Graffiti--Art or Blight?

Thanks for the push. The only reason I haven't bugged out of this dump like all my kids is dear old Mom. She's 94 and it is hard to make new friends at that age, but the old girl is going to have to hack it alone. I'm outta here.

With The Times' exquisite ability to see both sides of any question, the editors gave us news about graffiti and not just news but views. I had just returned from an early morning chore in which I was exposed to freshly painted vandalism on some fellow's house, walls totaled out, curbs molested, telephones tagged, trees painted--the L.A. look. And then ran into your Voices section.

Most people can read the stuff that is on everything very well; it says get out.

My family has lived in the San Pedro area for almost 100 years, in California since 1858. As I said above, my grown children have left and they left not because of jobs but because of what they saw happening around them. I saw it too, but I was stuck.

All the social theorizing in the article is just acceptance of what is happening without any need to do anything about the problem with a little fast-footed intellectual fooling around tossed in for effect.

Since my retirement over three years ago, I have been painting over graffiti, external and internal, at certain public libraries. I'm the guy the librarians call.

The librarians pretend not to know who is painting in the toilets. At least they did at first. It is like being in a long battle; your views begin to change.

I have watched what the graffiti has done to the staff of the library. In my view librarians are the most dedicated of civil servants and I don't take any pleasure in seeing the cynicism creep in and the dedication leave. What is a taxpaying citizen to think when he sees the library trashed? Vote for new taxes?

So, it is adios, Mom, and we are off to anywhere but here.


Harbor City

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