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Guerrilla Art Posters

June 25, 1988

Your article " 'Guerrilla Art'--His Message Goes Up Against the Wall" (Metro, June 6) features artist Robbie Conal and his associates who, "like commandos on a secret mission," plaster posters labeled "Contra Cocaine" and other such expressions on traffic signal control boxes and facilities located on public rights-of-way.

The article indicates that Conal is aware that posting signs and handbills on public property is illegal, yet he blithely continues this activity to further his particular view of urban beautification and social commentary. The signs posted by this person are being glued to fixtures on public property as opposed to being tacked or stapled. This means that the only practical method to remove the signs is by steam cleaning, wire brushing or scraping, which are very labor-intensive operations.

Also, in many instances the fixtures involved are damaged by the cleaning process, requiring additional repairs. Where traffic-signal controllers must be repainted, the Department of Transportation is required to deactivate the signal system for safety reasons. This naturally causes increased traffic congestion.

In addition to being illegal, the posting of signs on public property currently costs taxpayers in excess of $125,000 annually since they must be removed by bureau personnel (this does not include costs incurred by other city agencies). The elimination of this form of blight would allow these funds to be used for more essential services such as tree trimming and pothole repair.

I believe Conal and his "would-be rebels," who lament being too young to have been part of the '60s activism, could better serve Los Angeles by finding a less destructive means to express their social and political opinions. Further, I suggest that they realize the "Age of Aquarius" is past and that a new era of personal and community responsibility is here.

PATRICK D. HOWARD

Director

Bureau of Street Maintenance

Los Angeles

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