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Plan to cut graffiti removal funding in L.A. meets with criticism. What do you think?

January 8, 2011 | 11:20 am

Painting it out

Graffiti has long been part of the L.A. streetscape, to the dismay of many. L.A. spends millions cleaning it up. But now, there is a proposal to cut the budget for tagging removal amid the city's budget crisis. Reports the Los Angeles Times' Kate Linthicum:

The top financial advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recommended that the city slash the graffiti-removal budget in half as part of a round of short-term cuts.

The graffiti-removal cut would last through the rest of the fiscal year and would save the city $1.5 million — a critical step in balancing the city budget, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in a report. Some City Council members have reacted with alarm, saying eradicating graffiti is both an economic and a safety imperative.

Councilman Ed Reyes, whose district includes Boyle Heights, MacArthur Park and other neighborhoods with a history of gang violence, said he also worries about what more graffiti might mean in terms of crime, since gangs use it to communicate with one another. "For gangs, essentially graffiti is like a message board for how they're going to hurt each other," he said.

Is cutting the graffiti removal budget a good idea? Tell us what you think.

Photo: Graffiti scares off potential investors, which keeps the tax base low, says L.A. Councilman Ed Reyes. And for gangs, the tags are “like a message board for how they’re going to hurt each other.” (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times / January 6, 2011)