Bloomberg Puts His Tag on Anti-Graffiti Legislation

Categories: Follow-Up


Graffiti may be wrong in the eyes of the City, but Rare Art's "Boricua Posse"— the track in the background—is oh so right for everyone.

Mayor Bloomberg inked legislation on Thursday that once again seeks to keep markers, spray paint, and other so-called graffiti tools out of the hands of people under the age of 21.

Last year, a federal judge struck down parts of an earlier version of the law—which sought to toughen existing laws applying to those younger than 18—saying the ban unfairly singled out young people. Last year, Runnin' Scared wrote about the lawsuit brought by seven high school and college students with help from publicity-seeking designer Marc Ecko.

Not to be outdone, publicity-seeking Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. went back to the drawing board and fashioned a new bill.

This time around, it seems, the city is trying to incorporate enough exceptions into the law so that the courts won't find it overly narrow if it's challenged again. The new language in the law provides exceptions for people under 21 who are carrying so-called graffiti instruments because: A) they need them for school, B) have written permission from an employer, or C) are writing graffiti with the permission of a property owner.

Will the law pass legal challenges this time? Will there be another challenge?

The new language:

c-2. [When a] This section shall not apply to any person [is found to] possessing an aerosol spray paint can, broad tipped indelible marker or etching acid while in or on the property of another [or in any public building or upon any public facility] in violation of subdivision c-1 of this section, [it is an affirmative defense that] where:
(1) the owner, operator or other person having control of the property, building or facility consented in writing to the [presence] use or possession of the aerosol spray paint can, broad tipped indelible marker or etching acid; or
(2) such person uses or possesses the aerosol spray paint can, broad tipped indelible marker or etching acid under the supervision of the owner or person in control of such property; or
([2]3) such person is [traveling to or from] at his or her place of employment [,where it] and the aerosol spray paint can, broad tipped indelible marker or etching acid was, [or] will be or is being used during the course of such employment and used only with written permission from, or under the supervision of his or her employer or such employer's agent; or
(4) such person is at an educational facility and uses or will use the aerosol spray paint can, broad tipped indelible marker or etching acid at the educational facility, where he or she is enrolled, and is participating in a class at the educational facility that requires the use or possession of such items; or
(5) such person is on the property of another and uses or will use the aerosol spray paint can, broad tipped indelible marker or etching acid in or on the property of another if such use or possession is necessary to participate in a government-sponsored function or in other circumstances where a government agency gives its consent to such use or possession.

Read the law in its entirety here.



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