Graffiti or 1st amendment?
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Thread: Graffiti or 1st amendment?

  1. #1
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    Apr 2003

    Default Graffiti or 1st amendment?

    Jeff Olson, the Mad Chalker | San Diego Reader

    To summarize: A man buys sidewalk chalk and expresses his opinions on the sidewalk in front of a BofA. He is arrested for graffiti and charged with 13 counts of vandalism.

    Weeks before the trial was set to begin, Goldsmith offered Olson a plea deal. Goldsmith would drop the case if Olson agreed to give $6000 to Bank of America, give up his license, waive his Fourth Amendment right, and serve three years? probation.
    Read more: Jeff Olson, the Mad Chalker (page 3) | San Diego Reader
    He opted to go to court. He was acquitted on all 13 charges.

    In CA, you can lose your license for up to two years for a conviction of vandalism.
    V C Section 13202.6 Driving Privilege Suspension Vandalism

    1. Do you think sidewalk chalk is vandalism or freedom of speech.

    2. Should a conviction of vandalism result in loss of driving privileges for 2 years?

  2. #2
    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    Jan 2007


    I have a hard time seeing sidewalk chalk as graffiti (and I HATE graffiti, it is one of my biggest pet peeves)

    I can see vandalism being tied to loss of driving privileges, governments need to have crime deterrents and the jails are overflowing
    Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson

  3. #3
    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    My avatar is the tai chi -- a symbol of the eternal cycle of life


    Sidewalk chalk is free speech, and I love the artwork people all over the city do with chalk on sidewalks & buildings. If a business doesn't like it, hose it off, and if you do like something, grab one last look at it before the fog rolls in. But I do agree with losing your driving privileges as a consequence of *real* graffiti and vandalism, which by definition are permanent unauthorized alterations of a private or public space. I'm not sure it works as a deterrent, judging by how much graffiti I see, but it's certainly a reasonable punishment IMHO.
    blather likes this.
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  4. #4
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    Aug 2004


    1. Sidewalk chalk is not graffiti. To me, graffiti is something that maybe be permanent or would require a LOT of work to remove and can also damage property. While this is technically graffiti I think it's going over the top with his charges. Sidewalk chalk washes away with rain, a hose, a cup of water etc.

    2. The punishment for graffiti is okay by me.
    Mom to Elizabeth (6) and Corinne (4)

  5. #5
    Posting Addict mom2robbie's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta


    I remember in university the student union giving out sidewalk chalk for us to use to protest tuition hikes. Since sidewalk chalk washes off I have no issues with it.

    Curious: are kids that use sidewalk chalk making games etc actually making graffiti? IMO they aren't so why would an adult.
    Spacers likes this.
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    "The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." Caroline Myss

  6. #6
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Dallas, TX


    The maximum penalty for graffiti by chalk should be washing it off.
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
    Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013

    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

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