Right on both accounts, I believe. However, Sandoval still has a point. Jennifer wasn't in a top 50 of good looking folks, Garrett was. One might even argue if keeping an actor based on looks is in itself the opposite of being PC, despite Garrett being Asian, but I digress.
Sex appeal has always been a major factor in selling Trek to the public. Every show be they male or female has always had a sex symbol type character. Look on all the TV shows, how many ugly people are on TV? Even the old people are pretty.
As far as Kes, isn't there a recent interview with Jen Lien posted on this site that explains that her contact ran out and that she had talked to Berman about wanting leaving acting anyway? So it sounds like even if they killed off Harry Kim, Jen Lien didn't want to stay anyway. So they kept the guy that did.
Doesn't matter how much potential Kes the character had. If the actor isn't serious about the job anymore, then they aren't going to put their best into the role.