Monday, January 17, 2011
The Chula Vista Graffiti Abatement Program gained a lot of attention four years ago, with its innovative approach to cleanup -- but that was before the budget cuts.
SAN DIEGO Graffiti may be a popular art form. But for the city of Chula Vista, it is an eyesore that it can no longer afford to clean up.
At one point, the city had a six-person cleanup crew that removed graffiti within 48 hours. They also had a truck with a machine that allowed them to provide color-matching paint on the scene.
But with drastic budget cuts were instituted this week, Chula Vista's graffiti program has been devastated.
"I don't want to be thinking about what's going to be happening now on Broadway, where all the stores are at, and all the commercial areas let alone our hot spots," says Norma Rodriguez-Espinoza, who is in charge of the program. "The hot spots were places where we normally used to go at least once or twice a week to clean up."
From now on, the city will only be responsible for graffiti on public property. But Rodriguez-Espinoza says she worries about taggers having their way throughout the rest of Chula Vista.
"We had an excellent crew out there that was on top of it and now we're going to see what's gonna happen--residents are going to be on an uproar. And that was one of the programs that was cut besides our Park Rangers and other essential programs."
The yearly budget for the program was almost $360,000 dollars. The budget now is less than $50,000.