New York is serious about graffiti. The blight costs Big Apple businesses and government millions of dollars annually, which has moved the city's Anti-Graffiti Task Force and other agencies to crack down. But after a recent collar in Brooklyn, citizens and officials are wondering if the rules are too tough.

In October, the New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) sent Jen Pepperman a letter ordering her to remove graffiti from her property or face a $300 fine. However,

  • The “graffiti” marks were actually chalk drawings, not paint or another more permanent medium.
  • The drawings were on Pepperman's concrete front stoop, well within her property lines.
  • The scofflaw responsible for the chalk creations is not Pepperman, but her six-year-old daughter, Natalie.

DSNY spokesperson Cathy Dawkins claims the city is not out of bounds. Paint or chalk, private property or not, Pepperman was given 45 days to remove the scribbles or be visited by a city inspector. And 60 days after that, if Pepperman (or a gentle rain) has not erased Natalie's masterpiece, the city will deliver a summons.

Despite the “cease and desist” from the city, Natalie is vowing to keep up with her illegal activity. That is, until Mom says it's time to come in for dinner.