By Tim Redmond

Despite all the silly fuss over the modest pay raise for state Legislators, the public’s opinion of the Democrat-dominated Assembly and Senate is higher than it’s been in a decade.

Talk show hosts (including my friend Johnny Wendell, whose show I join on Sunday nights, and TV reporters are all gaga with populist rage about legislators getting a five-percent pay bump, but let’s remember that their pay has been cut by 23 percent over the past decade. And pay isn’t set by the legislators but by an outside commission. And I remember the days when the Leg was a part-time occupation, and people like Willie Brown practiced law (taking on clients who had business with the state) on the side, and the corruption and conflicts were rampant.

The pay raise isn’t an issue. It really isn’t.

Modern Times bookstore is a San Francisco institution. Pure and simple. It’s been the center of the left-literary scene in the Mission for decades, and now, like a lot of brick and mortar places, it’s having problems.

But MT is more than just a bookstore. It’s a cultural experience, a gathering place … everything a political bookstore ought to be, and you can’t replace that with a website. So there’s a campaign to save Modern Times, and my friend Eileen Hansen is involved, and here’s what she sent me:

San Francisco’s literary treasure needs your help. Modern Times has always been one of the most progressive independent bookstores in North America, but for the past several years it has been operating at a loss, and is now facing a severe financial crisis that threatens Modern Times’ very existence. We need your support to stay open through the end of 2013 – and to expand our commitment to creating an inclusive community space into 2014.

Modern Times is preparing to step into a new era of progressive politics and radical activism. We have great plans to create a more inviting space for our many communities to come together with exciting events, new books, new paint and expanded lighting, and even food and drink. But in order to do that, we need your help to pay down the debt incurred at the previous Valencia Street location, and help us realize a new vision of Modern Times on 24th Street, in the cultural heart of the Mission District. We are moving forward with a comprehensive business model and carefully constructed plans so that we can not only survive but thrive.

Would you be willing to make a contribution of $100 or more to keep Modern Times going? Please go to the website, www.MTBS.com to make a gift through PayPal. Or send a check to Modern Times, 2919 24th Street, SF, CA 94110. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, make your check out to our fiscal sponsor PeaceKey, Inc. (with Modern Times in the memo line of the check) and send to Modern Times.

 Dennis Herrera has filed a massive legal complaint against former Sup. Michael Yaki, but Yaki’s not the only one who should be worried. The city attorney is going after a time-honored form of City Hall sleaze: A lobbyist who happens to be a member of the state Bar claims that he or she doesn’t have to register and report contacts with public officials because the lobbyist registration law exempts attorneys.