Belmar Mayor (and Red Bank Borough Attorney) Ken Pringle is in the hotseat today for what he calls a “tongue-in-cheek” newsletter and at least one visitor to his town calls the work of “a misogynistic racist.”
In the July 4 edition of the “Belmar Summer Rental News” posted on the Belmar website and distributed in printed form, at Pringle’s cost, to rental houses in the beach town, the mayor pokes fun at Staten Islanders, blondes and “guidos” who populate the town’s bars and beaches in the summer.
Here’s an excerpt from Pringle’s account of a fight between a Staten Island woman and another from Boonton in D’Jais bar:
But Pringle apparently felt he had some license with the nomenclature, given that he cites an actual website, njguido.com, as a source for some of his insights into the species.
The Asbury Park Press has a sampling of reactions from Belmar visitors and residents, including this from a Staten Islander out on the boardwalk yesterday:
“That’s like us calling all Jersey girls skanks!” 20-year-old Samantha Padovano exclaimed after reading a story about a hairspray-wearing “SI girl” whose bar fight “ended the way most fights with SI girls do” in the July 4 issue of the Belmar Summer Rental News.
“This is what they think of us?” Padovano asked, while one of her friends suggested the mayor go do something that cannot be printed in a family newspaper.
Seventy-two year old year-round resident Pat Melango told the Press she
hides the “disgraceful” newsletter from the Italian tenants renting the upstairs apartment in her “Italian household,” she said. But she was extra careful, she said, to hide the July 4 edition and its references to “Guidos” who show up in Belmar “tanned to the color of coconut shells.”
“The majority of Belmar people don’t feel this way,” Melango said. “Certainly to specify a group of people and depict them so horribly I think it needs an apology.”
Pringle explains himself:
“It was intended to be entertaining and get people to read the newsletter,” he said. “It’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek.”
Pringle begins writing the weekly newsletter in June, just as thousands of beach lovers descend on this milelong borough, and he posts it on the Belmar Web site. He also prints up, at his own expense, enough copies for special police officers and code enforcement officials to deliver to the borough’s 300 summer rental units, he said.
The publication’s goal, Pringle said, is to show renters how year-round residents perceive their conduct and to educate the renters about local laws on everything from “animal houses” to trash pickup.
“They come here thinking that they can get away with all this stuff and no one will bother them,” he said. “The newsletter is a way to repeatedly drum into them . . . what the rules are.”
Here’s the newsletter: Download july_4_2008_summer_rental_news.pdf