Some of the most persuasive arguments on our Opinions pages don't appear in the columns or editorials.
Editorial cartoonists can make a point more effectively than those of us, ahem, who occupy as much or more space.
I thought readers might be interested in knowing a little more about the people whose drawn opinions appear regularly in The Bee. And I wanted to show you how their cartoons look in color, which we now have in this weekly Sunday section.
The Modesto Bee does not have a staff cartoonist and never has. We are fortunate to have access to the work done by cartoonists at other McClatchy papers and we subscribe to several syndicated cartoonists. Let me introduce some of them:
Jack Ohman has been The Sacramento Bee's cartoonist since January, replacing the late Rex Babin.Ohman spent the previous 29 years in Oregon, my home state, so I automatically like him even though I've only talked to him by phone and email. Ohman is a native of Minnesota and an avid fly fisherman. This is his first experience in California and he told me he's loving the opportunity to draw some of our political characters, who are more swashbuckling and dramatic than the earnest politicos in the Northwest.
What does he try to accomplish with his cartoons? First, make a political point and second, entertain the reader not necessarily in that order.
Ohman shares some of his thinking in a blog that appears, along with a gallery of his cartoons, on sacbee.com.
We also frequently use Jim Morin of The Miami Herald because he's prolific and frequently is the first to draw about a current event. Morin summarizes his aim this way: "If you don't have an opinion and if that cartoon doesn't state that opinion forcefully, then it's a lousy cartoon."
Like a number of his colleagues, Morin has started doing animated cartoons 45 to 60 seconds of political humor with voices. You can find those at www.miamiherald.com/opinion.
Lee Judge draws for the Kansas City Star and, like most of the others, is nationally syndicated. He's probably the most liberal of our cartoonists and has a distinctive style. On our website, modbee.com/opinions, you'll find a link to a gallery of work by all of the McClatchy cartoonists.
We subscribe to a package of cartoons provided by The Washington Post Writers Group though none actually works for the Post. From this package, we most frequently use Lisa Benson, for two reasons she's a consistent conservative and she's a Californian, frequently taking a jab at Gov. Jerry Brown and our Legislature. Benson lives in Apple Valley (San Bernardino County), draws regularly for the Victorville Daily Press, and posts many of her cartoons on her Facebook account.
Signe Wilkinson is also part of The Washington Post package. She's a former reporter who, while she was out collecting information for stories, found herself doing drawings instead of taking notes. The English major went back to school for remedial art classes and from there her career as political cartoonist blossomed. Although she spent several years at the San Jose Mercury News, she's formerly and currently a Pennsylvanian, based at the Philadelphia Daily News. The other cartoonists in this package are Nick Anderson from the Houston Chronicle and Clay Bennett from the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The youngest of the cartoonists we use is Drew Sheneman, who works for the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. He graduated with a degree in art and I think it shows in the complexity of his toons. There's an example on this page.
I'm a big fan of Mike Smith, who draws for the Las Vegas Sun and is syndicated by King Features. While he often targets politicians, he also presents the humor of everyday life. In an interview with the alumni magazine from his alma mater, Loyola Marymount University, Smith said cartoonists have to "question authority, have a sense of social justice and be a bit cranky."
Some readers use much harsher adjectives when describing cartoonists, terms like crude, depraved, tasteless. That's OK, because the goal on these pages is to present a variety of views. If you like a cartoon, good let us know. And if you don't like one, we welcome letters to the editor about those as well. We run the gripes pretty regularly.
Occasionally a reader will send in a cartoon they've clipped from another publication, with a note: "Run this." What the readers may not realize is that cartoons are copyrighted by their creators and we can't publish them without permission and payment.
I've been trying to keep up with who's running for what in the fall, and there's a name to add. Jonathan M. Rodriguez has filed an intent to run for District 2 on the Modesto City Council, the seat Dave Geer will be vacating. That brings to three the number of likely candidates for District 2. All three are Latino.
The water wars in California don't always break into predictable party factions. It's often more about geography.
This past week, the first chapters of the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan were released, outlining the proposed conveyance system twin tunnels to move water from north to south.
Here's the comment I received from Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, whose district includes all of Merced County: "With today's announcement, we have a viable option to finally end our historic water wars. ... This is a major step forward that would have never happened without the leadership of Gov. Brown ... achieving a real, comprehensive fix to a broken water system is within reach."
But from fellow Democrat Jerry McNerney, whose district includes part of the delta: "Once again, the governor is attempting to rush forward with his deeply flawed plan to build tunnels that will send our water south and devastate the families, farmers and small- business owners who rely on a healthy Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for their livelihoods."
Sly is editor of the Opinions pages. Contact her at (209) 578-2317 or email@example.com or on Twitter @judysly.