Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I like what I said in this one

The Saipan Tribune has an article on Saipan's graffiti problem today. I was one of the people interviewed for the story. I don't often say this, but I like the way I was quoted. Rianne did a good job of capturing how I feel on this subject.

Thanks, Rianne. Good work.
Bus stop vandalism a perennial scourge
By Rianne Pangelinan-Brown

The Public School System bus stops-concrete tin-roofed sheds that are usually painted a bright yellow-have become perennial targets of hooligans, who not only festoon the structure with graffiti but also subject them to various acts of vandalism.

The issue has prompted the Public School System pupil transportation division to air its concerns, particularly since it believes that the vandalism is being done by students themselves, who often linger at the bus stops before and after school.

PSS bus team leader Steven M. Pangelinan said that one of the biggest problem the pupil transportation division is facing is the vandalism and graffiti at bus stops that never cease.

“All summer last year, we went from bus stop to bus stop just trying to clean and paint them before the school year begins. But just halfway through the school year, most of them are already vandalized with all sorts of graffiti,” Pangelinan said.

He said that bus drivers “do the best they can” to clean and paint the island's bus stops, which they do during their breaks.

“Students need to know that these bus stops are not for anybody else; the bus stops are there for them,” Pangelinan said.

Beautify CNMI volunteer Angelo Villagomez agrees.

“If we don't have enough respect for these kids to even provide them with toilet paper, never mind the proper materials and tools for learning, how can we expect them to respect the rest of society? The kids wouldn't vandalize something they respected, so the trick is to get them to respect what is ultimately theirs,” he said.

Villagomez said the trick to it is to be diligent. “You have to just keep painting over the vandalism.”

“There is a bigger problem at work, though. Graffiti in itself is just a symptom of a much larger problem,” said Villagomez.

He said the lack of after-school activities may be one of the causes why students vandalize.

“If you think things are bad, just wait until school is canceled for two months. It's not just the schools, either. A lot of the vandalism occurs at night. Where are the parents?” Villagomez asked.

Pangelinan said some of the most vandalized bus stops are from 99 Cents Mart to Tanapag.

He said that, although a number of beautification groups, lawmakers, and the Department of Public Safety have all chipped in, “they [vandalized bus stops] still need a lot of work. They always need a lot of work.”

Pangelinan said the cash-strapped PSS depends on donations of paint and materials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as donations from community officials and beautification groups to maintain the bus stops.

Last year, the Marianas Visitors Authority donated $2,000 for paint that was used to paint over the graffiti.

Villagomez said, “The best way to make sure that a bus stop is never vandalized again is to have the kids that use the bus stop paint it. Let them paint it however they want.”

“Then they'll take ownership over the bus stop and they'll be the ones doing the policing,” he added.


Jeff said...

A lot of what you said was good, but I wouldn't have made excuses for them. Students here have gotten laptops, ipods, flash drives and trips abroad, for free, because we get a lot of federal dollars. Those are things I certainly never could imagine getting in high school. They lack certain other things, but none of that excuses the rampant vandalism going on.

bradinthesand said...

why not just take them down? they can be replaced with a pole and a big tin umbrella. at least the not-so-bright girls can practice dancing on the pole for their life after school...

Juan said...

Legislative Bureau Deputy Dir Glenna Reyes went on a shopping spree and purchased 205 cases of toilet paper.

Let's do the math:
205 cases * 80 rolls per case = 16,400 rolls

We would have to use approximately 63 rolls a day to use it up in a year.

If students really need toilet paper then maybe the schools can place a nice request to the deputy director of the Legislature or the Senate President for a few rolls.

We also have tons of ballasts, flourescent light bulbs, copier paper, and paper towels in case the schools could use those too.

dominic said...

My bust stop was at Asteo. I will admit I wrote some stuff on the walls. But I remember one year when all the bus stops were painted. Some of them were really cool. I think it would be nice to have the kids paint them over the way they want it. Just make sure its the same bus stop they use.

Save the back part of the bus stop where you can't see it from the street for those rebel kids who want to write "Johnny loves Tina", "Tanapag Rulez", or "Biba Angelo". Although I'm sure their imagination will come up with some freak nasty stuff to write... they always do. Its like the village kids' myspace page.

Bryan said...

I have to agree with you on the let them paint it themselves bit. It obviously in one would dare tag the 8 ball up in T-pag.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Your idea sounds like a good one, Angelo...let the kids themselves paint it as they wish. Problem is that is exactly what they are doing now. Apparently they want it covered in graffiti. (:-))

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I kind of like the idea to just take them down. I didn't have a concrete structure when I was in high school. I just sat on the corner waiting for the bus.

SaipanLin said...

Brads comment is both inappropriate and offensive. Please remember these students are minors.

Volunteer Guy said...

I ignored his stripper comment, but I think he has a point with just taking them down. Nothing says that they deserve the structures.

Jeff said...

Brad supports NAMBLA as well.