Vandals are at it again. This time the signs on the ashtrays at Heritage Hills Park were the target. The signs, installed by a private citizen using his own money, were spray-painted black sometime earlier this week.
“I’m PO’d,” Jonathan Bertanelli said about the vandalism. Bertanelli not only installed the signs and ashtrays at the park, but he and others have painted the curbs and gates in their free time to help beautify Heritage Hills Park. This isn’t the first time Bertanelli’s efforts have been undermined by vandals.
In mid-May, the ceramic pots he originally installed as ashtrays were smashed by miscreants. Albuquerque Police were contacted about both incidents, according to Bertanelli, but it is still unclear who is behind the destruction.
When asked if he is being specifically targeted, Bertanelli said he doesn’t know. “So many people have come up and thanked me for what I’m doing,” he said, adding that he’s even been asked to install more ashtrays on the other side of Ventura. “This isn’t just a Jonathan thing. It’s a collective effort,” he added.
Bertanelli received help from other private citizens to help pull weeds and paint the curbs and gates at the park. He said he paid more than $1,000 for the red and yellow caution paint, which is OSHA approved. He said if the vandal or vandals are caught, he wants them to pay restitution. “Have them do some community service and be productive members of society,” Bertanelli said.
Graffiti all around
In addition to the spray-painted signs at the park, there have been other reports of vandalism along Ventura Street in the past month. According to seeclickfix.com, where the public can view citizen complaints and reports to 311, there were at least two other incidents of graffiti near Ventura Street in August.
An Aug. 19 complaint shows there was graffiti along the arroyo underneath the Ventura overpass. That incident was closed and resolved the same day. Graffiti reported along the water channel between General Kearney and Ventura was also reported and resolved on Aug. 19.
More graffiti was found and reported on Aug. 22 at 8011 Harper Drive NE. Someone had tagged a green PNM box at that location. That incident was received and resolved on the same day, according to seeclickfix.com. Graffiti in one of the tunnels along South Domingo Baca Arroyo just east of Ventura was also visible on July 19. The 311 reporting site does not a show an incident report for that location.
The spray-painted signs at Heritage Hills Park are different than the other graffiti found around the neighborhood, though. The signs were just blacked out with no associated tag name or street art on or nearby the signs. There was no other graffiti at the park either; it was just the signs that were damaged. The graffiti at the other locations was also done with red, orange and black paint while whoever vandalized the signs only used black.
“I don’t know if the paint can be removed from the signs without ruining them,” Bertanelli said, adding that he would pay for new signs to be printed if the damaged ones can’t be cleaned up.
To report graffiti or acts of vandalism, call 311 or visit seeclickfix.com/albuquerque.