KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Medved: ‘Graffiti is not free speech, it’s vandalism’

Jun 21, 2023, 10:30 AM | Updated: 10:45 am

graffiti...

A Metropolitan Improvement District’s Clean Team member picks up trash next to graffiti on 4th Avenue on March 09, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. The city has recently struggled with an uptick in homelessness and violent crime. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

“Graffiti is not free speech. It’s vandalism,” KTTH’s Michael Medved said on The Gee & Ursula Show.

A federal judge said this week Seattle cannot enforce its anti-graffiti law after a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge said that the city’s property destruction law was too vague and a possible “threat to censorship.”

“Some claim to be upset because there were people who were arrested because they had put the slogan ‘f the police’ on a wall and put it on repeatedly,” said Medved. “So they got arrested. And the claim was that the police had no right to suppress the freedom of speech when people were protesting the police. How absurd? How ridiculous and what a disaster for the city.”

Medved said that the city has gotten much worse on the issue of graffiti.

“They can’t clean it up fast enough,” Medved said. “They have 1,000 arrests a year now. And it may take doubling that — tripling that — but it takes something and I think that this is going to be along with the homeless encampments, the basis on which people are going to judge Mayor Bruce Harrell.”

Ursula said: “Mayor Harrell has said and has made removing graffiti a priority. And, right now, the onus is on the victim, instead of the vandals.”

“The punishment should be the vandals being required to clean it up,” Medved said.

Gee said: “I want to make it a felony!”

“I think that’s perfectly reasonable. The problem here is that I was just reading about this decision and how many complaints there are. Yes, it’s really overwhelming our police we need more money for law enforcement. We need more attention to this graffiti thing.”

Ross: This level of graffiti is like defacing the Great Pyramid

Medved said graffiti is directly connected to the homeless encampments and crime that’s being allowed to occur.

“If you’re gonna let things go to hell in terms of graffiti and litter and discarded injection needles hypodermic syringes thrown everywhere. That sends a message to people that no one’s in charge,” Medved said. “It means you can continue to do what you want in terms of breaking windows and stealing stuff. And it will turn us into San Francisco and the damage they’ve had because of the shoplifting and graffiti and litter.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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