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Milford Billboard Calling Obama an 'Entry Drug to Socialism' Creates Friction

Fayez Ghaly, owner of the business next to the billboard, wants it removed. George J. Smith & Son Realtors President DeForest Smith stands by the message.

MILFORD, CT -- A billboard on the corner of High St. and Boston Post Rd. reads 'Obama = The Entry Drug to Socialism.'

This sign has created tension between Fayez Ghaly, the owner of USA Fuel, the gas station and market directly next to the billboard, and DeForest Smith, owner of the billboard and President of .

The Business Owner

"I'd like to see the sign down," said Fayez Ghaly on Wednesday. "I don't want to get involved with the politics."

Ghaly alleges that a representative from 'Milford Zoning' told him that the billboard was 'in violation.' Ghaly went on to claim that when he told the official he didn't own the billboard, the official left, but promised to return. Ghaly alleges that the official has never returned.

Milford City's Response

There is no evidence that a Milford zoning official ever spoke to Ghaly, though the office did not deny that such a conversation took place.

When asked about the billboard and the alleged conversation with Ghaly, Milford Permitting and Land Use Director Jocelyn Mathiasen sent an email stating: "No one in our office has issued any orders related to the bilboard."

The Billboard Owner

DeForest Smith noted that while the billboard space is usually used for business purposes, his company has put up this 'Obama' sign for their own purposes.

"We put it up," Smith said via phone Thursday. "It's our belief." 

Smith addressed the issue of Obama's relationship with Socialism saying, "Take a look at France or Italy, they're all going bankrupt. Debt is out of control."

Smith went on to say that Obama "borrowed 5 or 6 billion dollars."

Milford Planning & Zoning Responds

Milford Permitting and Land Use Director Jocelyn Mathiasen responded to questions about the City's role in this issue:

The billboard is existing and legal, and the City cannot and does not regulate content of signs. 

Our zoning enforcement officer has had conversations a couple of months ago with Mr. Ghaly regarding a number of issues, primarily some proposed expansions to his operations and other conditions on his site.  They did not discuss removal of the billboard or any issues regarding its legality. 

The only role that the city has with regard to billboards is approving the location of new ones to be built and making sure that they are compliant with our regulations.  Content and lease issues are not within our purview. 

What do you think of the billboard? Does it interfere with USA Fuel owner Fayez Ghaley's hope of not getting 'involved with the politics'?

Or should the sign stay up because DeForest Smith owns the billboard and should be able to put up any sign he wants?

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think in the comments section.

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Watts September 11, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Smith and Sons should have shown the strength of character to put that on their roof, right above their entrance. The way that they have placed it does seem ambiguous to anybody driving by, that it could very well be associated to USA Fuel. If somebody put a polarizing sign like that anywhere near a business that I owned, where the casual passerby may misinterpret it as being me and my business making such a statement, then I would likewise be pushing tho have it taken down. It isn't a first amendment issue, as I think that Smith should be able to put it more appropriately over his own business.
Juniormints September 11, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Why thank you C.S.! Yes they are! And to Michael Brown - I agree any idiot can vote and apparently there are more idiots than non because Obama got in last time!
tjc360 September 21, 2012 at 12:05 AM
I am all for freedom and America, but politicians, they all suck.
Mark Grano December 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I love that billboard

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