City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) accused graffiti-makers of putting up fake campaign stickers for him around the city to have him fined and make him look like a hypocrite.
“I think it’s an organized effort to discredit me,” Vallone said.
Vallone said he received an e-mail Oct. 12 from a man threatening to report Vallone’s campaign for stickers that were illegally put up in places throughout the city. In response, Vallone wrote to NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly asking him to investigate the situation. He said he has also been in contact with the city Sanitation Department.
“This one is more than just a personal attack on me,” Vallone said. “The intent here, I think, was to get me fined, and those fines can be substantial, in addition to make me look like a hypocrite.”
Vallone said the fake stickers were not the actions of his own staffers or another campaign. While the stickers bear the name “Peter F. Vallone,” as well as the councilman’s campaign slogan and campaign office phone number, Vallone said the stickers are not official.
The fake stickers are black, yellow and red, whereas the real stickers are blue and yellow and put the “Jr.” at the end of Vallone’s name. The real stickers also have Vallone’s name written over a picture of the Unisphere and the Hell Gate Bridge.
“They were too dumb to actually get the sticker correct,” Vallone said of the vandals.
Vallone said a few of these stickers have been found in Queens and one has been found in Manhattan, although Vallone has not been seeking citywide office. The councilman has been mulling a run for Queens borough president, however.
Vallone, who was once dubbed by The New York Times as “The Man Who Hates Graffiti,” has introduced numerous legislation aimed at reducing graffiti and has spoken out against graffiti exhibits. He said pro-graffiti types have protested his attacks in creative ways, such as profanity-laced billboards, T-shirts and a series of subway notices that looked like Metropolitan Transportation Authority fliers, but ended with an insult to Vallone.
“I’m sure there’s stuff I don’t know about,” the councilman said.
Vallone said he would not have brought attention to the stickers if not for the possible fines involved. He said putting up stickers on public property is illegal, and has been done in the past by graffiti-makers.
The councilman insisted the fake stickers have only encouraged him to think up more legislation against graffiti.
“To me, it means I’m doing my job,” he said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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