In The New York Times’ Lens blog today, the newspaper takes a look at a series of iconic photos featuring a still-unidentified man who, 20 years ago, stepped in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square, becoming forever known simply as the “tank man.”

The post got me thinking about significant events in the recent history of San Diego. voiceofsandiego.org is still a pretty young organization, but we’ve chronicled some important events in the region’s history in our short existence.

So, I dug into our archives to see what happened June 3, 2008. Lo and behold, it’s been exactly a year since Mayor Jerry Sanders handily won reelection over businessman Steve Francis and now-City Attorney Jan Goldsmith rocked the political foundations of the city with big numbers in the primary election against incumbent Mike Aguirre.

Here’s the photo we ended up running of Goldsmith:

And, Sanders:

Of course, taking a look back at this event is particularly timely (despite being exactly a year ago today) because these political heavyweights are now embroiled in a bit of dispute (a la Aguirre/Sanders in 2007) about the elimination of a controversial retirement benefit. It was the way voters cast their ballots on June 3 that shaped the trajectory of the city’s current political make-up.

June 3, 2008 was also a very, very long day. Reporter Will Carless and I spent the morning doing some exit polling just to get a sense of how San Diegans were voting. We were skeptical how the project would turn out, but it was totally worth it, because, while asking voters questions out near SDSU, I bumped into former Mayor Dick Murphy, who was casting his ballot. He reluctantly let me interview him and even snap a quick photo.

Here’s how we presented that feature last year. What a find:

Name: Dick Murphy

Age: 66

Occupation: Former San Diego Mayor

Neighborhood: Del Cerro

“I can guarantee I did not vote for Aguirre. How’s that?”

SAM HODGSON

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