The hands of Malcolm Margolin. Photo: Pete Rosos

By far the most important — and shocking — news this week was the untimely death of City Clerk Deanna Despain, who was just 37 and the mother of a ten-month old daughter. Despain apparently died Jan. 8th after falling down the stairs of her Oakland home.

Her husband discovered her body when he returned from a business meeting at 2 am. Their child was safe upstairs, sleeping. Despain had been appointed acting city clerk in June 2008 and got the position permanently in May 2009. City officials were devastated by the news.

In other news, Mayor Bates’ new chief of staff, Judith Inglehart, settled in, a mountain lion may have roamed from the hills down to Dwight Way, Marmot Mountain Works announced it would close after 36 years, and the school district announced it had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $57,500.

There was general amusement at the way Heyday Books founder Malcolm Margolin answered a set of questions, and hope that the “big clean-up” of downtown would really do that, clean it up.

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...