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Time to add another group to the growing list of constituencies caught up in California's water wars: The U.C. Irvine men's volleyball team.

The Beltway gossip buffs at Roll Call newspaper's Heard on the Hill column reported yesterday that a resolution to honor the Anteaters' recent national championship win was pulled from the floor earlier this week as part of a partisan spat between two California lawmakers: Democratic Rep. George Miller and Republican Rep. John Campbell.

"The California Democrat was peeved that Campbell had, a few days earlier, organized a vote against Miller's measure to fund six water-recycling projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. So Miller used his influence to squash the volleyball resolution.

"I go up to George on the floor, and I said, 'George, what was the problem?'" Campbell recalled to a Roll Call reporter. "And he says, 'You voted against my water bill. ... There has to be a penalty for that, and this is the penalty. And I said, 'Well, OK, George, so is this dead?' And he says, 'We'll see.'"... "

The measure at the center of the fray is a water-recycling bill that a Miller spokeswoman told the paper would typically pass through the chamber "pretty easily," but Campbell said he voted to spike the bill because it would send water to San Francisco instead of the Central Valley.

No word on what the Anteaters think of their accolade getting caught up in the partisan rancor.


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