Residents’ Help Needed to Curb Costly Problem

Aug. 5, 2012 / By

The city of Coachella cleans up about 12,000 square feet of graffiti every month. Residents are asked to help the cleanup efforts by reporting the vandalism. PHOTO: Coachella Unincorporated

By Johnny Flores, Jr.
Coachella Unincorporated

COACHELLA, Calif, — In the 2011-12 fiscal year, the City of Coachella budgeted $91,372 to combat the costly problem of graffiti or “tagging,” as it commonly known.

But it doesn’t have to be this way going forward.

“The escalating graffiti problem that we are currently experiencing is becoming very costly financially to the city,” said Mayor Eduardo Garcia. “It is money that could be used to promote public art and create spaces for artists to express themselves in a positive way on the walls of our city.”

Maritza Martinez, the city’s public works director, estimates that the city cleans up about 12,000 square feet of graffiti of each month.

“The direct abatement costs (of the cleanup) without any other compounded costs average $1.75 per square foot,” said Martinez via email.

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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.