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Valley Focus

Valleywide : Fee Not Mandatory for Curbside Numbers

February 23, 1996|KATE FOLMAR

They're baaaaccckkk. But you don't have to pay them.

No matter what the traveling curb number painters say, there is no reason to be intimidated into paying for a service that is unwanted, police say.

Every year, curb painters who often identify themselves as students traverse the streets of the Valley, sticking fliers on doors and under doormats soliciting $10 donations to finance their education.

The curb painters are a recurring nuisance for many homeowners, said West Valley division Officer Mark Pryor, who gets a couple of complaints most months about curb painter intimidation.

"No, it's not legal" to harass or intimidate homeowners into paying for curb painting, he said. "It's a misdemeanor."

But, Pryor acknowledged, citing curb painters is a low priority, particularly because the painters often pack up and leave an area before officers can respond to complaints.

The curb painters are often homeless or unemployed, he said. But they generally aren't burglars casing neighborhoods as many residents fear.

According to Eric Rose, field deputy for City Councilwoman Laura Chick, "There is no legal mechanism in the city of Los Angeles for a business operator to obtain a permit to randomly paint numbers on people's curbs."

Pryor recommended that people who feel intimidated by curb painters call their Police Department senior lead officers.

"You don't have to pay anything," he said. "Just say no."

Meantime, Northridge resident Richard Franco has his own solution: He put masking tape over his hand-stenciled house number and wrote in black permanent marker, "Leave it alone. It's nice and clean."

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