Street Art: Willie Brown Is Wanted for the Murder of S.F.

Located just a few feet from a trendy boutique store that sells $795 “polar trench coats,” the fliers bemoan the kind of gentrification that has turned neighborhoods like Hayes Valley into playpens for the rich. The notices have shown up across San Francisco in recent weeks, including South of Market and the Mission District, and they blame the city's three recent mayors — Ed Lee, Gavin Newsom, and Willie Brown — for killing San Francisco with policies that've completely marginalized people with smaller incomes. “Wanted for the Murder of San Francisco,” blare the postings, which feature images of Lee, Newsom, and Brown with boastful smiles on their faces.

By using spare and incendiary language over a catchy black-and-white layout, the posters are highly effective as political street art — and have already prompted passers-by to rip some of them down. It's unclear who glued the notices on street poles and in other public spaces, but whoever it is likely created the other black-and-white flyers that recently appeared in Hayes Valley: Shaped like milk cartons, they say San Francisco has lost its “soul” and urge those with “any information that may lead to the recovery of San Francisco” to call “Anthony Bennett” at 1-8-ART-LESS. Get it? Tony Bennett is famous for singing, “I left my heart in San Francisco.” The fliers, then, are ultimately farcical — street art that's much more Stephen Colbert than Thomas Paine, and much more for dark laughs than for serious political dialogue.

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