Monday, February 12, 2007

Next meeting tomorrow

Hi folks,
Hope you received your newsletter in the mail this weekend. I'm also posting the list of ideas proposed at our last meeting below. And remember, we'll be meeting TOMORROW (Tuesday, February 13th) from 5:45-7 at the Center for Community and Neighborhoods to do more planning-- I'd love to have you there! Our new address is: 125 College St., 2nd floor (next to Bennington Pottery). C-CAN's "Open House" will be taking place right before, from 4 until 5:30. Feel free to stop in early to enjoy some snacks, check out our new space, and learn more about the programs we run.

Here are the ideas-- please let me know what you think the Action Committee's priorities should be (your top 5):

1. We need more Adopt-A-Block volunteers. We should find a way to reach out to more individuals and businesses. Prompt clean up is still the best way to keep tags from coming back, according to research that Cpl. Radford brought for us to see.
2. Graffiti vandals need to be held accountable. The laws could to be changed so that it is easier to prosecute graffiti vandals. The group discussed the creation of a Civil Ticket for Graffiti (Vandalism).
3. We need more communication between the people, organizations and City Departments that are working on this issue. It is important to document the graffiti and the efforts to combat it.
4. It is important to document the cost of graffiti to the City. We should put together facts and figures that show how much it costs to clean graffiti from different surfaces.
5. We could ask a college class to help us get specific stats on Burlington’s graffiti problem.
6. We need a way to transport our graffiti removal materials. A van for GRT would be a huge help. Acquiring a van seemed plausible. Finding sustaining funds for a van may present some challenges.
7. We could get an enclosed and locked trailer to transport a power washer in that could easily be hooked up to a city vehicle when needed, and that would be much less expensive than maintaining a van.
8. We should ask the local paint supply stores to document who buys spray paint and paint pens.
9. We need to find a way to reach out to graffiti vandals to help them understand the negative impacts of their behavior.
10. We need more connections in the schools—doing presentations about how graffiti hurts a community. We could ask school resource officers to help us identify kids who have a lot of tags drawn in their notebooks, since this seems to be an indication that they may be putting the same tag up elsewhere.
11. Graffiti vandals are motivated by public recognition. We should not bring them any increased attention through the media. Also, we should ask the media to avoid interviewing police officers in relation to our programs, but show community members as the driving force behind them instead.
12. We should use the media to reach out to new volunteers and to get the community more involved—i.e. use the media to emphasize positive things going on.
13. It is important to let graffiti vandals know that the community is watching for them. We need to send the message that we know who they are & their behavior is not ok.
14. What if a person who was convicted of graffiti (vandalism) received points on their driver’s license? Much like they did for underage smoking?
15. We need a city ordinance—not one that punishes businesses by forcing them to clean up their graffiti in 30 days, but one that targets the taggers.
16. We could have a special citywide “Graffiti Clean-Up Day” where everyone cleans whatever they see on their property. It could be in conjunction with Green-Up Day, but not just a part of it. We’d have a huge PR campaign leading up to it.
17. Utilizing neighborhood forums more could be helpful.
18. We need specific point people attending each NPA.
19. We need more positive outlets, like the “Community Art Space” on North Union and North Ave. where a fence was donated for youth to hang pre-approved art. We could have an exhibition at the Firehouse Gallery, even.
20. We could expand our compilation of tag photographs and put more emphasis on taking pictures when we see one.
21. We should write letters to the City Attorney once we have greater numbers to convince him to make the penalties for vandalism more than a slap on the wrist.

ALSO, we are definitely going to be partnering with Champlain Valley Crime Stoppers to reward witnesses! More to come on that. I'll probably also be looking for people in the future who wouldn't mind putting up posters to help us get the word out.

That's all for now, but I'll be posting more later,

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