The law against public urinations or defecation is aimed at discouraging people from taking their litter down the street. When the City Council voted to outlaw graffiti on public surfaces in the late 80s, it was seen by many as a way of stopping graffiti and making the streets safer for everyone by preventing people from defacing or damaging property. However, it soon became clear that graffiti wasn’t the primary deterrent for crime, especially when the majority of reported graffiti incidents were occurring in public spaces. Many city officials claimed that the problem of graffiti and vandals began with the poor quality of the street markings and not the actual graffiti as such. As more graffiti was found throughout the city, it became clear that there was simply not enough public space available on the street to be able to deter most graffiti incidents.
When the city council decided to ban the public defecation of one’s waste there was little debate. After all, most of us use our toilets regularly and have no problem leaving them cleaner than those we are using. The argument went that when we defecate in private, we also remove something that goes to making our life better when we go into the city, and we need a way to prevent ourselves from having to go to the bathroom in public by having that public trash removed. Since most streets are already cluttered with junk, the idea that littering to get rid of it would necessarily make such a large difference was questionable.
How did the graffiti ban become so politically charged?
While the city council did make a point to make sure graffiti was not a primary deterrent to graffiti, the majority of City Council members were uncomfortable with the idea of public defecations. Many argued that it would be best for a city to have a low quality public facility and thus a low population density, and thus be able to have a high density of graffiti in that area. There was also a strong opposition to the idea that the city needs to spend money cleaning up public trash in order to keep it out of a public sewer and thus prevent graffiti, because the city already cleans up so much public trash and this would create a negative environmental impact.
What were the main arguments for the graffiti ban?
Supporters of the graffiti ban often argued the need for litter and graffiti was the primary incentive. Many contended there was no benefit to graffiti beyond the amount of litter it brings along with it. Others argued that people have become more aware of the danger posed by graffiti over the past several decades, and the law should be