How Many People Does It Take To Misspell One Four-Letter Word?

Not a lot happens in Lemon Grove, CA.

That dramatically changed on June 24, and what happened was all over local radio and TV, plus TV stations in Philadelphia, New York and Houston, Yahoo, YouTube, Twitter, UPI, and something called “,” which describes itself as “a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site.”

All that attention on little ole Lemon Grove!

And it is little – the population is only about 27,000, and it encompass slightly less than four square miles, about a mile east of San Diego.

In the center of town you’ll see this:


That’s a 3,000 pound, 10 feet x 6 feet statue built as a parade float in 1928, then preserved to remind us that before Lemon Grove was a town, it was, in fact, a lemon grove.

If you could tear yourself way from that and head for the intersection of Washington and Lincoln Streets, before June 24 you would also have seen this:

sign before

That’s right – a quiet intersection, homes and trees, nice, but nothing remarkable.

But on June 24 the city of Lemon Grove had its annual contracted street rehab project in the works, and part of that project included the contractors’ subcontractors repainting what are called “sign legends.”

That somewhat faded STOP painted on the street pictured above was on the list for repainting.

And when the contractors’ subcontractors’ hard day’s work was done, the sign legend at Washington and Lincoln Streets looked like this:

sign with STOP sign

Apparently the subcontractors neglected to use spellcheck before they wrapped up and went home.

And they did have a spellcheck of sorts.  See the red STOP sign?

Did it occur to anybody to say, “OK.  According to the city work order, what we paint on the street needs to match the red sign right there.  That sign says S-T-O-P.  You got that?”

Or how about, “OK.  What we paint on the street needs to match what’s already painted there.  On the street it says S-T-O-P.  You got that?”

Apparently they did not.

A picture of the STPO started making the rounds on social media, the city got the word, and contacted the contractors, who contracted the subcontractors, and at some point the next morning the street looked like this, with the PO painted over:

sign half painted over

I guess the city, or the contractors, or the contractors’ subcontractors, were concerned that someone would have approached the intersection, see both the STPO on the street and the red STOP sign, and not know what to do:

“Oh, no!  Do I STOP?  Or do I STPO?  I’m so confused!”

Resulting in a miles-long traffic jam:

traffic jam cropped.jpg

The next morning, the subcontractors returned.  They painted over the ST:

Sign remove st (2)

Later they returned, laid down stencils, and repainted STOP:

sign in progress_02 cropped

And on that same Tuesday at 1:45 pm, City Manager Lydia Romero assured the public – well, the world really, and – that the sign legend had been fixed by Statewide Stripes, Inc.

Here’s the contractors’ subcontractors’ invoice:

Invoice (2) fixed.jpg

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