McCully-Moiliili residents fed up with graffiti

Maryjean Lapastora
Maryjean Lapastora
Ron Lockwood
Ron Lockwood

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

MOILIILI (KHNL) - Some call it art. Most call it property damage.

Residents in McCully and Moiliili say they're fed up with graffiti. A group of them is fighting back with a community-wide cleanup this weekend.

Three-year-old Judah is having a blast on the playground equipment at Ala Wai Community Park. He doesn't notice the graffiti around him, but his mom sure does.

"It's pretty sad because it's a place for the children to play," Maryjean Lapastora, parent, said. "And it's just, it makes you feel as if it's been defaced and there might be somebody bad around because of all the things that it says."

Members of TAG -- or Totally Against Graffiti -- to the rescue.

"The reaction for myself and a lot of other people is anger," Ron Lockwood, Moiliili resident, said. "And we've decided to do something about it."

Using donated paint, cleaning supplies and some muscle, Joel Elies, Ray Lalosin and Ron Lockwood go on the attack to clean up the neighborhood.

"I think they're wonderful," Lapastora said.

Even though the graffiti sometimes returns, TAG says it's making a difference.

"The site behind me, a year ago, was covered with stuff. I mean, you couldn't see the orange on the slide," Lockwood said. "And nowadays, it's a lot better."

The team will lead a massive cleanup in the McCully and Moiliili communities Saturday. Lockwood says the University of Hawaii is on board.

"They sent out an e-mail blast to 30,000 faculty and staff, which is tremendous," he said. "And if 1% of them show up, that's over 300 volunteers."

As for Lockwood, he's never giving up in the war against taggers.

"I'll be out here getting rid of your tags until they bury me," he said.

If you're interested in volunteering, meet at Kuhio Elementary at 8 am Saturday.