GOP Unites and Then Divides Over Budget

After six brave legislators vote for compromise, the state party vows to cast them out of the picture.

The California Republican Party decided to marginalize itself
further last weekend, and continue to march lockstep with the
right-wing zealots currently running the national GOP. We’re not sure
if we should be worried or thankful. After all, it’s kind of fun to
watch conservatives shoot themselves in the face, over and over
again.

At the state GOP’s semi-annual convention in Sacramento, party
leaders further distanced themselves from their own standard bearer
— Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Plus, they voted to officially
abandon the six Republicans who broke the budget stalemate, vowing to
not help them get reelected. That’s sad for compromise, but if all goes
well, those six seats will be won by Democrats in the coming years,
finally giving the majority party the two-thirds vote it needs to pass
some real progressive legislation — like single-payer health
care.

So, thanks GOP. Keep taking your marching orders from Rush Limbaugh
and Michael Savage. They’ll lead you right off a cliff.

Unless, of course, Republican voters nominate Tom Campbell, Steve
Poizner, or Meg Whitman for governor next year. If that happens, then
the state GOP will remain just as divided as it has been over the past
few years — with the Republicans in the legislature being far
more conservative than their elected leader. But with three fairly
reasonable moderates in the race, you have to assume that some
reactionary is preparing his candidacy even as you read this.

We Have a Budget!

California finally has balanced the budget — thanks to those
aforementioned six moderate Republicans. But the deal, which took three
months to hammer out, is going to be painful. The University of
California, for example, is facing a 10 percent cut in funding. UC
officials are trying to prepare for $115.5 million in cuts in the next
two years. However, about $50 million of that may be offset by the
federal stimulus bill, which will give $11 billion to California public
schools and universities. Still, $65.5 million in cuts will have to
come from somewhere. Based on UC’s storied history of handing out
generous retirement packages, that’s like, what, 650 severance
checks?

A’s Staying in Oakland?

The owners of the Oakland A’s have abandoned their plans to pack up
and move the team to Fremont. A’s officials told the San Francisco
Chronicle
about their decision last Friday, but did not indicate
whether the team plans to remain in Oakland or attempt to move
elsewhere. A’s co-owner Lew Wolff had hoped to build a new ballpark in
Fremont, but his two preferred sites were met with stiff opposition
from area businesses and residents, and the economic underpinning for
the plan — a housing development — isn’t looking too viable
in this economy. The A’s have been unhappy for years at the
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the oldest dual-purpose stadium in the
country. But with the economy in the tank, it’s seems likely that the
team will remain in Oakland for the foreseeable future — unless
Wolff can convince Major League Baseball to let him move the A’s to San
Jose.

Alameda’s Methdog Extraordinaire

Ah, Alameda: home to old-fashion ice cream stores, barber shops, La
Piñata, and meth dealers. About $3,000 worth of methamphetamine,
to be exact. The white-trash drug was discovered by a police dog in the
bucolic island ‘burb last week. Police said they were searching the
apartment and property of a suspected drug dealer after he was arrested
on a warrant from an earlier narcotics case. The scent-sensitive pooch,
Duke, led officers to about three ounces of meth in the trunk of the
man’s girlfriend’s car. The cops found more under the windshield visor,
and then arrested the woman at the man’s apartment on Alameda Avenue
near Willow Street. The couple is suspected of dealing in Alameda and
nearby cities. And they’re not alone. Earlier this month, police made
an arrest for possession of methamphetamine for sale about six blocks
away.

Berkeley’s Perv Watch

Sure, there’s plenty of meth in Berkeley, too, but lately it’s been
all about the perverts. Since October, a skirt-lifter has been lurking
around south of the UC Berkeley campus. The man has accosted about
thirteen women so far. He’s described as white, twenty- or
thirty-something, 5’10”, with a medium build and short, dark wavy hair.
In other words, Mr. Average Dude. His MO is to sneak up on women late
at night and lifts their skirts to try and touch them. Earlier this
month, Berkeley cops also nabbed a peeping tom who climbed a ladder and
peered into a woman’s window. Guys: two words — Internet
porn.

Three-Dot Roundup

A date has been set for the trial of Devaughndre Broussard, who is
charged with murdering Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey in
2007. Broussard, 21, has pleaded not guilty. He faces a judge on May
18. … If you can’t watch some of your favorite TV shows, then get
thee to Radio Shack immediately. Four Bay Area television stations
pulled the plug on analog transmission last week, rendering thousands
of conventional rabbit ears worthless in the process. Now you
old-schoolers need to fork over $60 for a digital converter box. …
Speaking of TV, Slumdog Millionaire swept the Oscars on Sunday,
taking home eight Academy Awards, including best picture and best
director. Milk was robbed, but at least Sean Penn got his
due.

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