When a graffiti artist tags MTA property, it's generally cleaned or painted over in a somewhat timely matter. However, when a graffiti artist uses a sidewalk outside of a Dunkin' Donuts in Coney Island to diss MTA Chairman Jay Walder, it becomes a "priority job." The MTA has dispatched a crew to clean a spray-painted message reading, "LAYOFF WALDER! REHIRE WORKERS!" from two stretches of sidewalk on 86th Street, Avenue U and West 13th Street. NYC Transit spokesman Charles Seaton said, "This is absolutely proper use of NYC Transit personnel and resources. It is our social obligation to remove graffiti critical of the MTA or its managers."
However, Joe Bermudez, vice president with Transport Workers Union Local 100, thinks Walder's possibly hurt feelings shouldn't be the cause for such panic. "We have a shortage of station cleaners, but they think this is a priority job," he said. "We can't have transit employees going all over the city or metropolitan area removing graffiti, that's not even on a bus stop or anything, that says Walder's not good or bad mouths the fare increase or whatever." The graffiti was written two blocks from a NYC Transit training facility, but not on any NYC Transit property. But Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign was sympathetic. "I can't bust MTA's chops for cleaning illegal sidewalk graffiti," he said. "I also think labor's demonizing Walder has gotten way too personal—and that's in nobody's interest." But it's so much fun!