PALOS VERDES ESTATES : Taggers Could Be Forced to Pay Through Tax Bills

Vandals caught writing graffiti in Palos Verdes Estates may be charged for cleanup on their property tax bills under a measure passed by the City Council.

The council voted unanimously to amend its graffiti ordinance recently, allowing the city to place a special assessment on California property owned by graffiti vandals, said Tom Winfield, the acting city attorney. If the vandal is a minor who does not own property, the lien could be placed on property owned by the vandal's parents.

City Manager James Hendrickson said the city is not plagued by graffiti, but is taking advantage of a recently enacted state law.

The city's original graffiti ordinance was passed in 1991 in response to increased graffiti in surrounding communities. The ordinance asks the owners of private property to remove graffiti within 24 hours; otherwise, the city will.

Mark Hart, the city's maintenance foreman, said Palos Verdes Estates had fewer than 30 reported incidents of graffiti in 1994 and spent less than $1,000 on cleanup.

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