The Niu Valley Graffiti Buster

Pamela Young
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Wednesday - July 20, 2005
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Dear Pamela,
Niu Valley residents (and everyone who drives by our East Honolulu community) owe a debt of gratitude to Bill Paul, who has been keeping our valley graffiti-free. Back in March, someone had drawn some pretty graphic graffiti on three of our four control boxes along Kalanianaole Highway. Whenever my son and I waited at the stoplight at East Halema‘uma‘u, he would say, “there’s the hostage, Mom,” as it depicted someone holding a gun to the head of a kneeling person. After trying the state’s graffiti hotline for the 10th time and not being able to leave a message because the mailbox was “full,” I e-mailed the state ombudsman with a cc to Rep. Stonebraker, who had stated he was going to start a graffiti buster program in East Honolulu. Herb Alameda from the Ombudsman’s office told me to call the DOT Services/Dept. of Facilities and Maintenance traffic signal boxes graffiti hotline and leave a message and someone would get back to me. I did, and no one got back to me. Marti at Rep. Stonebraker’s office recommended I attend the Transportation Forum on March 14 and ask for permission to paint the graffiti, but in two hours they didn’t get to my question. I also spoke with Jean at the Dept. of Facility Maintenance and she said she would call me back, but did not.


Instead of waiting for bureaucratic red tape or slow-as-syrup “hotlines,” Mr. Paul took on the responsibility of getting a permit to perform the work, picked up the paint from Rep. Lyla Berg’s office, spent four hours to completely paint over all our control boxes, and has been keeping an eye on them and repainting them when they get tagged again or covered with leftover tape from garage sale signs. We are truly grateful for his efforts and diligence to beautify our neighborhood as well as discouraging the proliferation of more graffiti.

Jeannine Johnson
Niu Valley Community Asso.

Dear Jeannine,
Bill Paul hopes other residents share his dismay with graffiti. “I was coming out of Niu Valley and saw that graffiti with a man holding a gun to another man’s head, and I said to myself, that’s got to be covered. All due respect to the city and county and state, but it was faster to do it myself. I got the permits and insurance waiver and the DOT provided a six-gallon container of paint. It’s very gratifying, but tiring. My goal is to get volunteers in each commuity from Kahala to Hawaii Kai and maybe this could spread throughout the entire island.”

If you’re interested in being a graffiti buster, contact Bill Paul at 373-3724.

(If you know someone who deserves some Applause, send your letters to Pamela Young, MidWeek Applause, KITV, 801 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96813 or e-mail pyoung@kitv.com. Include your name, phone number and, if possible, the phone number of your “applaudee” so we can contact him or her.)

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