Sibilia calls on Green Mountain Conservatives to clean up graffiti

August 2nd, 2020
For Immediate Release:

Vermont State Representative Laura Sibilia (I) Dover issued a statement today calling on Green Mountain Conservatives for a Better Vermont and the John Klar campaign to clean up the white supremacist graffiti along Route 100 that accompanied their candidate forum August 1st.

“Vermonters all over our state are grappling with the global pandemic and the resulting major losses of revenue. The state’s June fiscal outlook projects a $218 million dollar shortfall. When the legislature goes back into session in September to try and put together the remaining three quarters of a year budget for Fiscal Year 21, tough choices are likely. It is inconceivable that supposed ‘conservative’ candidates would force Vermont taxpayers to clean up their supporter’s racist and illegal graffiti.”

Constituents have been in contact with Representative Sibilia regarding a perceived new permissiveness towards civil protest graffiti on the part of VTrans. After chalk writing naming black victims of police brutality was cleaned off a bridge in Jamaica in June, Vermonters protested and the Scott administration issued new guidance to VTrans workers:

  • All signs that negatively affect roadway safety shall be removed regardless of content.
  • If a sign is not either profane, grotesque, advocates illegal activity or violence it should be allowed to remain.
  • Any mural or paint applied to a highway sign shall be removed regardless of content.
  • All murals should be photographed prior to removal or painting over.

Sibilia said her constituents were insistent she get the specifics of the new policy, calling the defacing of publicly funded bridges and roads completely unacceptable no matter what the message. VTrans told her the policy was to prioritize paving and road construction over clean up of graffiti during the busy summer building season – unless the graffiti was profane, grotesque or advocated illegal activity or violence. Sibilia says she pressed further and asked administration officials what VTrans would do if they came across someone actively defacing public transportation infrastructure.

“I was assured that Vermonters who come across individuals defacing public property – no matter what the message – should call law enforcement because defacing public property is illegal.”

On Saturday, Green Mountain Conservatives for a Better Vermont held a “meet and greet for conservative candidates running for offices in Windham and Bennington counties, and for statewide offices” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Layla’s Riverside Lodge at 145 Route 100 in Dover. Sibilia says when she learned that a Dover resident had seen two people spray-painting graffiti on both sides of Route 100 in front of Layla’s just before the event started; she called law enforcement.

“I had just come from checking the fresh white supremacist graffiti site over the line in Wardsboro when I learned there had been a witness to the graffiti in Dover. Broad daylight, busy weekend day in the middle of downtown Dover you whip out cans of spray paint and start painting? It’s really something for people to feel that level of impunity. Racists and criminals are mistaken to feel that comfortable in our towns.”

Sibilia said the graffiti needs to be cleaned up by the private entities and candidates holding the event and not paid for by Vermont’s taxpayers. She plans to take the issue up further with VTrans, the selectboard and police after receiving a message on social media confessing to painting the illegal graffiti.

“I keep hearing that ‘both sides’ are doing this. Really? Are you talking about the folks who have had the courage of their convictions to go meet with their duly elected government representatives and request a permit to paint “black lives matter” in the roadway? Because this is not the same. If you see someone spray painting BLM on a roadway, you should also be calling law enforcement.”

Sibilia says the whole issue of racial justice is being lost with the focus on permitted painting versus illegal graffiti, and the politically motivated and false equivalence between the messages of black lives matter and blue lives matter.

“There are both some people of color and some police that commit crimes. Removing both sets of criminal actors from the equation will not solve this nation and state’s racism problem. Painting in the streets is not solving racism. All the lawn signs and myriad flags are not going to fix the issues. People of color are still experiencing systemic racism and racists are still operating in the shadows. Law enforcement is being asked to shoulder too much of the responsibility for fixing this national racism issue. We have to do more then paint the message – we have to do more then reform some policing practices. We must all take stock and accept responsibility for working together to implement new policies and live the message across society that black lives matter.”

Graffiti photos can be found at https://laurasibiliavt.com/2020/08/02/sibilia-calls-on-green-mountain-conservatives-to-clean-up-graffiti/(opens in a new tab)

Just over the Wardsboro line yesterday Saturday August 1st | “White Is Right BLDM” in white and “BLM” in black

There have been more than one incident of road graffiti – on more than one roadway – in more than one town in Windham County this summer.

The Windham County Legislative Delegation has also issued a statement: https://laurasibiliavt.com/2020/08/02/message-to-constituents-from-the-windham-county-delegation/


Conservative candidates invited to meet and greet

WEST DOVER — Green Mountain Conservatives for a Better Vermont will hold a meet and greet for conservative candidates running for offices in Windham and Bennington counties, and for statewide offices. on Saturday, Aug. 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Layla’s Riverside Lodge at 145 Route 100 in West Dover.

Among the over 20 candidates invited, John Klar and Meg Hanson have confirmed that they will attend.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/2722067764704394/

From the “Campaign News” section of the Bennington Banner of Wednesday July 29th

VTDigger: Black Lives Matter art on Jamaica bridge spurs VTrans policy change published June 25th, 2020

“Has VTrans lost their minds allowing people to deface public property like that?”

text from Wardsboro constituent June 30, 2020

This text from one of my Wardsboro constituents came one morning this summer. It was about a month after the world had watched American George Floyd calmly murdered on television by other Americans, and two weeks after the Montpelier City Council had granted a legal permit to citizens who petitioned their town government to paint “Black Lives Matter” on State Street in front of the statehouse. Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s administration had just come forward with updated employee guidance about removing graffiti from state highway infrastructure after VTrans crews cleaning chalk words off a bridge in Jamaica was met with controversy.

  • All signs that negatively affect roadway safety shall be removed regardless of content.
  • If a sign is not either profane, grotesque, advocates illegal activity or violence it should be allowed to remain.
  • Any mural or paint applied to a highway sign shall be removed regardless of content.
  • All murals should be photographed prior to removal or painting over.

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