Lions stay the course on graffiti

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The Seal Beach Lions Club enlisted its newest members to clean up graffiti in the wash near College Park West; along the San Gabriel River Bike Trail; and on the jetty rocks near Khoury’s on Saturday, Nov. 2.

“While our preference is removal rather than cover up, these sites were so heavily marked that cover-up was the only option,” said Lion Ray Longoria.

New Lions Roger Lange and Eric Denny led the team of graffiti removal specialists that covered more than 150 markings.

“Our mission is to keep Seal Beach Graffiti Free” Longoria said. “We also will remove any graffiti that can be ‘seen’ from Seal Beach which is why we cover up the jetty marking facing our town.”

Since June of 2011 the Lions Against Graffiti team has removed or covered up more than 2,800 graffiti markings in and around Seal Beach.

Before getting involved with the graffiti problem, Longoria didn’t think there was much graffiti in the city often called “Mayberry by the Sea.”

Back in 2011, Longoria said that he and his team of Lions volunteers discovered that there is a lot more to Seal Beach’s graffiti problem than meets the eye. That is, until you search the city’s wayward places, the alleyways and other portions of Seal Beach’s underbelly.

According to Longoria, Ellery Deaton, Seal Beach City Councilwoman for the Old Town area,  had noticed the graffiti problem. They got to talking about it and decided it was something the Lions wanted to be involved in,” Longoria said.

And so, LAG, or Lions Against Graffiti was born.

Longoria assembled a posse of volunteers, equipped them with sprays and other graffiti materials and they mounted up on their bicycles and began riding through every street and alleyway in the city’s Old Town neighborhood.

“It actually turned out that there is a lot more graffiti around town than you probably ever imagined,” Longoria said. “It becomes invisible, a part of the landscape after some time.”

Longoria said they found many instances of graffiti in dozens of locations around Old Town.

Recently, the Lions have been battling a growing instance of tagging graffiti.

Tagging has been a problem in many communities in recent years, although in some it is worse than others. The city of Santa Ana has experienced some of the worst cases. It describes the practice of tagging as:

“Not an art form or about expressing oneself.  It is vandalism and the destruction of private and public property.  Tagging is any unauthorized marking, etching, scratching, drawing, painting or defacing of any surface of public, private, real or personal property.

Tagging causes blight in our community resulting in a genuine threat to the quality of life, incalculable economic losses to businesses, and can lead to the general deterioration of the area in which you live or work.

The eradication of graffiti is a drain on the city’s resources in both cost and manpower.  In most cases, the difference between graffiti being art or a crime is permission.

The LAG fast action group will remove any reported graffiti on the same day that it is reported. To report graffiti for removal, email: graffitiremoval@sealbeachlions.com or call  (562) 370-7836.