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Monday, April 24, 2006 | A few weeks ago, the staff here at Scott Lewis on Politics, or SLOP™, compiled our first ever “Hits and Misses.”

Hits are good (as in Brian Giles had the game-winning hit in the 14th inning.)

Misses are bad (as in I missed that wave because I still don’t know how to paddle very well.)

Hit: The USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum

And it was a mess. I toured it before they sent it across the bay from North Island and it was not the kind of thing I could ever imagine someone actually paying to see. I couldn’t understand. The most fun I had was my furtive climb to the top of the mast to get an even better view of downtown.

That was, at least, until I joined my dad – a veteran who served on a carrier – and my wife – who’s on one now – on a tour of the refurbished Midway last weekend.

It was great. When he talks about being in the Navy, my dad can reach into an arsenal of fond memories. And he does. Which is why it’s so surprising that when you then ask him to sum up his experience in the military, he tells you it was horrible and he couldn’t wait to get out.

But here wasn’t a place in San Diego where he could have had more fun that day than the Midway. The complimentary audio tour is informative and interesting. And you can tell the old guys running the place love doing few things more than telling people about the systems and functions of the old ship.

It was a great experience and few things like it can transport you to such a different world and time when you’re only a few blocks away from your own.

Hit: Setting the Chargers Free

Then, of course, on Friday the mayor with the support of Council President Scott Peters announced that he would ask the city to change its lease with the Chargers to allow the team to negotiate with other cities in the county.

I had advocated this before. I had even offered the mayor a sample speech. But he didn’t need any advice from me. It was simply the logical thing to do.

It’s been an uncomfortably long time since we’ve even had a proposal to debate about the Chargers and their desire for a new stadium. For years, we went back and forth with the team on a new site in Mission Valley. But that proposal is dead. The way things stand now, the team is probably going to leave the city of San Diego. They had a proposal that looked like it gave good answers to all the city’s questions and worries about spending scarce public funds, but it’s gone. No more. It’s not even being talked about.

The mayor rightly argued that the city has bigger fish to fry. It does.

Now it will be interesting to see who steps forward with a proposal.

Miss: A City Staff Loss

Being the policy dorks we are here at SLOP™, we always enjoyed Poat’s long analyses of the impacts of various actions of the Legislature on the city. He provided an early warning mechanism as to potential cuts in revenue (read: theft) and unfunded mandates Sacramento had in store for the city.

Mayor Jerry Sanders’ proposed financial recovery plan – which had bundles of money for virtually every city department (and some new ones) this year – more or less eviscerated Poat’s budget. But Sanders’ spokesman Fred Sainz told us that wasn’t necessarily the reason Poat bolted.

“As the transition continues, there will be continue to be a number of managerial changes,” Sainz said.

Sainz said the mayor’s office would be handling the city’s relations with Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Hit: The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Pulitzer

Miss: The U-T’s Weird Endorsement of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

“In retrospect, there can be little doubt that Rumsfeld and his Pentagon team, especially the secretary’s civilian advisers, badly mishandled the Iraq conflict after the brilliant three-week military campaign that ousted Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. The Pentagon provided far too few troops to impose security and order, a failure that produced chaos in Iraq. The Rumsfeld team also failed to anticipate the rise of a vicious insurgency that gained momentum in part because there were so relatively few American troops on the ground to stop it.

But these decisions are now history and Rumsfeld is hardly the only one to blame for them.”

The U-T went on to say that President Bush shouldn’t fire Rumsfeld, though, because it would look weak.

“Sacking Rumsfeld would risk being seen abroad, including in Iraq and by America’s enemies, as a tacit repudiation of, or at least retreat from, the whole Iraq mission.”

So, in other words, firing Rumsfeld might be a good action to take, if it didn’t look so bad.

I’m not saying Rumsfeld should go or stay. But if you’re going to say he should be kept on, you should argue that it’s because he’s the best person for the job. The only people who think that changing one’s mind makes him or her look weak are the people who don’t have the strength to ever reconsider their past actions and learn from them.

Scott Lewis oversees voiceofsandiego.org’s commentary section. Please contact him directly at

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