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A plucked PETA chick vs. plucked KFC chick

Published: Sun, April 26, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Warren Mayor Michael J. O'Brien

By Bertram de Souza

Warren Mayor Michael O’Brien should consider the following question as he decides whether to hitch the city’s financial wagon to Kentucky Fried Chicken or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Which deal will put Trumbull County’s largest community on the national map?

With KFC, the mayor would be able to secure a picture of a plucked chicken or that Colonel Sanders guy — if he concluded that the words “Re-freshed by KFC” weren’t eye-popping enough to display on the city’s roads.

By contrast, with PETA, O’Brien could get picture of nude demonstrators, or even the Sexiest Vegetarian of 2009, to display in public — if the words “KFC tortures animals” are too bland for him.

What’s this all about?

Hizzoner is being courted by the folks who give you finger-licking-good meals (their words) and by animal-rights activists who contend that chickens endure extreme pain and suffer for a long time en route to KFC’s buckets and boxes. PETA uses women in the nude to draw attention to the naked truth about how the “normal recipe” or “extra crispy” drumsticks, wings, breasts and thighs arrive at our dinner tables.

Mayor O’Brien is weighing an offer from KFC against a counteroffer from PETA.

Here are the facts:

Two weeks ago, he received word that the city of Warren was one of four cities nationwide chosen to be a recipient of a $3,000 grant under KFC’s “Re-fresh the Streets” program that is designed to help communities repair potholes.

As a condition of accepting the money, the mayor agreed to stencil in non-permanent street chalk the words “Re-freshed by KFC” on two of the potholes that are filled.

The mayor’s acceptance of the offer grabbed the public’s attention — and was picked up by PETA.

The organization dashed off a letter to Warren City Hall with this offer: $6,000 for the pothole repair program and a creative (compared with KFC’s “Re-freshed” message) artsy message. PETA would provide a rendering of KFC’s founder, Colonel Harlan Sanders, with horns on either side of his head and the words “KFC tortures animals.”

O’Brien, always the wheeler-dealer, contacted the restaurant chain to let them know that the offer on the table was now “$6,000” and that he was awaiting their response.

That’s all well and good. But if the city of Warren is to benefit from this battle, the mayor should consider doing something that no other community in the nation has done. Here are a couple of suggestions:

If the decision is to go with PETA, O’Brien should tell the organization he’s not interested in defacing an icon of American business. Instead, he should ask that pictures of the nude activists (the one below this column was taken in Youngstown by The Vindicator’s Multi-Media Supervisor Katie Libecco) to adorn the potholes. The city could put up roadside signs that read: “Slow down for PETAs nudes.”

If, on the other hand, the mayor decides to go with KFC’s offer, he should ask them to make their adornment of the potholes more exciting. For instance, the picture in the column of a plucked chicken with O’Brien’s head attached shows how the mayor and the company can benefit.

In addition, O’Brien should ask KFC to provide used cooking oil to the city, so it can be mixed with the asphalt cold patch. Then, when the summer sun heats up the pothole filler, the smell of fried chicken will emanate from the road.

But regardless of the offer selected, Mayor O’Brien and other city officials should be required to do the “Chicken Dance” at the announcement. The following Web site links, selected by The Vindicator’s Web Developer Thomas Hibbard, provide a refresher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UV3kRV46Zs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8eC377h4A4 (this one seems most appropriate for government officials.)

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