Remember those un-sticky parking stickers that became an issue in this year’s mayor’s race? Miguel del Valle’s enemies suggested he was an incompetent city clerk because he’d failed at the job’s most important task: designing a sticker for car windows.
Del Valle blamed the Procurement Department, saying they overruled his recommendation and gave the contract to SecureMark, the lowest bidder. SecureMark was able to bid so low because they didn’t buy glue. Their five-year contract was cancelled after just one year, and the city was forced to issue new stickers to motorists.
Steve Tanner got one of the defective stickers, but it adhered to his windshield, so he didn’t think anything of it until a few days after Snowpocalypse 2011, when he discovered two orange envelopes on his car. Due to the snow buildup, cold had seeped through the glass, causing the sticker to fall off. Since Tanner works at home, he didn’t notice it immediately.
Tanner’s blog details how he beat the $120 tickets. The first was dismissed because the officer wrote down the wrong address. To get the second knocked off, he used a courtroom demonstration that suggests he may want to consider a career as a trial lawyer:
I started my appeal by arguing that this ticket should be dismissed due to the previously reported “defective adhesive” problem. [The Administrative Law Judge] looked a bit agitated at this and replied that those issues were resolved a long time ago. At this point, I started to present evidence, which she had to log accordingly. I first presented the photo of my car buried in the snow, taken February 2, which I argued contributed to the sticker coming loose from the window.
My second exhibit was another printout I had made featuring two photos. The first photo showed my dashboard with the sticker detached, as it had appeared after I was ticketed. The second photo illustrated how I had temporarily corrected this problem by taping the sticker back to my window.
I also presented into evidence my city sticker receipt, noting the purchase date of June 4, and making correlation with various media reports about that timeframe being part of the problem.
The real clincher, however, was when I presented into evidence the sticker itself. When she took it from me, she noted that “this isn't sticky at all,” and proceeded to try to stick it to her laser printer. It held for 1 second and then fell off.
Tanner doesn’t reveal how he voted in the Feb. 22 election, but I hope he didn’t blame del Valle for the unsticky sticker. It was the fault of the past-its-prime Daley administration, and one of the reasons we had a contested election.
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