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On June 2, when I saw a stop sign at Louisiana Street and Polk Avenue tagged with anti-semitic graffiti, I immediately emailed councilmember Todd Gloria's office. I also sent a photo showing the racial slur, which spelled out “JEW.”

M. Vanessa Jackson, executive administrative assistant to Gloria, responded quickly with this email: “I have forwarded this information to the appropriate person.”

A few days went by with no cleanup, so I followed up on June 7. Jackson responded: "I am sorry to hear that the graffiti has not been removed yet. San Diego is a very big city with many issues so it’s difficult to get to everything right away. I did forward your first email to our North Park representative, Anthony Bernal.”

Bernal emailed back June 7: “I submitted this to Streets Division and they will address. Please notify me if it is still up by next Monday.”

On June 10, I contacted a North Park friend who has done volunteer graffiti removal in North Park for many months. He came over June 11 and cleaned the graffiti off the stop sign.

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Comments

poff June 13, 2011 @ 8:16 a.m.

From my experience, graffiti removal by the city takes anywhere from 8 weeks to never.

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Javajoe25 June 13, 2011 @ 3:45 p.m.

It's not quite the same but it took two years plus, to get the Port Authority to correct a misspelled word that was carved into the granite memorial to Admiral Sprague down on Harbor Dr. Big wheels turn slow...very, very slow.

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dwbat June 14, 2011 @ 8:46 a.m.

Graffiti removal should be prioritized. Hateful tagging belongs at the top of the list for removal, as it is much worse than generic graffiti (which is all over).

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Visduh June 14, 2011 @ 3:32 p.m.

Just think of what would have not happened if you had just made the report through normal channels. It once was that the city bureaucracy responded to reports and concerns forwarded from council offices with alacrity. People in some neighborhoods learned that, and soon made all their city contact that way. A loose dog? Call your councilman! A leaky water or sewer line? Same! Suspected drug dealing on the block? Your councilwoman will get the cops on it! It was a sad way to have to live in a modern city, let alone in "America's finest" one, but that was the do-nothing city government twenty years or more ago. I suspect it is just worse nowadays.

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dwbat June 15, 2011 @ 7:24 a.m.

I originally contacted Councilmember Todd Gloria's office not as the P/T journalist I am, but as a resident of North Park concerned about graffiti, overgrown weeds and empty/rundown commercial buildings that are a blight. When it appeared there would be no immediate response from the city to remove the anti-semitic graffifi, I decided to write about it. Councilmember Gloria's North Park representative Anthony Bernal could have been more proactive. Does Bernal ever go out and do any volunteer graffiti removal? If not, why NOT?

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Founder June 15, 2011 @ 6:25 p.m.

Every Police Officer should carry a can of G-Remover in their squad cars and remove this type of HATE tagging when they have slow times during their shift... It is just another way to protect us all from those that just don't care!

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Founder June 16, 2011 @ 8 p.m.

Thanks Here is an off topic but important thread you might like about the Eco-Disaster in Japan that is off MSM's radar: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/06/japan-earthquake-2011-government-radiaton-estimate-doubles-_n_871887.html

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dwbat June 15, 2011 @ 7:45 p.m.

Great idea, Founder. That sort of thing has to be nipped in the bud. Or how about one day a month, city employees work an hour or two on their day off to remove graffiti. It would not only make a big difference, citizens would feel better about our city workers.

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Founder June 16, 2011 @ 7:52 p.m.

Right On! America's Finest City should have America's Finest Public Employee's...

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BlueSouthPark June 17, 2011 @ 8:22 a.m.

What is wrong with everyone? Where did you all learn to be so helpless and dependent? Take responsibility for the areas that you travel through or live in.

Reach up and clean off the sign yourself. It's easy! A little bit of mineral spirits and a cloth or abrasive sponge, and it's gone. Just do it! The metal signs and utility boxes are very easy to clean (except when the boxes have been turned into garish monstrosities by misguided fools who think "art" is cartoons - and if that's the case, you are already paying a business or property assessment to a BID or MAD for privatized graffiti removal, so call the BID or MAD and complain and demand your money's worth - the City is no longer responsible - you are owned and managed by a nonprofit).

AT&T will give you, for free, boxes of handy pocket-sized packets of cleaner-saturated wipers. Carry one or two packets in your pocket when you are walking yourself or your dog. Wipe off any graffiti you see. Make a difference and be responsible for your environment.

If the graffiti is too difficult for you to remove yourself, the City does a great job of responding. If you are not getting a response, then you are not reporting properly to the right place or with the right info. Call the Graffiti Hotline (619-525-8522) or submit an online report. http://www.sandiego.gov/graffiti/sighting.shtml

The Council office is the WRONG place to complain!

Also, if you think the graffiti is gang related, snap a photo and email it to the gang detectives. They are easy to contact if you look online at the SDPD website. The gang detectives want to track the graffiti and need your help to catch the taggers.

Every time I have ever asked the City for help in removing graffiti, I had a response within the week. Last year on the day before New Year's Eve day, kids playing on the sidewalks used a can of white shellac spray and really tagged up the sidewalk in my neighborhood. The sidewalks are porous and very hard to clean; I couldn't get the paint off with the tools I had. I called the Graffiti Hotline, and the next day a wonderful City worker came out and quickly blasted all of the paint away, using a solvent and high-pressure sprayer. I gave him a big hug, a bag of New Year's cookies, and a New Year's horn and hat to celebrate. Yeah!

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dwbat June 17, 2011 @ 8:49 a.m.

My friend told me that particular stop sign was NOT "very easy to clean" (as BlueSouthPark asserts). It took him about 20 minutes; he used 10 wipes, and a scraper for the sticker. Contacting a city councilmember is no different than contacting your member of Congress when you want someone who can deal effectively with federal bureaucracy. Elected officials are advocates of the people, and are there to serve in any way they can. Their staff members need to learn this.

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BlueSouthPark June 17, 2011 @ 10:04 a.m.

Naaah, dwbat, your friend wasn't using the right chemical. Wiping the black or white paint off that shiny red sign would be a cinch with mineral spirits or more pricey graffiti-removal-specific stuff you can buy at Home Depot. Been there, done it, many times. Would take only a minute. What I consider "easy" may be too much for someone else, especially if understanding basic chemistry and solvents isn't their forte.

Call the right City department if you want action ... Or just keep spending your time complaining in the wrong place and feeling indignant. If you think complaining to someone so that they can forward your complaint to someone else is efficient, then you need to pay LOTS more taxes. And maybe you need to go to the council office in person and tell them what they need to learn. They might enjoy the lessons you can teach. Or not.

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BlueSouthPark June 17, 2011 @ 10:33 a.m.

Hey, dwbat, guess what? Just looked it up: Louisiana and Polk is part of the property assessment district called the North Park MAD, run by North Park Main Street. They already charge property owners an extra, privatized tax, above and beyond government property taxes, to clean up graffiti "above and beyond" regular City services. You need to call the North Park Business Improvement District at 619-294-2501, or email them at npbid@northparkmainstreet.com and teach THEM a lesson.

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BlueSouthPark June 17, 2011 @ 3:36 p.m.

dwbat, if you rent in a BID or MAD area, your landlord property owner pays the privatized tax that ends up in the hands of the corporation that the City lets control the tax.

You certainly pay your property owner higher rent because of the MAD tax that the owner is paying, so you have a right to benefit from services that are supposedly covered by the tax.

Currently in North Park, over 9000 property owners pay over $320,000/year to the MAD. That is about $18/single-family property and much more for commercial/rental properties. That is about to go way up, with another MAD being instituted on top of the current one. An extra $450,000 in MAD taxes (from about 2000 property owners) will be enforced on top of the current charges, about $65 more/single-family property. The City will give it all to the North Park Main Street business group to spend.

The business groups that are the MAD creators and proponents like to see news stories with people complaining about City services: they'll NEVER tell you that if you actually go through the right channels at the City, you can get very satisfactory graffiti removal service. They love to hear about "government failure" ...that's their big justification for creating private tax districts and taking a big chunk of the taxes collected for themselves (phones, rent, admin, advertising, insurance, salaries, mileage, audits; many tens of thousands of dollars spent duplicating the costs that the City already incurs in its service operations). They want to be the private government. Being in control of spending public money is fun! And makes you one of the popular insiders with the City! Big wheels. Woo!

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dwbat June 17, 2011 @ 3:55 p.m.

I'm aware of North Park Main Street. I previously wrote an article about them. I don't need their email/phone number as I already have it and have been to their office at 3076 University Ave. Do you have any actual knowledge of what North Park Main Street does, or do you just like to argue? Also, your comments are way too long. Try a little editing. Typing more words doesn't make the comments any smarter.

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