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Wednesday April 23, 2014
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Elimination Games



Over at the U-M, graffiti is a matter of chalk. It's also a matter of position--horizontal or vertical. "As long as it's done in chalk, then it's permissible," explains public information officer Diane Brown. But only if it's on a horizontal surface, such as a sidewalk.

Campus cops are vigilant about graffiti elsewhere, says Brown, particularly at hard-hit top levels of parking structures, noting that some cases dovetail with those of city police. As reported by, two taggers, both Ann Arbor teens, were arrested in early 2012 on felony and misdemeanor charges. One of them, Brown says, was also accused of tagging the campus.

In 2009, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) joined the graffiti elimination games, offering $2,000 worth of abatement tools in partnership with Anderson Paint and Fingerle Lumber. The companies can provide downtown property owners with a variety of materials, including the trademarked paint remover Elephant Snot.

The strategy is to reduce graffiti by lifting some of its elephantine load from the vandalized, DDA executive director Susan Pollay explains: "They have to actually go through the effort of trying to remove it ...we're trying to lessen the burden on them."

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