Danbury Mayor Talks About John Oliver’s Latest Sewer Plant Offer
It was Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton's first on-air interview since releasing the video accepting John Oliver's offer to re-name the Danbury Sewage Plant.
The video accepting John Oliver's $55,000 offer hit the internet on Sunday, and if you've been following the saga, then you know that Danbury has accepted the money for various food banks, teachers supplies, and ALS in exchange for re-naming the Danbury Sewage Treatment Plant after John Oliver.
Tuesday morning (9/8/20), I got a chance to talk to the Mayor during our regular weekly segment, it was actually his first on-air interview since the video was posted. He talked about the latest COVID-19 numbers in Danbury, and then told me all about the on-going battle, and the city's latest response to John Oliver.
Before we get to the response to John Oliver, how are the COVID-19 numbers doing in Danbury this week?
"It's a little tough since it was a holiday weekend to get good data, since a lot of folks weren't working, but I would say that the numbers have plateaued a little, but we are still running at about a 7 to 9 percent infection rate, which is a concern because it is high. If you factor in Danbury Hospital, which is testing everyone who goes in for surgery, that number drops a little bit. We just have to keep watching it, and practicing social distancing, washing hands, and wearing a mask. We're keeping our fingers crossed that those numbers come down a little within the next week".
Let's get to the big story again this week, and that's your response to John Oliver, who said he would donate $55 thousand dollars to charity if you name the sewage plant after him. On Sunday, you released a fantastic video with the city's answer, but there was one small catch.
"We want him to physically come to Danbury, when we do a ribbon cutting for a new facility, no matter what is is, we certainly want the person that we are naming something after to be here for the ceremony. He lives in New York City, that's not that far away, I understand it's the time of COVID, so we'll work around that, and we'll certainly work around his schedule. Now, in the event that he doesn't come here for that, it's OK, but then we're just going to name the porta-potty after him".
I know you write most of your own stuff, but did you come up with the line in the video, "55 thousand dollars is a little light for someone in the one percent, but a deal is a deal".
"Yes I did and some people thought it might be a little rough, but I was like no, no, come on, it's a 100 million dollar facility. If this was a corporate naming rights situation, some companies would be paying a couple million dollars to have it named after them".
Do you have any concern about any backlash? I've already seen some comments online, people talking about taking money for re-naming a facility.
"There's always somebody out there that has a different opinion, and that's fine. Look, this is 55 thousand dollars that goes to local food banks, also money that will help our teachers, and that will help ALS, so I think it's a good cause. You have to understand that it's all tongue in cheek, this is not a contractual relationship here, we're just having a little fun. If there is one thing we would like to do, that's have people match the donation, and by the way, I was just informed by some of our teaching staff that Mr. Oliver started funding the site where our Danbury teachers go to pick up some of the things they need for their classrooms, so he's already out there donating to our teachers, and that's greatly appreciated. We may not actually get a verbal response from John Oliver for another few weeks since his show is on vacation".