Tuesday, May 10, 2005

UNTAGger tags tagger as efforts expand

Disclaimer: UNTAG block captains are notencouraged to personally chase down criminal suspects. It's dangerous. Call the police! That said, three cheers for UNTAG block captain Rusty Millar, who spotted a pair of vandals defacing a wall on Hyperion in Silver Lake on Tuesday morning. He took pictures, followed the suspects as they left the area, and got a neighbor to call police, resulting in an arrest. Rusty was one of our initial UNTAG block captains, and like the more than fifty others in the district, he has taken responsibility for reporting and painting out graffiti on his block. In this case, he's gone beyond the call of duty. Thank you, Rusty!

At the exact same time as Rusty was chasing taggers, I was encouraging an "aye" vote on item 42 on the council agenda, the expansion of UNTAG to a city-wide program. It's time to replicate our success from San Pedro to Granada Hills. Council voted 12-0 to create a version of our home-grown program for all of Los Angeles. It will be directed by Operation Clean Sweep, the agency responsible for administering graffiti eradication contracts. It will replicate our system of block captains, surveillance cameras in graffiti "hot spots", and anti-graffiti techniques such as vining to curb blight and vandalism.

Following council, the budget committee met in the afternoon. I made sure that we included $500,000 in the FY 2005-6 budget to support the citywide UNTAG program. Now we know that we'll be able to reach our goals.

Unveiling UNTAG in June 200