New Twist To City Sticker Controversy
Contest Runner Up Asks Clerk To Pull Sticker Artwork
Friday evening, the parents of Caitlin Henehan met with City Clerk Susana Mendoza to request that Henehan’s second place artwork not be used on the 2012-2013 city sticker.
“Recent events have unfortunately taken attention away from the goal of the long-standing city vehicle sticker design contest, which was to encourage students to express themselves and the values we all share as Chicagoans and participate in their government,” said City Clerk Susana Mendoza in a statement from the City Clerk’s office released Saturday.
The joint statement issued by both the City Clerk and the Henehan Family explains, due to the undue media and public attention, the girl’s family did not want the artwork by the senior from Resurrection High School for this year’s city sticker.
The Clerk’s office would not specify what type of “undue attention” the teen was receiving, but is most likely connected to negative comments directed at her via social media platforms. In addition, at least one internet news source implied Henehan’s design had racial overtones because none of the three superheros in the artwork were black.
“Prior to announcing the change in design, the family of the runner-up was contacted,” continued Mendoza. “Although saddened by the circumstances of how it happened, at the time the runner up was proud to accept the honor of having her artwork represented on the Chicago vehicle sticker. However, as a result of the unwanted media and public scrutiny and criticism of her artwork that soon followed, the family of the first runner up has now requested that their child’s artwork not be used on the 2012 – 2013 city vehicle sticker. After a face-to-face meeting with me, we agree that this is the correct action to take and I respect their decision.”
After the controversy surrounding potential gang symbols in the design from Herbert Pulgar, the original winner of the annual city sticker design contest, Clerk Mendoza was forced to find replacement artwork this past Wednesday. The runner up status of Henehan’s design made her artwork the obvious choice to be printed on all 1.3 million Chicago city stickers for this year.
“While our daughter truly enjoyed participating in the design contest and was proud to see Chicago select her as the first runner up, what should have been a happy accomplishment in her life has now turned sour,” said Marty and Maria Henehan, parents of the sticker contest runner up student. “We met with Clerk Mendoza about our decision and thank her for her support and understanding of our concerns. We request our privacy at this time and will be making no further comments on this issue.”
According to the statement, none of the top ten designs from this year’s city sticker design contest will be used for the 2012-2013 city sticker. Instead, the City Clerk’s office itself will oversee designing artwork for this year.
“I accept responsibility for the long-established process of selecting the city sticker design,” said Mendoza. “However, I don’t want to put any other child through what our entrants this year have gone through. Therefore, in order to keep these events from being a further distraction and to allow for the timely printing of the 2012- 2013 city stickers, the City Clerk’s Office will design this year’s sticker in-house. All finalists will receive their savings bond awards.”
The controversy surrounding this year’s city sticker design contest may have jeopardized the long running competition to inspire Chicago high school students to submit their artwork for the honor of having their design on the Chicago vehicle sticker.
“We are performing a review of the sticker design contest process and will learn from this experience. Should we decide to continue this contest, details will be made available well in advance of the 2013 – 2014 vehicle sticker season,” said Clerk Mendoza.
In a related story, Friday afternoon on WLS 890 AM, Roe Conn and Richard Roper interviewed FBI Agent Ross Rice. Agent Rice announced that the reward for a Herbert Pulgar, who’s last known residence was the same as Herbie Pulgar, the original sticker design contest winner, was bumped up to $10,000 for allegedly selling narcotics to street gangs.