SN&R owner disagrees with last week’s cartoon

But if I had to choose, I’d choose a paper that publishes diverse views

Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno. His column, Greenlight, appears weekly in this space.

Even though I am majority owner of the News & Review, I don’t always agree with everything written in our papers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno. Actually, the editors and reporters at each of the papers don’t always agree with each other either. For example, the three papers have often endorsed different people for state office. Over the years, there have been numerous internal discussions and arguments about different approaches to take on a story.

And while there are different points of view, we do tend to have a progressive orientation. This helps determine which stories are important, but on the other hand, we always try to present varying points of view. At times, this creates a confusion that can never be solved, only managed. On the whole, we manage this conflict very well.

I am extremely proud of our three papers and the impact that they have on their communities. As I pick up the Sacramento, Chico and Reno papers and read them, along with a half million other people, I am impressed that such a small group of people can do such a good job each week.

But then, occasionally, I am disappointed. Over the last 36 years of reading our papers, sometimes I’ve been disappointed only to realize later how wrong I was. But I worry about us making a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, but when a newspaper makes a mistake, it can hurt someone.

I am very appreciative that John Kloss has been the SN&R editorial cartoonist for the last 20 years. What I like about his cartoons is not only the quality of his illustrations, but also his ability to bring both insight and emotion to important local issues. That said, I was not crazy about last week’s cartoon, which showed developer Mark Friedman and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon in a dance pose as they listened to the “West Sac Clearcut Song.”

My personal objections to this cartoon: First, depicting an openly gay mayor in a slip was not a good idea. Second, I believe that developing West Sacramento is the very kind of infill development that I, and certainly this paper, has supported in the past. What’s more, Friedman has an innovative plan, which is the very kind of human-friendly, car-unfriendly urban landscape that we should be creating.

I should mention that I consider Mark a good friend, and we are currently working on a project to highlight young high-school classical and jazz performers at his family’s Arden Fair mall. I also believe Christopher is one of our region’s best public servants. Recent successes in West Sacramento are in large part due to the leadership of Christopher Cabaldon.

At any rate, I disagree with John’s cartoon. But if I had to choose, I’d choose a paper that publishes diverse views in its pages. I’d choose a paper that I didn’t always agree with. And this paper you are reading would be the result.