City Paints Over Artistic Mural in Midtown After Receiving Complaints

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SACRAMENTO-

One artistic group thought they were helping solve a long-standing graffiti problem in Sacramento. Instead, they became part of the problem when city officials painted over their mural on Tuesday.

A smelly coat of fresh paint on the side of a vacant building at 28th and U streets in Midtown is now covering up a controversial artistic expression.

Jenn Ponci is a local tattoo artist in the neighborhood who wasn't impressed with what she saw on the side of the vacant massage parlor, so she painted over it.

"There was a little snake over here, to have some animal characters," Ponci said.

She said she received a verbal "O.K." from the Bay Area property owners to paint the wall.

Ponci said she also solicited input from the community. But something got lost in translation.

"We weren't even able to finish the complete project. The police kept coming by," she said.

Tuesday, the mural she spent $2,000 painting was covered up, by the city.

 "I think it was someone's solution to a bad situation," said Dottie Garcia, who works across the street. 

Garcia said she thinks Ponci may have meant well, but she didn't gain enough input from neighboring businesses.

"We're trying to run a professional business," Garcia said.

When asked if she liked it, she responded with "mixed reviews."

But there is one thing neighbors do agree on. Now that the wall has been painted over, it will be an empty canvas for new taggers.

"I think they should've left it up. Filth will go back on this wall again. Kids and everyone will see it," said neighbor Richard Heredia.

 Ponci said she has volunteered with a group called Few and Far Women to paint six vandalized buildings in Sacramento. 

"People are usually very grateful. They bring you snacks and water," Ponci said.

This time, city officials said they were just following standard procedure. After receiving complaints from the community, they contacted the property owner. When they didn't hear back, the mural was covered.

A city spokesperson said Ponci failed to follow the informal process of sanctioning a mural with the city.

An informal process Ponci said she followed, along with her creative heart.

City officials are charging the property owners a $500 abatement fee after failing to hear from them.

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