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Proposed bill targets tools used for graffiti

| Thursday, March 27, 2003, 12:00 p.m.

Young people in Pittsburgh would be banned from buying or even possessing spray paint, indelible markers, acid and glass-etching tools under a bill city council preliminarily approved Wednesday.

Shopkeepers and parents of children who break the law would face a warning the first time and a fine of up to $300 on the second offense. Council members said the steps are necessary to combat an epidemic of graffiti.

"All neighborhoods are experiencing this vandalism throughout the city of Pittsburgh," said council President Gene Ricciardi, who introduced the legislation. "That's what it is -- vandalism. It's not art."

Six members voted for the bill, with Sala Udin and Twanda Carlisle abstaining. The measure comes up for a final vote Tuesday.

Councilman William Peduto said he is concerned the bill infringes on the civil rights of minors but voted for the legislation after saying his district has had more graffiti damage than any other.

The bills also would direct Pittsburgh public schools to educate students about the consequences of graffiti and ask Allegheny County to pass similar legislation.

In other business, council agreed to seek state scenic byway status for parts of Mt. Washington. Councilman Alan Hertzberg has said that status could help the city win state and federal money for road and overlook improvements.

Council delayed action one week on a bill that would ban motorized bikes and all-terrain vehicles from public parks.

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