Graffiti and pier restrooms

This photo of the women’s restroom under the Seal Beach Pier was taken at 12:09 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 5. According to the Sun staffer who took the photo, women were lined up on the other side waiting to get in. The city’s porter service has a contract to clean the restrooms seven days a week until Sept. 16.

Part of an ongoing series.

The Labor Day Weekend drew large crowds to the sands of Seal Beach.That in turn drew a lot of users to the pier restrooms. A little (not much) graffiti was visible this weekend.

A previously reported, the city is planning to remodel the pier restrooms in their existing footprint. Take a walk under the pier and you’ll see there’s really no room to expand them without radically remodeling the pier itself.Meanwhile, maintaining the restrooms is an ongoing challenge. Graffiti is part of that problem.


If you see graffiti, call the police.

“Members of the public can call the police department non emergency line regarding any graffiti,” wrote Seal Beach Police Lt. Julia Clasby in an Aug. 27 email.

This applies, rather obviously, to graffiti in pier restrooms as well as graffiti in other places.

District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick, whose district includes the Seal Beach Pier, recently said that when he contacts the city about graffiti (anywhere), the graffiti is removed within 24 hours. The assistant city manager put the timeline at one or two hours after receiving a report. See interview below for details.

Michael Pless of M&M Surfing School operates out of the beach parking lot. Consequently, he uses the pier restrooms daily.

In a Sept. 7 email, Pless wrote when he leaves at 4 p.m., he sees the people working on the restrooms. He wrote that they do “a magnificent job keeping them clean.”

He expressed the opinion that some of the stalls could be replaced. He also wrote that he didn’t know if there was a protective coating that could be used to prevent graffiti.

Speaking of graffiti, most of the graffiti that was in the men’s room on Saturday, Aug. 21, was painted over when a Sun reporter looked at the men’s room again on Saturday, Aug. 27.

As previously reported, the city’s contract with Golden Touch Cleaning Services, Inc., specifically lists graffiti removal among daily tasks that the company provides to city facilities—including beach area restrooms. The contract calls for those restrooms to be cleaned even days a week, from May 16 to Sept. 16. From Sept. 17 to May 15 of the following year, the contract provides for the cleaning of pier restrooms on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Sun returned to the pier restrooms over the Labor Day Weekend to look at the ongoing maintenance issue. As reported last week, Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos said Seal Beach city government gets more complaints about the restrooms during the summer months.

A female staff member was unable to enter the women’s restroom on Sunday, Sept. 5, as the facility was closed for cleaning. Women were lined up on the other side, waiting to get in. When she was able to access the women’s restroom, she found the place quite clean.

The Sun visited the men’s room on Sunday, Sept. 5, and observed that graffiti which had been present during a previous visit had been painted over in two of the three stalls. The third stall, nearest the urinals, was unavailable for inspection that day. When the Sun visited on Monday, Sept. 6, the largest stall was unavailable for. Photos show that a hand-lettered sign that adorned the inside door of the stall nearest the urinals had been removed. Again, most graffiti had been removed.

A toilet seat was missing from one of the stalls.

However, some graffiti not previously seen, was painted in red on a toilet dispenser.

On Sep 3, 2021, at 10:23 a.m., the Sun emailed the following questions to the city government, with a request for as many answers as possible by Tuesday, Sept. 7.

The questions were:

Sun: When graffiti is found in the restrooms (or anywhere else for that matter), what is the process the city goes through to have it removed from a specific location? The contract with Golden Touch Cleaning Services, Inc., specifically lists graffiti removal among daily tasks, but are not Public Works crews and the Lions also involved in graffiti removal?

Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos: “Our contract states that the porter will report and remove all graffiti in the restrooms. They will either use a graffiti removal spray or paint over the graffiti using city supplied color matched paint. Regarding the exterior and all other locations, city staff will remove by using the previous methods mentioned as well as sand blasting and pressure washing.  This is dependent on the location of the incident.”

Sun: What role does the [Seal Beach] Lions Club play in removing graffiti from such locations as the restrooms under the pier? (A Seal Beach resident asked me, so the Sun is asking the city.)

Gallegos: “The Lions Club has played a role in removing graffiti in the past but the city has made graffiti removal a priority and has more recently utilized the porter and city staff.”

Sun: How much time usually passes between a report of graffiti at a location and its removal?

Gallegos: “Staff moves promptly. Once we receive a report. Usually, within 1-2 hours.”

Sun: Does the city know how much time passes between the removal of graffiti and its replacement?  (From what I’ve observed, it appears to be impossible to keep up with the graffiti in the pier restrooms or anywhere else.)

Gallegos: “This is a fluid situation which ebbs and flows. There seems to be more present during the summer months. Between the contractor and public works staff, Seal Beach does a great job at removing graffiti in a timely manner.”

Sun: How much does the city spend on beach graffiti abatement? (City staff was apparently unable to provide an answer to this question by deadline.)

Sun: What graffiti-resistant technology is available to Seal Beach?

Gallegos: “Our signage has graffiti sheeting which makes it easier to clean without affecting the sign itself.