Sunday, August 21, 2005

Fienstein: bad memory or in denial?

I don't think anyone doesn't know who Diane Feinstein is, the Senator from California. What many people may not know is a small event recently that has an ironic resonance from her past history.

We start here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5224366,00.html

San Francisco Shuns Retired USS Iowa
Sunday August 21, 2005 6:01 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The USS Iowa joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.

Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific.

Instead, it appears that the retired battleship is headed about 80 miles inland, to Stockton, a gritty agricultural port town on the San Joaquin River and home of California's annual asparagus festival.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now,'' Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

Feinstein called it a "very petty decision.''

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in,'' Feinstein said.

Stop there. Ok, San Francisco is a lot of things but in the last few decades, it has become increasingly more hostile to the military.

It's true, The City has a long military tradition. I marched in an Armed Forces day parade down Market Street in 1984, and I can vividly recall the pride in some places and protests in others.

In part, some of that is understandable. The military's history of not allowing gays to serve openly is an obviously unpopular opinion.

In the late 80's Ms Feinstein, then Mayor of San Francisco was courting the USS Missouri to a homeport basing there. I can recall, as I was stationed not far away, the hostility to that in the general population and the anti nuke sentiments.

The Missouri instead went to San Diego.

In 1989 in the lead up to Desert Storm San Francisco made no Military friends when it declared itself a sanctuary city for deserters trying to avoid deployment.

And in the recent conflict, San Francisco has been very vocal in its anti war sentiments.

When you add it up, the council voting to reject this matter isn't much of a surprise at all.

The City has been heading there for years, partially under Dianne's leadership.