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Alleged Graffiti Perpetrator Responds to Article

July 2, 2010 By Christian Murray

In March, the Sunnyside Post ran a story about the arrest of Daniel Wattenbarger on graffiti charges. (the full story is available at the following link). Yesterday, Wattenbarger e-mailed a detailed response as to what led to this alleged crime. His comments are below.

An excerpt from the original Sunnyside Post article read:

The perpetrator of some ugly graffiti at Sunnyside’s PS 150 has been arrested, according to police.

Daniel Wattenbarger, a 58-year-old male who lives on 41st Street, was arrested on March 23 for painting a message full of expletives on a wall adjacent to PS 150 — for all the students to read. He had been complaining to teachers at the school that the 6-to-10 year olds made too much noise during recess, police said. 

Mr. Wattenbarger’s response to the article on comments section

Daniel Wattenbarger says:

at 11:46 am  (Edit)

First, I am surprised at the attention. One would think that such attention would be paid before such a story is published. I have yet to hear from the reporter who wrote this story and yet my name has been plastered here for something I did not do and something that is not a crime. I cannot go into this further until the case is settled in court. For those who are concerned about the costs, realize that the you are paying for lawyers on both sides of the case.

Let’s however, discuss the issues. I will not indulge in the name-calling of your article though there are several things that could be attached to the practice of your journalism. Also I will not indulge in racist statements as have some of the posters. This is not a matter of race.

It is a matter of the rights of a citizen to not be harmed by the action of government.

To explain this statement. When I move here some 18 years ago. P.S. 150 had roughly half the classrooms it has now and about one-third of the number of students. There are by the statement of the principal some 1,400 children at this school about 500 of which are bused in from other neighborhoods where there are also public schools. In addition the playground, because of the building extension has been reduced to about half its former size.

Let’s look at the problem this causes. The schoolyard has play area for roughly 100 students
at a time, thus it is necessary to have about 14 20 minute recess periods. If you do the math
you will find that what you suggest is a 20 minute recess lasts just short of 4 hours. On normal days this is between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. On bad weather days it has been known to start as early as 8:15 am. I can get into my apartment, close all the windows, turn on the air conditioner play the stereo loudly and still be overwhelmed by the noise from the playground. I am at the point of the building furthest from the playground.

Please understand that I am not against children playing and I am also not complaining about the children. Children do what they are taught. This makes it clearly the fault of the school administration that this problem exists. First, the plan of the school addition was at best faulty. Logically, the extension should have been built near our building as opposed to its present location. This would have created a multilevel playground bewteen the two building and contained the noise of the added students. It is of note that my building was not contacted for input into the plans. I know because I was president of the building when the extension was built.

Secondly, the school is already overcrowded without the addition of some 20 busloads of students. In addition to piling the extra students into the neighborhood they cause severe traffic jams when school starts or lets out. The school is overcrowded and this is not the fault of the children.

Thirdly, By the statement of the of the principal, the school commissioner of schools for the area and representatives from both the mayor’s office and Joel Klein’s office there are no attempts to control the situation that they have created. The attitude that they take is “We want them to scream on the playground, That way they scream less when they come inside the school” This statement has been repeated to me by several levels of the administration.

The students express it differently. I have overheard many of them say “It’s a playground, we can make as much noise as we want” As chiildren essentially repeat what they here I can only surmise that someone (parents, teachers etc.) has told them that. This is a radical change in the students thought patterns that corresponds with the assignment of a new principal to the school.

The busing and the overcrowding have been problem ever since the extension was built but the noise was never a problem until the the new principal arrived. This new principal has tried, for example, To line up the 1,400 children outside in the playground before school began at 7 am. This practice was only stopped by police action (I.E. even a school has a responsibility to keep the noise down before 9 am) . When I spoke to the principal she basically stated that it was beyond her control. When I suggested that she contact the former principal in regard to the methodology used. She called the police to say I was harrassing her. By her own statement I was never less than polite to her. the problem was that I said things that she disagreed with.

Ultimately this a problem that was caused by the action of government mismanagement and is further exacerbated by the the total disregard of citizens in the neighborhood by the people that we are paying to manage the situation. This was a problem that was managed well for years and now has “blossomed” under the force of new management. It is in short a problem that would not be a problem except for the arrogance of the principal and the mismanagement of the school planning board.

Essentially, the mismanagement has the effect of taking my tax money and using it to run me out of my apartment. The question I ask you is this. Does the government have the right to require me to pay taxes and then use that money in such an inappropriate manner as to make my home unlivable for several months of the year? I personally believe that they have a responsibility to protect my rights from there actions.

This is a far more interesting story than the one that you have written and one you could have written had you done could have written had you only bothered to do some basic research.
By the way the term for such biased reporting is “Yellow Journalism” . I am sure that you have no idea what I mean..

email the author: news@queenspost.com

11 Comments

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jimmy

The 108 helps publish this shit and its all bullshit and the writers do know half the story so they bullshit online they got nothing better to do but jerk off online all day the percent

Reply
Daniel Wattenbarger

Just to put in the final word. The end result of all this is the following.

I am not hurt by all of this. You have wasted a lot of money in the following ways.

1. Paying for your police and lawyers from the District Attorney’s
office

2. Paying for my attorney.

3. Paying me unemployment for the period of time that this
was going on

There is more to this story that is coming that I cannot as yet discuss. It is however likelyto waste more of your money. I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile the school has made extra efforts to keep the children away
from my building and steps have been made to keep the noise down.
All of these things could have been accomplished without the
histrionics. The problem was the arrogance of government in handling
the problem. It was well worth anything that happened.

Did want to respond to those people who said I moved next to a schoo and there fore should expect the problem. There is a huge difference between a school of 300 students with an oversized school yard and one of 1400 students with a smaller playground. The problem was
caused with the addition of the building extension and the tripling of
the student body. As I pointed out it could have been avoided by
proper school planning. The problem has been caused by the
unilateral mismanagement of the school board at all levels. The
question is who should suffer from this. If it cannot be arranged for the
children to play without disturbing me then they should not be allowed
to use the schoolyard. This is because their representatives caused the
problem.

The claim of “emminent domain” is ridiculous. The law requires owners of property taken by emminent domain to be given just compensation. I have been given none.

We are back to the same question the rights of the individual to be
free from harm caused by the government. If all I did was to move
next to a tiny school that was no problem and I ended up with this
enormous problem I am blameless in this situation. The law in
the case of accidents requires that all parties do everything
possible to avoid the accident. I did. The school board did not.
This makes it 100% the fault of the school. If the students suffer
from it it is the fault of the school board and the administration.

You need to learn to live with the fact that individuals have rights
as well. You are asking me to bear the brunt of your mismanagement
without compensation. Is this in any way fair or just.

There is a larger issue hear as well. I am single and have never had
any children. This means that throughout my life I have paid more
for your children’s education than you have. This is also not the
way it should be. You need to get rid of your bigoted belief that
everyone should support your children. I have rights as well and
you are damned well going to respect them.

.

Reply
QueensBoy

Don’t think I’d wanna live with my window right there.

Probably got older kids hanging out at night.

Basketballs bouncing all hours.

QueensBoy

Reply
mary

you moved in next door to a school, what do you expect.. why don’t you move? could it be because you are in a rent controlled/stabilized apartment and can’t find anything for that price? if you were paying market rent you most certainly moved before becoming a criminal

Reply
Judy

The person who wrote this addressed the issues of the noise level at the school. He has constitutional rights regarding the arrest and charges. People commenting understand that I’m sure.

Reply
coocoo

Growing up we lived near a high school and heard the marching band practice at very early hours. This was not in NYC. Noise happens everywhere.
I think you raise some good points about the school though. Since the procedure for issuing city parking permits was changed last year or so, less DOE staff have them. Every day there are empty parking spaces in those restricted spaces on either side of 150. I wish the city would do something about that. We need those parking spaces.

Reply
Maria

Although I agree with your sentiments it is true that when you moved in, it was a playground. You should not have moved next door to a school

Reply
Jane

Sir, I too sympathize with your plight as I live across the street from a neighborhood park which is constantly in use am, noon and night by children, soccer players and spirited teens which I’ve simply come to accept as part of city living BUT you must realize most neighborhoods in Queens have experienced a population increase. Have you seen PS11 lately? Completely encased in construction netting. Seems they’ve outgrown the trailer classrooms in the schoolyard and are now undergoing a MAJOR expansion project to accommodate the growing community. Like it or not it’s the new reality which no one person or city agency can easily reconcile. Welcome to the new normal.

Reply
Mark

By suggesting that the government is rendering your property un-liveable is essentially suggesting “Eminent Domain”; of which under the law, you have no argument.

I myself grew up across the street from a schoolyard and while I can relate (slightly) with your plight. I completely disagree with your poor method of complaint. I mean, obscene graffiti? Do you really beleive that was the best way to get your message out? Really?

Reply
Conrad

Good point, you were totally within reason for writing obscene graffiti on the school yard wall!

Seriously, regardless of how loud you perceive the schoolyard to be NOW, it was ALWAYS a schoolyard. Children were playing there 18 years ago when you moved in and if you don’t like it, I suggest moving somewhere that’s farther away from any schools or parks. This is New York City. It’s not quiet.

And where was the yellow journalism? The part where the Sunnyside Post quoted the police? Were you not arrested for the graffiti? Were the police misquoted?

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