The city of Oakland, California has threatened a 102-year-old wheelchair-bound man with thousands of dollars in fines if he does not keep up with removing spray-painted graffiti from his property.

Victor Silva Sr., who has been a law-abiding, taxpaying resident of Oakland for over 80 years, has fought a losing battle against the vandals plaguing his neighborhood. As has been the case in most parts of the crime-infested city, Silva’s home is often defaced with graffiti, requiring frequent repaintings of his house and the wooden fence surrounding it. While he was once able to keep up with the constant maintenance, Silva’s advanced age has made this difficult in recent years.

“Just had a roller and a paintbrush and just painted it. It was very easy because I was a contractor, you know,” Silva told local Fox affiliate KTVU . “I’ll be 103 in two months or so. That slowed it up a little bit, you know.”

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In the latest incident, vandals tagged the centenarian’s back fence in a splash of black-and-red spray paint—and the Oakland city council wanted to hold Silva responsible for the eyesore.

In early March, he received a violation notice from the city ordering him to cover up the graffiti by the 19th or else incur a $1,100 fine, plus an additional $1,277 for every failed re-inspection.

To avoid the hefty penalty, Silva’s 70-year-old son, Victor Jr., and daughter-in-law Elena had to step in to help paint over the offending urban art.

“It was 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,” Elena said. As she indicated, a utility box near Silva’s residence is currently marked with at least six different kinds of graffiti, but no one has been tasked with cleaning it up.

However, as Silva Jr. lamented, the cleanup work may ultimately be in vain, as the fence is likely to be defaced again as soon as the fresh paint dries.

“It’s hard to keep up with it because as soon as we get it painted, it’s gonna be graffiti on it again, and it won’t last,” he said.

He also revealed that the family owns a nearby commercial property, which has been broken into three times in the last year. Police were notified about the incidents, but were ultimately unhelpful in addressing the problem.

“I’m put on hold every time. So it’s hard to understand where our tax dollars are going. They can’t answer 911, but they can come out and hassle you about a fence?”

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Oakland, California has threatened 102-year-old, wheelchair-bound Victor Silva with thousands of dollars in fines if he does not remove graffiti from his home.
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The Silva family is not alone in struggling under Oakland’s rising crime rates. Earlier this year, Oakland residents took to social media to highlight how urban crime and mass retail theft have driven businesses out of the city, creating self-imposed food deserts after the last full-service grocery store was forced to close. Other major franchises, including Target, Starbucks, and Walmart are also pulling out of the city—all while Soros-backed Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price implements soft-on-crime policies.

“Oakland has to change,” Silva Jr. continued “The system is not working.”

Following public outcry over the fines leveled against Silva Sr., a city inspector told KTVU that he would be conducting an immediate assessment and, presumably, canceling the citation.

As for how he lived to the age of 103, Silva told the outlet that it was “very easy.”

“Just keep breathing and, you know, behave yourself.”

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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