Saturday, May 31, 2008
Coming Out Of The Closet (As A Volunteer Graffiti Abater)
Photos by John Hoff
A story on Minn Post shot by Jacob and Gabe of "612 Authentic" inspired me to 'fess up to something I've been doing. Yes, blogger Ed Kohler has inspired me to "come out of the closet" as a volunteer graffiti abater...
Above you see a little bit of my handiwork. By the way, the exact shade of green of this type of utility box appears to be something called "hunter green."
No sense saying EXACTLY where this is. But I range from Frog Town in Minneapolis to Dinkytown (OK, "Marcy-Holmes") to the North Side.
Surprisingly, graffiti is not that much of an issue on the North Side. Graffiti seems to be more of a wannabe gangster activity rather than an actual gangster activity. When you see graffiti on the North Side, it's almost automatically gang-related.
I've managed to paint some stuff over and make quite a number of 311 reports. The deal is I call 311 on the stuff I don't consider it prudent to go after myself. (Or which may not be prudent to go after THAT MOMENT but like Scarlet O'Hara said, "Tomorrow...is another day.")
If property owners "frankly don't give a damn" about their own buildings, then somebody else needs to give a damn, because graffiti makes neighborhoods feel unsafe. Graffiti is illegal, and this overrides the "right" to exactly matching paint" or whatever. Citizens who have paint handy should eliminate the illegal graffiti by "whatever means necessary."
Yup, here is my little "voluntary graffiti abatement manifesto." (With all due homage and credit to Ed Kohler for inspiration)
First, like the securing of buildings already declared vacant and/or boarded, our city ordinances should explicitly allow and encourage this activity. The city clearly can't take care of it on its own. The only requirement should be to make some good faith effort to match the color of the paint. (For example, if the wall is white, any paint which can be described as "white" is acceptable, as long as it is made for EXTERIORS)
Second, it is best to say what you are doing as openly as you dare, rather than skulking in the dark like a filthy criminal. This encourages others to follow your example and also become volunteer graffiti abaters. Thanks to Ed Kohler, I'm going to start being more open about this activity, even if I can't hope to compete with Ed in terms of scale. I hope many others are inspired by Ed's example.
Third, I have friends who are taggers or former taggers. I tell them to grow up.
Fourth, in addition to the used paint store Ed linked from his blog, I've found great deals on paint at the "Re Store" on Broadway which sells recovered building supplies.