Property Not Psychogeography
Dear Mike Smith,
Thanks for your article trivializing and glorifying grafitti. Try talking to your paper’s advertisers, the property and business owners of the city. You refer to “city walls.” Those are my walls and the walls of other property owners. How did I feel after spending years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars building a business in our city—thanks ABQ for showing up by the way!—when someone got drunk and spraypainted my wall and sign? Like throwing up, crying and killing someone. I spent the day finding a sandblaster ($300) to get rid of it. I did not reflect on the art or psychogeography of the creep who did it. Nor did I a month later when it happened again. Please leave me anonymous so none of your favorite taggers you call out by name come and vandalize my property.
A Flawed System
Yesterday, Friday, May 2, was a pretty day to be Downtown in Albuquerque. The work was serious, but the company was lighthearted in a nervous, determined sort of way.
We were at the courthouse to bail out Brandon James Amburgey, a young man who was then in jail, warming a cot at a reported $93 a day, for throwing down a cigarette butt at a cop's request.
What does this have to do with ... fighting to end police abuse and restore a good force so the community can call the police without fear that the call is a 50/50 gamble [on] whether the police will protect you and serve you—or will instead send whatever already bad situation you’re calling for help with spiraling completely out of control, with people getting hurt and the wrong people ending up in jail or dead?
If our cops are being taught that creating a criminal—“Throw down your cigarette, please; I need to frisk you.”… "You threw down your cigarette; you’re going to jail for a really long time! Ha!”—means they’re the good guy, and if our judges are looking at cases like this one and thinking “Well, he’s not guilty of much, or really anything, but let’s keep him a while, even if the press are watching. I simply can’t resist the billable days!”, then perhaps we need to revamp not the system but its players …
Standing outside the court building, we found we had 25 minutes to wait as those windows are open from 3pm to 7am, and we talked with the photographer from KRQE (there to collect footage for Alex Goldsmith and his follow-up stories on the jail) as it relates to who exactly is warming cots out there in MDC. We were a grandmotherly sort, two young ladies, a couple of unassuming guys, a couple with small children … and a cameraman for the news. No signs, no voices raised in protest—our protest was the cameraman and $50 in an envelope. Playing the court's game to spite the court. We were there because our pooled $50 would get a guy out of jail who had no business in jail and save the taxpayers the $1500 he would cost them languishing in a jail cot until a court date—in which he would be given credit for serving time against a non-crime he “committed” at the request of his arresting officer. We were there because of the miscarriage of justice it represents—that the poor, the homeless and the voiceless are our system's sacrificial lambs.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via email to email@example.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.