Evanston aldermen got the answer this week to a question that’s been bugging some Evanston Now readers.

They were told by staff that printing up two different versions of the city sticker this year cost about $100 extra.

Evanston aldermen got the answer this week to a question that’s been bugging some Evanston Now readers.

They were told by staff that printing up two different versions of the city sticker this year cost about $100 extra.

The stickers promote two different Evanston organizations, the McGaw YMCA and the Lighthouse Rotary Club.

Some readers raised the question of why residents should be forced to drive around with an ad for either group on their windshields.

Perhaps the low cost of having alternate versions will prompt the aldermen to create a generic version for next year — lest someone drag the city down the expensive legal path trod by the State of New Hampshire, which eventually was told by the Supreme Court it couldn’t force motorists to drive around with the state’s “Live Free or Die” motto on their license plates.

New stickers must be displayed by Jan. 11. Prices go up 50 percent after then. Details on the city’s website.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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8 Comments

  1. wow what a bunch of grumps
    How sad that we might be forced to have a generic city sticker because people with nothing else to complain about don’t want to “promote” two very worthy causes. I love that each year Evanston celebrates an organization with the city sticker. Must we be so darn politically correct that we have to have a generic sticker?
    To all the haters I say – just pick one and move on with your life! There must be something else in your world to worry about.

  2. “Haters” and “grumps” is pretty harsh
    I think that the City should be concerned that there is a Supreme Court case that says that government cannot force residents to promote a particular cause, even if it is the state motto. There could be a lawsuit and that will cost all residents.

    Some in Evanston are concerned about needless spending and the waste of staff resources. How are these honored organizations chosen? Is there an application process? Who vets what information? If staff time is used, that’s wasted time and resources ( = $$$).

    The government is to use tax money to fund its necessary operations — snow removal, police, fire, trash removal. Selecting and forcing citizens to promote private causes are not part of a municipality’s functions.

    It is so Evanston to call names to try to stop a discussion. Calling those who are concerned about how government spends our tax dollars and how government staff members spend their time “haters” and “grumps” is unfair and not helpful.

    Why should anyone be forced to pay to select a cause to support it on their vehicle for a year and “then move on”? Is it acceptable to you for the City to insist that you pay for a bumper sticker for a cause that you do not support and that if you don’t put it on your car, you will be ticketed?

    1. One Neutral Choice Needed
      I think everyone here makes good points, and this should be examined a little. By limiting the choice to two advertisements for two organizations, however worthy each may be, we aren’t left with any choices for those who would rather not endorse either. I propose that next year, we include a version that isn’t organization-driven, such as a picture of the Civic Center, or Fountain Square or any other Evanston landmark that would be interesting yet non-controversial. If the cost of adding an organization-specific version to the stickers is only $100, couldn’t Evanston ask any group wishing to advertise their fund-raising efforts to pony up that $100, in exchange for year-long advertising on half the cars in the city? I think we should have some sort of veto power over exactly which groups could fund-raise on the stickers, lest we start having Nazi Party or Ku Klux Klan stickers riding around town with the Evanston city seal emblazoned across them, but I think automobile stickers advertising nonprofits is not a bad thing as long as at least one option remains for those who prefer to remain neutral.

      1. All or nothing at all
        “I propose that next year, we include a version that isn’t organization-driven, such as a picture of the Civic Center, or Fountain Square or any other Evanston landmark that would be interesting yet non-controversial.

        The “Civic Center” isn’t controversial? Oh please…I don’t want to support the “Friends of the Civic Center”, who want to waste zillions of dollars to keep that giant mausoleum afloat.

        ” I think we should have some sort of veto power over exactly which groups could fund-raise on the stickers, lest we start having Nazi Party or Ku Klux Klan stickers riding around town with the Evanston city seal emblazoned across them,”

        No…if we are going to allow organizations to use the city stickers for advertising, it has to be open to ALL groups.

        Yes, even the Nazis and the KKK.

        A better idea would be to not allow ANY private organizations to advertise on the city stickers.

    2. bumper sticker? kkk?
      It is a tiny sticker on the front corner window of your car with pretty neutral organizations. It’s “so Evanston” to complain and threaten a lawsuit.

      1. “Tiny”, “pretty neutral” — qualifiers aren’t needed if…
        Qualifiers are not needed if an argument is strong.

        “Tiny?” The sticker is obviously larger enough to be seen from some distance as it is the basis of receiving a ticket for not having one.

        Organizations described as “pretty neutral”? If you allow one to advertise free of charge sponsored by the City, then all (including organizations that are not “so Evanston”) must be allowed as well. Who will decide if an organization is “pretty neutral”?

        Why is it so difficult for some people to admit that the City is wrong and should change its practice?

        Just think if the City told you that you could not promote a particular organization by putting a bumper sticker on your car. The howl and yowl would be deafening and rightly so. The freedom to associate is also the freedom not to associate.

        A family friend was sexually harassed repeatedly and then retaliated against (fired for complaining of the harassment) by an organization in Evanston that I am certain would be viewed as “pretty neutral” to the general public. The family friend was devastated by the experience. I am certain that you will understand when I say that I would not buy a sticker with that organization advertised on it and would be willing to sue if I got a ticket for not having such a sticker.

        See — what is “pretty neutral” to some is not viewed the same as others. But you must be willing to defend the City’s policy with your tax dollars to pay the legal bills to keep these “tiny” stickers for “pretty neutral” organizations, right?

  3. $100 City Sticker Decision
    The person who made the decision should pay the $100.00. That bone-headed decision is why we have the budget problems we have. A penny saved is a penny earned.

    On top of its costing us $100, the people who pass them out can’t even read the form and send the one requested. That’s one more irritation that would be alleviated.

    The next time someone thinks a cost is insignificant, please take it out of your own pocket, not mine!

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