Re "A Line in the Paint," June 29.
As a supporter of both the arts and property rights, I would have to say that Tony Touma was 180 degrees wrong in obliterating M.B. Hanrahan's mural. After all, the owner of the building, Ray Ramirez, is of the opinion that "it really was beneficial."
I admired Mr. Ramirez's courage when he owned the business, as well. Mr. Touma had the right to buy a business elsewhere that didn't have a mural on the building, but he chose to buy that business.
I'm sure the mural draws more customers than the ugly neon window paintings some store owners are so fond of.
THOMAS McHENRY, Ventura
An arrogant judge has ruled that a hired artist has greater rights to the work [the artist produces] than does the rightful holder of the art. What comes next? Will the owner of a house be sued if he is so bold as to paint over the work of a graffiti artist? Will concert-goers be sued if they simply forget an unmemorable music performance?
Freedom of speech or expression does not mean that one has the right to force another to provide the medium for that expression. M.B. Hanrahan received her compensation when she painted the mural. Now she wants to "have her cake and eat it too." Perhaps someone who painted the building prior to Hanrahan will step forward and sue her for destroying their artwork. That would be sweet irony!
A far better ruling would have been for the judge to award Hanrahan a paint scraper and require her to remove her artwork from the owner's property as penalty for filing such a frivolous and blatantly unconstitutional lawsuit. Then she could retain her art and the store owners could regain the rightful use of their property.
RAYMOND F. IRVINE, Camarillo
Re letter "Mural Damages," June 24.
Rick McGrath feels offended because artist M.B. Hanrahan was awarded nearly $50,000 in damages for having her mural destroyed.
McGrath states that the owner should have the final say. What he doesn't say is that Kamil Yousef and Tony Touma, who operate Avenue Liquor, are not the owners of the building. The actual owner approved the mural and was an ardent supporter of the project.
McGrath feels that concerned citizens should support Yousef and Touma. How? By buying alcohol and tobacco from them? For being anti-kids, for being anti-art, for being anti-community?
The destroyed mural was an award-winning piece of art--like it or not. It was featured in a book on California murals that showcased 300 of the best murals around the state. The destroyed mural contained the most positive and uplifting message of all on Ventura Avenue--it called for racial harmony and unity, it was anti-violence and anti-substance-abuse.
There are precious few laws on the books that protect art and artists. This ruling was a major victory for all of us. The talented Ms. Hanrahan does target kids and she has been for many years encouraging and inspiring them to be creative in reaching their human potential.