If you awoke this morning with a parking ticket on your windshield, look closely, because the reviled orange and white leaflet might actually be a piece of last-minute campaign literature. In what he calls “guerilla campaigning,” Republican City Council candidate Joe Nardiello has been placing fake parking tickets that double as campaign literature on cars in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Boro Park.
For the past five nights from midnight to 7 am, Nardiello has walked the streets and distributed the ads – which from a distance closely resemble real parking tickets – to voice his opposition to residential permit parking. “Want to pay $200 annually for just parking on this street?” the front of the flyer reads. “Politicians think this has been ‘free’ for too long. But, you can stop this. Vote on Nov. 3 to stop ‘parking permits.'” Unsurprisingly, the promotional tactic struck some residents of the district – which is currently represented by Councilman and soon-to-be Public Advocate Bill de Blasio – as both infuriating and underhanded. “Thank you for giving me a very clear favorite in this election – your opponent,” a tipster from the South Slope wrote to Gothamist. “I’ll make sure to spread the word.”
For his part, Nardiello told Gothamist that the faux parking tickets were inspired by a similar stunt attempted by failed Comptroller candidate Councilman David Yassky – whose car-window campaigning became a gaffe when it rained and his literature got stuck to voters’ windshields. Nardiello said he learned from Yassky’s mistake by checking weather reports before placing the flyers on car windows. “When you have a chance to shake people up and get them to go to the polls to effect change, you have to do it – and you have to do it in a way that is going to rattle their cages,” said Nardiello, who in tomorrow’s election will face Democratic frontrunner Brad Lander and Green Party candidate David Pechefsky. “There is nothing that effects people more to anger and movement than when they see a parking ticket.”
That said, Nardiello acknowledged that the flyers might have irked some residents of the district. In fact, a lengthy answering machine recording on his campaign’s phone number alludes to angry messages he has received, stating: “There is a promotion that people are reacting to, I don’t want your anger… don’t displace your anger to me please, because this is what made me run in the first place.” But Nardiello maintains that his strategy won’t backfire on the eve of the election. “Anger towards me could be assuaged by the fact that I am the only one who is fighting against this,” he said. “I could be the person to defend them from against absurd ideas that take money from their pocketbooks, like residential parking permits.”