A billboard on the corner of High Street and the Boston Post Road in Milford 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 Ghaly. "I don't want to get involved with the politics."
Ghaly alleges that a representative from Milford Planning and Zoning came to his business and told him that the billboard was "in violation." Ghaly also claims 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.
The 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 said in an email, "No one in our office has issued any orders related to the billboard."
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."
Milford Planning & Zoning Responds
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."