The City of Asheville wants to enact an anti-graffiti ordinance. The plan is to make property owners responsible for remedying the damage to their investments within seven days of a notice from the city. Failure to do so will not result in a fine, but it will roll out the welcome mat for the city to come in and do a shoddy fix-up job and put a lien on the property.

Now, it is not customary to punish victims. If somebody slashes my face with a knife, you wouldn’t demand that I incur more debt than I will ever earn to make my face fit for human consumption. What kind of message are we sending to property owners and vandals? What about, if we don’t like you, we’ll deface your property to the point you can’t afford to stick around.

That said, I think it is a proper role of government to own responsibility for property damage. We pay them not to cut ribbons and get excited about synergies that never materialize. We pay them to be the protectors of law and order. If they are letting all pandemonium break loose, they should bear the brunt of the cleanup.

We talk about running government like a business. Well, Ye Powers That Be in Asheville, if your operations are too much to handle, then sell off some divisions or consider a buyout and move on something more befitting your talents and interests.