Wednesday, September 28, 2005
COUNTY TO LICENSE SELLERS OF SPRAY PAINT
ESPECIALLY JEFF STONE, SINCE HE'S THE ONE THAT IS PROPOSING THE IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE????
IF SOMEONE BUYS SPRAY PAINT OR WRITING ITEMS TO DO GRAFFITI, HOW IS THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE (OR ANYONE) SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHERE THESE LOW LIFE TAGGERS BOUGHT THE PRODUCT IN THE FIRST PLACE????
SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER HAIRBRAINED IDEA FOR THE COUNTY TO RAKE IN THE DOUGH FOR NO GOOD REASON.....
County to license sellers of spray paint
By: DAVE DOWNEY - Staff Writer
RIVERSIDE ---- In a bid to curb the spread of graffiti, Riverside County officials moved Tuesday to create a countywide licensing program for businesses that sell spray paint.
The county Board of Supervisors supported Supervisor Jeff Stone's proposal to license retailers that sell paint and other items used by vandals to spray graffiti on such surfaces as block walls and highway signs, but put off adoption of a program until Oct. 25.
Supervisor Roy Wilson called the proposal "an innovative concept." But, in calling for a delay, Wilson said passing an ordinance at this point would have given city retailers that sell the same materials a significant competitive advantage over stores in unincorporated areas. County ordinances apply only in communities outside city boundaries and city stores do not pay county fees.
The supervisors elected to lobby the county's 24 cities to follow their lead and create a uniform licensing program that applies throughout Riverside County's 7,200 square miles. Wilson suggested broaching the matter at the October meeting of the Western Riverside Council of Governments, to which each west-county city belongs, along with the county. By a 4-0 vote, with Supervisor John Tavaglione absent, the board endorsed that strategy.
The Western Riverside council is a 15-member body of elected officials that discusses regional issues such as transportation.
Similar to the county's new tobacco licensing program, adopted earlier this month, the graffiti program would exert pressure on retailers to adhere to county rules regarding the sale of spray paint under the threat of losing licenses to sell such products. Those rules require graffiti items to be locked up.
Stone said it is unknown how many stores would be obligated to obtain licenses under the program and what their costs would be, but he estimated the annual fee could fall in the $200 range. The so-called "graffiti implements" licensing program would take effect July 1, 2006, he said.
"This is going to ultimately lead to a 24-hour abatement policy in this county," he said, noting Temecula already has such a standard. "You don't find graffiti in Temecula," Stone said. "If you do, it is gone within 24 hours." A former Temecula councilman, Stone represents the 3rd District, which stretches from Temecula and Murrieta to Idyllwild.
For the purpose of determining who would obtain licenses, county officials propose defining graffiti items to mean aerosol paint containers, nozzles that can be attached to containers and indelible felt tip markers, among other things. Supervisors said, however, they do not plan to target crayons and chalk, as was indicated in Stone's report to the board.
Stone said crayons and chalk were included in the draft by mistake, as a result of taking language from another ordinance.
"Certainly we don't want Toys 'R' Us to have to get a license," he said. "That was not the intent."
Under the licensing plan, which is subject to revision, violations could be declared either an infraction or misdemeanor.
Infractions could fetch fines of up to $100 for first offenses, $200 for second offenses and $500 for each violation after that. Misdemeanors would be punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Stone said after the meeting that he did not believe giving someone jail time for improperly selling spray paint conflicted with his well-publicized campaign to end the early release of violent felons from county jails. The county releases more than 3,000 inmates before their sentences are up each year, to relieve crowding in county jails.
"I'm not going to let our jail problems, which I have been attempting to solve, get in the way of addressing the graffiti problems we have in Riverside County," Stone said.
Meanwhile, Robin Zimpfer, assistant county executive officer for the Economic Development Agency, reported that within 45 days officials will bring to the board a plan for putting two graffiti abatement trucks out in the field to look for and clean up defaced property. Zimpfer said one truck will roam the west county and the other will patrol the desert. That plan is a response to an earlier request of Stone's.
Contact staff writer Dave Downey at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2616, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAKEN FROM THE ARTICLE: Under the licensing plan, which is subject to revision, violations could be declared either an infraction or misdemeanor. Infractions could fetch fines of up to $100 for first offenses, $200 for second offenses and $500 for each violation after that.
Misdemeanors would be punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
HOW DOES THE COUNTY DETERMINE WHO IS IN VIOLATION OF THIS POLICY??? DO THEY USE A CRYSTAL BALL TO SEE WHO SOLD THE SPRAY PAINT TO THE TAGGER??? I'M SORRY, BUT I JUST DON'T GET IT!
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