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Chicago City Sticker Controversy: New, 'Gang Sign'-Free Design Unveiled (VIDEO)

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Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza on Tuesday unveiled the new design for the city's 2012-2003 vehicle registration sticker, one developed in-house after the high school student's contest-winning design was ditched over accusations that it contained gang-related imagery.

The sticker has a simple design that Mendoza said Tuesday "we can all be proud to have on our vehicle," WBEZ reports. It includes symbols representing the city's police and fire departments, plus paramedics, above a slogan of "Honoring Chicago's heroes."

When questioned about 15-year-old high school student Herbert Pulgar's controversial winning design and whether the city would continue the youth design contest going forward, Mendoza described the fiasco that ensued as "old news," the Chicago Tribune reports. She said she is not yet sure whether the design contest will return.

"It's unfortunate," Mendoza said of the controversy, according to the Tribune. "But at the end of the day, like I said, I don't want to focus on that. We've moved past that."

In February, Pulgar's winning design, chosen last fall, was scrapped by the city after allegations surfaced on a blog frequently read by Chicago police that the four hands depicted on the sticker referenced gang signs. Jody Weis, former Chicago Police Department superintendent and current president of the Chicago Crime Commission, agreed that the sticker's design was likely gang-related. The boy and his family denied those accusations.

The city proceeded to award the runner-up, Caitlin Henehan, the $1,000 savings bond and bragging rights in the contest, but Henehan's family dropped out because they did not want media attention associated with the dustup. Mendoza paid a $1,000 savings bond to Pulgar out of her own pocket to replace the prize that was taken from him.

The matter even attracted the attention of CNN's Anderson Cooper, who addressed the city sticker controversy in his "RidicuList" segment.

The new sticker also features a brand new QR code on the back that can be scanned with a smartphone, bringing its user to a website with information about street cleaning schedules, pothole reporting and paying parking tickets, among other things, ABC Chicago reports. The city also is launching a new, more user-friendly website for sticker purchase.

The new sticker -- with a price tag of between $85 and $135, depending on vehicle size -- goes on sale Monday.

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