Who are the Camel graffiti vandals, and why don’t drivers see them? Roadshow

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Q: What is up with the pathetic group of little twits who are spraying  “CAMEL” graffiti on our freeways? This gang has caused major vandalism and are probably laughing at us. Do you know what our city is trying to do to stop these zits on our butts? What is the punishment if they are caught?
 Mark Busch
A: It could be several hundred dollars, jail time and community service.
Q: Here’s one for you that I think everybody wants to know: Who is “CAMEL”? … Why can’t drivers who spot these creeps call 9-1-1?
D.J. Martin, Sonny Stearns and more
A: They can, but I need your help in outing these vandals who cost the state millions a year to remove graffiti. If you know who is doing this, fire off an e-mail to me or the CHP.
Graffiti vandals usually do this at night and target older signs that they can reach by walking along catwalks. The new retro-reflective signs Caltrans now installs are easily cleaned with a hose, so catwalks are not needed in front of the signs to protect cleaning crews and vandals don’t have catwalks on which to hide from view.
It’s tough to say how long the graffiti will remain. Train overpasses aren’t city property, so the city can’t get out there to remove it without permission.
One solution in Southern California is to install barbed wire and spiked columns. A sad sign of our times in a very sad year.
Q: At my local Arco station, I have been asked at the pump to approve a 35-cent fee every time I buy gasoline with my debit card. The other day the machine didn’t prompt me for a yes/no on that query. Is this universal throughout the state?
 Francesca Austin, Oakland
A: It varies. While Arco has charged a debit card fee, most companies do not. Another consideration: It’s easier for thieves to steal information from a debit card than a credit card.
Q: The reader who could not access the DMV website to renew their license online does not have a problem with Safari. The URL they are using is incorrect. They should go to dmv.ca.gov to do this.
Shellie Jacobson, Walnut Creek
A: And…
Q: Your answer about using Safari to access the DMV online was incomplete for many seniors who have no idea that there are many different web browsers. If they are not terribly computer-literate, they may not understand that they can download Google Chrome or Internet Explorer and get to the DMV website that way. Can you correct that quickly? Those people are still probably sitting at their computers very bewildered!
M.J. Bouthillier, Pleasanton
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A: I know that feeling.
Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at mrroadshow@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-920-5335.
 

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