I found the timing of the Jerry James cartoon from the July 4 New Times to be unbelievably disrespectful to the Bakersfield residents who recently lost one of their family members during a boating accident that occurred in Morro Bay on June 23, no less than two weeks prior to the printing of this issue. Being in the business of local news, I would imagine that even if Jerry James the cartoonist wasn’t aware of this incident, New Times would have been well aware that this event occurred in Morro Bay. The information was well covered by KSBY and the Tribune at the time it occurred.
I would expect that New Times, or Jerry James, may read this letter and respond by saying something to the effect of, “The cartoon is not intended to be a humorous attempt on that particular boating accident.” Whether it is specific to that event or not, this would not be a sufficient response in my opinion. I question how New Times, a professional publication, could use such poor judgment in electing to post this cartoon shortly following the death of the Bakersfield man whose bass boat was overturned by a wave in Morro Bay. My suggestion is that New Times show some respect and post a formal public apology acknowledging this lack of good judgment. You have plenty of room in your weekly newspaper for a short statement such as this. This cartoon, and the timing of posting this cartoon, is one of the most appalling acts of disrespect I’ve seen in a while.
I was fishing with my father, who is from Bakersfield, that very same morning of the boating accident. If a cartoon like this was published following the death of my family member, you would be receiving more than just a letter to the editor.
Ed. note: We at New Times would like to apologize for any pain caused by the poor timing of the cartoon in question. Thanks, Jon, for pointing this out.
Jon Claxton lives in San Luis Obispo. Send comments to the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.