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Oak Park Girl Faces Jail Time Over Sidewalk Art

Residents complain city is on a tear to prosecute “low hanging fruit.”


OAK PARK, Mich. — After the failed bid by local officials to eradicate a family’s front yard veggie garden, the city has cited a 7-year-old girl with defacing public property for using chalk on the sidewalk in front of her house.

The girl, whose name is being withheld because she is a minor, said she was surprised when she received a summons to appear in court.

“I’m just sad in my heart,” the girl, a second grade student at Avery Elementary said. “I’ve been drawing real nice ponies for a long time and everybody tells me how pretty I color.”

While the city has refused to comment, some residents contend the authorities have just abdicated fighting real crime and are going after softer targets, like gardening mothers and child artists.

“You know, it’s bad enough that they threatened that woman with the garden,” said next-door neighbor Mike Ochs, 38. “I swear, next they’ll come back and arrest me for hocking a loogie in the street.”

Ochs and other angry residents are referring to front yard gardener Julie Bass, who created an uproar with her raised vegetable garden in lieu of a lawn — and was charged with a misdemeanor for violating a city ordinance.

Bass potentially faced a $100 fine and up to 93 days in jail. The charge was later dropped in the face of mounting criticism.

Of course, not everyone is in love with the chalk art, either. One longtime neighbor, 67-year-old Abby Anger, said she wouldn’t mind seeing it stop. “Really, her pictures sucked,” Anger said. “I mean, I’ve seen prettier ponies coming out of a glue factory.”

While a city officials are adamant that the two cases are unrelated, the parents of the 7-year-old aren’t so sure. When asked if their daughter should just color on paper, the mother simply shrugged.

“It’s beautiful outside and we only get a few months to really enjoy the weather,” the mother, Fanny, 39, said. “Plus, if Oak Park had nice sidewalks I could understand, but half the squares on my block are falling apart anyway.”


Editor’s NoteThis article is from Red Thread‘s “Scallion” department; it is a satire.




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