Sign of the Times: Denver Bans Sharpies From City Buildings

Sign of the Times: Denver Bans Sharpies From City Buildings
Getty Images/Westword Photo Illustration
We can understand increased security at government buildings during these challenging times.

We’ve gifted TSA agents with forgotten bottles of Christmas wine and jars of jelly. We’ve stripped off belts, necklaces and blinged-up sandals in order to enter the Denver City & County Building, and surrendered pocket knives and mean-looking bottle openers.

But while heading into the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building last week, we discovered that another item had been added to the forbidden list: Sharpies.

Was the city worried that we might head into one of the elevators, take the cap off a permanent marker, inhale the fumes and go wild in a records office? Scrawl what we really thought of the parking referee’s refusal to void a ticket across the offending document? Get so irritated with the long wait for a building permit that we’d start taking down names?

Mark down none of the above.

click to enlarge Looks like a Sharpie got as far as this sign... - WESTWORD
Looks like a Sharpie got as far as this sign...
“Sharpies are on the list of prohibited items in an effort to prevent vandalism to the interior of city buildings,” explains Jenna Espinoza, deputy communications director for the Office of Mayor Michael Hancock.

We know the city’s been on an endless campaign to wipe out graffiti and tagging on the outside of buildings (at the same time that street art is getting so mainstream it now decorates the sides of Natural Grocers stores and the big Blue Moon Brewing Company). Still, this policy is going to wreak havoc with the facilitator charged with filling a white board with big ideas at the city’s next brainstorming session.

And at the very least, someone should make a Sharpie correction to the last line in that security sign...
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun