Supervisors OK Plan to Clean Up Vandalism : Crime: Key features include ‘graffiti-free zones,’ diversion programs, a citizens complaint process and restitution.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted an anti-graffiti plan Tuesday that for the first time seeks to forge an alliance with cities, private agencies and citizens to combat graffiti vandalism countywide.
The plan calls for development of a model anti-graffiti ordinance for unincorporated areas of the county with the recommendation that each city in the county adopt the same ordinance. It also covers provisions for physical cleanup and deterrence, law enforcement tactics, diversion and education programs and establishment of a countywide anti-graffiti hot line.
A spokeswoman for Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti said his office will work with the county to implement recommendations, and a representative of Mayor Richard Riordan praised the plan and said the mayor would support the program in Los Angeles.
Some experts questioned whether the county can coordinate a task that involves hundreds of volunteer workers as well as public agencies.
“If they can do that in all the communities it would be great, but I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as it sounds,” said Norma Solis, who runs the graffiti-removal program for El Centro De Amistad, a Canoga Park-based community group.
“The paint, the sandblasters, the vans, the gas, the insurance, hey, all those things cost a lot of money and everybody has a different agenda,” she warned.
But Bob Wallin, a Caltrans engineer involved with graffiti removal, said the coordinated county effort is exactly what’s needed to avoid public and private agencies from duplicating efforts.
“We now have a complete package . . . that is far more comprehensive than anything we’ve ever done,” said Supervisor Deane Dana, who made the motions that the plan be developed and adopted. “The goal of everyone is that we reduce the amount of graffiti.”
Specific features of the plan include:
* Implementation of a pilot zero-tolerance program that would be phased in countywide. Under the program, targeted areas in each of the five supervisorial districts would be declared “graffiti-free zones” with all resources marshaled into cleaning up graffiti immediately.
* A countywide graffiti compliance program aimed at businesses. This would require employers to educate workers about restrictions on the sale of spray paint, markers and other paraphernalia to minors, place spray paints in inaccessible areas, remove graffiti from businesses within 48 hours, sponsor a neighborhood “graffiti-buster” group and provide money or gift certificates for those who call the anti-graffiti hot line.
* Coordination with the district attorney’s office, sheriff’s and probation departments and the Department of Children’s Services to develop diversion programs that would address the family needs of youthful graffiti vandals rather than prosecute them.
* Establishment of a citizen complaint and hearing process that would provide a non-judicial forum for graffiti-related complaints by citizens.
* Establishing a county policy to seek restitution from graffiti violators or their parents with the money used to repay victims and fund a reward program.
Dana said that the costs of the program have not been determined, but that the county is hoping to use existing resources and staff to carry out most of its programs.
The county has received donations of $2,500 from Pacific Bell and $2,000 from Familian Pipe and Supply for the program and commitments of $10,000 each from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Caltrans to fund the anti-graffiti hot line.
In other action Tuesday, the county delayed consideration of proposals by Supervisor Mike Antonovich that would restore million of dollars in funding to the sheriff’s and probation departments, the district attorney’s office and the coroner, all of which took cutbacks during the recent round of budget decisions.
Antonovich is proposing to pay for the restorations with recently discovered budget savings estimated at $80 million. The savings have sparked a new round of budget considerations and disagreements. Supervisor Gloria Molina has proposed that the money be used to restore funding for libraries and the general relief welfare program, among other things.
Consideration of both motions was delayed until the board’s next meeting.