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Is it art, or is it a criminal act?

Re “Mural or Graffiti? City Draws Line,” Aug. 25

Graffiti terrorizes more people than a cross burned by the Ku Klux Klan. It’s a way for cowards to feel powerful, frighten the weak and keep the poor from getting out of line.

The mural on Joe Escobedo’s radiator shop is entirely different. If anything, it’s a courageous in-your-face to gangs and taggers, a taking of responsibility for one’s community and a strong way to let people know that there’s a big difference between making a statement and a threat.

I think people ought to be able to paint their houses with polka dots without any fear from codes and ordinances.

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What an Orwellian tone this action by the government gives to phrases like “Cultural Affairs Department.”

RONALD WEBSTER

Long Beach

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I was deeply saddened by your paper’s seeming advocacy of the criminal vandals collectively known as “writers.”

The Times has portrayed a limited number of self-aggrandizing signs by moderately competent graphic designers as being worthy of comparison with murals paintedby David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Rather than apply themselves with any degree of self-discipline, the writers wanting to be recognized as “artists” confuse display with worth. The modern notion that anything slapped together with emotion constitutes “art” is a fraud foisted upon the masses by a corrupt art establishment that is afraid someone is going to point out that the emperor is naked.

Regarding the point that “some merchants favor these types of murals because they discourage gangs from hitting their buildings with unwanted tagging”: This is called extortion no matter how you dress it up.

JOSEPH T. STEVENS

Los Angeles


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