Paul Harpole became Amarillo’s mayor in 2011 after campaigning on a vow to rid the city of graffiti that was scarring private property.
He orchestrated the launch of a program aimed at cleaning up buildings that were being “tagged” by gang members and would-be gang members.
Then he left the mayor’s office earlier this year. The current mayor, Ginger Nelson, campaigned on a multi-faceted platform of issues ranging from economic development, to fiscal accountability, to beautification of our public rights-of-way. There are plenty of other issues, too.
I don’t recall reading about graffiti abatement as I pored through Nelson’s list of municipal priorities.
So, my question is: Did the graffiti abatement program vanish when Paul Harpole walked away from the mayor’s office?
I hope that’s not the case.
One mayor’s effort to rid the city of a nuisance should become part of the next mayor’s agenda as well. Don’t you think?
Harpole stays the course on graffiti battle
I thought Harpole had the right idea when he decided to take on the “artists” who deem it OK to deface other people’s property.
Mayor Nelson appears quite dedicated to her vision for making the city a better, more attractive place for its 200,000 residents. I believe part of her overall strategy needs to include her immediate predecessor’s aim to rid the city of graffiti.
Paul Harpole has had a difficult past few weeks.
The Amarillo mayor has seen two of his City Council allies lose their seats to challengers; then another ally, a non-incumbent, got beat in a runoff. The result has been a majority of council members who are new to the job and who have promised to bring “change” to the city.
All the while, the mayor has kept plugging away at a campaign promise he made four years ago when he first ran for the office to which he was re-elected.
He’s still battling graffiti “artists” who keep scarring buildings all over the city. He calls them vandals and says what they’re doing to people’s property is no different from someone smashing out car windows.
I’m glad to know he’s staying the course.
However, Harpole knows better than most that the fight likely will never end.
I don’t want to be melodramatic here, but it kind of reminds me of the war on terror. We kill one terrorist leader and another one pops up to take his place. You get rid of one vandal and, by golly, another one jumps out of the tall grass to continue “tagging.”
The mayor’s cause is a worthwhile one. He intends to dissuade enough of these individuals to stop blemishing people’s private property. Over time, Harpole says, he thinks he can put a serious enough dent in this graffiti problem.
Will he eliminate it? Likely not. That doesn’t mean he — and those who’ll follow him in the mayor’s office — should stop trying.