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Caltrans -- not taggers -- destroyed my mural

December 6, 2008 | 12:23 pm

It was one of L.A.'s better-known freeway murals. But according to the artist, after graffiti vandals repeatedly targeted his work, Caltrans officials essentially painted it over. Caltrans did not immediately have comment on the civil suit filed by the artist, but here's more on the claims from City News Service. One wonders if he should have also included the taggers as codefendants:

A renowned Southland visual artist sued Caltrans in Los Angeles federal court, alleging that one of his long-standing freeway murals was painted over by the roadworks agency in violation of federal law.

According to the complaint, Frank Romero's automobile-themed "Going to the Olympics," a 2,040-square-foot mural which had adorned the Alameda Street underpass of the Hollywood (101) Freeway since 1984, was destroyed by Caltrans in June 2007.   

The suit alleges that the California Department of Transportation had a budget of more than $1 million to maintain and repair freeway art damaged by graffiti and the elements, but the money was instead improperly allocated to a general fund.

When the agency found that "Going to the Olympics" had been tarnished by graffiti, Caltrans workers "simply obliterated the mural by painting over it with gray paint, ruining this artistically valuable piece of art," said Timothy B. Sottile, Romero's Westlake Village-based attorney.

More details on the mural and its history here from the city's mural website.

View from the Loft has been covering the blight of "Going to the Olympics" for some time.

-- Shelby Grad