Governator Angry With Freeway's Lack of Patriotism

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said today he's unhappy that the  California Department of Transportation has painted over a mural of an  American flag on a concrete slab near the Sunol Grade section of Interstate  Highway 680 in unincorporated Alameda County near Sunol.

    Several people painted the flag after the Sept. 11, 2001,  terrorist attacks, but Caltrans spokesman Allyn Amsk said today that it was  painted over with gray concrete paint on Wednesday after maintenance crews  discovered it was on state-owned land.

    In a prepared statement, Schwarzenegger called the flag patriotic  and meaningful.

    He said that to remove the flag, "only a few days before we  celebrate our independence and reflect on the freedoms we are lucky enough to  enjoy in America is unconscionable. I extend my apologies to the artists  whose mural inspired drivers along 680 for over eight and a half years."

    Although the flag had been there for eight years and nine months,  Amsk said today that maintenance crews only recently determined it was on  state-owned land.

    Graffiti isn't allowed on state property, and removing the flag  doesn't have anything to do with a lack of patriotism on the part of  Caltrans, Amsk said.

    He said if the people who painted the flag on the concrete slab  wanted to paint a flag there again, they could apply to get a permit from  Caltrans.

    "There are art projects near our highways across the state, but  artists need to follow our procedures," Amask said.

    Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Andrea McCarthy said the state  Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which oversees Caltrans, "will  work with the community and the artists to try to