I spent part of last weekend pealing stickers and scrubbing graffiti from the steel poles and removing dead weeds from tree wells between Cedros and Van Nuys and I have a few observations. The good news is that the problem is simple to remediate. The problem is that it takes a concerted effort on the part of residents, business owners and local government to make the changes necessary.
Bottom line, the graffiti contractors are making the situation worse. I know that the contractors paid to solving the problem are over worked. However, they are in large part responsible for the grubby look of the boulevard.
They are painting steel poles instead of using solvents to remove the offending paint or marker. The city needs to tell their contractors to STOP painting steel lamp posts. They should use “Crud Cutter”, paint solvent, steel wool to scrub the paint and finally clean rags to wipe the pole down when done. Cleaning the poles is a simple process but it requires muscle and patience. Any resident can do this work with some supervision. The same process should be used for parking meters.
Second, the same graffiti contractors are NOT using the city approved paint on Concrete lamp posts. That is why the lamp posts look messy. Further, the contractors are not consistently applying the paint. The city rules call for the paint to be a uniformed height and a clean sharp edge. They should NOT paint the steel plate cover at the bottom of the poles or the steel band that hold street signs to the pole.
Third, the green poles installed by the Sherman Oaks BID are a magnet for stickers. When removing the stickers spray the “Crud Cutter” on the stickers and then gently scrub the sticker with a wire brush. Be sure to avoiding scratching the green paint. The paint job on the poles is not the best and so need to be treated with kid gloves.
Finally, the contractors should be held accountable for the quality of their work. It is up to the city to properly supervise the work of its contractors. The Neighborhood Council should voice their displeasure directly to the city. The Sherman Oaks Homeowners should weigh as well. After all, the condition of the Ventura Boulevard should concern all Sherman Oaks residents.