Proposed budget cut might wipe out half of graffiti clean-up crews *

Graffiti clean-up crews are preparing for an emergency meeting on Friday to get details on a city proposal to slash their funding by 50% to help fill a widening budget gap.  If carried out, the proposal, detailed in L.A. Now, would leave Angeleno Heights-based Central City Action Committee with only three crew members instead of six to paint out tagging and graffiti on weekdays from MacArthur Park and Echo Park to Highland Park and Lincoln Heights, said Executive Director Maryanne Hayashi. Last year, Central City painted out about four million square feet of tagging and graffiti from walls, sidewalks, poles, trees and other surfaces in about 38,600 locations. Currently, Central City tries to respond to requests for services within 24 to 48 hours. That response time would double if the funding is slashed, Hayashi said.

In addition to possibly losing half of the approximately $51,000 a month it receives from the city, Central City is also facing an increase in the cost of paint and the loss one of its two water blasters, which are used to scrub out tagging on sidewalks and streets.

“If you only have three trucks out there, [residents] would be lucky if  they would get service once a month” in response to clean-up requests, she said.

* Correction: A previous version of this post said Central City receives about $61,000 a month from the city for graffiti clean up. That’s wrong. The correct amount is about $51,000.


  1. Wow. This is really upsetting news. I don’t even want to envision what my Highland Park neighborhood is going to look like a few months down the line without the cleanup crews. I wish I was independently wealthy and could help fund the money needed to keep the current system in action.

  2. (another) Lauren

    Ughhhhh, you have got to be kidding!! This is one of the worst budget cuts I’ve heard of yet.

  3. You should try setting up some type of fundraiser via this website. Paypal has no fees/minimum fees if you got your right paper work.

  4. here in rosehills we don”t need the graffitti crew here we have are own clean up crew and rosehills is allways be graffiti free thanks too the la-32 neighborhood council BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE all vollenteer clean up. every1″s council should start there own commitee’

  5. Graffiti clean up is to LA what snow removal is to NYC or Chicago. For a small expendature the large visual impact of graffiti (and the accompanying visual statement that the city and by extension the mayor are broken) is dealt with. The comparatively minescule amount of money this saves vs. the perception greated by graffiti run amok is a big thing. Just ask Mr. Bloomburg in NYC if he wishes he has spent more on snow removal (and snow removal is more expensive than graffiti removal!). Sometimes the small things bite you more than the bigger things Mr. Mayor. I’d try to find the finds to keep this going.

  6. Four million square feet of graffiti in a year???? That’s insane!

  7. Los Angeles wouldn’t have a graffiti problem and would not need clean up crews if they would enforce the law and punish taggers and hold them/their parents financially responsible for the clean up. It really IS that simple.

  8. Enforce and heavily fine taggers and use the fees to fund cleaning crews.

  9. aldo Thee Apache

    Right there with Ruby and off the street:

    Enforce the law, hold parents of minors accountable. Also in notorious trouble spots, put an unmarked van.
    I’ve complained numerous times to various LAPD and graffiti abatement programs, they’re both a load of horseshit. They both just give you the runaround until you’re out of their hair. The sole purpose of these abatement programs is to feign interest while giving the false impression that they’re ‘making a difference’. Nothing could be further from the truth. At best all they will do is hand you a can of paint and a roller after the fact.
    They could easily catch a tagger (a gang member related one no less) EVERY DAY if they just sat on the corner of Kent and Bonnie Brae. Incidentally the same spot where a 9 year old boy was gunned down by a gang 2 years ago.
    But hey why bother when you can just pour all your resources into a pointless drunk driving roadblock on Glendale by the 2 freeway mid-afternoon on a Friday and call that a ‘success’.

  10. Los Angeles City Government doesn’t care about the people. Just $$$$$!

  11. I’m fine with the cut if they place cameras in areas that get tagged repeatedly and then follow up with arrests.

  12. Sylvia Valle-Boeheheim

    I think the NEC should no longer receive funding. Get rid of DONE. These funds are needed for our graffiti removal, fireman, and police.
    I feel strongly the graffiti removal programs helps save lives!

  13. This is the one City program that actually responds in a timely manner. What you save will not be worth what is lost. Doesn’t make sense.

  14. Graffiti removal is a necessity. LA City needs to enforce the laws, hold parents and taggers accountable, and place hefty fines to help fund graffiti removal. LA City Officials stop being reactive and be proactive to the beautification of LA City.

  15. While I agree that fining/prosecuting taggers would be great they are pretty hard to catch in the act. That is why the graffiti removal system is an absolute neccessity.

    Clean up/removal is the one city function that actually works in a timely fashion. I utilize the online reporting system almost every day and have been really pleased (and, frankly, surprised) with the quick response times. Never have I seen it take more than 2 days unless we are having crazy rains. Usually they remove it the next day.

    This is beyond a blight issue, it is a safety issue. The longer the gang tags stay up the more chance of another gang crossing them out and that is when things get really bad. I have seen that firsthand.

    I have written and called Garcetti and the Mayor’s office. I encourage everyone to do the same. This is bullshit. There is so much bloat and waste in this city’s budget. The powers-that-be need to know that their constituents are outraged.

  16. give me some paint…i’ll take care of my hood

  17. I’m in favor of cleaning up graffiti. But $51,000 A MONTH! There are tons of people out of work who will do it for a tremendously lower price than that! They would do it for less than $51,000 a YEAR!

    Further, residents and businesses should be cleaning up their own properties! I know we here in my neighborhood in Silver Lake do so immediately, and always have — and as a result, we don’t have graffiti. We don’t sit around on our asses and do nothing until other taxpayers shell out $51,000 A MONTH to clean it up for us!

  18. Realize those funds cover gasoline, insurance, cost of paint, cost of chemical remover, warehouse rental, etc. Guys are paid about $12-$15 per hour for cleaning up graffiti.

  19. Wow!!! I just got a telephone call from Ryan Carpio in Eric
    Garcetti’s office about this. He said that Eric saw my email and had Ryan call to assure me that Eric agrees with me about the importance of graffiti removal and is a huge proponent of it. His office founded UNTAG (untagla.com) in 2004 to address this issue.

    He assured that me that when this goes to Council that Eric will fight any cuts to graffiti removal programs and vowed to have graffiti removal remain a priority.

  20. What does $51,000 include? Okay here I go, salaries for 13 people+fringes+SUI+FICA+workers comp+health+auto insurance+gasoline for vehicles+liability insurance+licenses+waste disposal+paint at $45 for standard color 5 gallon paint buckets (approximately 200-5 gallon buckets a month )+tints that starts at $15 a tube and up (used for color-matching)+paint supplies+equipment maintenance and repairs+telephone+communication devices+building maintenance+utilities+any other expenses associated with the removal of graffiti. The area where we remove graffiti includes our southern boundary which is Adams + Normandie, Mac Park, Westlake, Pico Union, Temple-Beaudry, Echo Park, part of Silverlake, Victor Heights, Angelino Heights, part of Chinatown, Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Historic Pilipino town, Lincoln Heights, Solano Canyon, Montecito Heights, Eagle Rock, Elysian Valley and our northern most area being Mt Washington. Oh and I forgot to mention that we have to buy sand. Anymore questions?


    All City Graffiti Abatement Contractors have been operating on an approved and signed contract. Recently, we were notified that the City is recommending reducing graffiti removal programs by 50%.

    Apparently the approved money for this fiscal year was based on the revenue from the leasing or sale of City owned parking lots. Of course this has not occurred. We want to insure that the community is kept up to date about the circumstances.

    Hopefully some of you will be able to attend the Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Monday, Jan.11 at 1 pm or the full City Council meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 10 am. At this time we were told it is item 5 on the agenda. If you cannot attend we are requesting you to contact your City Councilperson or leave a message on the City of Los Angeles website.

    During the last fiscal year 32.7 million square feet of graffiti was removed from 630,000 locations across the City of Los Angeles.

    For the year ending 2010 CCAC removed 3.5 million from CD 1 and 1 million from CD 13.

    A 50% cut would cause a tremendous negative impact in your neighborhood and for the entire City. This of course would cause concern for public safety and quality of life issues City wide.

    We encourage residents to show support and voice their concerns.

  22. @Ruby and others – I agree.

    @SL-er – Snow and graffiti couldn’t be further from comparison, as one is criminal and human driven, the other nature.

    If we continue to accept that millions of dollars should be appropriated to graffiti cleanup, the graffiti will continue. Over 32 million square feet of graffiti in a year in LA alone is unacceptable. We should be pooling our resources into solving the issue with punishment, steeper fines, afterschool programs, and anti-gang programs. We need to dig deeper to solve the issue itself, not just cover up the result with a $51k band aid every month.

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