Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just a form letter

On October 5 2007, Jen Pepperman received a written warning from the New York City Sanitation Department. That letter told her that she had 45 days to remove the graffiti from her 10th St stoop in Park Slope or face a $300 fine.

It seems that one of her neighbors made a formal complaint about the "graffiti" that her 6 year-old daughter had placed outside. Natalie Shea, Jen's daughter evidently upset someone living close by with her chalk doodles outside and the complaint to the Sanitation Department prompted the "automatic" letter to be generated.

"My mom got a ticket for graffiti, and it wasn't even graffiti. I think it was chalk. It was art, very nice art," stated Natalie.
The law that captured Pepperman was introduced by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr in 2005 and was intended to require property owners to clean graffiti and was meant to clean up spray painted storefronts and not punish kids drawings. Vallone stated that it was never the intent of his law to capture chalk drawings on the sidewalks and he hoped that the misunderstanding doesn't happen again.

Pepperman did state that the work wasn't her daughter's best and promised to wipe off her creations more promptly in the future. As for the offending artwork, it was washed away in a recent rainfall.

"I'm a good New Yorker. I like to obey the rules. If it is really illegal for Natalie to use chalk on her own stoop, if that's really upsetting to Mayor (Bloomberg), I will comply," stated Pepperman.
The warning letter was generated because a neighbor complained about the chalk drawings of a child and from the look of them, there doesn't seem to be any offensive language or gang signs in it. It seems an odd trend to ban games such as tag, kickball and now it seems, a young child's non permanent creations while they talk of the growing problems of obesity in children. The artwork was a kids drawings that would certainly disappear in the next rainfall.......... what next for neighbors to complain about, the "offensive" colors of someones drapes that show on the street?

For my previous post, go here.

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