Have a Coke and a Fine

Historic Coca-Cola billboard has just one week to be saved.

By Matt Baume
|  Thursday, Feb 17, 2011  |  Updated 5:30 PM PDT
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Pillow Fight Gallery 2011

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Oh Coke, we love you. But that love could be taxed.

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Welcome to San Francisco, where it seems like you can't even hang drapes in your window without getting a permit first.

The latest government intrusion: Bernal Heights. A historic ad for Coca-Cola, painted on the side of a building, was slapped with a notice of violation this week when a neighbor complained about unauthorized advertising.

The ad looks new, because it's been painstakingly maintained and touched up for decades. But locals say that it hearkens back to the 1940s, when a grocery store once sat on that corner, according to Bernalwood.

The Planning Department is willing to reconsider the citation, but first they need proof that it's a historic ad. Neighbors are frantically searching for pre-1965 photos of the building so that the art can be saved.

If no proof can be found by February 24, then the sign must go.

It's not known who complained to the city about the sign or why, but one online commenter whined that it sits across the street from a school, and might cause young people to drink more soda, thereby threatening young lives.

Another concern is that if the city recognizes the sign as historically permitted, then an evil ad company like ClearChannel might come in, buy the wall, paint over the sign, and use it to advertise contemporary products.

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