Saturday Morning Paint Out Party: Reclaiming the beauty of Sunset Cliffs

by on June 19, 2009 · 18 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, Organizing

Saturday, June 20th – Time to put up or ….

There has been a lot of chatter on this board lately about the sad state of affairs along the cliffs. This Saturday morning is your chance to do something about it!

We will meet at the foot of Orchard Street at 7am for a quick pow-wow and start painting at 7:30am. I understand this is pretty early for OBceans to be up on a Saturday, but there is good reason for starting out so early. First of all, the tide will be low and we want the paint we put up to stick. Also, there will be less tourists and local pedestrians wandering the cliffs that early. We don’t want to paint them over.

If you just can’t make it at 7 or 7:30, that’s okay. Come by at 8 or 8:30. We have an industrial paint sprayer, so hopefully we’ll be able to get done by 10:30 or 11am. I took a walk yesterday to survey the job ahead and let me tell you, it’s BIG. There’s a lot of tagging out there so we need all the support we can get!

FYI: The local police are aware of the event and we have their full support.

Here’s what to bring if you can:

Paint friendly clothing (long sleeve shirt, close toed shoes, hat, etc…)
A paint brush and/or roller (I will try to provide a few, but please try to bring one if you can)
A 2 or 5 gallon bucket with lid (again if you can)
A couple large trash bags

A positive attitude
If you simply can’t make it to the event, you can still help by reporting tagging when you see it.  Here’s how:
Traffic signs, stop signs, etc…: call 619-527-7500.  Tell them the sign is tagged front AND back (very important).  They will have it cleaned within 2 business days
Main Graffiti hotline: call 619-525-8522 apparently they take a little longer to address the problem, but leaving a message here gets it “on the record” and helps create statistics for our area.
Code Compliance: 619-533-6149 Lynette Nelson – This is to report any abandoned building, businesses that aren’t taking care of their property, dumpsters, mail boxes, newspaper racks.  She will take care of contacting the owners and cleaning up the property.
Police contact: Det. Brian Hewitt 619-531-2561  Det. Hewitt is in charge of graffiti/gang activity in the area.  If you see graffiti, take pictures and email them to him.  It’s worth a try.  :)
Again, it’s all about creating statistics and getting help for our neighborhood.  The cliffs are ours.  Not the taggers.  They are a natural wonder that we cannot sit by and watch be trashed and defaced by bored teenagers and wannabe gangsters.
I hope to see lots of you out there tomorrow morning.  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me through the obrag website.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar jon June 19, 2009 at 10:33 am

Yes, there is absolutely a reward for cathching these jerks. It’s up to $500.

The problem, of course is getting a police officer there in time to actually catch the guy. I hear they’re slippery.


avatar DrumnWebGuy June 19, 2009 at 10:26 am

Isn’t there a $500 reward for catching taggers? I think that needs to be made very clear. With economic times as tight as they are, you’d think that neighborhood patrols could be very profitable.

Funny story about taggers though- One night I was driving home late-night and saw a tagger on an over head freeway sign. I had gotten a friend a “wrist rocket” for a gift and it was sitting in the passenger seat…..I pulled under the over pass so to obscure myself from the tagger…..picked up a few choice rocks and started firing.

The first three didn’t do anything except elicit a string of swear words directed towards me but by about the fourth one, I think it made it’s mark because I heard a shriek and then silence……I didn’t stick around to find out what happened. But man, I hope it hurt! Make tagging painful and see what happens!


avatar Molly June 19, 2009 at 11:03 am

Who’s more “slippery” the tagger or the cop?

LOL – couldn’t help myself, Jon.

However, I really think that we ought to tone down our anti-tagger rhetoric – going after reward money, throwing rocks at taggers – as this attitude becomes like road rage – taking out your emotional frustrations on the driver who cuts you off – frustrations that have a much deeper source than the rudeness of one of your fellow drivers – like our frustrations with the taggers.

Remember, they’re not the enemy in our life-death struggle; oppression and the denials to liberty, truth and freedom are the enemy.

Also, this is a community thing – let’s try to leave the government, and especially that arm of the government – the police – out of it as they certainly have a checkered relationship with OB.

So forget the rewards, forget taking it out physically on the taggers – for your own safety! – let’s paint for our community, for our beautiful Sunset Cliffs!


avatar jon June 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Molly, I agree with you personally. Every one is going to handle this their own way, and there is a reward program available for those who are inquiring about it. For my part, I just want to remove the unsightly tagging. I’m not too concerned with who’s doing it or why. I just want it gone. That’s what tomorrows event is all about. We are not hunting taggers on the cliff. We are just cleaning it up.

As for your question about who’s more slippery…LOL! Ain’t that the truth.

I also wanted to provide one more resource for reporting and getting help in cleaning up tagging.

Urban Corps of San Diego County

They are contracted through the city and I have been told they are agreeing to help monitor the situation on the cliffs starting some time in July. Their toll free number is 800-829-6884.


avatar Frank Gormlie June 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Jon – a long-time friend and fellow OB environmental activist Kip Kruegar works for the Urban Corps, and if he is on top of this, then we have a true ally in the UC indeed!


avatar Patty Mooney June 19, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Are you really planning on using paint? There are products that will remove the graffiti such as “Elephant Snot”. To my mind, a big splotch of paint is almost as bad as the graffiti itself.


avatar jon June 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for the suggestion Patty. Elephant snot is extremely expensive, and we would need GALLONS upon GALLONS of the stuff to tackle what is going on down at the cliffs. The paint has been generously donated and is non-toxic. about a quarter of the area has already been painted over and looks 100 times better than the graffiti/tagging that was and still is there. We are doing our best to keep everything neutral in tone and not just splotch paint all over the place. Once the large project is finished, it is my hope that locals and then the urban corps can keep on top of it from there. Elephant snot would be a great tool for smaller jobs.


avatar lane tobias June 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm

jon i really cant make it but this is awesome….i do agree with molly that the anti-tagger rhetoric from some folks is dangerous. we don’t want to start anythign that could turn into a true vendetta; things like that can turn violent, and that is absolutely the last thing OB needs.

painting over tagging as soon as it appears is a great approach – and with the urban corps on board, i think we have a successful plan in place.

thank you for your due diligence and planning, and to everyone taking part!


avatar Pat June 20, 2009 at 9:50 am

I didn’t make it down to help,but did get down in time to take some photos.
I’ll forward them later.
I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten down there .
Thanks to all who helped out.
It looks 100% better.
This is community activism at it’s best.


avatar jon June 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

Thanks for being there Pat. It does look 100% better. Everyone did a great job. We’re gonna go grab breakfast and maybe some celebratory mimosas at Nicks at the Pier. More photos and stories of the days successful event to come!


avatar blaw0013 June 22, 2009 at 6:22 am

Thank you so much to all the volunteers Sat. morning.


avatar grennie June 22, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Who ever is in charge of this program, please call me @ 619 463-2586. I have many many years experince in graffiti removal, abatement and preventive coatings etc…..I would be happy to offer any assistance and I am sure I could muster 5-10 locals to help out next time.



avatar jon June 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Hey Grennie,

If you send your contact info to someone will get in touch with you to help with future projects. Your advice and experience would be very welcome!



avatar jon July 15, 2009 at 9:05 am

This morning I painted over 6 or 7 large tags and picked up at least 30lbs of trash before coming to work. Everyone must have been celebrating being a complete jerk-off all night, because there were cases of beer and champagne littered all over our beautiful cliffs. This problem is far from over. We really need more concerned locals to help. Anyone who would like to get involved, please get in touch with me through the obrag website. The more people we have, the faster it goes away. More to come on the litter, tagging and destruction of the cliffs soon….


avatar BillRayDrums July 15, 2009 at 9:22 am

I do not mind doing a walk down there at 2am, when I’m on my way home from a gig. Not for vigilante purposes, but what with the fire dancers being harassed, we need to keep the cops busy with “real” issues.


avatar jon July 15, 2009 at 9:39 am

Absolutely Billy Ray. I don’t go for vigilante purposes at all. Just to clean up. It’s hard for some to get involved in painting, which I completely understand. But at least bring a trash bag and some gloves and help to pick up the tons of litter that end up there (I saw a GIANT rat scuttling along Santa Cruz today too). It sucks that WE have to pick up after these a-holes. But we do. The tide pools are a filthy mess. They need our help.


avatar BillRayDrums July 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I’m on my way down there with my kid. I’ll take a trash bag with me and pick up.


avatar jon July 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I would suggest wearing gloves! Thank you Billy Ray! Even if we all just take 15 minutes out of our day or week to do this, I believe we can make a huge difference.


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