Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is getting crazy

City Council Gets Tough On Graffiti VandalsPITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― Pittsburgh City Council gave final approval today of a plan to crack down on graffiti vandalism. Not only will offenders have higher fines to pay, but they'll also be forced to clean up the damage they've caused. A week ago community activists in Lawrenceville were reacting to a very public trial about graffiti, and the word "forgive" that was painted on many walls throughout the town. Some cleanup has begun, but there is still quite a bit of work to do. Today, council passed a bill to get tougher on graffiti vandalism. The upcoming sentencing for Daniel Montano for graffiti vandalism, even with the possibility of $300,000 in restitution costs, does not include any fines to be paid to the city. That's because city law had no provision for fines. But the new law passed by council today does call for fines and, infact; council increased the fines from the original bill introduced last week. It only called for fines ranging from $100 to $500. Now the fines will be steep, and will go towards a city graffiti cleanup trust fund. "What's on the books now is basically only calls for possible assignment of community service if you're convicted of damaging property by doing graffiti," says Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus said. He adds that, "this actually imposes fines that will come then, not as restitution, but in addition to restitution." The bill also calls for art and paint suppliers to keep potential graffiti equipment in sight of employees to prevent theft. "Some of them are very great artists, but what they're doing is not artistic. And we need to find ways for them to find something that's productive," Pittsburgh City Council Rev. Ricky Burgess said.