I hate the people who do it. I really hate the people who call it "street art." And I'm completely disgusted with people who allow it to be displayed on their private property for weeks at a time, giving the aforementioned little bitches the attention they crave but don't deserve.
The members of my girls' basketball team and I paint over graffiti for community service. It's boring and tedious, but somebody's got to do it. One time, this little bitch drove back and forth in his little bitch car as we were working. He finally stopped and asked somewhat menacingly why we were covering the graffiti up. Of course, the way he was sitting low in his little bitch car, he looked to be about 4 foot 10 and 120 pounds, so it wasn't really all that menacing.
I explained what we were doing and then held up my roller and told him that we had some paint left over in case he wanted us to do his little bitch car.
He drove off loudly, his oversized tailpipe compensating as best it could.
I discussed this issue separately with City Manager Mike Hein and Pima County Supervisor Ann Day. Both the city and county have serious graffiti problems, and both appear to be losing the battle to the little creeps, who are partly aided by indifferent and/or lazy property owners who let that crap sit in public view for far too long. In response to the blight, I have come up with a somewhat immodest proposal.
Right now, there is a patchwork approach to graffiti removal. The city had contracted with a private firm, but now wants to use city employees, which can be very costly. Governments also rely on community service done by good people, like my players, or by knuckleheads who've been popped for misdemeanor offenses and get to paint over graffiti or pick up trash.
I propose that the patchwork approach be replaced by a quilt. Carve the metropolitan area into small sections and assign each one to a team, club or academic group at a school in that neighborhood. It would be like the adopt-a-road program that keeps highways clean.
Participation in the program would be strictly voluntary, but the way I have it set up, school teams and groups would definitely want to be a part of it. Let's use Ironwood Ridge High School in the Amphitheater Public School District as an example. You carve up the surrounding community into segments that are roughly equal in area. You divide by a number equal to the number of groups willing to participate. A school like Ironwood Ridge would have a marching band, student council, National Honor Society chapter, drama group and probably 20 or so different sports teams.
Each group is assigned an area, and it is their responsibility to keep that area as graffiti-free as possible. Somebody would have to do a drive-through of the area on a regular basis. That's not a big deal, since it's likely that one or more members of the group would actually live in that area. Residents would also have a phone number they could call to report graffiti. The key would be a rapid response, erasing the vandalism within hours of when it went on.
The city and county would supply the paint and rollers, but here's where the proposal might raise an eyebrow: I want the groups to get paid. Not a whole lot, but some.
I understand the concept of community service, so we'll just call this a community partnership. The players on my team have to pay for their own practice gear, shoes, sweatshirts and travel gear. And every one of my players participates in multiple sports, so their expenses are doubled or tripled each year. When we get a free Saturday afternoon during the season, and I suggest we go paint over some graffiti, the kids would much rather have a car wash to ease some of their expenses. No player ever goes without, but it stretches some parents' budgets to the limit.
Fundraising is a never-ending nightmare for parents of school kids these days. Band kids go to competitions; student council members go to leadership conferences; NHS kids do literacy projects; and athletes go through shoes and equipment.
The money would go to the club or team and would be spent according to guidelines, either to pay team expenses or help needy individuals. It would come from the governmental agencies (which would no longer have to deal with the graffiti problem), while businesses and interested individuals could kick in as well.
It's a common-sense approach to a problem that eats away at the character of our community. We have a built-in, motivated labor force that could help make this problem all but go away.
I'm going to write this proposal up in a different form and present it to the City Council and the Board of Supervisors. I'll probably leave out the "little bitch" stuff, although if you've ever been to one of those meetings, you'd agree that it might help me get their attention.