Clean Walls of Cities With Art, Not Canes

I thank God for Fernando Mateo and Mitch Santiago (``N.Y.C. Tries to Get Graffiti Off the Wall, on to Shirts,'' June 1). In a day when certain elected officials have actually introduced bills that would require Singapore-style public whippings for youths convicted of paint-spraying, the need for Mateos and Santiagos has never been more obvious. Where others would plant violence, humiliation, and hate, they have planted direction, self-esteem, and hope [with a T-shirt contest, giving graffiti artists a chance to legally exercise their skills].

The answer to graffiti does not lie in Singapore's blood-soaked rattan cane, or in the warped justifications for it. The answer lies in the hearts of people like Mateo and Santiago. Thank you for sharing their story. Mary I. McFetridge, N. Pole, Alaska

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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