Online Extra: Letters to The Editor – Handle Graffiti Problems on Case-by-Case Basis

I totally agree with the City Council’s decision to table the issue of an ordinance that would mandate property owners to remove graffiti or be responsible for a $150 fee plus the cost incurred by the city to remove it for them.

The City Council should instead consider a law that would look at each case on an individual basis, especially for residential properties that are tagged. Specifically, the law should exempt elderly and disabled property owners or make an effort to contact their next of kin and mandate that they remove the graffiti.

The case-by-case basis should also be applied to business owners. However, the amount of revenue generated by the business should be the deciding factor. We wouldn’t want a mom-and-pop store that’s barely making money to have these fees imposed on them either.

Also, the city must form partnerships with neighborhood associations and other nonprofit groups so they can assist in the effort. But by the same standard, the City Council needs to empower neighborhood associations by allocating funds to initiatives and projects already put in place by the associations. And even though the city has the Neighborhood Action Department and graffiti abatement officers, nonprofit groups and their volunteers are always needed.

In a meeting March 29, we organized some business and residential property owners who have been experiencing the graffiti problem so they could be informed of what the San Antonio Police Department’s SAFFE unit and the city’s Neighborhood Action Department have been doing to address this problem.

Since January, our association has sponsored or cosponsored six events that targeted the graffiti problem in the Prospect Hill Area. The city should direct its efforts at financially assisting neighborhood associations like ours that have taken action in dealing with this problem.

Jason Mata,

president,

Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association
Web Posted: 04/11/2007 2:00 CDT

 

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