Cleaning up the hate: Graffiti vandals target gay community

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Cleaning up the hate: Graffiti vandals target gay community

By Marcelino Benito. CREATED Jun 11, 2013

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Drive by Valley View and onto Sunrise, and it's hard to miss.

"Who would do that?" said Roxanna Shapouri.

We noticed. You noticed it. Big blue letters sprawled on the big red stop sign. It says "Please Stop the Gays."

"That's hurtful to a lot of people," said Shapouri.

It's been there for 2 to 3 weeks. Customers in the nearby shopping center have called the city to try to get it taken care of.

"It is a surprise that something so offensive would stay up so long without some kind of action," Shapouri said.

The problem is, this sign belongs to the county.

"How badly do you want it to come down?" asked 9OYS Marcelino Benito. "Pretty badly, I'd like to not have to look at that everyday," said Shapouri.

So we hit the phones. And within an hour, crews rolled up and started wiping away the hate.

"I don't want to encourage people who would make those statements, that's not Tucson," said county transportation director Priscilla Cornelio.

Wingspan, a local LGBT group agrees. They tell us this is "very hurtful" and "impacts real people." They say a quick clean up is critical. And the county pledges to deliver.

"As soon as it shows up, call us and let us know," said Cornelio.

County officials say they deal with 30 to 40 graffiti-ed signs a month. Clean up can run anywhere from $45 to $89 per sign.

"It can add up," said Cornelio.

A price they pay to clean up someone else's hate.

If you ever see anything like in the county, you can call Pima County's Taking Action Against Graffiti Program or (TAAG). The number is 520-792-8224.

If that doesn't work, you can always call our 9OYS line, 520-290-7726 or email us at