Scott LoBaido, Staten Island’s Patriot Artist, painted a blue line on the concrete median in front of the 122 Precinct on Hylan Boulevard to show support for the police, in a time when all officers are being demonized for the actions of the very few.
The city’s response? Mailing Scott a cease and desist letter from NYC DOT telling him not to paint any more “thin blue blue lines” on city streets, and to get rid of the one he painted.
Or else. Or else what,you may wonder? Or else face “summonses and/or commencement of legal actions.”
Scott’s response? Turning the letter into activist art. The piece depicts an illustration of Scott paint-rollering a blue line through the text of the letter! Scott’s newest piece, entitled, “Red, White, and Thin Blue Line,” is now being auctioned, with proceeds going to the NYC Cops & Kids Boxing Club. In Scott’s own words about the C&D letter: “Now it’s worth something! The city de-funded the cops – now I’m going to fund them.”
In a press release entitled “I’m telling the DOT to go to hell!” Scott writes, “The letter demanded a response so I replied in the only way I know how – with justice.”
Clearly, Scott LoBaido was taking his cue from Mayor de Blasio commissioning murals stating, “Black Lives Matter” in each of the five boroughs, in the right-of-way, where cars and trucks and buses roll. Never mind that the murals are the same bright yellow as official DOT traffic markings; apparently because the meaning behind the words is one many New Yorkers support, it’s safe.
Those BLM murals were defaced earlier this month by Bevelyn Beatty, a native islander, along with other members of At The Well Ministries, as Bevelyn shouted that, “It’s about Jesus Christ!” wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with “#Jesus Matters.”
Staten Islander, in an exclusive interview, spoke with Ms. Bevelyn Beatty last week, providing Ms. Beatty with a platform to speak directly to the people of Staten Island. For nearly fifty minutes, Ms. Beatty spoke, giving her perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement, and telling the Black community of Staten Island to “wake up.” (See the article here: Bevelyn Beatty Exclusive Interview: Crossing Out BLM Street Murals, Morals, and More)
Mr. LoBaido did not actually paint in the street, but rather on the raised median that no vehicle ever ventures onto, save for those involved in accidents or very illegal and dangerous u-turns.
While the Cease and Desist letter cites N.Y. New York City Administrative Code 19-138 – Injury to or Defacement of Streets, which prohibits “painting, printing, writing, or attaching any advertisement or other printed material” to a street, the area that was painted is not actually a street.
The median strip separating opposing lanes of traffic divides a roadway, and while within the roadbed, is itself not technically a road. Such a strip may include landscaping, trees, raised barriers, or even supports for overhead transportation.
Further, Scott is being tasked with cleaning up the blue line he painted. However, in order to do so, he’s being asked to place himself in danger, physically. Additionally, Scott has no permit to remove the line, and its removal would require the use of caustic chemicals or a power-washer. At the very least, he’d be painting over the symbolic Thin Blue Line.
Scott cannot assign a work crew to work on the median; only the city or a city-licensed contractor may do the job, and without being directed to do so by the city, such a job probably cannot be lawfully executed.
On the day Scott LoBaido painted the blue line, a young woman took a can of red spray paint minutes later and wrote “Black Lines Matter ≠ All Lives Don’t Matter,” defacing his piece. The activist was masked, and claimed to be a Staten Islander.
Wearing a camo tee with a single Nazi Schutzstaffel with an inverted cross screen-printed on the front in yellow, black pants, and a purple banana covering her head and an orange one covering her face, along with a silver chain with a Star of David hanging from it, she was a curiosity to onlookers. After she completed her own “artwork”and made her own statement, islanders were not so polite to her, yelling at her to leave.
The protester had this to say to a news crew from another local paper that just happened to be present, “I find that this piece of art is not necessarily representative of…I feel it’s making it blue lives versus Black lives…Black lives matter means…Black lives are in danger right now…I find this very offensive.”
If you’re interested in bidding on Scott’s piece, you can enter your bid at this link: https://thepatriotmall.com/products/thin-blue-line-response-30-x-40-acrylic-on-enlarged-cease-desist-letter
Presently,the artwork is at $5,700.00. The Buy Now price was set for $10,000,and it seems that the artwork has already sold.
(To read Staten Islander’s article on our interview with Scott, please click on the following link: Scott LoBaido: Visionary Artist and Vocal Titan of Staten Island)