The Sebastopol graffiti patrol is looking for new volunteers to help keep the city clean and is hoping to meet with volunteers in the next month.
The graffiti patrol started an estimated 35 years ago, according to Steve Einstein, who has been volunteering with the group for over 20 years himself. They started the patrol to help clean up the town in spots that were hit especially hard by graffiti back then.
As of now, the graffiti patrol consists of Einstein, who often brings along his young grandchildren to help on the removal efforts, and one other man who Einstein said prefers to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal from graffiti offenders.
The graffiti patrol is looking for volunteers either to help them go around and eliminate markups using a graffiti removal solvent or to call Einstein at 707-953-9077.
“I have no problem with free expression. I got a problem with people that you know that just spray their initials on stuff all over town. And I consider town like our common living room. I consider public property all of our property. And stay away from that!” Einstein said.
According to Einstein, the graffiti problem used to be much worse. Then, it required them to patrol the town on a consistent basis on the lookout for new vandalism.
“The truth is, there used to be much more graffiti. Yeah, the amount of graffiti that there used to be, they used to patrol almost every day,” he said.
According to Einstein, he has no problem with artistic expression when done in a commissioned area but not when it's simply vandalizing the city.
“If you want to do some kind of beautiful, stylized, artistic art thing, there are some places for that. Certainly, the skate park has some beautiful stuff, and there's been some space provided for people to do that kind of graffiti,” Einstein said.
He added, “But the stuff that's just meant as malicious, you know, tagging individuals initials or logo or whatever it is. I think it's unbearably rude, and it shows incredible disrespect for the rest of the community. I’m very happy to have a hand in eliminating it.”
Einstein said he has not seen an increase in graffiti during the pandemic but does expect it to increase as kids return to school this fall.
This has been an ongoing effort to eradicate these markups for years by Einstein and others, and they are looking to keep that effort going.
He said to report graffiti leave a message at his number listed above or call the Sebastopol Police Department at 707-829-4400.