11 June 2009

Yet More Artistic Expression in the Face of Social Injustice

The above photographs, taken at about 9 a.m. this morning, depict the last wave of graffiti to hit Carbon Canyon. The tagging happened last night and was sprayed onto signs running west from the approach to Feldspar Drive just before Summit Ranch all the way to Sleepy Hollow on the Chino Hills side, where the onslaught ended.

Because the tagging did not extend into Brea and because the moniker "142K" was most prominent on almost all of the signs, it seems very plausible that this is a local, perhaps even Canyon resident, tagger only interested in marking territory on the Chino Hills portion of the highway.

All of the signs hit were CalTrans property and the maintenance department of District 8, which is responsible for the San Bernardino County side of Highway 142, was notified and a call also placed with the Chino Hills graffiti hotline for notification purposes. One sign was on private property and the tagging was already painted over by 6:30 p.m.

The City of Chino Hills Web site has a page dedicated to graffiti issues, noting that there has been an increase, that the city is piloting a camera program to try and catch taggers, and so on. It's not clear whether there is the infrastructure to install cameras on Carbon Canyon Road and it appears that the tagging has been happening at night, probably quite late, so it may not be effective anyway on the dimly-lit highway.

Given that there has been no change in patrolling the Canyon, even with increasing incidents of traffic collisions and near-collisions (over the last several years, much less the uptick over recent weeks and months), it does not seem likely that there would any change in the Sheriff's Department presence for graffiti, either.

As this blog has quite clearly shown, however, there has been a noticeable change over the last few months with respect to graffiti, though nothing would be better than to be proven wrong.

Whether there is enough interest or will to try and do anything about it is very much an open question. One thing is for sure: whatever natural beauty, threatened though it is, there is left in Carbon Canyon, it is marred and scarred by those who are responsible for the defacement shown in this and other posts. Add the skid marks, destroyed and damaged signs, dented utility boxes, broken glass, crumpled guardrails, and scorched plant life that have occurred over the last half-year or so and it's lost a considerable part of its charm.

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