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Makakilo graffiti elicits frustration

West Oahu Current - December 28, 2005

By Don Robbins

Some residents of Makakilo said their sick and tired of seeing graffiti lining the walls for months at the corner of Palailai Street and Makakilo Drive, and wonder why elected officials seem to be doing nothing about it.

They pointed out the large paint scribblings scrawled in lower Makakilo – mostly colored blue and black – clinging to the perimeter walls of homes on both sides of the street, including right behind a bus stop.

Kohupono Street resident Sueann Carter said she is disgusted every time she drives by the graffiti.

“It appeared in early October and I expected (Neighborhood Board Chairwoman) Maeda Timson, (Rep.) Mark Moses and (Sen.) Brian Kanno to be out there the next day cleaning it up, but there has been no attempt to do so,” Carter said. “They’ve lost my vote, that’s for sure.”

Her neighbor Peter Schneider, who also lives on Kohupono, said Timson and Moses both live right down the street, and he wonders “what’s taken them so long” to address the problem.

“It’s just a disgrace to see, and nothing’s been done about it,” he said.

Schneider said, because he resides in an older section of Makakilo, “there is no community association where I live” to deal with the problem.

He feels that someone should hire a sandblaster to erase the offending graffiti, but said that he can’t and won’t do it himself because “that’s why we pay taxes.”

Added Palailai resident Laurie Taylor of the graffiti problem, “I think it’s a shame. It’s disrespect.”

She suggested a task force be formed and headed by the elected officials, and hoped that the blatant tagging is “not an omen” that gangs are moving into the area.

“Usually, we don’t see graffiti in Makakilo,” acknowledged Carter. Tyler said residents should call police if they see anything suspicious.

Rep. Moses said “a lot of the walls are private property and you can’t go slapping paint on it. He said, although he hasn’t wanted to bother the owners during the holidays, it’s possible that a group can be formed to clean up the graffiti.

Board Chairwoman Timson reiterated that the graffiti is on private property, and that she has tried to contact the owners without success.

After receiving an inquiry from the West Oahu Current, Jan Lehner of Sen. Kanno’s office said she would contact the city facilities department, citing Makakilo Drive as under city jurisdiction. I’ll take care of the problem right now,” she said last week.

Calls to the office of City Councilmember Nestor Garcia, who represents Makakilo, were not returned at press time.