthorized inscriptions to remain on any building, structure or other facility so as to be capable of being viewed by persons utilizing any public right-of-way in the City, such as a highway, street, road, parkway or alley; provided, that the City Manager, or his designee, has given written notice to the owner to remove the graffiti within a period of three calendar days and such time period has elapsed without remedial action. For the purpose of this section, “remedial action” shall mean painting, washing, sandblasting, chemically treating, or otherwise obscuring the graffiti such as to blend the affected area with the surrounding structure or property. (Ord. 1469 § 1, 2015; Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.090 Graffiti removal from private property by the City.

Upon a determination by the City Manager, or his designee, that graffiti or other unauthorized inscriptions are on any privately owned building, structure or other facility and are in view of persons utilizing any public right-of-way, whether a highway, street, road, parkway or alley, the City shall be authorized to undertake the removal of such graffiti. Prior to the removal of such graffiti, the City shall obtain the written consent of the owner, including an appropriate release form and right of entry form authorizing such graffiti removal. The City shall not authorize or undertake to provide for the painting or repair of a more extensive area than that where the graffiti is located. The authority of the City under this section shall be in addition to all other remedies available under the provisions of this code, including those related to the abatement of nuisances. (Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007; Ord. U-1003 § 1, 1993)

9.30.100 Penalties.

(A) Criminal Penalties. Any violation of this chapter shall constitute a misdemeanor offense and subject to the penalties set forth in Chapter 1.12 PMC.

(B) Additional Penalties. Whenever deemed appropriate, it is the City’s intent to petition a sentencing court to impose the following additional penalties or conditions of any grant or probation, diversion, deferred entry of judgment, or other court supervision (including upon a determination that a minor is to be a ward of the court as a result of committing an act of vandalism or graffiti) upon conviction:

(1) Suspension or delay in issuance of driver’s license (pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 13202.6); and

(2) Community service and/or graffiti removal service (pursuant to California Penal Code Sections 640.6 and 1203 et seq., Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 728 and 729.8, and Vehicle Code Section 42001.7).

(C) Lien Against Property. It is the intent of the City to make the expense of abatement of any nuisance, resulting from the defacement by a minor of the property of another by graffiti or any other inscribed material, a lien against the property of a parent or guardian having custody and control of the minor, and a personal obligation against the parent or guardian having custody and control of the minor (pursuant to California Government Code Section 38772, California Penal Code Section 1202.4 and other state law). “Expense of abatement” includes, but is not limited to, court costs, attorney’s fees, costs of removal of the graffiti or other inscribed material, costs of repair and replacement of defaced property, and the law enforcement costs incurred by the City in identifying and apprehending the minor or other person.

(D) Special Assessment. As an alternative to the lien against property provided in subsection (C) of this section, the City may, pursuant to Section 38773.6 of the California Government Code, make the expense of abatement of any nuisance, resulting from the defacement by a minor of the property of another by graffiti or any other inscribed material, a special assessment against a parcel of land owned by the minor or other person or by the parent or guardian having custody and control of the minor, in accordance with the procedures specified in California Government Code Section 38773.5. “Expense of abatement” includes, but is not limited to, court costs, attorney’s fees, costs of removal of the graffiti or other inscribed material, costs of repair and replacement of defaced property, and the law enforcement costs incurred by the City in identifying and apprehending the minor or other person.

(E) Cumulative Remedies. The remedies provided in this chapter are in addition to other remedies and penalties available under provisions of other applicable City ordinances, the laws of the State of California, or the laws of the United States. (Ord. 1416 § 2, 2011; Ord. 1326 § 1, 2007)