By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Re-naming Her Town: Got Milk?

Will the mayor of Biggs, California, convince her town
council to rename their town Got Milk?

I spoke with the Honorable Mayor Sharleta Callaway, and she
gave me her EMAIL address. Please send her your most
respectful letter. She is a friendly and likeable person!

The story:

The dairy industry has offered a bribe (thousands of
dollars) to change the name of Sharleta's fair city from
Biggs to Got Milk, and the town elected officials will be
giving that offer serious consideration during their
November council session.

This could start a trend.

I've driven over the bridge from Gary into Chicago, with my
windows closed, and wondered how anything could live there.
Monsanto could offer Gary's mayor a bagful of dollars to re-
name their city after a Monsanto product: "Dioxin, Indiana."

City budgets could be balanced with millions of corporate

Tampa, Florida? Tampax, Florida. Atlanta? Mylanta.

The tuna industry could negotiate with Altoona, while Macon
would be a natural target for the hog industry (Macon-

Imagine an enema manufacturer inducing a town in Bill
Clinton's home state to change their name to "Stick-it-up-
Your-Butt, Arkansas." Actually, Butte, Montana might find it
more appropriate to adopt that name change.

I spoke to Sharleta, and have sent her a copy of MILK-The
Deadly Poison (on tape) and MILK-A-Z. Hopefully, that
information will convince the town planners that dairy bribe
money will haunt their town forever.

Sharleta told me that in addition to being the mayor of
Biggs, she also runs a daycare center, and serves her
children whole milk. When I called, they were all sleeping.
I explained about that the opiate in milk, casomorphine,
induces sleep. Of course, naturally occuring milk hormones
make those kids just a little bit more hyperactive when they

In any event, I support changing the name of Bigg to
something else. Bigg is a terrible name for a town. Bigg is
no big deal, but Got Milk, now that will draw attention to a
town sooner than bovine excrement draws flies!

However, Got Milk sends the wrong message. I suggested Got
Pus or Got Hormones.

Please let Mayor Callaway know how you feel, and remember,
do so with class! Should you wish to send snail mail, do it
first class.

Honorable Mayor Sharleta Callaway
P.O. Box 724
Biggs, CA  95917

************** SUCCESS! **************

" has my e-mail address."

October 30, 2002
Mayor Sharleta Callaway, Biggs, California

The following article appeared in the Los Angeles Daily
News. You, the readers of the NOTMILK column have made a
difference, and plugged the hole in the dairy industry's
carton of milk! Congratulations!!!

As a result of the October 26th column:

(source article) (as above)

and your follow-up letters, the idea of changing the name of
her town from 'Biggs' to 'GotMilk?' is now "preposterous" to
Mayor Callaway.
New Name Not Biggs Success
By Jim Wasserman

(source article)

"BIGGS, Calif. -- In a nation in which Minute Maid spends
$100 million to name a Houston ballpark, NASCAR hosts a Pop
Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 and people seeking $1 million
willingly expose their inner flaws on TV's "Survivor,"
what's so wrong about becoming Got Milk? Calif.?

That's the question bedeviling 24 tiny California towns
swept up in the milk industry's newest promotional stunt.

All are being offered cash, fame and possible hordes of
tourists -- to change names like Sand City, Dorris, Etna or
Biggs to Got Milk? Calif.

Credit the California Milk Processor Board. As it struggles
to stabilize declining and flat milk sales in the nation's
leading dairy state, it hopes one brave town will dare to be
different: for a possible Got Milk? museum, free school
computers, a library expansion or a new playground. Name a

In turn, the board promises Got Milk? Calif., will become
the centerpiece for a national publicity campaign
celebrating 10 years of "Got Milk?" advertising. The
campaign, which opened in 1993 and went national in 1995,
features TV commercials of comical human dilemmas without
milk, and milk mustaches on celebrities from President
Clinton to Spike Lee. The aim is to counter a national 21
percent decline in per capita milk drinking since the 1970s,
according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as
teenagers, especially, turn to soft drinks.

"What I want," says the milk board's Berkeley-based director
and ad man Jeff Manning, "is to be so happy to pick up a
newly printed California map and run my finger down a road
and see Got Milk? California."

In Biggs, a Central Valley hamlet of 1,793 best known for
the state's biggest rice miller and last year's Wolverines
high school football division championship, merely
considering becoming Got Milk? has turned the town into a
carnival of visiting reporters and a sense of what it's like
to be Michael Jackson or Cher.

"We've been unplugging my phone," says an exasperated Mayor
Sharleta B. Callaway, recounting media calls from London,
Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Albuquerque, Seattle,
Washington, D.C., Idaho and Wisconsin.

" has my e-mail address," she says.

Initially humored by a local newspaper to pose in a "Got
Milk?" T-shirt, the 37-year-old mother of four, who runs a
day-care center and serves as town commissioner of police,
fire, water and sewers, now calls the idea preposterous.

"I don't think it's going to happen. They're using our name
to go national in exchange for nothing," Callaway says, "and
I don't think it's fair to the community."

The City Council scheduled Nov. 18 to present the idea to

Many in Biggs, situated near Highway 99 an hour's drive
north of Sacramento -- and near a road sign that asks, "Got
Tractors?" -- believe becoming Got Milk? will make them a

"We'll get made fun of all the time," says Biggs High School
student Laura Rodriguez. "Where you from? We're from Got
Milk? They'll say, 'Here come the cows."'

"It's bad enough our Wolverine looks like a beaver," chimes
in fellow student Amanda Vargas.

Manning concedes the idea might not be right for Biggs,
named for a prominent 1870s citizen, Major Marion Biggs, who
eventually moved to nearby Gridley. Attempts later to rename
Biggs to Pittsville (in honor of another prominent citizen)

Thanks to everybody who wrote a letter. We have changed at
least one life. Mayor Callaway runs a day-care center, and
her children may soon be exploring soymilk use as an
alternative to their daily doses of pus, hormones, and glue.

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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