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Graffiti Blasters Program Suffers From Budget Cuts

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 23, 2012 4:20PM

Photo Credit: Joseph Dennis

The Sun-Times reports today on how budget cuts under Mayor Rahm Emanuel have impacted one of the signature programs of his predecessor.

The Graffiti Blasters program budget has been reduced by 25 percent this year and has shed a third of its workforce. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley started the program in 1993 as part of his beautification initiative. The Graffiti Blasters program provides free graffiti removal for private property owners. Faced with a $600 million budget deficit budgets for nearly every city department and program have had to tighten their belts.

The effects have not gone unnoticed by home and business owners. The Sun-Times spoke with Arnie Wulfstat, who owns a building in Wicker Park and was told there would be a week wait for a Graffiti Blasters crew to remove tags. “Instead of cutting back, they should add to it,” he said.

The city also said they no longer respond to calls for graffiti removal on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Streets and Sanitation department spokeswoman Anne Sheahan told the Sun-Times the crews work in four wards a day, but only four days a week during summer. Sheahan said this method is more efficient to removing as much graffiti in a ward as possible, but only 64,000 acts of graffiti have been removed through July 30.

Maybe John Kass can put his weight behind that.