This time last year, it seemed all hell was about to break loose. The Bush administration teetered on the brink of war, California-and San Diego with it-tottered on the brink of financial implosion, and Spin Cycle was running out of decent gin.
But we pushed on bravely.
A review of 2003 predictions resulted in at least one stunning revelation. Councilmember Michael Zucchet hit one nail square on the head when he glimpsed this in the crystal ball: "The Chargers exercise their "trigger' option, with the city claiming "financial hardship' under their contract. Then a lot of lawyers get rich as the negotiations and litigation continue for years. Meanwhile, the city contemplates cuts in essential city services, like police and fire protection...."
Spooky, huh. But you're probably saying to yourself, well if he's such a visionary, how come he didn't foresee the feds marching on City Hall in May and turning his life and those of colleagues Ralphie Inzunza and Charles Lewis on their collective heads? Well, this is art, not science, fella.
Checking our Chinese calendar, we see that 2004 will be the Year of the Monkey-the Year of the Wood Monkey, to be precise. Let's see, it says here that this will be 365 fun-filled days of "sidestepping problems and clever manipulations, backed by intelligence and guile."
Hmmm, must be an election year.
What's this? "Riots, revolutions and the overthrow of leaders keep everyone on their toes!" Oh my, maybe a better-than-expected election year. Let's read further. OK, the wood element seems to represent growth and prosperity, so we can surmise there won't be any good news on the plodding affordable-housing front.
Million-dollar-plus condo developers, however, will be bathing in champagne. Good for them-maybe they'll absorb enough alcohol to slide into a deep coma, waking only when the majority of San Diegans can afford a decent place to live.
And let's not fret that in previous monkey years, we witnessed the escalation of World War II (1944), the cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens (1980) and the wicked force of Hurricane Andrew (1992).
Alright, wood monkey, give Spin Cycle the power to predict the happenings for '04.
* Mayor Dick "White Shoes" Murphy, born in the Year of the Horse, will finally agree to debate his three mayoral challengers, but only if the trio's mouths are duct-taped and they're forced to wear Osama bin Ladin costumes. But one caveat, Horsemen (this goes for the other Horse in the race, Ensign Ron Roberts, as well). It seems Monkey years "upset the equilibrium of the horse with its about-faces, and unexpected occurrences. Vague distrust and superficiality prevail." Year of the Dragon's Peter Q. Davis by a nose!
* Quiet on the matter for way too long, the media-shy Three Amigos of City-Hall-a-Go-Go infamy finally start hitting back at federal prosecutors. "They have me on tape ordering a ham on rye," one indicted councilman will say. "Gotta come clean-I'm soooo guilty on that one." Reports another: ""Lap dance?' Ohh, sorry, I thought you said, "Fat chance.' As in, "Fat chance that I'll pay for my own lunch.'" Meanwhile, wives of the indicted-enlisted to pore over thousands of hours of sting-related surveillance tape-will find themselves with an expanded vocabulary, including such charming terms as "friction dance," "boobie bashing" and a new meaning for "Hoover."
* Councilmember Jim "MadDog" Madaffer (born Year of the Rat-really) will explode after staffers remove the M and F from his personal computer. "You ucking otheruckers! What the uck did I do to deserve this!? You're all ired!" he'll write in a confusing e-mail, which will pop up in the databanks of the financially flush San Diego Data Processing Corp., the city's privately run-and Madaffer's favorite-technology juggernaut. Highly paid executives there will successfully open the e-mail with their Commodore 64s by the middle of April.
* Chargers spokespiece Mark "Fabio" Fabiani will finally jump off the sinking U.S.S. Bolt in time to join Wesley Clark's presidential campaign. Unfortunately, Clark will have already quit the race and left town, giving Fabiani two options: 1. sue Clark to get him to come back, or 2. pointlessly start bad-mouthing him in public. Clark, in response, will make some obscure Caesar-Brutus reference and be carted off to the rubber-walled park.
* Petco Park, the Padres' new downtown ballpark, will open to rave reviews-from bankers and loan processors. Dorky men in dark jackets will wander around the emerald turf, holding tiny bats and oversized batting helmets. Padres owner John Moores will be the first to belt out the national anthem there, but he'll be out of tune. Feeling sorry for him, a majority of the San Diego City Council will agree to take out a multi-million-dollar loan to pay for singing lessons.
* Former San Diego councilmember and bad-development-lover Byron Wear will be slapped with a $7,000 fine by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to disclose an outstanding loan of $7,000 he received in 1996. In violation of state law, Wear failed to report the loan-secured by a deed of trust on property in which he shared ownership-for not one, not two, but three consecutive years, from 1998 through 2000. Oh wait, this really happened! Sorry, this should have been held for a later column on booted-out doofus politicians who catch on slower than wooden monkeys.
Happy monkey year!
Go on, tip us-it'll make you feel better: spin cycle@SDcitybeat.com.