Vehicle Decal Finalists Revealed

by ARLnow.com December 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm 5,650 63 Comments

(Updated on 12/13/11) The four finalists for Arlington’s 2012-13 vehicle decal design contest have been revealed.

The annual contest challenges Arlington high school students to submit an original photograph or artwork to appear on the county’s vehicle decals. More than 150,000 decals are mailed to vehicle owners in Arlington each year. Those decals must be displayed on the windshield as a sign that vehicle’s personal property tax has been paid.

A “Citizen’s Panel” selected the four finalists (above) after a call for entries in October.

All of this year’s entries are photographs taken in south Arlington. Two of this year’s finalists are photographs of the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial. Another showed an honor guard statue at the Air Force Memorial. The fourth was a nighttime photograph of a Ferris wheel at the Arlington County Fair.

Members of the public will be able to vote for their favorite decal design through the Arlington County website, starting on Thursday Tuesday, or via the Sun Gazette newspaper. More information about the entrants and the contest is available from the Sun Gazette.

  • PeoplesCourthouse

    Can we settle for no picture and abolish the ridiculous $35 decal fee?

    • arlcyclist

      Anything but anything related to the Pentagon. After all, their address is…

      1400 Defense Pentagon
      Washington DC 20301-1400

    • KalashniKEV

      Yes… and the ridiculous special personal property tax, please.

      • Polly Tician

        But wait…I thought Republican Jim Gilmore abolished the PPT. Or was that just a ruse so that the brain-dead hillbillies would vote for him?

        • brian

          democrats wouldn’t let him abolish it

          • Polly Tician

            Then what was it he signed into law in May 1998?

          • Suburban Not Urban

            If I’m not mistaken, R’s did abolish it – but it was set to be progressively phased out and the D’s later stopped the phase out.

        • Ivy

          LOL!!! Yeah, Mr. No-Car-Tax swore he would abolish the tax. So, what did it do? It created a debt. That’s a GOPer for you….cut and spend and kick the can down the road

        • KalashniKEV

          Brain dead? As soon as you started talking Republican-Democrat we knew you were lost. The tax is wrong, and that’s not a partisan issue. Get rid of it now and replace it with NOTHING. The county is already drunk off tax revenue.

    • Burger

      You do know the real reason they haven’t gotten rid of the decal is because if you forget to put one on your car…bingo…you get a $50 ticket for not having the decal. Hence, the decal works as secondary revenue generator.

      • Just the Facts

        Except that if you get your decal you can show it at the Police Front Counter and have the ticket dismissed. As a result, not a major revenue generator.

        • Zoning Victim

          Which most people don’t do because it’s more of an inconvenience to take off work than it is to just pay the $50.

        • KalashniKEV

          I’m unaware of this procedure, but I did get my documentation squared away the very next day… where is the “Police Front Counter?”

        • Josh S

          Really?! I did not know that. What is the time limit? If I get ticket today and don’t get sticker for another 30 days, can I still get rid of the ticket?

          I wish they advertised that on the ticket somehow. I remember getting a ticket for not having a light while riding my bike and was specifically told by the policeman that it was a “fix it” ticket and I could get it dismissed by showing my light.

      • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

        the majority of cars in NoVa (being those registered in Fairfax) do NOT have decals because their Treasurer has learned how to work with other people and works with DMV.
        Ours is just to busy kissing pigs and predicting elections — neither of which has anything to do with his job.

        • Rik

          and they still pay the decal fee!!

          • FedUp

            Correct. They still pay the “decal fee”. And DMV doesn’t provide you with cars that don’t have Virginia license plates. I am sure that Fairfax loses a bunch of dollars because cars from other states don’t bother registering with DMV.

    • Stoneridge

      I’ve never had a problem with paying the fee. If they did away with it, you know they would get they money through a different source. Be careful what you wish for.

      • Zoning Victim

        I’m a big proponent of governments having one way to tax us so everybody can tell what they’re actually paying in taxes, unless we’re being taxed on a usage basis for something specific, like the gasoline tax. Governments love to put small taxes here and there and everywhere so you can never tell exactly how much you pay in taxes. Plus, every separate tax comes with more overhead, especially one that has stickers that have to be mailed out. Just come up with one fair way to tax people for the services you can’t charge usage fees for and be done with it.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Amen, PeoplesCourthouse!

  • G

    When/where can we vote for it?

  • BC

    If you look closely at the ferris wheel, you can see the administrator pocketing money

  • Juanita de Talmas

    Yuk. All of these suck.

  • OX4

    Great….death, death, war, or carnival.

    • Ballstonian

      Which is also death, death, death, funnel cakes. I have to go with funnel cakes and turkey legs.

      This is seriously an awful selection. Who wants to be reminded on 9/11 and war every time they’re stuck in traffic? Would a skyline, pics from a park, or something else more picturesque be too much to ask?

      • Village Genius

        Ray’s Hellburger!

      • jan


        It’s beginning to appear that Arlington wears the attack as a badge of honor. The horror is already seared into our psyches. Let’s start to heal with an expression of joy.

      • Josh S

        I think the ferris wheel is a fabulous option. I hope it wins.

        It would definitely be un-PC to not have at least one military-themed option in the running. I’m not sure it’s a badge of honor. It’s more like peer pressure. Can you imagine sitting in that room and being the member of the Citizen’s Panel arguing against inclusion of any military-themed options? Would take a lot of guts…..

        As far as the skyline, etc – they’ve been done. Variety is good. I can’t remember seeing an Arlington Fair option before.

    • Eddie Izzard

      Death, death, death, lunch, death death, death, death, tea, death . . .

  • novasteve

    How about one with the Artisphere? So people can be reminded what pits their tax money goes into?

    • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer


  • brian

    i have an unused 9/11 flag sticker from a few years ago

    does it have resale value?

  • Decal Lover


  • Richard Cranium

    I have a great picture of an endangered species that they could have used. It’s a close-up shot of a slip-lane.

  • Arteest

    Obviously it should be a portrait of Chris Zimmerman.

  • novasteve

    Why don’t they have a bicyle tax in Arlington? I mean if the car free diet becomes a reality, what will make up the lost revenues?

  • Tim

    The first one is the best.

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    well if you don’t know we are part of a war machine now, i don’t know what will convince you.
    seriously? nothing better? is that all our high school kids think of when they think of arlington?

  • The two Pentagon Memorial stickers will split the “Pentagon” vote. The Ferris wheel just sucks. So, the winner will be Honor Guard.

    What was the Citizen’s Panel thinking? The only decal that is really Arlington is the ferris wheel, and ferris wheels are a dime a dozen.

    • SoooperSeeecret

      I was on the citizen panel, and I wish people could see what our other choices were. Lots of the entries were terrific — great options for us! including some that are suggested in the comments here 😉 Maybe ArlNow can persuade them to release the whole batch?

      • jan

        Great idea!

    • MomOfTeens

      But the Arlington County fair is really cool, and not every county has one. I’d rather have something fun on my windshield than something boring.

  • LVGuy

    All other comments aside, these pictures are actually composed pretty well. The students who took these pictures should be congratulated for doing a good job.

    • MomOfTeens

      Yes! I agree.

  • Elle Kasey

    Red?!?! Not only must the thing be on my windshield, it also has to be fire engine red?!?!

  • charles

    another fail for Arlington County officials

  • don’t like any of the 4 photos. All seem sad to me – even the ferris wheel.

  • Rik

    I vote for no stickers! Do away with the inspection sticker too. News flash: Computers can talk to each other now. No inspection, no plate renewal!

  • MomOfTeens

    Wow. I’m glad I’m not the child of some of the commentors above. Lighten up, people, these photos were done by students. My kids have no artistic ability, but I applaud those students who do, and I think it’s cool that they have this contest every year and we get to feature the work of a student on our car instead of relying on some boring beaureaucrat’s idea of artwork. Why are some folks in Arlington so eternally grouchy?

    • OX4

      “My kids have no artistic ability”

      Sheesh, hope your kids aren’t on this board.

  • Bob

    Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave.

  • HighschoolStudent

    complaining here is pointless.
    it’s going to be red, it’s going to cost $35 and it’s going to be on your car.

    my classmates put allot of time and effort into their artwork.
    the least anyone could do is be positive.
    most of you will probably forget about the sticker anyways.

    i think all of the pictures are equally beautiful and they all represent aspects of arlington.
    yes, death is a pretty big thing in arlington no matter how depressing. because last i checked 9-11 was a pretty big deal and allot of people died.

    the pictures are beautiful and the pictures are arlington.

    • Your English Teacher

      B+ for content, D- for spelling and punctuation.

      • Your Mother

        If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

    • JamesE

      If you do well in school one day you can afford a nice car, get a $1500 tax and an ugly sticker then complain about it on the internet during work hours.

    • Zoning Victim

      Right; everybody bats, there are no outs and everybody gets a trophy. Art will always draw critics. “Complaining here is pointless.”

    • OX4

      i red ur post and i like it allot. i sure ur klassmatez put allot of effurt into the picture taking. i for one was complaining about the selecktion, not the pictures themselves.

  • novasteve

    how about one with the proposed new year round homeless shelter on it?

  • dm

    Those are all very nice pictures. Let’s find a way to showcase talent of our youngsters in a way that’s a bit more sensible than with this decal. I can’t think of a more flagrant example of a self-sustaining bureaucracy than this thing.

  • Limited Choice

    I thought there was discussion some years ago to move away from military/memorial type images on the decals.

    I’m voting for the ferris wheel – the only choice left if I adhere to the above guideline.

    Why did the judges choose two photos of the same thing? Last year’s choices were much more diverse. It would interesting to see this year’s semi finalists.

    • Dezlboy

      Agreed. Voting for ferris wheel because its not military memorial themed.

      Maybe limiting the vote to four selections is too narrow?

  • Mike Rhode

    I think having student’s work is a great idea, but I do wish that there was a better mix, without 3 of the 4 being related to the military-industrial complex, no matter how many of us are employed by it (and that includes me). Like others, I’m voting for the ferris wheel as a result.


Subscribe to our mailing list