It was no laughing matter to Hamburg cartoonist Dale A. Neseman when he saw one of his drawings on a campaign mailer last week.
The former printer was not amused.
“This is an embarrassment to me and my family, putting me in a false position of an endorsement which I do not give,” he said.
The postcard mailer showed a Neseman cartoon that had appeared in the Sun, a weekly newspaper in the Southtowns. It depicts an open book that is scorched on the left side, with the words, “Hamburg Town Board, a horror story.” The right-hand page reads “Chapter Two – A New Start? 2013.”
The back of the mailer lists headlines from the last several years on articles about turmoil in the town, under the heading “Walters & Ziegler Brought Us Dysfunction.”
The mailer clearly is a slam against Republican Supervisor Steven J. Walters and Councilwoman Amy Carroll Ziegler, who are seeking re-election, although the author or sender of the mailer is not listed.
“I never have allowed my cartoons to be used in a political campaign. I am astounded that a printer would print something with an obvious copyright right on the front of the postcard,” Neseman said.
The Hamburg Democratic Committee owned up to the mailer.
The committee “sent that out because it’s a great cartoon; it clearly captures the sentiment of the residents of the Town of Hamburg,” said Vice Chairman Michael L. Amodeo.
The cartoon is informational and does not endorse one candidate over another, Amodeo said, and he is not sure whether permission was needed in this instance. “It would be an interesting case for copyright attorneys to discuss,” Amodeo said.
Hamburg Republican Chairwoman Barbara K. Lipka said it is clear that Democrats do not have a vision for the town because they are relying on “childish antics.”
“There are no facts in any pieces they are sending out. I don’t have time for the childish antics,” she said. “We have a lot to stay focused on, and we are staying focused on the record.”
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