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Thursday, March 30, 2006 | Loyal readers will remember several weeks ago, the staff here at Scott Lewis on Politics, or SLOP™, wrote a mythbusters column as the start of an occasional feature of our staff’s continuing work. This Thursday, we’re bringing you yet another SLOP™ occasional feature: the “Hits” and “Misses” of the week.
Hits are good (as in Jerry Sanders and the Finance Guys wrote a “smash hit” musical).
Misses are bad (as in SLOP™ really missed it this week.)
Kaloogian, of course, along with every other white Republican man in the northern part of the county, is running for Congress to replace Randy “French Commode” Cunningham. On his campaign Web site, Kaloogian had written a bit of a missive about how he had just gotten back from Iraq and how the media completely distorts the situation there.
He posted a photo of a nice, peaceful urban area and where couples walk holding hands. He said the picture demonstrated what the media was deliberately skewing because it hated George Bush’s war on terror.
Here’s what he wrote: “We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it – in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.”
But then some bloggers caught wind of the photo and decided to do some checking based on what appeared to be indications that the photo was actually taken in Turkey.
And they later proved that it was.
Kaloogian issued an anti-apology.
“I made a mistake in posting the wrong picture and I accept full responsibility for it,” he said in the statement. “However, the anti-war activists who are supporting Democrat Francine Busby are trying to use this clerical mistake as justification for opposing the war. How silly.”
Kaloogian has now posted a different photo of Baghdad- a far-away shot that only offers distant views of the tops of buildings.
Miss: Public Funds for Political Initiatives
It’s illegal to use public funds to support or oppose a ballot initiative. We here at SLOP™ have been pretty frustrated about the way local agencies have been dancing on that ethical line. On Monday, we wrote about the “coincidence” that ads touting the benefits of Grossmont Hospital were running at the same time Grossmont Hospital was asking voters to approve a $247 million bond measure.
Then, of course, there’s the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority that will be asking voters soon to support a ballot proposal for a new or expanded airport. When the ballot proposal comes out, voters will have a choice between a new airport site or staying with Lindbergh Field. Because the airport authority is spending public money to show how Lindbergh Field will fail as an airport, is it a far stretch to conclude that the agency is spending the money to support a “yes” vote on whatever it eventually decides to support?
Miss: Sanders in New York
But there is one aspect of the trip that sends chills up our spine: Sanders is meeting, supposedly, with newspapers like The New York Times to try to shed the label the Times itself successfully branded San Diego when it wondered aloud in 2004 if the city had become “the Enron by the Sea.” Now Sanders and a bevy of local smiling faces are trying to convince the big media that “San Diego Works.”
Not only is it dorky, but it’s pointless. The problems that the Times and everyone else wrote about in 2004 have not gone away at all. Only one major reform of the pension system has taken place: The retirement fund no longer is absorbing the burden of retiree health care costs. That’s it. Nothing else has fundamentally changed and in fact, as people start to recognize the cost to the city’s ability to function that comes along with its massive unpaid bills, it’s gotten a lot worse.
San Diego is not facing an image problem. A lot of people used to think that the only problem with the city’s government was the way reporters wrote about it. This administration promised to be different.