Potential targets of vigilante action
My neighborhood in North Pacific Beach is pretty much free of graffiti. When I drive into other parts of San Diego, or in Pacific Beach, there are more stickers, old garage-sale and lost-dog signs, and spray-paint graffiti. It has been my assumption that there is a graffiti slayer living in our neighborhood. I decided that I would like to thank that person.
Finally, I saw a car pull over to the side of the road on Loring Street, the emergency lights go on, and a guy jump out of the car. He ran over to a yellow “Will Pay Cash for Houses” sign stuck on city property and yanked it out of the ground. The trunk of his car opened and in went the sign. He ran across the street, pulled down a garage-sale sign (from last weekend), and got back into his car. He is in his 50s, looks like a surfer, and drives a BMW.
I know this guy. He is a regular surfer at Tourmaline. He is intense. I saw him in the Tourmo parking lot when a Zonie tossed a cigarette butt out of the window of his truck. This guy was huge. The slayer did not hesitate. He picked up the cigarette butt, looked at the guy, and said, “I guess you dropped this by mistake.”
“I started cleaning up any graffiti I saw around my house about five years back and expanded my area about two years ago,” he told me in an interview. “It is anything that I see in my neighborhood and anything along my route to work. I hate seeing posters stuck on living trees. So, I have decided to take everything down, anything that is business or personal advertising and is on city property.”
What type of graffiti do you hate the most?
“Slap-tagging. The tagger goes to the post office and gets free USPS address labels. At home, he stamps them with his tag symbol. Then he goes around late at night and sticks them everywhere. I have learned that if I take them off immediately, they peel off. If they stay for a few weeks, then they rip when you try to pull them off.”