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Graffiti Vandalism in California Ave Underpass

Original post made by Adrienne Mayor, Old Palo Alto, on Jun 7, 2012

What can be done about the huge graffiti tag that has completely obliterated a large panel of the beautiful undersea mural in the California Ave Pedestrian/Bike underpass?
Sadly, the mural was originally created in 1996 to discourage graffiti.
Most spray paint tags that have (rarely) appeared in the tunnel have been easy to erase.
But this latest vandalism has destroyed an entire panel of the sea creature paintings and they cannot be recovered.
Isn't there some sort of clear protectant seal that could be applied to the mural, so that spray paint graffiti could be easily removed without damaging the original painting?

Comments (9)

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Posted by fix the tunnel
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

This tunnel is just outdated. If it were wider and more brightly lit, I doubt this kind of thing would happen. I don't recall ever seeing graffiti at the Homer Ave tunnel.

The California Ave tunnel needs to be replaced. It is too steep and narrow for wheelchairs and those silly traps at each end block bicycle child trailers.

The city should replace the tunnel as part of the California Ave remodeling project. A better tunnel would be more inviting to people living east of the train tracks and bring a lot more customers to the California Ave businesses.

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Graffiti is the equivalent of a dog urinating on a fence post to mark it's territory.

We could learn a lot from Singapore in dealing with graffiti.

Singapore acknowledges that there is a segment of society that acts like animals and will only respond when treated like animals.

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Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 8:22 am

to Outside Observer:

How, exactly, should someone treat an animal?

Do you think it should be punishment?

Or abuse?

Or negative reinforcement?

Or worse?

Animals should be treated with care, respect, tenderness, and love.

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2012 at 10:07 am


Here's how: Web Link

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

wow, really impressed by the helpful on-target comments here.

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Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

Back to the tunnel itself--

I hadn't noticed the graffiti, but it appears to have been painted over; there where some 'City of Palo Alto - Wet Paint' signs taped up the last time I went through there. But a much bigger problem is that the plaster work has deterioriated significantly, seemingly within the past few months. Good-sized chunks of the art work are flaking off, maybe from water seepage.

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Posted by PasserBy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

As I was walking my bike through the tunnel a few weeks ago, I noticed someone working on repainting a section of the mural. I said something like "Why would these kids do such a thing?" The painter replied that it wouldn't have been so bad if it was just the plain blue ("water") parts. But the kids had messed up the fish and there was no way to properly restore the artwork to its original state.

Let's try to get surveillance cameras installed in this tunnel to keep both people and property safer.

Punishment for the criminals who did this? Community Service. And lots of it, please.

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Posted by graffiti writer
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm

This sort of thing is why people hate graffiti. In reality, this does not represent what graffiti is at all and makes it look like pointless and disgusting vandalism, which it is not. Only a toy, or unexperienced and disrespectful writer or "graffiti tagger" as ignorant civilians call them would go over a beautiful mural that has been there for years. Graffiti is not pointless vandalism, it is an artform and people should learn to distinguish between the different forms of graffiti and vandalism.

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

> this does not represent what graffiti is at all and makes it look like pointless and disgusting vandalism,

Graffitti is vandalism for all practical purposes.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was walking downtown and noticed that many of the big plate glass storefront windows on the "southwest" side of University had been scratched with those diamonds scribes with graffiti.

Tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage from some criminal psychopath who thinks it's fun to ruin stuff. You can still see through the windows in fact if you walk fast you don't notice it much, but there are many windows, and then mirrors in businesses that have had this scratching treatment.

I really wish the police would catch and make an example of these vandals ... and may I add most of the it is not in English.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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