I Can’t Not Draw

Proposal 1 — That's My Conspiracy Theory, Anyway....

As mentioned in yesterday’s post (and for many of you readers, in an email I sent), MLive has cut back on its budget for freelance content, so for now my cartoons will appear in the Sunday paper once per month instead of once per week. Again, I would very much appreciate it if you send a brief email to Todd Fettig, Director of Presentation at MLive, urging MLive to reconsider and make my cartoons available online: tfettig1@mlive.com

For nearly 20 years — first with the Grand Rapids Business Journal, then with the Grand Rapids Press and eventually MLive — I have drawn at least one editorial cartoon every week. Through child births and child raising and business travel and work conflicts and illnesses and holidays and occasional writer’s block, I never missed a deadline. I’m afraid if I stop now, I will pull a muscle. So for my own safety (and because I really, really like to draw), I plan to continue and see where it leads….

About the Cartoon: In Michigan we are coming up for a vote next month on Proposal 1. Proposal 1 is a train wreck of a piece of legislation with mostly good intentions. The basic idea is to fix our bad roads. And when I say “bad,” I mean “embarrassingly, historically, economically, horrendously awful” roads. We are well beyond “something needs to be done” and well into “this is figuratively and sometimes literally killing us.”

Unfortunately, our legislators shirked their duties and punted to the citizens a ballot proposal that’s (as the cartoon says) hopelessly complicated. And I’m conflicted. Because it is something I know I need …wrapped around a turd. Much the way I feel about dealing with cell phone contracts, cable company plans, and health insurance claims.


  1. Mike Auchter said,

    April 14, 2015 @ 8:08 am

    E-mail sent John. I understand budgets and all but I also understand value. A local new source should inform and promote dialog. Auchtoon is the best thing MLive has to promote and provoke meaningful (and entertaining by the way) conversation about Michigan issues.

    I am encouraged but he poling done on Proposal 1. As of now the vast majority of Michiganders see this for what it is: a porked-up act of cowardice on behalf of our politicians. It is proof positive that they are more worried about keeping their jobs than do what is right for the State. Defeat is not a done-deal though. Anemic voter turnout and fear tactics may yet push this turd through.

    Vote! Vote! Vote!

  2. Jim Wildgen said,

    April 14, 2015 @ 9:08 am

    I urge people to do the research (as I have) on this excrement of a proposal and the go to the polls on May 5 and vote NO! Our Michigan politicians have outdone themselves with this one, while protecting their a$$es by shirking their responsibilities as our representatives and making us vote on it so they won’t have to take the blame regardless of the outcome. Unbelievable.

  3. Karch said,

    April 14, 2015 @ 9:59 am

    John, not that you haven’t thought of this, but perhaps a meta-cartoon, about cartoons, or cartoonists, or newspaper budgets, or the great digital reckoning. Too soon? Too close?

  4. John said,

    April 15, 2015 @ 7:48 am

    Thanks, all. It’s hard to say this without sounding too self-important, but issues like Proposal 1 are exactly why newspapers (online or in print) are so important. There needs to be a third party without a vested interest to add context and call shenanigans when it’s shenanigans. And editorial cartoons, especially local ones, are a unique feature that add a unique value to newspapers.

    I have indeed considered meta-cartoon ideas, Karch. I don’t know about too soon or too close. I think it’s more a case of there being bigger Proposal 1-type fish to fry.

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