Update - The County has painted over the temporary white blotches that neighbors had placed over the hateful graffiti on their side of the wall. Both sides of the wall have been restored now.
On 5/24/23 someone graffitied the wall between the Costco Business warehouse store at Country Club Center and the neighborhood on the other side. It is unclear whether teenagers, homeless people, gangs or some other perpetrators did the damage. The writings were hateful, profane and/or obscene. They seemed to target two different racial groups, perhaps indicating the work of white nationalists. Whatever the case, graffiti - particularly that kind - is NOT what makes a community great. And, unless dealt with promptly, this kind of insult to our community can spread. Fortunately, a lot of quick action was taken by the very next day:
- Residential neighbors painted over the hateful graffiti on the west side of the wall
- A neighbor reported the problem to the Center's management, who forwarded the complaint to Costco (which owns the parcel of land where their building sits)
- During the noon hour that same day graffiti removal contractors cleaned the graffiti from the Costco side of the wall and the sidewalk leading down from the pedestrian/cyclist opening in the wall
What's left to do now is the County needs to seriously up its anti-graffiti game. What we mean by that recommendation is that the County has to give the Sheriff's Deputies a break. You see, when neighbors reported the problem to a Sheriff's Deputy who happened to be nearby (busting a homeless camper), the Deputy said he would report it to 311. and we all know how well THAT system works - you send up your complaint and it goes into a black hole. It's unfortunate that the Sheriff's Deputies have to go through the same take-your-chances system as the rest of us do. Graffiti is a crime. It is best dealt with right away so the perps get the message that their attempts to get attention or claim gang territory are not effective. To be fair, though, it appears someone at the County realized that a response was necessary and got the residential side of the wall fixed within a couple of days. That's really fast for County action. We don't know whether it was because of the neighbor's calls to 311 or the Sheriff's report, but we're sure glad it got done.
Hateful, racial graffiti is not a trivial disorder. Yet it does seem to be linked to the abundance of signs that our community is the kind of deteriorating place where disorder is the norm, where no one cares about the condition of the neighborhoods. The signs are everywhere: lack of code enforcement, unmowed/weedy yards, grass and weeds growing in the streets, abundant potholes, and crumbling infrastructure. It's not right when underprivileged neighborhoods are overlooked, while privileged neighborhoods get to Feel the Love. And it does not seem right that the Sheriff's necessary anti-crime tactics have to be filtered through 311 before the public works shop will order up a pressure washer and paint remover. In this instance, the neighbors put the pressure on and, by sheer coincidence, were able to promptly alert a Sheriff's Deputy who just happened to be in the vicinity. So, in a way, some extraordinary, fortunate action happened that got this occurrence of a problem fixed quickly. It rarely works that way.
In conclusion, you have heard us say it before: it wouldn't be like this if we were a city. If you are not happy about the situation, your only recourse is to let the Board of Supervisors know. In this instance, thank goodness for the action-oriented neighbors, the appropriately fast response from Costco, the serendipitous presence of a Sheriff's Deputy, and the reasonably prompt response from the County!