San Diego

Father Uses Vandal's Graffiti Spree As Teaching Moment

With a little bit of elbow grease, a Chula Vista father used a vandal’s graffiti spree as a teaching moment for his daughter and their community.

Vulgar and offensive graffiti was found on fences, sidewalks, trees, electrical boxes and even on the property of a church in the area near the intersection of East Naples and Jamul Avenue Tuesday morning.

Jose Cobian saw a defaced electrical box at the corner of Naples and Hilltop Drive on his way to work and felt called to clean it up the first chance he could. He says art club students at nearby Loma Verde Elementary School, where his 7-year-old daughter Eliana now goes to school, painted the box.

“I’m sure whoever worked on this [electrical box] took a lot of time to plan it and to do all the little details, and for someone to come and mess it up, it’s not fair.” He said.

Once he got off of work, he and Eliana gathered some rags and a bucket of soapy water and started scrubbing off the spray paint. He hopes it was a chore his daughter doesn’t soon forget.

“My hope is that as she grows up she has a sense of pride for her community. Even if it’s as simple as picking up a piece of trash or just taking pride in where she lives.”

Cobian is a cross country and soccer coach at Castle Park High School and has seen his fair share of tagging. School staff has found that it’s best to clean taggings as quickly as possible to deter retaliation and limit the messages’ reach on social media.

“Usually, somebody tags something and then they cross each other out and it keeps going on and on,” he said. “If you just paint over it right away we’ve found that it discourages it, at least for a while.”

Cobian doesn’t live in Chula Vista, but he grew up there and works there. He says he considers the entire town his community.

He hopes that he’ll have more time to clean up other graffiti in the neighborhood before the next wave of rain comes later this week.

A city worker told NBC 7the amount of graffiti in the area was unusual. A Chula Vista teen said someone painted on the brand-new fence he and his father just built.

“It’s our property, it’s our house, this is our home,” he said.

He said vandalism like this never happens in his neighborhood.

A clergy member at St. Pius X Catholic Church said he saw someone on the property as he was coming home Monday night. He tried to confront the person and they shouted profanities back at him. Moments later, he found graffiti in the entryway to the church and on the parish’s fence.

He said he told his parishioners Tuesday morning to pray for the person responsible, “that he may find his way.”

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