Graffiti hearts in The Village continue despite Enhance La Jolla’s ‘double-pronged’ cleanup efforts

Graffiti hearts that have been painted on many of La Jolla’s public spaces continue, despite the efforts of cleanup crews operating under Enhance La Jolla.

“There are hundreds a month … we can’t get to these hearts fast enough,” Brian Earley, manager of the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District, said at Enhance La Jolla’s Jan. 18 board meeting.

Enhance La Jolla is a nonprofit that manages the Maintenance Assessment District in The Village with authority to enhance services provided by the city of San Diego, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement and additional trash collection. It also can privately fund and complete improvement projects in public spaces, such as park and trash can upgrades, bench installation, sign augmentation, public art and tree canopies on main thoroughfares.

The hearts, which were first noticed late last year, have been painted on sidewalks, metal signs and light poles. As of November, more than 100 had been removed. But they were soon replaced.

Earley told the La Jolla Light in November that “anything that is put up in the public right of way” is brought to Enhance La Jolla’s attention.

“We treat all graffiti the same, regardless of what it is,” Earley said.

Many of the graffiti hearts have been painted on street signs.

Many of the graffiti hearts have been painted on street signs.

(Provided by Brian Earley)

He said the person responsible for the hearts is unknown and he asked that the person “cease and desist … because we have to take them off.”

The ones on sidewalks are being removed as part of Enhance La Jolla’s routine power-washing through vendor Urban Corps of San Diego County. With the power-washing, which is done at night, the wastewater is collected separately to avoid discharging it into storm drains.

Graffiti on signs and other fixtures is removed with a solvent.

This graffiti heart in La Jolla was removed.

This graffiti heart in La Jolla was removed.

(Provided by Brian Earley)

“We’re double-pronged in our approach,” Earley said at this week’s meeting. “We are submitting Get It Done requests [through San Diego’s app for reporting problems] and the city is coming out with power-washers … and Urban Corps will come out and pre-treat them with a chemical and then power-wash them.”

However, he said, both efforts take time “and can only get to so much each day, which is why it is taking so long. But we are getting to them.”

The person painting the graffiti hearts has yet to be observed on surveillance footage, and no eyewitnesses, if any, have come forward. San Diego police Lt. Bryan Brecht told the Light after the Enhance La Jolla meeting that there is “no new information” about the case.

Other Enhance La Jolla news

Streetscape plan: Phyllis Pfeiffer, chairwoman of the La Jolla Community Foundation, announced the group is preparing — pending additional fundraising — to break ground in September on the Girard Avenue phase of a Village streetscape plan.

“We are heavily into fundraising,” said Pfeiffer, an Enhance La Jolla board member. “We have $3 million in house and need another $3.5 million.”

Streetscape means the appearance or view of a street, and the plan by the Community Foundation and Enhance La Jolla is a four-phase, $15 million project to renovate Girard Avenue between Silverado and Prospect streets and the area known as “The Dip” at Prospect. Planned street improvements in the public right of way include curb extensions, paving, landscaping, lighting, conversion of northbound Prospect to a public pedestrian way between Girard and Herschel avenues and converting the southbound side of Prospect in that area to two-way traffic.

Hanging flower baskets: As part of an ongoing beautification effort, 15 new double-armed brackets for hanging flower baskets have been ordered, Earley said. The flower baskets will be hung on light poles between Prospect Street and Torrey Pines Road. Earley said he expects the brackets to be delivered in coming weeks, with work beginning in February.

Next meeting: Enhance La Jolla meets quarterly or as needed. The next meeting will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at a location to be determined. Learn more at enhancelajolla.org. ◆

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