THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE

Published: 29 June 2012 05:24 PM

Between the Supreme Court’s landmark health care ruling, the House of Representative’s vote to hold U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder in contempt of Congress and downright sweltering conditions, Thursday marked one of the most heated days Washington has seen for years.

Yet through all the partisanship, contention and sweat, Inland Rep. Joe Baca and his colleagues from both sides of the aisle cast aside politics that evening to play in the 51st annual congressional baseball game.

Baca, D-Rialto, a former MVP and pitcher for the Democratic squad, started at second base so fireballer Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman could take the mound. Baca grounded out to third in his first at bat, and appeared to be running gingerly. He said earlier he was nursing sore knees.

But Baca rallied with a single and a walk in his next two at bats, helping the Democrats to an 18-5 rout — their second straight victory over the GOP’s squad.

QUARRY QUANDARY

“Two-faced,” “traitor,” “Benedict Arnold.”

Those were some of the nicer terms Liberty Quarry opponents used to describe Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione following his vote last month to certify the project’s environmental impact report.

The Republican candidate for the 41st Congressional District, Tavaglione has been the swing vote on the quarry, a proposed open-pit mine near Temecula and one of the most controversial land-use issues in county history. The board voted 3-2 in February to reject the quarry.

But the environmental report’s certification means the quarry could come back, this time with an easier path to approval, critics said. Orange-clad quarry opponents expressed their anger with Tavaglione by picketing outside the County Administrative Center on June 5.

Tavaglione, who represents part of Riverside, Corona and Norco, has said he wanted a compromise between quarry supporters and opponents.

Rumors circulated that Dan Stephenson, a prominent southwest county developer and quarry critic, canceled plans to host a Tavaglione fundraiser.

The fundraiser planned for late July at a Temecula Valley Wine Country home was canceled, but not because of the quarry vote, Stephenson said last week. Rather, Tavaglione had a scheduling conflict, according to Stephenson, a frequent contributor to local officials’ campaigns.

While he was disappointed with Tavaglione’s vote to certify the environmental report, Stephenson said he’s still backing the supervisor’s congressional bid.

“John, at least in my opinion, has never been politically driven,” Stephenson said. “I certainly respect that he did what he thought he had to do.”

LITTLE PARTY SUPPORT

Inland Southern California’s Republican lawmakers usually are on the same page in Sacramento, so the occasional differences of opinion stand out.

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