Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Texas Governor Disgusted Over Explosion Cartoon

APPlantCartoon

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he's disgusted a California newspaper ran a cartoon that depicts him boasting about booming business in Texas, then shows an explosion, a week after a fertilizer plant explosion killed 14 people in a Texas town.

Texas Plant Explosion Coverage

NFFF Announces West Texas Fire and EMS Hero Fund

Perry said he wants an apology from the Sacramento Bee on behalf of the town.

The cartoon in Thursday's edition shows Perry crowing that "Business is Booming," flanked by signs saying "Low Tax!" and "'Low Regs!" It's a play on the Republican's often-repeated mantra that his state's low-regulation, business-friendly climate has its economy humming.

The next panel reads "Boom!" as a blast engulfs the area behind the governor and his signs.

An April 17 explosion in the town of West, which is outside Waco, left a crater more than 90 feet wide and is estimated to have caused more than $100 million in damage. The blast occurred moments after a fire was reported at the West Fertilizer plant.

Ten of the people killed were first responders who rushed to the nighttime blaze.

In a letter to the Bee's editor, Perry said it "was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon."

"While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans," Perry wrote. "Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster."

President Barack Obama was among those who attended a memorial service for the explosion victims Thursday at Baylor University in Waco.

The Bee's editorial page editor, Stuart Leavenworth, responded Friday that the artist, Jack Ohman, "made a strong statement about Gov. Rick Perry's disregard for worker safety, and his attempts to market Texas a place where industries can thrive with few regulations."

"It is unfortunate that Gov. Perry, and some on the blogosphere, have attempted to interpret the cartoon as being disrespectful for the victims of this tragedy," Leavenworth said. "As Ohman has made clear on his blog, he has complete empathy for the victims and people living by the plant.

"What he finds offensive is a governor who would gamble with the lives of families by not pushing for the strongest safety regulations. Perry's letter is an attempt to distract people from that message."

Ohman defended his cartoon with an Internet post, noting that the fertilizer plant "had not been inspected by the state of Texas since 2006" and that many "Texas cities have little or no zoning, resulting in homes being permitted next to sparely inspected businesses that store explosive chemicals."

"My job, as I understand it, is to be provocative," Ohman wrote. "I provoke, you decide. I don't dictate, I put out my opinion along with everyone else. I sign my name. I own it. In my opinion, I could have gone further. Much further."

California has seen Perry's touting of his state's pro-business prowess firsthand. In February, a public-private Texas marketing firm ran radio ads featuring Perry denigrating California's taxes and regulation, and then Perry traveled there to recruit jobs. He made a similar trip — this time backed by a print-media ad buy — to Chicago this past week.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, also a Republican, called for Ohman to be fired.

"I think it's reprehensible for a member of the media to sit in safety and mock such a profound tragedy regardless of any 'point' he is trying to make," Dewhurst said.

Perry, meanwhile, wrote that the newspaper "owes the community of West, Texas, an immediate apology for your detestable attempt at satire."

Ohman posted that he had received "varying levels of concern about the cartoon depicting Gov. Rick Perry's marketing of Texas' loose regulations, juxtaposed with the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas," but that he would draw the cartoon again without thinking twice.

___

Associated Press writer Juliet Williams in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



RELATED ARTICLES

Photos: Rescue in Collapsed Nepal Hotel

French rescue team saves survivor who was trapped in rubble for 82 hours.

Rescue and Recovery in Nepal

Death toll passes 4,000 and is expected to continue to rise as rescue teams search the ruins.

Nurse Falls From Texas Medical Helicopter

STAR Flight nurse’s death is the organization’s first on-duty death in 30-year history.

Drugs Stolen from Columbus Ambulances

Review finds broken and malfunctioning locks in 13 ambulances.

CDC Calls for Expanding Naloxone Use

Effort could reduce drug overdose deaths and save lives.

Rescue Efforts in Nepal

The latest on the devastating earthquake and the rescue response as the death toll climbs to over 3,700.

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers