The unthinkable happened late last week, as the last iteration of Cody’s Books finally closed its doors forever. Hiroshi Kagawa, whose company IBC Publishing was the final owner of the venerable bookstore, issued a statement in which he personally apologized to book lovers around the Bay Area, saying he just didn’t have the capital to carry it into a more profitable era. Since 1956, when Fred Cody opened a small store in North Berkeley, Cody’s has been an icon of Berkeley’s distinctive literary and political identity, embodying the city’s cafe culture. Most of the country’s giants of literature and ideas spoke at Cody’s over the years. Then-owner Andy Ross and his employees famously stood up to censorship and religious fanaticism in 1989, when they stocked Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in the face of death threats; the Telegraph store was firebombed shortly thereafter. Three thousand people spilled into the streets when Bill Clinton arrived to sign his memoirs. Others may haggle over whether Ross’ decision to expand the store led to its doom, or whether the Internet killed brick-and-mortar sales, but we prefer to simply remember the good times.
Will Ron Dellums Can Oakland’s Top Bureaucrat?
Oakland City Administrator Deborah Edgerly has been no stranger to clashing with the city’s cops; over the years, she has been accused of forcing the police department to lower its physical training standards when her daughter couldn’t make the cut at the police academy. But last week may have been her Waterloo. On June 7, Edgerly allegedly drove out to West Oakland to yell at a few cops who were towing a car that supposedly belonged to someone she identified as her nephew. This “nephew” turned out to be targeted by a massive anti-gang police operation. Last week, the daily newspapers reported, Mayor Ron Dellums gave Edgerly a brutal ultimatum: she had just a couple of days to decide whether to resign, retire, or be fired. After the stories broke, Edgerly issued a statement, in which she strenuously denied being pressured by Dellums and welcomed an investigation. By the time this paper hits the streets, Edgerly’s reported deadline to decide how to leave public employment will have expired.
Of Confusing Rulings, Elevated Hippies, and Airborne Excrement
After months of legal wrangling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller finally ruled on the question of whether UC Berkeley could build its controversial sports training facility next to Memorial Stadium. And immediately, both sides in the conflict claimed victory. The city and a local neighborhood group had sued Cal to stop construction, claiming that the work violated a state law that prohibited additions or improvements to a public building located on a major fault line, if the value of said construction exceeded …. Oh, they just didn’t want all the new parking and traffic, and found a legal trick to stop it. Miller found that the sports training center did not violate the law, but that some additional elements of the project may not be legal; hence the confusion. UC officials took this opportunity to start hauling out all the tree-sitters who had occupied the oak grove that is slated for demolition. As Cal’s “arborists” used cherry-pickers to snatch protesters, tree-sitters allegedly dumped urine and more solid forms of human waste on university employees.
Evil Moths Free to Mate at Will
While we may not agree on whether to tear down the Memorial Oak Grove or why Cody’s closed, there’s one thing we can all get behind: helicopters spraying sex hormones on our cities is, well, undesirable. That’s why almost every city in the East Bay joined together to oppose the state Department of Food and Agriculture’s plan to dump pheromones all over the region, in hopes of killing off the terrible light brown apple moth. Last week, state officials promised to find some over means of mothicide. Their current plan entails releasing armies of neutered moths, in hopes that their randy compatriots will expend their romantic energies in less fruitful projects.
Support Our Troops! Not In Our Name! Rinse and Repeat!
When we’re not busy dumping poo on university officials or losing sleep over sex hormones, we’re having pointless arguments over a Marine recruiting station in downtown Berkeley. And so last Saturday saw the latest round, in which 250 motorcycle riders gunned their engines up and down Shattuck Avenue, ostensibly to support the troops. What, did the Brentwood meth lab party get canceled or something? Local peaceniks came out to prove they could look silly too, and the two sides exchanged platitudes for a few hours.
But Chevron lawyer William Haynes was determined to prove that Berkeley protesters aren’t the only ones who can open their mouths and say nothing. Last week, Haynes, who as Donald Rumsfeld’s former attorney played a key role in the authorization of torture techniques in the Pentagon, was dragged before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where senators insisted he tell them what he remembered about the whole abrogation of human rights thing. And wouldn’t you know it, his memory is just down the tubes.
Three Dot Roundup
Gay couples finally got legally hitched last week, and Dellums celebrated by marrying eighteen couples at City Hall. … The housing market continued to roll over and die, as Bay Area real estate values dropped 21.7 from the same period twelve months earlier. … The Bay Area’s last Spare the Air day lead to record levels of BART riders, as 394,000 people hopped onto the train last Thursday. Are we really becoming a region of queer renters and mass transit users? Will wonders never cease ….