One thing that I have really enjoyed over the past 25 years living in Antioch are the political cartoons by Annette Balesteri in the Ledger Dispatch and later in the Friday editions of the The News in the East County Times.

There is no doubt in my mind that Annette reads our local paper for inspiration.

And, as a politician, you know you have "hit the big time" when you are lampooned by Annette in one of her cartoons!

I still get a chuckle about one cartoon in particular where I was her "target."

When our mayor decided to have a town-hall meeting on a Saturday in the El Campanil Theatre and coffee was not going to be permitted, I said that I would boycott the meeting if there was no coffee!

I found it wrong to expect Antioch residents to give up a Saturday morning with the families and sit in the theater listening to a meeting without that cup of coffee in their hands to keep them awake! After all, the previous town hall meetings were held at the Senior Center and Lone Tree Golf Course banquet facility where coffee and doughnuts were there.

Annette picked up on it right away in her cartoon of me sitting in the audience with an IV running to a coffee pot outside the theater! I still get a kick out of that cartoon.

But, it didn't stop there! It spread on the Internet and on websites for coffee and carpet cleaning associations! No kidding, it did! I guess the carpet cleaners picked up on the comments that


they didn't want any coffee spilled in the theater.

But as a Navy Chief Petty Officer on a surface ship in the Barents Sea taking 35-degree rolls, I can assure you that I never spilled a drop of coffee as I made my way from my quarters to the Command Information Center!

And Starbucks was quick to offer free coffee for all outside the theater.

In my last commentary I warned everyone to hold onto their wallets due to the number of parcel taxes that are being proposed by everyone with the power to put them on the ballot.

I guess Annette must have read my commentary, as the next cartoon she had in the Jan. 20 edition of The News had a mama piggy bank running away from all the little piggies with new parcel taxes shouting "Mama needs a break!" With all the complaints about uncaring residents taking shopping carts from stores and then leaving them deposited all around Antioch, Annette was quick to come up with a cartoon of a guy on a horse trying to round up those carts.

We are really lucky to have Annette as an Antioch resident. While I have never had the pleasure of meeting her, I really would like to let her know how much I enjoy her cartoons.

There is truth that anyone who gets into politics better have a thick skin, as they are not only going to get barbs from their constituents, critiques from reporters and editorial boards, but the chance to get lampooned in one of Annette's political cartoons.

For those who haven't seen all of her work, take the time to Google "Annette Balesteri." You'll find out that she is a member of The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and see some of her cartoons over the years.

Keep it up, Annette! The Friday newspaper wouldn't be the same without you!