In today's Creative Loafing there's an article by Arielle Stevenson about how the St. Pete Grafitti Management Program was not notified (a definite oversight, apparently) about the WAD murals and how they have reacted by deeming they have to be covered up.
These murals aren't scrawled signatures, but commissioned pieces. They are the biggest public attraction to the WAD for newcomers driving in to the District. Everything has been done in good faith. Surely the city can find a way for the Graffiti Management Program GMP) to save face and retain its power, and for the murals to stay up. Why not a wrist-slap fine to those who commissioned them, an apology, and a promise to check with the GMP from now on?
Cover up these murals and it will set back the WAD considerably. In San Francisco, there's an alley that runs for blocks with walls on both sides covered by murals/graffiti. Every time I've visited it was crawling with tourists. Look at how graffiti has brought life and foot traffic to the Wyndwood district in Miami. It can work the same here, but that requires visionaries at City Hall who want the WAD to succeed and blossom through its own product: Art. Let these murals live, and make it possible for dozens more to follow. Yes, people should abide by the GMP's rules and get permits, but the First Amendment should be the overriding rule. The WAD is presently a nascent area. Help it thrive.