Off Beat

Which Side Are They On?

THE OTHER DAY, as we were scratching our conspicuous-consumption itch with a traipse through the glossy meadow of mail-order catalogs, Off Beat happened upon the stylish offerings of Anthropologie. Amid the crocheted camisoles ($68) and sorbet dishes ($48 for a set of four), our eye wandered to the upmarket Philadelphia-based chain's list of brick-and-mortar locations. There, under the heading "Coming Soon," was Edina. Indeed, Tom Lohmann of Pinehurst Properties confirms that Anthropologie is an anchor tenant of the $8.5 million retail and office development his company is building on the northeast corner of 50th Street and France Avenue South. That would be the project Peter Ritter wrote about last year--the one that's being constructed on "blighted" land with $1.8 million in tax-increment financing, plus more than $400,000 in taxpayer cash for site upgrades. (See "Down at the Depot," October 13, 1999.) But wait: Wasn't that project pushed through to spruce up a depressed corner of Minneapolis? "We're working under the assumption that we're going into Edina," an Anthropologie spokeswoman says cryptically, requesting not to be identified by name. "Whatever's in the catalog is what we're going with. That's all I can tell you."

Berman Alleges Bibliocide

SANDY BERMAN IS fighting mad again. The 26-year veteran Hennepin County Library head cataloger resigned in protest last spring after repeated clashes with library management (see Burl Gilyard's July 14, 1999 cover story "Sandy Berman's Last Stand"). Early this year a friend informed Berman that she couldn't find one of his books at the library. When Berman investigated, he discovered that five books he authored and one book about him had disappeared from the shelves, and from the library's catalog. "I'm accusing someone of censorship. Whoever it was that eliminated the catalog records committed bibliocide!" Berman froths. "I don't think it was anything accidental," he adds. Nancy Perron, manager of the library's Community Relations Division, says an investigation is under way. "There's been no institutional censorship," she insists. "We are working to restore the books to the shelves. Our position is that unbeknownst to us, somehow the Hennepin County Library catalog was corrupted." Though there's a chance the purge might have been inadvertent, she adds, "I will agree with Mr. Berman that it's more likely that it's deliberate." So far the library has tracked down one of the half-dozen tomes, but exposing the culprit--almost certainly a library staffer--will be a tougher task: The alleged sabotage could have taken place at any one of the county's 26 branches, and backup tapes that might offer clues aren't kept indefinitely. "It certainly does point out to us that we need to safeguard access to the bibliographic records," Perron notes. Berman remains unmollified: "I think frankly that what they have done is cover their ass, but not gone the extra couple of yards to confront the issue."

Franson for President!

IN HIS LATEST fax dispatch, perennial candidate/press releaser Dick Franson excoriates the Star Tribune for "deliberately blacking out and sabotaging" his U.S. Senate campaign. On March 3, Franson points out, the St. Paul Pioneer Press published the results of a poll revealing that if the election were held right now with him as the DFL candidate facing Republican incumbent Rod Grams and the Reform Party's James Gibson, he'd draw 26 percent of the vote (with 51 percent going to Grams, 4 percent to Gibson, and 19 percent undecided). DFLers David Lillehaug, Steve Miles, state Sen. Steve Kelley, and state Sen. Jerry Janezich, meanwhile, each pulled 28 to 31 percent of the vote in similar scenarios. So why is the Newspaper of the Twin Cities treating them like serious candidates and him as a crank, asks the 71-year-old army veteran. Strib political reporter Dane Smith concedes that Franson, who served one term on the Minneapolis City Council in the Sixties but hasn't made it back into elected office since, gets left out sometimes. "We have to take into account his long record of futility," says the reporter, noting that a March 5 overview of the race does include references to both Franson and fellow perennial also-ran Ole Savior--albeit under the heading "lonely voices." Howls Franson: "You talk about a lonely voice! Dane Smith has got a lonely voice! If he walks downtown there, how many people are going to recognize him? They recognize Dick Franson!"

 
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