This community project and website was developed by the Lakeside Garden Guild, a group of 40 women. “The primary purpose of The Lakeside Garden Guild shall be the growing and showing of fresh plant material and organizing and supporting an annual community project.” For its 2009 Community Project, the Guild voted to help keep Lakeside beautiful by trying to clean up graffiti. Guild women have spent countless hours painting graffiti with a donation of 62,000 pesos during 2009-2010.
Because of the importance of the project, the Garden Guild’s project was continued for a second year. However, the Guild voted in 2010 to change the emphasis of the project. Due to the magnitude of the on-going graffiti vandalism, cost, organizational time, and manpower required to clean graffiti, the Guild realizes that the problem cannot be solved over the long term by a small group of women. The direction of the project changed from just cleaning graffiti to an effort to engage the entire community in the project, so that the project could continue over the long term.
After much research and organizing meetings with Mayor Jesus (Chuy) Caberra , Police Chief Reynol Contreras, and Aurora Michel of the Actinver-Lloyd Bank, and later in a large public meeting with the Mayor, Police Chief, Jalisco Public Security Officer Alejandro Solorio, Aurora Michel, and numerous community leaders, the message from all speakers was clear. Graffiti is a problem that cannot be solved by just one entity.It requires the entire community--local government agencies, police, schools, business, clubs, organizations, individuals, and neighborhoods--working collectively. (See research that backs this up by looking up the name of any large or small city and the word graffiti on the Internet).
Understand the Municipality’s (local government) Frustrations as of 5/2010
At meetings with Mayor Jesus (Chuy) Cabrera, Police Chief Reynol Contreras, Jalisco Security officer Alejandro Solorio, and Aurora Michel of the Actinver-Lloyd Bank, they expressed dismay that there is no law or fines on the books in Jalisco against graffiti (something they are working to change). They feel that graffiti and crime are related and is a major determent to the community. So, if the police catch someone in the act of graffiti vandalism, they will arrest them on other charges.
The police, if informed who might be, or is doing the graffiti, they will give warnings against such behavior. With limited money and manpower, the Mayor stated that it is difficult to have local government agencies clean-up graffiti on public buildings, but he will do what is possible. Also, it is his sincere hope that business and private property owners clean their property. Buildings not getting cleaned will have to be done by volunteers who care about keeping Lakeside beautiful (see how to volunteer or donate money for paint). And the Mayor has recommended that a discussion on the negative impact of graffiti be added to the DARE programs in the schools.
This website was developed to inform the community on:
How everyone in the community can help in some form.
Reporting graffiti to provide the police information.
The biggest deterrent---clean graffiti ASAP!
The problems of solving the graffiti problem.
How to clean or paint over graffiti.
Opportunity to make donations for the on-going clean-up.
In addition to the 2009 graffiti clean-up, during the first four months of 2010, approximately 100+ patches of graffiti were cleaned. The Lakeside Garden Guild’s solo effects are coming to an end. For a long term solution, the entire community must participate! Through a community-wide effort, San Miguel del Allende totally controls graffiti.
The Lakeside Garden Guild began in September of 1968 by women who were interested in the love of gardening and floral decoration. Over the years the interest grew to include a total of 40 women who put their skills together in a social network and has expanded to several community projects that have helped the local people as well as beautifying the Ajijic village, Gran Plaza and streets.