Anyone who reads this column on a consistent basis, or knows me, knows that the period between June 30, of any year and July 15, is one of both joy and dread. Joy because for 15 days, I can take the city sticker off of my car and not risk a ticket. That's because the prior year's sticker expires on June 30 and a new one doesn't have to be displayed until July 15. Now, buying a city sticker is one of those mandatory purchases that a resident of the city of Chicago has to make if they own a car. Unlike the state of Illinois' emission test-which can be postponed or pended because the car wasn't in the area-a city sticker ain't optional.
And paying that $75 dollar pisses me off every year because buying it doesn't guarantee me anything. Not a parking space or a street free of potholes. Not even the ability to be given priority parking privileges at any city-owned venue.
I searched this paper's website to see how many times I wrote about the city stickers. As expected, I found quite a few as far back as 2005. I seemed to always have something to say about that city sticker whenever I wrote about the budget hearings. I've written about the cost of the sticker being so high that for many of Chicago's poor living on minimum wages, the sticker's cost is literally a day's pay.
So imagine my delight in learning that the city sticker is playing a major role in the Chicago Board of Election's hearings concerning whether or not Rahm Emanuel can stay on the ballot to run for mayor.
At first I thought he might take a stance against the city sticker because it causes a major financial burden on a struggling populace. Or that he was going to declare his intentions to slash the cost for the sticker once he became mayor. But instead, a very interesting scenario is playing out. The man who claims to be a Chicago resident after leasing his house to go work in Washington has been exposed for not purchasing a June 2009-10 city sticker. Come again???
After repeatedly telling us how he kept his car registered here he, in fact, didn't pay the $75 bucks-a measly sum for him-for that piece of plastic that sometimes doesn't like to even stick. What gives?
His car is registered here and not in Washington, where the insurance rates are much higher. Nah...somebody who wanted to be mayor wouldn't be trying to pull a fast one over on his car insurance company. Now we are learning that even though the car is registered here at the address he leased out to his tenant, he can't buy a city sticker for it because the car is parked in Washington D.C. Wait a second. Does Rahm Emanuel really think that we are that stupid? Cause right about now, we know that he is a cheapskate.
Rahm is said to be a millionaire several times over. Yet, rather than leave his house empty or allow someone to room in it in exchange for house sitting, Rahm leases the house out while still professing to be a Chicago resident. According to the city clerk's website, this Q&A is the closest I could come to seeing how the issue of the sticker would be addressed:
"My vehicle is registered to another state and I live in the city only a portion of the year. Do I need a vehicle sticker from Chicago also?"
"Yes, you do need to purchase a vehicle sticker. Regardless of where your vehicle is registered, as long as you reside, or your vehicle is principally garaged, within the city limits, you are required to have a vehicle sticker."
Hmmm. The "as long as you reside" portion stuck out to me. The city clerk says that a resident must buy a city sticker. Rahm claims that he is a resident but, yet, didn't buy the sticker. It is quite clear that our mayoral wannabe is already skilled at asking everyone else to do what he feels he doesn't have to do. Is there a question in anyone's mind that he shouldn't have had to buy that city sticker? I mean this is the same city that will boot, tow and demolish your car for unpaid parking tickets and still have you owing for those tickets. I know there has to be people who have been forced to pay for prior years' city stickers when found guilty of having not purchased them.
The rules at the Board of Election are quite clear. A candidate cannot "owe" the city any money when they file to run for office. If we are to take Rahm at his word that he is a resident of the city, then he should have bought the city sticker regardless of the car being in Washington or not. I'm sure that the application for the sticker was sent to him. Seeing that Rahm didn't buy a sticker, he owes the city money, and, therefore, is in violation of the rules and should not be allowed to get on the ballot. At least, that's how I see it.
Let's see what the Board of Election does because there are a number of candidates who are being challenged for owing the city money.
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