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The Bigoted Mayor of Bug-OH-dah, N. J.

Reported by Marie Therese - July 11, 2006 -

Yesterday morning on FOX & Friends First, Steve Lonegan, Mayor of Bogota (pronounced Bug-OH-dah), New Jersey, proved that bigotry, pettiness, mean-spiritedness and prejudice are alive and well on FOX News Channel and, sadly, it seems, also in New Jersey. Mayor Lonegan is very, very, very upset that McDonalds has posted a Spanish-language billboard in his fair city of 8,000 (1,680 of whom are Hispanic) and is agitating to get them taken down.


COMMENT

As Lonegan spoke I kept flashing back to the pivotal scene in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? in which KKK Grand Wizard Homer Stokes goes apoplectic, accusing the Soggy Bottom Boys of misogynatin' because they dared to include a black man in their old timey band. In the movie Homer is run out of town on a rail.

I suggest Mayor Lonegan deserves the same fate!


TRANSCRIPT:

STEVE DOOCY: There's a McDonalds billboard for iced coffee that is getting a chilly reception from one New Jersey community and its Mayor. Why? Well, the ad is completely in Spanish.

BRIAN KILMEADE: Steve Lonegan is the Mayor of BOW-ga-tah.

DOOCY: Bug-OH-dah.

KILMEADE: Bug-OH-dah, New Jersey, not BOW-ga-tah, Colombia ...

DOOCY: Right.

KILMEADE: ... where a guy I played soccer with lives.

DOOCY: There would have been travel involved for his appearance.

KILMEADE: Yes, Absolutely. So what's the problem with the sign. I can't read it.

MAYOR STEVE LONEGAN: Well, I think the problem is - you know, we have a terrific Latino population in our town. I know my town ...

KILMEADE (loudly): 21% of your town is Latino!

LONEGAN: 21% and, you know what? I've knocked on every on every door in that town a dozen times in my eleven years as mayor and I know my neighbors and I know my Latino population - terrific group of Americans that are proud to be Americans and I think McDonald's mistakenly believes that that 21% can't speak English. And what they've done is they've successfully caused a division in our community where the non-His - some of the non-Hispanic population is offended that this group is no longer, it appears, willing to assimilate. But that's not the case.

DOOCY: And, Mayor, we just saw the ad, right there.

VIDEO CLIP of the McDonalds billboard.

DOOCY: What that translates to is "A cold front is comin'" They're talkin' about iced coffee.

LONEGAN: Right.

DOOCY: So what do you want McDonalds to do? I know you don't even have a McDonalds in Bug-OH-dah.

LONEGAN: No, we don't. Well, we respectfully asked them to change the billboard only because we don't want a division within our community. You know. the McDonald's marketing plan they announced was to put these billboards up in the communities of Newark, Irvington and - I'm sorry - west New York, Irvington and East Orange, all of whom have large illegal alien populations. Bug-OH-dah does not. And I think that McDonald's was mistaken in coming into Bug-OH-dah and assuming our Latino population didn't speak English or that they ...

BANNER: BOGOTA IS A TOWN OF 8,000 AND IS 21% HISPANIC.

KILMEADE: But what is wrong with the "Cold Fronts" coming?

DOOCY: Just that it's in ...

LONEGAN: I don't know much about the food McDonald's is marketing. I personally don't eat it but - um ...

DOOCY: Your problem is just that it is it's in Spanish and that it's on American soil.

LONEGAN: Well, the fact is that it's causing a division and, you know what? We are one nation under god indivisible. Why do they need to cause this in our community? Why come into Bug-OH-dah because the name's Bug-OH-dah and they think it's BOH-ga-ta and divide our community unnecessarily? I don't see the reason for it.

BANNER: BOGOTA IS BOROUGH IN BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY

KIRAN CHETRY: Here's what McDonald's said (reads) "Our customers are at the heart of every decision we make, and we would never do anything to intentionally offend anyone." That, coming from their marketing in the New York region, their marketing office. What do you think about their response?

LONEGAN: I think they don't know my community. Um. I think they're more interested in selling coffee and I don't think - I think they made a mistake in their marketing plan. And the first thing people are doing now is calling me a racist and a bigot. And just that on its own - the fact that I'm being attacked and the people in the town who were - complained of being attacked - were called xenophobes, demonstrates ...

DOOCY: Right.

LONEGAN: .... that Mcdonalds has divided our community

KILMEADE: CBS, who owns the billboards, says "We stand behind McDonalds. Its their right to advertise their products to their customer base in any language."

LONEGAN: That's absolutely true. They have the right to do whatever they like. They have the freedom to do - and I have the freedom to fight back and tell them they're making a mistake. You know I think that what they're doing is they're dividing our torn - in essence, dividing our country. We don't want to end up another Yugslavia.