TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Residents at one Tucson apartment complex are upset over the enforcement of a rule that draws the line when it comes to what their families can do with chalk.
“They are like rainbows and fishes, sunshine. It’s only on the sidewalk, too. It’s not on the doors or anywhere else," said Jessica Mejia, a resident at The Quails Apartments on Irvington Road.
Mejia said an employee with the complex knocked on her door Wednesday morning with a message about the chalk outside her apartment that she said she has never heard in the last two years living there.
“That my kids drew on the sidewalk and if I don’t clean it up right away, right now, they are going to charge $30 to have someone else do it," said Mejia.
Mejia said she was told her son’s art was considered graffiti and that it was prohibited on the property.
“For drawing? Really? It doesn’t make sense," said Mejia.
The mother cleaned off her portion of the sidewalk, but still questioned the complex on this enforcement code. Other residents shared colorful opinions.
“It’s a very dumb, ridiculous, stupid rule," said Rigo Beto.
“It’s petty, it really is," said Rick Madrigao. "You know, kids will be kids. At four, five, six-years-old, they are not going to know how to draw something that’s obscene.”
Sketches fill the sidewalk near Rick Madrigao’s door. With Beto, he called the enforcement of the rule ‘ridiculous.’
“I don’t think anyone even notices it, to be honest with you," said Madrigao.
But, it clearly caught the eyes of the employee. The manager at The Quails Apartments wouldn’t share her name, but spoke with KOLD News 13 on Wednesday afternoon off camera.
She said the owner of the property does not want graffiti and writing or drawing in chalk on the sidewalk counts as that.
“She specifically told me first no sidewalk chalk at all," said Mejia. "She said, you know, if you somehow use it, you need to wash it off like, immediately. So basically, they can’t be kids.”
Management said the enforcement is in an effort to keep the grounds “uniform" and she couldn’t have employees cleaning up for tenants.
But residents said they didn’t agree with the complex and felt the kid’s art on the sidewalk should not be considered graffiti.
“I’ve seen real graffiti, and that ain’t nothing compared to real graffiti, you know,” said Beto.
“They should at least tell you before you move in or at least put it in the lease before you sign it," Mejia said.
We were not able to get a copy of a lease, but the manager at The Quails Apartments said this has always been the rule of the property owner.
The manager said she has only been in the position for about two weeks, so she didn’t know if it had been enforced before.