Ask a Davis resident (who doesn’t know that much)

You gots to yield, people!

You gots to yield, people!

SN&R Photo By Ken Widmann

Ken Widmann writes about the People’s Republic of Davis.

Here’s some burning—and some not even smoldering—stuff about your friendly city across the causeway.

Why is it called “The People’s Republic of Davis"?

Laziness. We already have a “People’s Republic of” city up the road. It’s like calling Farmerville, La., “The Little Easy.”

Are Davis politics really left of the Kremlin?

Depends on who you ask. There’s certainly a lot of red tape involved in opening a business or modifying a structure. But you see a few Ayn Rand disciples walking around, looking for paintball.

I’m a renter, and I’m certain the Earth is 6,000 years old. Where can I display my “Huckabee for Presidee” sign?

In Davis, First Amendment rights extend to you too, my friend, as they should. Thanks to the urgency ordinance just passed by the city, you can fly your freak flag out your apartment window, just the same as any homeowner.

If I’m entering one of Davis’ many roundabouts, I should floor it, right? Those things are like green lights?

Well, no. Nobody seems to understand this: you gots to yield. Peeps in the loop have right-of-way.

Why is the upscale subdivision in east Davis called Lake Alhambra “Estates"?

Good question. An estate should have gently rolling hills and fox hunting. A 5,000-square-foot house on an 8,000-square-foot lot is a Mervyn’s with a doorbell.

Why did Video City, the independent video-rental place in south Davis, go under?

Are you serious? How did they ever float? They had like 31 movies. Everything was already out. They were still stocking VHS years after grandma went Blu-ray. You had to feel for them, though. It’s a tough climate for video rentals. They tried the ol’ diversify-the-revenue-stream approach: suddenly one corner of the store sprouted a cardboard Verizon display and a glass case with about six cell phones. That’s always the kiss of death. “What? You can’t hear me now? I bought this piece of crap instead of paying the late fee on Wedding Crashers.”

So I gotta go to Blockbuster now?

Hell no. 49er Video. Get past the name, which may have meant something positive once, and the location in a hideous strip mall where Anderson meets Covell, and get inside. They have insightful little hand-written write-ups of movies posted throughout the store, an enormous collection, and friendly, knowledgeable staffers with none of the High Fidelity attitude you might expect. Like a great bookstore, it makes you feel smarter just for having visited.

What happened to Chef’s Market on E Street?

It died. Chef’s Market’s passing was kind of a shame because they made tasty sandwiches, but at the same time a relief, because you had to order your dinner at lunchtime, they were so slow. I guess it’s tough to make it paying downtown rent and moving 12 panini a day.

What’s the deal with The Hotdogger?

Not sure. During farmers’ markets, they charbroil dogs over a flame and serve them up hot at Central Park. They’re blackened from the open fire and are delicious. The rest of the time, like if you walk into their tiny storefront on E Street, they boil them. Boiled weenies? For sale? Why would I pay for something I can make on a dorm-room hot plate? Weird.

What’s up with the ghetto Nugget?

You mean the grocery store in south Davis? It definitely got hit with the ugly stick compared to its northern twin. But have you ever been to the Nugget in Vacaville? Talk about a palace. Skylights, cooking classes—it’s like a health club that sells cold cuts. You go to buy some deli meat, and they bring it out from behind the case one slice at a time, like a jewelry store.