I thought it would never happen, but no doubt that was because of an undue fixation on our national governmental stasis. How could we forget that many states are different? The city of San Francisco has just budgeted $103,000 to support eleven independent bookstores. The Mission Times (via Shelf Awareness) tells the story.

“In addition to the grant money, the bookstores will receive technical assistance for marketing, human resource consulting, and help negotiating long-term leases.

The recipient stores were Green Apple Books, EastWind Books, Dog Eared Books Valencia, Dog Eared Books Castro, Alley Cat Books and Gallery, Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative, Comix Experience, Bolerium Books, Mission: Comics & Art, Stevens Books and Just a Touch Christian Bookstore.”

I still await, with dangerously bated breath, the legislation which will make it illegal for landlords to jack up the rent on bookstores beyond some sort of acceptable level. We have rent control and rent stabilization in New York City for people’s apartments, so why not for socially important shops too? It’s not really good enough to cross your fingers and hope that the landlord will be socially responsible enough to moderate rent demands on their own initiative. This did in fact recently happen when Three Lives was saved. No doubt one could make a list of other important institutions to be included, like the corner grocery store. We recently rallied (successfully, rather surprisingly) in this neighborhood against a chain pharmacy’s plan to turn our supermarket into a massive drug store — more pharmacies we don’t need, food we do.