Links Round-up 12.6.12

So why did it mysteriously disappear?

Staffers at MAP and a local outpost of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development have established a spotty timeline. Sometime around May somebody defaced the mural with graffiti – which is darkly funny, given that MAP began in the ’80s as an anti-tagging initiative. Whoever owned the mortgage “decided the best thing to do was paint it over” during the summer, says Lisa Wolfe at HUD’s Office of Public Housing.

But the property went into foreclosure with HUD reassuming the mortgage in September, and Wolfe says she doesn’t know who requested the monochromatic paint job. The blackout was discovered this week when people tweeted and called MAP to complain – not an infrequent way for the program to learn about defacement, given the sheer number of artworks it’s sponsored throughout the city.

It wasn’t the first impromptu mural makeover. A couple years ago a city work crew, mistaking a fresh painting along the subway line for graffiti, marched out and covered it up. This summer, an anonymous agitator lobbed black paint at former mayor Frank Rizzo’s portrait in the Italian Market. And sometimes developers will intentionally cover up a mural, knowing that “there’s nothing we can do,” says MAP’s Thora Jacobson.

Hispanic students now make up nearly a quarter of the nation’s public school enrollment, according to an analysis of census data by the Pew Hispanic Center, and are the fastest-growing segment of the school population. Yet nonwhite Latino children seldom see themselves in books written for young readers. (Dora the Explorer, who began as a cartoon character, is an outlier.)

Education experts and teachers who work with large Latino populations say that the lack of familiar images could be an obstacle as young readers work to build stamina and deepen their understanding of story elements like character motivation.

While there are exceptions, including books by Julia Alvarez, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Alma Flor Ada and Gary Soto, what is available is “not finding its way into classrooms,” said Patricia Enciso, an associate professor at Ohio State University. Books commonly read by elementary school children — those with human characters rather than talking animals or wizards — include the Junie B. Jones, Cam Jansen, Judy Moody, Stink and Big Nate series, all of which feature a white protagonist. An occasional African-American, Asian or Hispanic character may pop up in a supporting role, but these books depict a predominantly white, suburban milieu.

In Texas, where it’s legal to carry guns into any church without a specific no-firearms policy, Heights Baptist in remote San Angelo began offering concealed carry classes in June. The class was a response to security concerns among congregants.

“We’re about 150 miles from the border with Mexico and we’re very unsure about our insecure borders — about what’s coming into our cities,” Pastor James Miller told NRA News. “Personally, I feel more secure that should our worship time be interrupted by a life-threatening intrusion, that we would at least stand some kind of a chance in stopping either a mass killing or terrorizing experience.”

Preacher Jeff, as Marengo Christian’s Copley is called by his flock, likewise emphasizes the spiritual importance of being able to defend oneself.

“Jesus advises his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword,” he told The Daily. “He instructed his people to be prepared to defend themselves. It’s really hard to find someone in our congregation that doesn’t shoot somehow.”

“I was sitting at work; I got a phone call from my car company, from the loan. And they asked me if I planned on going forward with the bankruptcy that I’d filed on June 22nd. This was completely out of the blue, I hadn’t gone to the court to file, so I had no idea what they were talking about,” Azibo said.

He rushed to the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles and asked whether someone had filed for bankruptcy under his name. A clerk handed him a folder with documents containing signatures that were not his.

The report listed that he was single and that he owned a Honda Accord, a property in San Diego and another in Carson. None of that was true. He discussed this with one of the agents at the bankruptcy court-and soon they realized that someone else had filed for him. Unfortunately, the court told him, his case is typical.

  • KamJos

    So many people misinterpreted that NYTimes article. I tried to get people to understand what they were trying to say but hardly anyone got it.

  • Temperance

    That was one of the best murals in the city. I can’t believe that someone would disrespect it, and the artist, by tagging it. There are better ways to clean up graffiti than with black paint.

    Most of them are unsightly and tacky (the examples of “ugly” murals are actually infinitely better than the obnoxious ones that you can see on the MFL on the way to and from 69th St).