It was 75 years ago, June 8, 1938, that City Manager Hollis Thompson described, "how the City of Berkeley has attained the enviable reputation of being one of the two best governed municipalities in America" to the Berkeley Rotary Club.

Thompson noted that during the 10 fiscal years ending with 1936-37 Berkeley "had a gradually diminishing cost per capita for its local government." Berkeley, in 1936-37, spent only $12.70 per resident for city services and carried a bond debt of only $906,525, or $9.54 per resident.

During the same 10 years the population of the city had increased by 24,134 people. Berkeley also had a low fire loss rate, and was on track to resurface all the streets in the city in five years. "Democracy depends on the interest of the people in local government matters," Thompson concluded.

Mystery baby

The doorbell at the 1015 Hearst Ave. home of the John McCoys rang June 7, 1938, and two young boys handed a baby to Mr. McCoy.

They said they had just been given the baby by a man and a women in a car, who drove away. The baby came with a note to Mrs. McCoy from her son, who lived in Albany. The note asked her to take care of the baby "temporarily" and to "please use discretion."

The son's wife later showed up at the house. She didn't recognize the baby, and said her husband had been gone from home for four days and she couldn't contact him.

Candidacy


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Assemblyman Gardiner Johnson announced in the June 8 Gazette that he would seek re-election from his district, which included Berkeley "north of Dwight Way". He was nearing the end of his second term in the State Assembly. Johnson was a Berkeley High School, UC, and Boalt Hall graduate, and a practicing lawyer.

Parking woes

Berkeley realtor George Knowles went down to the City Council meeting Tuesday morning, June 7, 1938, to complain about parking tickets.

He parked on Grove Street (now Martin Luther King Jr. Way) south of Allston, and went upstairs in City Hall to tell the council that "leniency should be shown persons who inadvertently park a short time over the parking limit," the Gazette reporter wrote. "A man might be having a tooth pulled, or be delayed in shopping," Knowles explained. "Even now I suppose I should stop talking and hold you here long enough to go downstairs and move my car so I won't get a ticket. That is the point I am making."

The meeting adjourned, Knowles went back to his car, then rushed back into City Hall waving an overtime parking ticket. "I won't pay that ticket if it costs me $1,000 to fight it" he said. He left the ticket for the City Manager who, contacted later, said he would immediately mail it to Mr. Knowles.

Canton attack

Canton, China, had been under attack by the Japanese military for several days in late May and early June 1938. On June 8, bombers "showered incendiary bombs ... and set fire to the wrecked city."

An estimated 3,000 people were killed. "For five hours during the night (of June 7 and 8), Japanese planes in relays methodically bombed the city by the bright moonlight and the flares which they parachuted down to aid them."

Snow White

The June 9, 1938, Gazette noted that the first Disney animated film, "Snow White and The Seven Dwarves," released nationally in February, had "proved a good investment" with high box office returns and booming business in spinoff products. The first full-length animated movie made was, the paper said, "a movement with far-reaching industrial and financial effects."