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May 20, 2009 > Graffiti Terminators

Graffiti Terminators

By Sargunjot Kaur

With sunny days and warm summer weather, the Graffiti Terminators of Milpitas are predicting an increase in graffiti occurrences.

"The graffiti doesn't occur in a routine, but around the summer months we get frantic for help. During the rainy cold weather however, we don't see as much of the incidents," said Gloria Anaya, the head of the Milpitas Senior Housing and Neighborhood Preservation.

The Graffiti Terminators, Milpitas' blight abatement organization, began in part due to the city's Neighborhood Beautification Ordinance.

Currently the group is in desperate need of volunteers to help clean the graffiti around the inner city neighborhoods. At the moment, they have no volunteers.

"We are looking for people who are dependable, involved, and can get around the city by themselves," said Anaya.

Volunteers, or as they are called "The Terminators," go through an extensive training session run by Chris Challer, the organizer of the Graffiti Terminators, before going out on the job alone.

"We have a booklet that outlines the safety issues and other rules that we go through with the volunteers. The trainees then see the abatement process firsthand and perform it to finish off their training," said Anaya.

The organization runs on a small budget funded by the city and local merchants who donate water-based paint for the volunteers.

Volunteers mainly use neutral colors that don't necessarily match the original colors. However, if the property is very visible, the funds are used to buy matching paint.

The Terminators cover the graffiti free of charge on private properties located around Milpitas, so long as it is accessible and no more than six feet off the ground. The volunteers are provided with all paint and equipment beforehand.

"Once we receive permission from the property owner, we have our Terminators go to the property. They have all the supplies at hand so they can go when we call" said Anaya.

Volunteers need to be at least 16 years of age to be recruited. However, younger interested volunteers are welcome along with a supervision of an adult 16 years or older.

The number of people needed to cover each incident is completely dependent upon the area covered by the graffiti, which often time calls for teams of volunteers.

To request volunteer services and obtain a waiver, call (408) 586-3078. Contact Milpitas Volunteer Services at (408) 586-2787 or the Milpitas Graffiti Hotline at (408) 586-3079.

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