As another year sinks into the cesspool of memory, it's common to feel a deep sense of oozing regret. Even the best of years is a hodgepodge of missed opportunities, failed endeavors and lost hours spent watching reruns of Green Acres. It's important to take a moment to look back at the people and events that deserved more attention but fell through the butt cracks of time:
* Oceanside mayor Terry Johnson announced that the city's future was tied to tourism, shocking locals who thought the city's future was tied to hookers and cheap booze. The city needs to lure "rich, rich tourists with lots of discretionary income," Johnson said, reassuring the hooker industry.
* After careful consideration, the city of San Diego decided to remove the motto "The Most Efficiently Run Big City in California" from its website.
* Executives of NPR affiliate KPBS, famous for their Orwellian PR-speak, were in rare form after they dumped the nightly radio show, The Lounge and host Dirk Sutro. The move didn't represent a huge loss for fans of local programming-it was simply an opportunity to bulk up resources for These Days, the morning show, KPBS executives insisted.
* In its latest attempt to spice up the commuting experience for North Countyites, the county Board of Supervisors decided to turn several busy intersections into British-style roundabouts but scrapped plans to make people drive on the left side of the road.
* Defying the odds, geology professor Pat Abbott actually managed to increase San Diego State University's prestige with his articulate appearance on the Gilligan's Island reality show.
* With typical fervor, the Union-Tribune trumpeted a San Diego County survey of students that suggested 10.9 percent had attempted suicide, painting a portrait of thousands of morose kids wandering the streets with razor blades at their wrists. A few days later, the U-T's readers rep Gina Lubrano noted that the paper's crack team of news hounds might have put a bit of perspective on the data by noting the county report also showed there were actually only 11 high school-age suicides the previous year.
* Always wary of politicizing the most cherished of community events, San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy assured supporters that the December Nights tradition in Balboa Park would continue "as long as I'm mayor."
* U-T columnist Logan Jenkins set a new standard for self-loving in a column about the shenanigans of the Vallecitos Water District, which gripped the nation. "I, and only I, started a chain of events that resulted in Vallecitos possibly saving millions. Millions," he wrote. "Am I out of line to bill Vallecitos for a modest finder's fee of, say, 10 percent? I don't think so."
* Providing San Diegans with a shocking reminder of what it's like to hear a politician actually express a non-pandering thought, when a staffer from Rick Roberts' radio show asked Donna Frye about talk radio, she said, "They [the public] maybe ought to start looking at who's advertising with these types of programs and see who's actually supporting this type of vitriol and this type of divisiveness within our communities... and maybe people should turn off the radio."
* Bravely blowing off-so to speak-the North County gay vote, supervisor Bill Horn aped his god and guru Arnold Schwarzenegger and labeled members of the county's Civil Service Commission "girlie men." When asked if he was worried that his remark might be construed as a wee bit insensitive, considering the commission's role in fighting discrimination, Horn said, "Nah, I don't care. It doesn't matter to me."
* In November, 18 months after President Bush announced the war was over, the U-T decided the daily headline on page A2, "In War's Aftermath," may be a tad inappropriate, considering the 100 soldiers a month dying in Iraq.
* Fearful of potential controversy, the Encinitas City Council decided not to pursue an ordinance banning smoking in the city. Instead, they thought it was a swell idea to investigate the idea of creating a "public-education campaign" urging people not to leave cigarette butts on the beach.
* Speaking at a San Diego Press Club forum, San Diego Daily Transcript editor Reo Carr said the 118-year-old paper will dump the print edition and go online exclusively within a few years. "People don't want the paper anymore," he said, using words that undoubtedly inspired his staff and the paper's sponsors.
* Recognizing the fast-moving media landscape, the need for big ideas and big moves, in November the U-T announced sweeping editorial changes. The highlight of the plan was a new weekly section called "Passages," listing births and weddings. They also launched a "week in review" page, which sent readers into a feverish frenzy, compelling thousands to launch themselves into the street and spread oatmeal over their bodies to honor the journalism gods.
* Hard-hitting TV news hound Graham Ledger, who could wear a suit with the best of them, was booted by KFMB-TV after 13 years. If nothing else, the move gave hope to dozens of aspiring San Diego TV anchors, the perennial also-rans for the "Best Hair" Emmy.
* Demonstrating that irony is a dish best served with rubber chicken, two months after getting unceremoniously dumped by the U-T, former Tribune editor Neil Morgan won a first place award for column writing from the California and Nevada chapter of the Associated Press News Executives Council.Write to MsBeak1@aol.com and editor@SDcitybeat.com.