OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: There’s nothing pretty about interstate graffiti

Dear Magnate of Motorists: Traveling westbound on Interstate 40 at the Arkansas 365 exit in North Little Rock, I saw a couple of large graffiti symbols on the noise barrier there. I'm pretty sure that former coroner and gang expert Steve Nawojczyk preached that communities should remove such things immediately. And that if they reappear, scrub them off again and again until the perpetrators give up. So a heads up to ArDOT or whoever is in charge of such things. -- A Man from Hope

Dear Hope: This space has touched on the matter of graffiti in our public places.

In a case such as this, the Arkansas Department of Transportation has the responsibility of removing it. We've recently driven up this on-ramp to see the graffiti, and indeed it's sprayed on in two places several wall panels apart.

Here is some information from ArDot's Hunter Lake, the maintenance engineer for District 6 which includes Pulaski County.

Graffiti is an ongoing struggle which has gotten worse in the past few years.

ArDot does several things to get rid of graffiti. They include pressure washing, repainting and using an anti-graffiti solution applied to structures to make the graffiti easier to remove.

(In our view, the best anti-graffiti solution is arrest, conviction and a few days cleaning latrines in the county slammer.)

In response to a question from another reader, there is no ArDot camera footage of graffiti vandals. Lake is aware of sightings in which ArDot and law enforcement have responded as quickly as possible, but the vandals have fled.

Information about the graffiti on the wall at I-40 and Arkansas 365 has been passed along to the appropriate crew for removal.

We're also happy that Our Man from Hope made mention of Steve Nawojczyk, who was coroner in Pulaski County in the 1980s and 1990s and became a local -- make that a national -- expert on gangs and gang violence. We attended one of his presentations and learned so much, including that graffiti was used by Little Rock's gangs to mark their turf.

We're not saying the graffiti on ArDot's walls and signs is gang-related. We're saying that in some cases graffiti isn't always harmless.

. . .

She Who Must Be Obeyed has done it again. That is, insisted we put more vanity plates into the newspaper. Since she does most of the cooking, and we do most of the eating, we are compelled to agree from time to time. They do stack up as readers contribute.

Vanity plate on a Chevrolet Avalanche: LOVINIT.

Vanity plate on a Ford super duty truck: HVY D.

Vanity plate on an Audi: KINGAUDI.

Vanity plate on a Nissan Rogue: HOTDAWG.

Vanity plate on a yellow Fiat: HUFLPUF. We don't understand, but it fits the car.

Vanity plate seen around town: ROLRSK8.

Vanity plate on a Mercedes: GOGETIT. A go-getter, for sure.

Vanity plate seen about town: LNGHORN. My favorite team is Arkansas and whoever's playing ... fill in the blank.