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Vallone to Sony: Graffiti ads irresponsible

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Vallone, who is a vocal opponent of graffiti-inspired advertising, said the Sony Corporation is promoting criminal behavior by placing graffiti-like advertisements on walls in six Manhattan locations that depict various characters using a portable Playstation game system. He said the murals are not clearly marked as advertising."This is just another example in a disturbing trend," he said. "Major corporations are trying to gain some sort of street credibility by promoting criminal activity. While this may be legal, it is grossly irresponsible. If they want to use our walls as a canvas to promote graffiti, we are going to make them pay."Vallone has asked the corporation to donate $20,000 to a local New York City anti-graffiti program.Sony representatives could not be reached for comment.In June, Vallone took on Time Magazine for paying a graffiti artist to spray-paint a SoHo billboard. He also recently criticized the Atari and Ecko Corporation for hosting a graffiti street party in SoHo. The event was advertised as a street fair, but served the purpose of promoting an Atari graffiti video game, Vallone said.On Dec. 12, the City Council's Public Safety Committee passed a package of anti-graffiti measures that were drafted by Vallone. Included in the package was a citywide ban on the possession of spray paint, permanent broad tip markers and etching tools by anyone under the age of 21. Additionally, the councilman has drafted a bill to hold building owners responsible for keeping up the appearances of their commercial buildings by cleaning up graffiti. Building owners who do not respond to graffiti on their properties in a timely manner may face a civil fine and the graffiti will be removed by the city at the owner's expense.Vallone said there has been a rise in city graffiti during the past few years, citing an 89 percent increase in the number of graffiti arrests made in the past year.Graffiti opponents scored a victory Monday when Oliver Siandre, also known as "KIKO," was indicted on charges of defacing Queens property. Siandre, a 27-year-old Manhattan resident, was charged with 30 counts of vandalism totaling more than $5,750 in damage throughout Astoria and Long Island City. "Graffiti is the classic example of a gateway crime," Vallone said. "It lets crime and lawlessness get its ugly foot in the door."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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