2011-10-19 / Features

Vallone Targeted By Graffiti Vandals Again

BY JOHN TOSCANO


Vallone says his actual campaign stickers are blue and yellow, include a “Jr.” at the end of his name and feature watermark design of the Queens Unisphere and the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria. The artwork is difficult to replicate, he points out. Vallone says his actual campaign stickers are blue and yellow, include a “Jr.” at the end of his name and feature watermark design of the Queens Unisphere and the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria. The artwork is difficult to replicate, he points out. A graffiti vandal (or vandals) are at it again, trying out “a new and insidious ploy” against him, says Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., a leading anti-graffiti advocate who has been targeted frequently by graffiti artists before.

Vallone, in a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, said that “someone is illegally putting up stickers throughout the city purporting to be stickers from one of my previous campaigns.”

The Astoria lawmaker, who is not up for reelection to the Council or for any other office this year, charges that,"This is an attack against me by graffiti vandals." Vallone noted that “previous attacks have included personal threats, profanitylaced billboards and tee shirts, as well as subway service notifications placed throughout the city replicating actual announcements ending in a personal attack on me.

In this instance, whoever is posting the forged stickers may be trying to have Vallone fined under a New York City ordinance that requires candidates to remove campaign materials stuck, nailed or taped to poles and other property once the campaign is ended.

Recently, it was reported in the media that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio paid a $300,000 fine for violations connected with his 2009 campaign. Similar stories have reported City Comptroller John Liu fighting similar fines totaling several hundred thousand dollars for alleged violations after the 2009 campaign.

Vallone attached an e-mail he received from an individual who stated he intends to report my campaign… he may have information regarding these false stickers.

Vallone, who has in the past drafted the nation’s toughest anti-graffiti legislation, noted, “Vandals keep coming up with ways to come after me, which means I’m doing something right. What’s next? A tweeted photo of me spray painting over an Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge sign?” The added humor referred to Vallone’s opposition to naming the bridge in honor of the former New York City mayor.

Pointing out the obvious differences between his campaign posters and the bogus ones currently being displayed, Vallone says his actual campaign stickers are blue and yellow, include a “Jr.” at the end of his name and feature watermark design of the Queens Unisphere and the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria. The artwork is difficult to replicate, he points out.

Meanwhile, Vallone Jr. describes the false stickers are black and yellow, do not have the “Jr.” and include a phone number—which has never appeared on his campaign materials, he points out.

Vallone says he believes the contact information was added as a way to hold his campaign liable for fines. The stickers have been spotted in areas outside of Queens also, while Vallone has never announced any intention to run for citywide office.

Since taking office, Vallone, who chairs the Public Safety Committee in the council, has become a leading anti-graffiti advocate by drafting the nation’s toughest anti-graffiti legislation— including laws to regulate the use of etching acids and pens, which are used by vandals to scratch surfaces. His legislative record also bans solid metal roll-down gates that vandals print graffiti on to sell products, such as known graffitists Marc Ecko, Atar and Arizona Tea (which was featured on can designs as well as at graffiti fairs and exhibits.

Most recently, Vallone led the fight to stop a proposal to host a broad scale graffiti exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Vallone told Kelly, “As I’m sure that you are aware, these ongoing attacks will not deter me from continuing to work with you to eradicate the scourge of graffiti from our city. I stand ready to fully cooperate in your investigation.”

Vallone also informed Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and Assistant Chief Todd Kuznitz of Sanitation Enforcement, of the bogus stickers, signs and posters and his request for a thorough investigation of the matter by their offices. Vallone pledged his support and will work with authorities “to bring any perpetrator involved in this ploy to justice”.

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