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USA "Graffiti" on Telephone Poles
updated: Apr 09, 2014, 2:18 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Can anyone answer why the letters "USA" are marked on telephone poles throughout town? I always thought it was graffiti, but recently this was marked on a pole a block or so away from my house and it looks terrible. I believe it stands for "Underground Service Access," but not sure. There is a USA "tag" on the telephone pole at the corner of Mission and Robbins, which has been there for several years. Why the huge marking? Can't the phone/gas/cable company who is responsible for this marking do it on a metal sign and not look so trashy? Anyone?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 509874 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 02:25 PM

If it's marked in the street near the poles, it's "Underground Service Alert" call before you dig.


 COMMENT 509884 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 02:40 PM

I've wondered the the same thing, the poles on De la Vina have it. Looks like graffiti since it's spray painted. How about a stencil?


 COMMENT 509909 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 03:49 PM

They are power poles (which also sometimes carry Verizon and Cox cables). SCE is doing a major program in our region to replace old, rotting and damaged poles with new ones. They require power outages, so SCE has been sending notices to affected property owners as they go.

USA stands for Underground Service Alert. The markings reflect the locations of underground utilities. It is precautionary so the workers know to be careful working around them.


 COMMENT 509927P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 04:18 PM

Yes. I agree that the letters should be stenciled or look more formal. I used to spray paint over the "USA" markings, for quite a while, using utility pole brown-shaded spray paint. I did this as part of my volunteer graffiti clean up around town. (OSH has the right shade of brown paint I paid for it myself.)

Ha. I stopped covering them up, when someone told me the markings were made officially----but I never did know what the reason was.

I think the USA markings are a terrible eyesore.


 COMMENT 509931 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 04:23 PM

"USA" is for Underground Service Alert and should be painted in white water based spray paint. Utility lines would then be painted in their respective colors, Yellow= gas, Blue= water etc... They should be using water based spray paint for easy clean up.


 COMMENT 509938P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 04:27 PM

Just relieved it's not tagging by a domestic mega-gang competing with the Mexican Mafia.


 COMMENT 509942 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 04:31 PM

Comment threads like this crack me up. Maybe that's why a cable company that shall remain unnamed is so stuck on a particular event far far away in the southern seas - people eat that ship up, all day long.


 COMMENT 509963 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 05:21 PM

A few months ago most of the utility poles on my block were replaced immediately next to the old poles--but they didn't remove the old poles, they just sawed them way down, so they're only about 8 feet tall now. So now there are TWO poles in peoples' yards, not just one. And of course the old poles all have USA sprayed on them in huge letters. Nice way to ghettoize a neighborhood. Anyone have any idea how we can get these stupid extraneous poles removed?


 COMMENT 509989 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 07:09 PM

USA is also painted on the ground If any digging is about to happen for underground utilities. It gives the Gas company electric sewer water ex..An area where to mark these with paint so a construction company does not hit it with a piece of equipment.


 COMMENT 510005P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-09 09:01 PM

@Rex: They did the same in front of my house a while ago and now the old, short pole is a real eyesore to the neighborhood. I've called twice to ask that SCE remove it but nothing has been done. They must be just abandoning their old poles where they are to save money which they can then waste on smart meters.


 COMMENT 510019P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 02:17 AM

005P. Keep calling SCE. Call and call and call. Squeaky wheel and all that. Edison has to be one of the most slow-acting companies on the planet, when it comes to responding to any kind of clean up project. Don't give up.


 COMMENT 510027 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 06:58 AM

They are supposed to use a white spray paint that is temporary to mark the area of intended work. Unfortunately white is the only criteria adhered to so enamel paint is used and sticks around a long time.


 COMMENT 510048 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 08:16 AM

The poles are actually within the SCE easement and not within anyone's "yard". I second the calling for their removal, but it is SCE so good luck.


 COMMENT 510057 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 08:42 AM

If it is in your back yard, I say cut the nubbin down with a chainsaw. If they ask where it is, you don't know nuthin.

Even worse, my back yard is the end of the run on my block so I have 2 guy wires spanning the backyard. The last 5 feet of my yard is unusable because of that. Would the poles really fall over if the guy wires were gone mysteriously?


 COMMENT 510058 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 08:42 AM

@048: Oh, two of the poles are in my yard, alright. SCE may have an easement, but it's still my yard.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 08:57 AM

USA reminds me, after WWII people didn't want to buy products made in Japan; so, Japan named a town USA, "made in USA". Then things made here changed to U.S.A.


 COMMENT 510073 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 09:06 AM

start a petition, create action and complaints, post known phone numbers and names, call city officials to find out how things can change and keep complaining. If no one does anything they'll just keep being lazy, think out of the box and figure out the people who need to be contacted to get results, bug bug bug bug


 COMMENT 510086 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 09:41 AM

Today I called SCE to see when they were coming to take away the remaining poles on my block. They determined through a coding number on the old poles that they were actually Verizon property. The poles were deteriorating, so for some reason it fell to SCE to replace them. Removal, however, is up to Verizon.

I called Verizon. They said that since THEIR lines weren't replaced at the time of the new pole installation and were still at what is now the top of the old partially sawed-down poles, there was no reason to go to the effort of reinstalling the lines onto the new poles!

I told the Verizon representative with whom I spoke that having two poles where one had previously been was completely unacceptable and that the poles must be taken down. To appease me, he said he'd have a supervisor call me within 48 hours to further discuss the situation. And we know, of course, how THAT conversation is going to turn out, don't we?

In these days when all utility lines should be put underground, I find it reprehensible that instead of that, the utilities are doubling up on the poles themselves.

Equally reprehensible is our city zoning department, which allows the utility companies to do this and completely get away with it.


 COMMENT 510094 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 10:04 AM

Utility companies are exempt from many height restrictions within their easements. Undergrounding utilies is very expensive and costs would be passed on to customers. The CPUC might be a better organization to blame for the development within the SCE easement than a local jurisdiction.


 COMMENT 510099 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 10:36 AM

White indicates the spot to be USA'ed, then each utility is shown as located by colors, red for Edison, yellow for gas, orange for Telephone and TV, blue for water and green for sewer.


 COMMENT 510103 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 10:45 AM

Next time some utility guys want to come onto your property, get some big mean dogs for the back yard, and don't answer your door.

That generally is enough to move you to the bottom of the list for pole work, and you might be able to delay them until you move to a nicer place.


 COMMENT 510187P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 04:13 PM

I'm sure Edhat would post the pictures of the poles and stumps, and I'm sure Verizon and Edison don't want the attention.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-11 09:20 AM

094 is right, putting utilities underground is paid for by homeowners; on the Riviera it cost my aunt $17,000.


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