Another tagger caught in Santa Ana

Santa Ana is known for its graffiti problem…and now the Times OC edition is reporting yet another ridiculous tagging that thank God resulted in an arrest.

I understand that there is a new anti-graffiti task force in Santa Ana, headed by Mayor Pro Tem Carlos Bustamante and our old “friend” Tim Whitacre – and mayoral candidate Thomas Gordon is also in the mix.

Here are a few of my own suggestions for “Team Busta-Whitacre:”

1. If you catch a tagger – his car and/or bike will be seized and sold by the city. The proceeds will be used to pay for graffiti cover-up and/or removal.
2. Taggers should be jailed for at least thirty days.
3. If the tagger is a minor, his family should be fined at least $1,000. If they cannot pay that fine, the tagger does another month in lock-up.
4. The city of Santa Ana should employ anti-graffiti specialists with trucks that include paint matching equipment, so that they can cover up graffiti without leaving ghastly marks on the affected surfaces.
5. Taggers should have to do 90 days of community service after they get out of jail. Minors whose families could not pay the fine get to do another 60 days of service.
6. If a tagger is caught again, he gets a year in jail.
7. The City of Santa Ana should pay a bounty to any resident who catches a tagger in action. Make it a good one – at least $500.
8. The city should also make the taggers wear ankle bracelets that will allow the city to track their whereabouts for at least ninety days. If they hang out with known criminals in the interim, back to jail for another month.
9. While the taggers are doing their community service, they ought to be decked out in a nice pink outfit with this slogan on the back: “Taggers are losers!”
10. Police should make arresting taggers a priority. If they take more than half an hour to show up after a tagger is reported, they ought to cover up the graffiti themselves – out of their budget and using their personnel.

Here is the Times article in question:

Familiar face arrested in O.C. tagging

By Garrett Therolf, Times Staff Writer

November 30, 2006

When authorities in July asked a judge for a court order to put a damper on the activities of 134 members of a Santa Ana street gang, Richard Quirino appeared in court wearing dress slacks and a tie. He told The Times he was unfairly included on the list by police who “think all bald-headed guys in my neighborhood are gang members.”

On Tuesday, Quirino, 19, was arrested for allegedly tagging the side of the Orange County district attorney’s office with the gang’s moniker.

The tagging occurred Oct. 13. The perpetrator didn’t wait until the dark of night, when the office was empty, to do his work. The tagger struck at 4:30 p.m. Police detained Quirino at the time.

The report was filed with the state attorney general so the district attorney’s office could avoid the appearance that it was prosecuting Quirino in retaliation for the comments he had made in court, Santa Ana Police Cmdr. Baltazar De La Riva said.

Quirino faces a felony vandalism charge, which carries a possible penalty of one year in jail.

Among the restrictions the judge imposed on Santa Nita gang members in July were a 10 p.m. curfew, no associating in public with known gang members, no drinking in public and no wearing gang attire.

The injunction applies to a “safe zone” of about two square miles.

The zone stretches roughly from McFadden Avenue north to Trask Avenue, bordered by Harbor Boulevard and the Santa Ana River.

When he had shown up in court to fight the injunction, Quirino dismissed the action as “a lot of drama.”

“I’m not a gang member. I’ve turned my life around. I graduated from high school and got my first job. I’m doing good,” Quirino told a Times reporter.

“My mom and I read the complaint they gave me, and I decided to show up this morning because I know I’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t have a reason for being afraid.”

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