(Sorry for another wordy posting, but I did edit it a lot!)
Traditionally, mainstream comic strips try to avoid being too politically partisan, as strong views can understandably limit circulation and the cartoonist’s paycheck.
There are exceptions to this tradition (such as Doonesbury, Shoe, The Boondocks, and Mallard Fillmore). This strip is shaping up to be another exception, as Rivera is getting more comfortable flexing her Left-leaning muscles. Thus, right-wing tropes continue to come into play, as seen not only in the Sunny Soleil Society, itself, but also in our two self-indulgent “victims”.
On the other hand, I don’t think Rivera is being completely one-sided in her political satire. Certainly, Mark has acted in strident, over-the-top behavior several times, whether it is spouting “environmentalist” platitudes while threatening violence; or destroying property and breaking the law for the sake of conservation or social justice.
As a comic strip devoted to nature conservation, Mark Trail has traditionally focused on issues popular with anglers, hunters, and campers (e.g., poaching, forest fires, animal abuse). Rivera has expanded those issues to include pollution, corporate corruption, and climate change. While the former items have tended to be more popular among those on the Right, the latter issues are usually more associated with those on the Left. One can argue the details, but they are common tropes in our society. And Rivera is clearly looking to expand Mark’s awareness and involvement in these latter issues, as he should be.
Anyway, who painted the once-gray statue?