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Graffiti, Bus Benches & Euro Style Public Bathrooms

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I received this e-mail yesterday from the city:

On behalf of the City of Los Angeles and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, thank you for contacting 3-1-1 on Jan 21, 2007 to report graffiti at XXXXX MOORPARK ST.

Your report has been assigned the following Service Request Number: 148021. You will be notified via e-mail when the contractor reports they have completed this request.
In most cases, the graffiti will be taken care of within a few days and you'll get a confirmation e-mail. Though there are times when it is just not happening. "Why? Why? It's a bus bench. The city owns it!"

Alright. So we first call Paul Rachs at the Office of Beautification. We talk about what happens with graffiti that is not on city property. Let's say you report graffiti on private property (and you can). The abatement crews will go out there and see if they can contact the owners to clean it for them. In the case of graffiti on other agency property, such as CalTrans, the graffiti request becomes deferred and sent to that agency. Still, we're not understanding why those ugly brown bus benches don't get cleaned.

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We next spoke to Lance Oishi who monitors all the "street furniture" contracts for the city. We find out that those blighted bus benches are not actually owned by the city. They are owned by a Chatsworth based company called Norman Bench Company. The deal is, Norman provides the street furniture for the convenience of the public and they get to reap the profit from the ads on the backboard. But some bonehead city attorney approved the contract, which included graffiti abatement to be completed within something around 30 days of notification. 30 days! That's useless. And by the look of things, they actually take their 30 days very seriously. That's hardly a care for the community, but even worse for them, the advertisers that pay for those spots.