An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
AS SURE AS the melting snow reveals crocuses and dog turds, graffiti is once again sprouting in Kamloops. It’s spring. Unlike the diminutive crocus, which symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings, graffiti is more like dog droppings — an unwelcome presence we’d rather not have to look at.
Winter weather makes conditions for painting graffiti less than ideal. Once temperatures rise consistently above freezing, though, it becomes more comfortable, and surfaces hold the paint much better.
So, we’re into our annual battle as the graffiti vandals go about their dirty work. Please, please don’t tell me they’re just a bunch of creative artists plying their craft, using the urban landscape as their canvass.
While it’s true that many of them have artistic talent (and many don’t), it’s talent that’s put to destructive, misguided purpose, creating ugly cankers on both public and private property, foiling efforts to beautify the community we call home.
And, it’s illegal. There’s nothing good about graffiti. So, please, teachers, no more class projects on graffiti as just another interesting form of urban expression. Please, no more art exhibits or exhibitions of graffiti painting at public events. No more legitimizing graffiti.
Let’s be clear: some graffiti may be art but it’s vandalism when it’s done in and on the wrong place. Defeating the graffiti vandals takes a community. The best way to stamp it out is to find it and paint it over or remove it quickly, preferably within 24 hours. If it comes back, do it again.
The Graffiti Task Force, which has been contributing to a cleaner, better looking city for 20 years, is engaging the help of the public. Anyone who spots new graffiti — whether it be on City property, utility boxes, bridges or walls is asked to contact the task force or community services.
The more eyes the better. And the less we glamorize graffiti as just another art form — well, that helps, too.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.