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This cartoon ran in The Union and a few other publications over ten years ago, during the height of the Natural Heritage 2020 debate. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the “evil logger” mantra from the left, and the case for clearcutting from supporters of Sierra Pacific Industries. The end result was a stalemate that has left the Sierra more vulnerable than ever from the threat of catastrophic fires, the King Fire in Placer and El Dorado Counties being the latest example.
Also, in recent years I’ve heard from many friends that their homeowners insurance has either been canceled or the rates have risen dramatically. Add in another $150 “fire tax” from the state and you have to wonder if there is a concerted effort to rid rural California of the human presence, except for those who can afford it.
Yeah, I know it sounds like tinfoil hat material; another reason to label me as some right wing lunatic because I refuse to toe the party line and I have been known to associate with suspicious Tea Party characters. My bad. And it doesn’t help when I mock my liberal friends when they tout such publications as The San Francisco Chronicle for noticing there’s a problem and that maybe we ought to do something about it. Ya think? We’ve been shouting it for thirty-odd years!
So right away there’s talk of studies and environmental impact reports and here we go again…How many more years will it take to reach a consensus? But then I knew that ten years ago. That’s why I ended the strip with the caveat; “to be continued.”
There’s a lot of friction in Nevada County this fall, and it all revolves around the medical marijuana (MMJ) initiative (Measure “S”) on the November ballot. You would think that after eighteen years most of the bugs would have been fixed, but then you have to realize that we are in California.
When originally approved by voters, the law was intentionally vague enough to be amended as circumstances arose. The legislature passed the buck off to the local jurisdictions. That in itself is amazing. This is a state where you have to get a certificate to get a job as a dishwasher, but you can grow medicine in your backyard without any kind of license or permit other than a prescription from a doctor. No testing for quality control or dosage. It’s up to the patient to determine how much to ingest and in what form to ingest it.
Mind you, I’m not complaining. We could all do without more government meddling, but products such as concentrated honey oil and edible confections should be consumed with care. Long before the current disagreement, the cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City rejected the idea of dispensaries within their boundaries, and growing is a no-no.
So all the gardens are located in suburbia, on private land or the national forests and state parks. People who moved to the country to escape the ills of civilization find strange people moving in next door with guns and dogs and razor wire on the fences. Hikers and hunters fear running across illegal grows in the deep woods. Mexican cartels have found it easier to grow where the customers live. (Some people accuse me of racism for that claim, but when you find a deserted camp well stocked with tortillas and beans you can pretty much figure its not Norwegians. Should I call them undocumented grows rather than illegal ones?)
This area has had a rep for Mary J for forty-odd years. In 1972, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia with my pals Charlie and Doc. When we arrived we landed on Peachtree Street, the Haight Ashbury of Atlanta. While I was wandering around a head shop, I noticed a poster on the wall. It was a picture of a burlap sack with a big marijuana leaf on the label. At the bottom it said “Grass Valley, California.” It actually took a few more years before MJ would become a major crop in Nevada County, but we did have the climate and open space required. And yes, marijuana helped more than a few businesses survive the malaise of the late seventies, and kickstarted a few more in the eighties.
Lost in all this are the folks who are really trying to make MMJ work, and those whose pain and suffering are soothed by the magic plant. The possibilities for new treatments are many, if society can overcome a century of reefer madness. No one knows how many people have legitimately been helped, because no one wants to share the information in the climate created by law enforcement. If a compromise can’t be reached, Big Business is ready to swoop in and corner the market when the hammer falls on individual growers. Are you ready for Monsantajuana plantations?
Proponents are already gearing up for another shot at outright legalization in 2016. My guess is it will pass because the urban folks who consume most of it will vote for it. The rural areas may be another story.
Here’s a take on Nevada City I did a few years ago. Not much has changed, except I don’t think there are any Republicans left in the city limits…
As an editorial cartoonist, I find it necessary to draw our president from time to time. Usually(but not always) it will not be complimentary. Presidents, being at the top of the heap, get the blame for most of the country’s ills and shortcomings. It’s part of the job and most take such criticism in stride, at least in public.
There was a dramatic change when Barack Obama was elected. The sentinels of political correctness deem most any negative portrayal of Number 44 as a personal racist attack, even though the same cartoon featuring anyone before Obama would be acceptable. Why? Because all the presidents before were privileged white oppressors, according to some. Cartoonists have struggled with this conundrum for almost six year, including yours truly.
The latest outrage came this past week, when cartoonist Jerry Holbert of the Boston Herald ran a cartoon featuring an intruder in the oval bathroom suggesting that the prez try the new watermelon flavored toothpaste. As anyone older than forty knows, blacks were stereotyped through much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as watermelon thieves. Now Holbert contended that it was an honest mistake, claiming that he noticed the offending flavor on a store shelf and thought it amusing. Even though the slur was obvious to me, I tend to take him at his word. Cartoonists are only human, despite what the public thinks.
So far, I haven’t been on the shitlist of indecent cartoonists, although I have made the effort from time to time. This is one of the few cartoons I have submitted to The Union that was rejected by the management.
I might have done a few of the scenarios pictured here; the vampire, maybe the devil, but I don’t think I would ever draw any president with a knife stuck in his head. As for the monkey, I’d be lynched for drawing that now, and rightly so. But it does raise the specter of double standards. What do you think?
Back in 1980, a feisty little crew of local yokels seized the means of production at The Nevada City Independent. Cartoonist Dan O’Neill, fresh from his battles with the Disney Corporation and the United States Supreme Court, was installed as editor. Along with Bob Lickter, Terry Pittsford, David Parker, Pam Wood, Dave Carter, John Bonner, and yours truly, the little weekly set out to conquer the media world of western Nevada County. It only lasted two years before going bankrupt, but in that time we did manage to shake things up a bit, and even managed to stop a major development (Champion Trails) from transforming the very character of Nevada City.
Let’s hope that this latest rainfall and cooler weather have finally stopped the raging fires and given the brave firefighters a well deserved break. Then, to pick up the pieces of broken lives…