Crime-ridden Oakland orders 102-year-old man in wheelchair to remove graffiti from fence or face thousands in fines

A wheelchair-bound centenarian who has lived his whole life in Oakland, California, has been ordered to clean up graffiti on the outside of his fence or face perhaps thousands in fines.

Earlier this month, 102-year-old Victor Silva Sr. received a notice from the City of Oakland ordering him to remove graffiti from his property by March 19. Failure to clean up the blight could result in a fine of $1,100 plus nearly $1,300 for every additional failed follow-up inspection, KTVU reported.

Silva, a retired contractor who has lived in the same home for 80 years, said he used to take care of the problem himself until age began to take its toll. “Just had a roller and a paintbrush and just painted it. It was very easy because I was a contractor,” he told the outlet. “I’ll be 103 in two months or so. That slowed it up a little bit.”

During Silva’s lifetime, crime in Oakland has steadily increased, and graffiti has become commonplace all around his neighborhood. Almost as soon as he cleans it up on his property, more graffiti appears in its place. “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,” said Victor Silva Jr., Silva’s son.

Victor Jr. called the city’s treatment of his father a form of harassment. “I would hate to think that there [are] other hundred-year-old people that are being harassed like this,” he said. “Oakland has to change. The system is not working.”

Victor Jr. added that every time he has called 911 to report some form of property crime, he is placed on hold. “It’s hard to understand where our tax dollars are going,” the younger Victor claimed. “They can’t answer 911, but they can come out and hassle you about a fence?”

Silva’s daughter-in-law Elena Silva called the entire situation “absurd.” “It’s like a joke,” she said. “You drive around the city and see the graffiti everywhere.”

KTVU claimed that an Oakland inspector had contacted the outlet and promised to do “an immediate inspection” at Silva’s property. The outlet expressed hopes that the elderly man’s citation will soon be canceled.

Meanwhile, Silva offered some practical advice for those hoping to live a long life: “Just keep breathing and, you know, behave yourself.”

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