Screencap of the City Heights Improvement Association's (vandalized) proposal for the sign, sent as a PDF to Mayor Faulconer's office.
City authorities thought they had seen the last of the KRE8 tag, at least for the next few months. After all, 19-year-old Francisco Canseco, the man behind the ubiquitous spraypainted moniker, was sentenced to 180 days in jail on August 5 for tagging the downtown San Diego County Courthouse. But it turned out that iron bars do not a prison make, not when there is a wonderful world of proposed city projects floating around in the cloud, just waiting for an enterprising tagger to make his digital mark. Proposals like the City Heights neighborhood sign, intended to be a symbol around which this diverse and challenging community could rally.
"The sign was supposed to be a symbol of our neighborhood. To make people proud to live and work here in City Heights, the way people are proud to live and work in North Park and Hillcrest and Encinitas," said community organizer Barack Hussein. "It was supposed to draw diners to our neighborhood's fine ethnic restaurants, and shoppers to our eclectic retail outlets. But if we can't even manage to keep a proposal tag-free…" Hussein trailed off, then shrugged and sipped desultorily at his Chai latte.
"I ain't saying that's me," said Canseco from his jail cell. "But I am saying that I saw that report on KPBS where people were worried about gentrification. First comes the sign, then you get a craft beer bar and some kind of urban art gallery. Next thing you know, you've got Starbucks and a fancy burger joint, the rents have doubled, and we're Kensington South, you know what I mean? Not if I can help it. Sometimes KRE8's gotta preserve, you know?"