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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : County Brings Graffiti Cleanup to Santa Clarita


SANTA CLARITA — City buildings will get touch-ups Saturday from volunteers using county-provided supplies as part of an areawide effort to clean up graffiti.

Although Santa Clarita hasn't been vandalized as much as other cities in Los Angeles County, there has been a marked increase in graffiti reports during 1993. In June, the city's graffiti hot line receive 207 calls compared with 60 the same month last year.

Even more important to organizers of the cleanup is the presence of people willing to participate. Up to 100 are expected to take part in the 8 a.m.-to-2 p.m. effort.

"One of the reasons Santa Clarita was selected was it has a very active volunteer network. It was a community that has sent a loud and clear message that they won't stand for graffiti," said Natalie Salazar, community program coordinator for the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's station.

The station is providing a patrol car to ensure participants' safety.

Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Jo Anne Darcy, a field deputy for Supervisor Mike Antonovich, said she was surprised when the city was chosen.

The county cleanup is held at least semiannually and is rotated among different cities, she said, adding that the county also regularly participates in anti-graffiti efforts for unincorporated areas.

"We're hoping that it (the cleanup) will raise the awareness of graffiti throughout the county," said Kevin Tonoian, an administrative assistant in Santa Clarita's Public Works Department who monitors the city's graffiti hot line.

Los Angeles County is providing paint, brushes and dropcloths for the event, city officials said.

The valley's volunteer Pride Committee, which normally cleans up graffiti, and the city's Anti-Gang Task Force are helping coordinate the event. The county has worked in the past with Santa Clarita's annual Pride Week, which encourages the local cleanup of trash and graffiti.

Organizers have not yet decided which of Santa Clarita's communities to focus on.

Confirmed cleanup targets are Santa Clarita's concrete flood control channels, even though they are rarely seen by the public.

"We're going to cover it up so that the people that are congregating down there will know we're aware they are there," Tonoian said.

Merchants whose businesses have been marked are being encouraged to buy matching paint for volunteers to use.

Volunteers are scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. Saturday in the council chambers of City Hall.

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