Council Bans Stickers of Shame, Overriding Mayor’s Veto

Neon colors may be back in fashion, but neon stickers are officially out — at least at the city’s Sanitation Department.

The 25-year-old effort to shame New Yorkers who violate alternate-side parking rules by plastering neon stickers on their vehicles officially ended on Wednesday afternoon, as the City Council unanimously voted to outlaw them, overriding a veto by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The sheer stickiness of the stickers has driven many New Yorkers to distraction over the years. David G. Greenfield, a councilman from Brooklyn who sponsored the bill, said some of his constituents had hired professional mechanics to remove them.

Since Mr. Greenfield introduced the bill, he said, constituents have continually approached him with their horror stories. One resident said he left his car in an alternate-side parking zone after he rushed to the hospital for a medical emergency, only to find a sticker on his vehicle, leaving it “permanently defaced.”

“Hands down,” Mr. Greenfield added, “this is the most popular piece of legislation I have introduced.”

In January, the Council first voted to outlaw the stickers, contending that they violated New Yorkers’ due process by assuming motorists’ guilt without allowing an opportunity to prove their innocence.

Sanitation officials objected, testifying at Council hearings that city streets over all were cleaner since the city introduced the stickers. And last month, Mr. Bloomberg vetoed the bill, even though it was clear that the Council had more then enough votes to override it.

In a letter dated Feb. 17, 2012, the mayor wrote that he had vetoed the legislation because the stickers helped preserve clean streets, an issue he called “an important quality-of-life concern for all New York City residents.”

Nonetheless, Christine C. Quinn, the Council speaker, spoke more of the concerns raised by those who received the stickers, and admitted that when she had gotten one, it was a “multiday effort” to remove it. She disputed the administration’s claims that the stickers made New York City cleaner.

“There’s little evidence that these big, ugly, hard-to-remove stickers have improved street cleanliness,” she said. “Our law will put an end to these unnecessary scarlet letters, once and for all.”

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