One more thing about Chicago's graffiti problem.
As Fran Spielman reported in today's Sun-Times, 23rd ward southwest side alderman Michael Zalewski wants to increase fines and have courtroom judges take over cases from hearing officers who can't order jail sentences for vandals. Good idea.
After last week's defacing of the Gold Star Memorial to fallen Chicago police officers on 18th Street near Soldier Field, I say enough is enough; it's time to declare all-out war on graffiti. Nothing affects a neighborhood's character, reputation, and sense of safety as negatively as graffiti.
It is a welcome mat for criminals. Sorry but urban art tagged on someone's business, home, or a public space is ugly and doesn't belong there. And gang graffiti only contributes to Chicago's violent crime problems.
Alderman Zalewski also wants to up the fines, community service, and jail-time for graffiti vandals, and double the minimum fine for parents or legal guardians.
In light of recent cuts in the city's graffiti removal budget, this proposal needs to be approved by the city council in a hurry.
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