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Dumbass Political Decision of the Month

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:04 am
by Ralph
San Francisco shuns retired USS Iowa
8/20/2005, 12:24 p.m. ET
By BRIAN SKOLOFF
The Associated Press

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.

San Francisco's maritime museum already has one military vessel — the USS Pampanito, an attack submarine that sank six Japanese ships during World War II and has about 110,000 visitors a year.

Officials in Stockton couldn't be happier. They've offered a dock on the river, a 90,000-square-foot waterfront building and a parking area, and hope to attract at least 125,000 annual visitors.

After the Korean war, the Iowa was decommissioned and placed in reserve in a Philadelphia shipyard for three decades. In 1988, it was recalled to duty escorting oil supply ships safely in and out danger in the Persian Gulf. In 1989, 47 sailors were killed in an explosion that tore through a gun turret during a training exercise.

The warship, decommissioned by the Navy in 1990, is currently anchored with a mothballed fleet in Suisun Bay, near the mouth of the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta.

San Francisco's rejection of such a storied battleship is a slap in the nation's face, said Douglass Wilhoit, head of Stockton's Chamber of Commerce.

"We're lucky our men and women have sacrificed their lives ... to protect our freedom," Wilhoit said. "Wherever you stand on the war in Iraq ... you shouldn't make a decision based on philosophy."

Rep. Richard W. Pombo, R-Calif., has sponsored legislation authorizing the ship's permanent move to Stockton. Feinstein has countered with a bill to open bidding to any California city.

The two versions will have to be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee considering the Pentagon spending bill.

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:13 am
by jbuck919
Has no one any sense of rationing anymore? We need that teak back for piano keyboards.

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:21 am
by Ralph
jbuck919 wrote:Has no one any sense of rationing anymore? We need that teak back for piano keyboards.
*****

"Let them use plastic."

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 12:49 am
by operafan
This is really a wierd decision for Feinstein. We already have the SF Maritime museum - with multiple sites http://www.maritime.org/index.htm I like the docents at the Balcutha (sp?), because they teach whaling songs, and sail raisers (before winches everybody had to pull on the lines (ropes to landlubbers) at the same time, which songs facilitated.

If people want a real military experience they can go to the last liberty ship the USS Jerimiah O'Brian or the USS Hornet in Alameda, so why would we want another money guzzeling cesspool (these things are evironmental nightmares, just sitting at the dock)? 'Course it was cheap in federal spending terms, that three mil would only have taken care of 1 WEEK of interest on the penalties for the uncompleted Bay Bridge.

But back to the ship, Stockton will probably be sorry, but, no fears, we have the moth ball fleet mouldering away at ancore by the Carquinez Straits Bridge http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/ar ... 32.DTL&o=0, and the USS Rhode Island will fit right in. It is very strange to sail past these old vessels - now wrecks, especially in the fog of early morning. Makes one wonder if one has been time traveling. Occasionally a vessel sinks, and they haul it off for scrape - probably the fate in store for the USS Rhode Island.

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:21 am
by Ralph
These ships do not impact the environment. Here in Manhattan, on the West Side, we have the USS Intrepid and a destroyer and submarine. This museum hasn't caused a single environmental issue since it launched operations.

At Patriot Point in South Carolina a mothballed battle group of which the carrier Yorktown is the star similarly poses no environmental issues.

I've been on the Jeremiah O'Brian several times. It's interesting but also relatively out of the way and a former cargo ship only attracts serious martime museum buffs.

Perhaps San Francisco has so much to offer that it doesn't need an added attraction (I love the city deeply). But rejecting the warship was neither rational nor right.

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:27 am
by BWV 1080
I think a firing a few slavos at Berkley and Marin County would do the trick

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:10 am
by Corlyss_D
BWV 1080 wrote:I think a firing a few slavos at Berkley and Marin County would do the trick
:lol: :lol: :lol: I wish. I think it's so ingrained that they are beyond intimidation as well as rational thought. Schwarzenegger ought to step in and declare it a state park or something and order SF to take it. Legislation is the willing suspension of disbelief. He could do it.

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:52 am
by Ralph
Corlyss,

There's no way a governor can seize municipal land for anything, in CA, Utah, N.Y. or anywhere else.

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 12:18 pm
by Corlyss_D
Ralph wrote:Corlyss,

There's no way a governor can seize municipal land for anything, in CA, Utah, N.Y. or anywhere else.
Ralph! I didn't mean directly. I meant the usual way, thru emergency legislation. Condemning city property. Surely the legislature take city property for state use, right?

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 2:09 pm
by Lilith
"Perhaps San Francisco has so much to offer that it doesn't need an added attraction (I love the city deeply). But rejecting the warship was neither rational nor right."

Your first sentence is right on the money. Who wants to go to SF to visit a battleship?

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:24 pm
by Ralph
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:Corlyss,

There's no way a governor can seize municipal land for anything, in CA, Utah, N.Y. or anywhere else.
Ralph! I didn't mean directly. I meant the usual way, thru emergency legislation. Condemning city property. Surely the legislature take city property for state use, right?
*****

Actually...NO! Eminent Domain can't be used to take public property away from a municipality or county by the state. Of course such control vests through the doctrine of Home Rule which requires enabling legislation.

Under the federal Constitution state land is immune to Eminent Domain which is why often high purchase prices have been obtained. Not very long ago a Southern state banned U.S. Marines from training in state property because of claimed ecological damage. There was nothing else for Uncle Sam to do but look elsewhere.

In any event it's politically impossible for the state of CA to try to take over S.F. waterfront propery (I assume no one wants to tow the BB to the Mission District).

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:00 pm
by operafan
I suppose that they could hang it off one of our defunct piers. The expense would be considerable. It took millions of dollars to bring the USS Hornet up to some kind of code that made it sort of safe and wheelchair accessable for the public. They have to have access because it is necessary to have tons of fund raisers. The electric bill alone is 20K/month, and they have to have a well maintained trap to keep the leaking lead (something about electrolisis) from going into the bay, yada yada.

Stockton is welcome to figure out a new way of keeping ships financially afloat.