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Aldermen crack down on fliers attached to garage doors

Southwest Side Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) has had it up to here with home remodelers and construction companies that use masking tape to attach fliers to garages, peeling off the paint when the advertising is removed.

“It’s another form of graffiti. It causes destruction, and it’s unsightly,” Quinn said.

“When I woke up this morning, there were three blocks in my eyesight that had a new flier on it. It’s grown rampant on the Southwest Side, and it’s citywide. Alleys are made for garbage pickup and for homeowners to access their garage. They’re not for solicitation.”

On Wednesday, Quinn persuaded the City Council’s License Committee to throw the book at such unscrupulous tactics.

The ordinance would make it a crime — punishable by fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 — to “make a hole, remove paint or otherwise damage the surface of any structure or object where commercial advertising material is placed.” Ward superintendents would write the tickets.

Identical fines would apply to another pet peeve of aldermen across the city: Using “a method of delivery that causes or reasonably could cause” advertising materials to “become dislodged and blow away” or be “deposited by the elements” on Chicago sidewalks, streets, alleys residences or public places.

Quinn was not alone in complaining about the perennial problem of advertising fliers that either go flying or damage private property after being taped to it.

Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) said he “has an entire garage door at home decorated” with home improvement fliers.

“Every other day, we get hammered with those. It sticks on the wood. Then, it falls in the alley and becomes garbage. Who picks it up? We have to,” Reboyras said.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) estimated that fliers stuck in gates or attached to light poles account for at least 25 percent of the litter on Uptown streets.

“It clogs up our sewer catch basins. I’m picking it up all the time. I’m sick and tired of it. I’m so delighted to support this ordinance,” Cappleman said.

Northwest Side Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th) agreed that the fliers are a “nuisance,” but there’s a bigger problem: Most of the contractors who engage in such obtrusive and destructive advertising tactics are also unlicensed.

“And once they talk their way into Grandma’s house to do some repairs, they tell her all about the fire hazards. And pretty soon, she’s spending $100,000 of her money … and she has no more life savings,” Cullerton said.

Minutes after Wednesday’s vote, Cullerton said he called the “garage door and construction” company on a flier that Quinn brought to Wednesday’s committee meeting.

“I said, `Do you have a city license?’ And he said, `What do you need a license for?’ When I told him you need a city business license, he hung up on me,” Cullerton said.

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