San Antonio City Council moves to treat stickers same as graffiti

Placing them in public could mean fine, jail


SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council Thursday will consider a proposal to treat people who place stickers in public places the same way they treat people who spray graffiti.

Graffiti has marred walls, signs and other objects for generations. Now, with the number of stickers appearing in public places growing, the city is targeting the use of stickers.

They are commonly seen on utility poles, boxes and related objects, particularly on St. Mary's Street north of downtown.

Rod Sanchez, the director of the city's Development Services Dept., said the change is needed.

"If someone defaces property with stickers, we're going to treat it the same as if they would deface the property with a can of spray paint," Sanchez said.

Carlos Ayala owns Frankfurter Express just off of N. St. Mary's Street and has painted over graffiti on a neighboring building. He said he has seen more stickers appear over the years.

"They're just putting it all over the place," Ayala said. "I think stickers is a quicker way of doing graffiti."

He said they cheapen the dining experience for people who come to his place for a delicious dog.

A neighboring business owner, however, said stickers and graffiti are just part of the ambiance of this quirky part of town.

Joe Cutthroat is the owner of Robot Monster Guitars.

"We've been here for two years and never had a problem on this street corner and, like I said, there are stickers all over the place," Cutthroat said. "They never seem to bother anybody else."

While defacing property with stickers would become a violation, that does not mean the city would be making a lot of arrests.

The challenge is that officers would have to catch violators in the act.

But Sanchez said it can be done.

"If they're putting them on stop signs, they're putting them on poles. It takes some physical action just like using a can of spray paint," Sanchez said.

The city will also clean off stickers and can punish property owners who do not take them off their owner property, just like they do graffiti.

And here's some sticker shock: penalties for placing a sticker on a street corner are the same as for spraying graffiti, which can be a fine and jail time.

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