The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

The City vs. Krylon

Another story on the City of Vancouver's"anti-graffiti" campaign.

Yes, business owners will be required to remove "graffiti" or else the city will do it for them, and send them the bill. This has been an obsession with the notoriously anal-retentive city fathers, who believe in basing city policies on the "Broken Windows" theory loved by authoritarians, and carrying those policies to illogical extremes.

And just who decided what graffiti is unacceptable? Why, the city, of course! Guess who decided on the guidelines for unacceptable graffiti? Why, the same folks who want to standardize all the park benches, billboards, garbage cans, newspaper boxes, and buskers in the City on the Edge of the Rainforest, naturally.

Curiously, graffiti and organized crime seem not to be intertwined, contrary to popular conceptions

Most graffiti, [City staffer Jay] Senghera said, doesn't come from organized criminals, as many believe.

"There's very little gang-related graffiti," he said. "About 80 per cent to 90 per cent of it is 'pop art' graffiti, and is connected with hip-hop culture."

And finally, how does this policy fit in with property rights, which conservatives supposedly hold sacred? It seems that the city taking it upon itself to "clean up" a building is heavy-handed, and an unwarranted attempt by government to dictate to businesses and landlords how to run their affairs.

One saving grace, however, is that the city has shown an interest in okaying graffiti murals, as most graffiti artists will not "tag" another's work. Stil, that leaves me to wonder how one decides what graffiti is okay, and what's not. Should this still not be the decision of the business operator or the building's landlord?

The city should really keep its anti-graffiti campaign confined to City property.

However, some people just can't leave well enough alone.

What's next? Perhaps the city will require all those who sell Krylon spray paint to obtain a special permit. I should probably just pull that last comment -- someone might take it seriously. You never can tell.

City elections are coming up in the fall... think about it.
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