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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