Town tires of graffiti

Ramonans are seeing an increase of graffiti in town, and they’re concerned, Arvie Degenfelder said during the Ramona Revitalization Steering Committee meeting chaired by San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob on Friday.

“It’s a huge concern to the community, because that’s just kind of a forerunner, and it also costs merchants and people in town money to remove the graffiti, so it isn’t something we can just say, ‘oh, well’,” said Degenfelder, Health and Human Services Subcommittee chair. “I think it’s something we need to deal with, and perhaps our law enforcement folks can speak to that.”

The Sheriff’s Department is aware of the problem, and deputies are working with business owners and residents to get the graffiti removed immediately, said Sgt. Mike Strong with the sheriff’s Ramona Substation.

“Blight breeds blight; vandalism breeds vandalism,” he said. “We want to get the graffiti documented and photographed as soon as possible and then have either the homeowner or the business get this off the business (or residence) as soon as possible.”

Painting over graffiti cost a nonprofit Ramona youth sports league $500 in August and $200 in September, Dawn Perfect said, asking what the best way to deal with it is.

“It is a crime,” said Strong. “Please report it to us.”

The department is investigating what Strong called a rift between some troublemakers in Ramona and a gang in Escondido. Some Ramonans say they are in a gang, but, because they are not part of a documented gang, they are serving sentences such as six months for crimes such as having a loaded assault-type rifle, said Strong.

“If they were a documented gang member, they would be serving a  more serious sentence,” he said.

Karen Carlson, a Ramona Trails Association member, said her husband was talking about getting some free paint so he and a group of men can “help businessowners and nonprofits, because it does cost a lot of money.”

Jacob called the idea an excellent one and suggested Carlson and Strong talk about it after the meeting. The group could be called “graffiti busters,” she commented.

Jacob conducts revitalization committee meetings twice a year in Ramona. Subcommittees tackle issues such infrastructure and transportation, economic development, public safety and law enforcement, health and human services, and parks and recreation/library.

The agenda includes updates from each subcommittee chair, related reports from Jacob and county staff,            and public comments and questions.

Topics at the Oct. 24 afternoon session in Ramona Community Center ranged from San Diego Gas & Electric’s 150-mile Sunrise Powerlink transmission project to the need for a person to chair the Public Safety and Law Enforcement Subcommittee.

Celeste Young from North Inland Community Prevention Program gave a report about strategies to combat underage drinking, and Sgt. Amado Macias with the California Highway Patrol responded to questions about the Route 67 crash that left two people dead Friday morning.

“I noticed you used the word ‘collision’,” Jacob said to Macias. “No such thing as an accident, is that they way you look at it?”



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