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Oakland Considering More Consequences for Graffiti Vandals

Oakland is considering new regulations on graffiti in hopes of improving how the city fights vandalism.

An item before the city's Public Works Committee Tuesday would raise graffiti from an infraction to a misdemeanor, set new civil penalties and help businesses pay for cleanup.

Richard Illgen of the Oakland City Attorney's Office says the ordinance should help businesses breathe easier.

"If Oakland is going to be able to revitalize economically and develop economically, business owners who want to come in and create jobs and so on need to understand that there is a welcome business environment, not one that just exposes them to graffiti and other forms of vandalism," Illgen says.

The ordinance would also let offenders avoid punishment by cleaning up the graffiti themselves.

Oakland's plan does not target graffiti art that a property owner asks to have painted.

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