City moves to strike back at graffiti vandals

At Monday night’s St Augustine City Commission meeting, on a 3-1 split vote with Mayor Joe Boles out of town, commissioners advanced a proposed new ordinance to public hearing hoping to better address the town’s exposure to graffiti.

If approved after the public hearing, the new ordinance will provide stiff fines and require community service for graffiti vandals.

The split occurred as commissioners debated the severity of community service time, Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline still not satisfied after discussion.

“I worry about unachievable punishment setting up juveniles for failure,” said Vice Mayor Leanna Freeman, a lawyer who said she’s handled juvenile defense cases. “For 200 hours, assuming four hours on weekends, that’d take a year, and 500, it’s just too much.”

Commissioners Bill Leary – also a lawyer – and Errol Jones, offset Freeman’s concerns, Leary saying, “It’s not the community service that hurts them; it’s that they got caught.” Jones added, “Judges take into consideration all aspects during sentencing.”

The next regular meeting of the St. Augustine City Commission will be at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 26, 2011.

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