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All California parks will remain open

By golly, it’s a bloody miracle, that’s what it is.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger just put out an official announcement saying no state parks will close after all. (My colleague Paul Rogers at the San Jose Mercury News wrote a story Wednesday saying this would happen.)

The governor does not mention, however, that closing the parks was his idea in the first place. As I recall, he said we all had to share in the budget cut pain.

But I am grateful nonetheless. I like parks. And I confess, I was dubious about the success of the idea that we can close of a whole mountain like Mt. Diablo or an entire island, like Angel Island.

Read on for the governor’s press release. Continue Reading

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Send your video message on the budget to Sacto

The League of California Cities has launched a web site — www.saveyourcity.net — where you can download a video message to state lawmakers for free.

A lot of Contra Costa leaders have already posted their messages — like Orinda Mayor Sue Severson, Orinda Councilman Tom McCormick, Pittsburg Councilwoman Nancy Parent and Walnut Creek Councilwoman Cinda Silva.

If you’re mad as hell and won’t stand for it any longer, tell ’em!

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Green Party opposes special-election measures

Make a note on your calendars: This was the day on which the Green Party of California and the California Republican Party were on the same page. Well, sort of.

The Green Party, which said it polled its members and county councils before coming to a decision, y today urged state voters to vote against on all propositions on the May 19 special ballot.

“We oppose the cuts in transportation, education, social services and other humane services, and we oppose this deal even though we were told that great hardship would result if (this) rotten deal failed to pass,” said Michael Rubin, who analyzed the measures for the Green Party of Alameda County. “Even more we oppose the process which offers us a ‘choice’ of being shot in the leg or shot in the arm, but did not offer us the choice of using our collective wealth to meet human needs.”

Proposition 1A, the spending cap/rainy-day fund measure, would create more problems and require billions more in cuts to needed social services, the Greens say; Proposition 1B, providing money previously promised to school districts, and Proposition 1C, to borrow money against future lottery revenue, are merely there to sweeten the bitter pill of 1A, they say. The Greens rejected 1D and 1E because they say the measures steal money from taxes created to benefit children and the mentally ill, and they said 1F — preventing pay raises for state elected officials when the budget is in deficit — is ineffectual.

State GOP leaders last month voted to oppose all the measures too — but they’re doing it because they oppose any and all tax increases, and believe the state budget should be slashed far beyond the cuts already made.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

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See, it’s OK to disagree.

Just yesterday, I saw San Francisco State University Assistant Professor Ramon Castellblanch angrily denouncing Proposition 1A, the spending-cap/rainy-day-fund measure on the May 19 special-election ballot, claiming it would be “devastating” to the future of public higher education in California.

Apparently state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who helped broker the budget deal that put Proposition 1A before voters, doesn’t hold a grudge. Steinberg’s office today announced Castellblanch, a Democrat from Benicia, has been appointed to the California Board of Pharmacy.

The board adopts rules and regulation for the proper and effective enforcement and administration of the pharmacy profession including licensing and enforcement of state and federal laws. Castellblanch’s term will expire June 1, 2012.