OK, I’m back. Thanks to those who sent nice messages and news while I was gone. It only took a few hours to dig out of the mound of email that fell on me this morning but I think I can move on.

I noticed that I have come back to an interesting flame war between Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Attorney Mike Aguirre. I don’t quite grasp what it’s about so I’ll hold my tongue except to say one thing:

1) The Union-Tribune reported today that the two city officials’ “squabbling marks a nadir” in their relationship. But a nadir is the lowest point in some kind of sequence, right? There’s little chance that if we look back on this in a year and wonder where the low point was, that we’ll point to this. Their actions indicate it’s going to get much worse. .

I was interested as well in this story about the mayor’s change of heart on the gay marriage thing.

Seems as though his announcement and particularly emotional appeal was a big deal and I’m sorry to have missed it.

In 2000, some observers figure that the debate about gay marriage in California actually had an effect on the election for San Diego mayor.

Three candidates for mayor in 2000 seemed to have the upper hand when the primary election approached that year. All three were Republicans: Ron Roberts, the county supervisor, had raised a lot of money and looked like the favorite. Peter Q. Davis, the wealthy former banker, had the resources to get his name out. And Dick Murphy, who was then a judge, was trying just to compete.

As the debate over Proposition 22 grew more and more heated statewide, Murphy’s campaign decided to enthusiastically support Proposition 22, which intended to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages. Murphy sought to highlight the fact that though there were many Republicans in the race for mayor, he was the only one who support the measure. Davis and Roberts were against it.

Roberts, as expected, won the primary election but not by the 50 percent needed to take the post immediately.

But Murphy, in a shocker, got 169 more votes than Davis and moved on to the general election, where his support among conservative Republicans apparently was more effective than Roberts claim over the moderate and liberal urban vote.

This morning, I called John Kern, who was Murphy’s campaign consultant and later his chief of staff, and asked whether he thought Murphy’s support of Proposition 22 had an impact on him winning the right to challenge Roberts in the final election in 2000.

“We won by 169 votes in the primary. Everything had an impact,” Kern said.

I’ve always maintained that politicians should not get hammered for changing their minds — as long as they explain why they thought what they did and why they have come to a new conclusion they should be respected for having the courage to reexamine their previously held beliefs.

Where I have trouble is when a politician changes his or her mind but doesn’t want to say so and merely takes steps that contradict previous pledges.

I don’t think that’s the case here.

SCOTT LEWIS

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