February 8, 2012
Statement on City Vehicle Sticker Design and Awarding of Savings Bonds
Over the last two days, I learned from the media that certain characteristics of the intended city vehicle sticker design potentially bore a likeness to the insignia of a particular Chicago street gang. I then consulted with gang experts from the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Crime Commission who analyzed both the artwork and the artist’s Facebook page, and concluded that in their professional opinion, they believed that the artwork could be interpreted as symbolizing a particular violent gang. Given that information, I could not risk printing the image on 1.3 million stickers.
The student whose design will be featured on the sticker is entitled to the $1000 savings bond promised in our contest rules. She will receive it. However, I believe that the student who provided the original design should also be recognized for his talent and participation in the contest. I want to encourage him to pursue a degree where he can continue to develop his skills. I have reached out to Herbie and hope to meet with him. I feel terrible about what he’s going through and the media storm he’s had to deal with. While he has admittedly had problems in his youth, I do believe that he is trying to turn his life around. That is why I am going to give him a $1000 savings bond to use for his education coming from me personally. It will not be at taxpayer expense.
I look forward to hopefully meeting with him soon.