A simple solution to an old problem of drawing boundaries on graffiti
In view of recent reporting by The Courier, I cannot imagine a more inappropriate, more naive and a more seriously conflicted message on street art than the comments attributed to Councillors Coates and Hudson over the past couple of days. Just recently, The Courier ran a story on a local graffiti problem that is costing ratepayers a quarter of a million dollars a year. While not mentioning the perpetrators - who have anecdotally been known to police for some time - the story referred to the unsightly and persistent tagging that continues to plague the city and to distress residents and businesses who are understandably fed up.
Although tagging and wilful damage are not the same as legitimate street art, there is a subjective element to the whole debate - rendering it crucial that no person should have the right to unilaterally decide where and how any public surface should be decorated, adorned or defaced. In offering their imprimatur to street art, Councillors Coates and Hudson are unwittingly giving the green light to all of those who fancy themselves as genuine creative souls seeking expression on public spaces.
Some people simply do not know the difference between art and vandalism.Well-intentioned though it might be, the council message is both confused and confusing. Yes, there are no doubt creative and genuinely artistic persons around Ballarat who can make a contribution to street art and to the enhancement of public space and public surfaces. Just as there is also a core of thoughtless, immature and socially deviant individuals struggling with their own identity and their own personal issues in life.
Here is a clear and straight-forward strategy that the City of Ballarat and the local media might like to consider. By all means let us encourage our local artists. Let us call for applications from persons to create street art in certain specified locations. Accredited City of Ballarat personnel should consider those applications on the basis of straightforward requirements. If approved, any project will be given the go-ahead, with community blessing. However, for persons not holding City of Ballarat approval for their activity they will be treated as vandals.
Community leaders should be offering direction and guidance within reasonable social expectations - not caving in to some sort of wishy-washy cop out on what is a serious and challenging local issue. Kingsley Collins, Ballarat
Who is paying for illegally used power?
I am constantly reading of the complaints by consumers of the ever increasing costs of electricity. Could some responsible authority explain to me and my fellow users the reasons for these increases?
My own theory is that all the stolen electricity which is bypassed by the meters by illegal marijuana growers is being apportioned across all of the accounts sent out to the genuine consumers. They continue to steal this commodity over many months as the police gather evidence before they raid the property and close it down. How many other illegal growers, to date unknown, who are stealing thousands of kilowatts of power to feed their heating lamps?
Ken Russell, Enfield
I read with interest that the mayor and the councillors voted themselves a substantial pay rise recently. If the budget is in such great shape with councillors and mayor receiving such a substantial pay rise, then there will be no need to impose a rate increase on ratepayers in this year budget.
Geoff Rundell, Ballarat