Noe Valley Voice December-January 1998-99

Rumors Behind the News: Noe Votes

By Mazook

Rumors Behind the News: Noe Votes OFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS for the City and County of San Francisco have yet to be certified by the state, but the Registrar of Voters has released the "unofficial" results of the Nov. 3 election.

The good news is Noe Valley and the Castro ran neck and neck to score the top voter turnout in the city.

Of the 18,231 registered to vote in Noe Valley, a little less than 57 percent showed up at the polls.

Of the 18,587 registered in the Upper Market/Eureka Valley area, a little more than 57 percent voted, recording the highest turnout in the city. Clumped into this group are all you Dolores Heights folks straddling the hill between Noe and Eureka valleys.

There was also a 57 percent turnout among the 7,458 voters registered in the Diamond Heights neighborhood. That district includes some of Upper Noe Valley and the Fairmount.

I guess that makes "Greater Noe Valley" the political center of the universe, wouldn't you agree?

Anyway, in all three neighborhoods, Gray Davis officially kicked Lungren's butt, as they say. In Noe Valley the vote was 8,808 to 842. In the Castro it was 9,445 to 606. And even in more conservative Diamond Heights it was Davis 3,502 and Lungren 516. That last figure translates to less than 15 percent.

Some of you might be interested in the number of votes garnered by Green Party gubernatorial candidate Dan Hamburg. (In your heart you know he is right.) Hamburg came in a distant third, but third nonetheless. He scored 289 in Noe Valley, 319 in Eureka Valley, and a whopping 67 votes in Diamond Heights.

Incredibly, Noevalleons recorded the exact same number of yeas for United States Senator Barbara Boxer as they did for Davis (8,808). But Matt Fong did a little better here than Lungren, picking up 1,028 Noevotes.

Over the hill in our sister valley, 9,538 Eurekavalleons voted for Boxer and, surprisingly, 757 (who are these people?) secretly voted for Fong. In Diamond Heights, it was Boxer by 3,360 to 686.

In the last at-large election for the five available seats on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (the next one will be by district, and we are in District 5), Tom Ammiano came in first in Noe Valley. He was followed by Gavin Newsom, and then Mark Leno, a Noe Valley resident. Mabel Teng came in fourth, and Victor Marquez captured the last available seat, at least in Noe Valley. Amos Brown came in sixth locally (and got the last seat citywide), with Donna Casey just a couple hundred votes behind him.

As for the state propositions, Noe and Eureka valleys and Diamond Heights threw their weight behind Prop. 5 (tribal gaming), Prop. 2 (transportation funding), and Prop. 4 (limiting trapping practices), saying yes to all three by 7 to 2.

By about the same margin, Greater Noe Valley wisely defeated Prop. 8, the so-called "comprehensive educational reform" measure. However, you might be surprised to learn that GNV barely passed Prop. 6 (by a 5 to 4 margin), the prohibition on horse slaughtering. The tobacco tax for schools initiative (Prop. 10) passed by a 6 to 2 margin.

On the city ballot, GNV voters liked props A (police retirement), C ( paramedics benefits), D (taxi commission), E (demolish the Central Freeway), I (Bay Bridge rail service), and J (health care purchasing) -- favoring them all 2 to 1.

A conflicted Noe Valley voted to limit owner evictions (Prop. G) by a 5 to 4 margin. The Castro voted 3 to 2 for the measure, but Diamond Heights voted "no" by a small margin.

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NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS took center stage at Da Mayor's office on Nov. 2. That's because five members of the Friends of Noe Valley and East & West of Castro Improvement Club, along with representatives from 16 other San Francisco neighborhoods, sat down for a heart-to-heart with Mayor Da. The meeting was organized by the Neighborhoods Alliance for Political Action.

No pies were thrown, but Willie got an earful, reports Harry Stern, who attended the meeting for Friends. Harry says most of the complaints were about the Planning Department's perceived bias in favor of builders and developers.

"I made the point that Planning is in desperate need of enforcement funds, [leaving] builders, developers, and even merchants free to ignore the terms of their permits, safe in the knowledge that they will not be held accountable," he said.

Harry is also irate that the city planning director "has consistently failed to request budget funding for enforcement."

Things could happen, once it dawns on Mayor Brown that his responsiveness (or lack thereof) to neighborhood needs will have a direct impact on his chances for reelection in November.

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A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT sought by Extreme Pizza to move into the Bakers of Paris slot, on 24th Street next to Herb's Fine Foods, has been denied by the Planning Commission. This should tickle FNV and E&W, since both groups had been extremely unfriendly toward Extreme's application.

Still, the owner of the pizza parlor, Todd Parent, says he'll appeal the decision to the Board of Supes. "I think we should be allowed to go into the space because we're essentially the same as a bakery," he said.

There's also another shred of hope. According to one of my spies, the Friends are beginning to waver on the issue (because of all the flak they've gotten). They might warm up to the pizza franchize -- there are two other Extreme Pizzas in the city -- if certain compromises are made.

Meanwhile, the owner of the property has put a "For Lease" sign in the window. According to the real estate agent, Tom Bercu of Epsteen and Associates, the 833-square-foot store can be rented for $3,800.

Tom says there's already been a lot of interest in the space. "We've had a number of calls for retail sales, for example, a florist, a pet store, several clothing stores, and a card shop," says Tom. But several people have also brought up the sticky subject of food. "We've had calls from a sandwich shop and a fast-food pizza place." Don't they know that's a no-no?

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BIG CHANGES IN FOOD SERVICE are promised by Victor Juarez, who has taken over control of La Casona on 24th near Sanchez. His brother, Juan Carlos Juarez, is now manager. He has changed the name to Casa Mexicana, expanded the menu, and is in the middle of a remodel.

"I have put on a lot of new dishes on the menu," beams Victor, "with a heavy emphasis on seafood, which I know everyone will like."

Many of you might already know Victor. He has operated the very popular Azteca restaurant at Church and Market for 12 years, and Maya at 16th and Guerrero for the past eight years. He also claims fame for introducing us to the whole wheat tortilla and black-bean combo.

"I am gradually remodeling the restaurant to make it more comfortable," he says. "We've installed a new counter, and we will soon have some beautiful new handmade tables delivered."

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CLASSY SWEATS is calling it quits after a 12-year run on 24th Street, selling casual clothes at very affordable prices.

Owner Bob Jancula says he plans to close out his inventory by February 1999 and then shut the doors. "Business has dropped in the last several years since a lot of what I sell is no longer unique and can be purchased at places like K-Mart," he says. "I am really sad to leave the neighborhood, but I feel a great sense of relief from all the worries of running a small business."

Don't feel sad for Bob, though. He owns the building. And he's found a new tenant for the Classy Sweats storefront.

"I was sitting here one day minding my own business, when this person came in and said he had a great idea for this location and would like to rent the space," smiles Bob. "And I agreed."

Jancula won't reveal the name of the new store, but says it will sell men's and women's clothing and gifts. We'll see.

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MANY LOCALS were shocked and saddened to learn that Robin Eickman, a longtime Noe Valley resident and current director of the San Francisco Film Commission, died Nov. 3 of pancreatic cancer, at age 50.

The Noe Valley Voice featured an interview with Robin in our May 1992 issue, after she had been bumped from her job by a clueless new mayor (Frank Jordan) and then reinstated due to the huge public outcry.

During her long stint as head of the film board, Robin brought scores of movies to San Francisco, not the least of which was Whoopi Goldberg's Sister Act, filmed at St. Paul's on Church Street in 1991.

Robin was always very cooperative with those of us in the Noe Valley Bureau of Investigation who needed to find the right contact person with the right production company shooting scenes in Greater Noe Valley. She will be sorely missed. Our condolences to her family.

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A HARDY HANDSHAKE is in order for Noe Valley Voice writer and historian Tim Kelly. On Election Day, Tim was appointed by Mayor Brown to fill a vacancy on the city's nine-member Landmarks Commission. He was sworn in Nov. 18.

As many of you already know, Tim led the successful fight to save a Eureka Valley landmark -- the Fallon Building on Market Street -- from the wrecking ball.

"I'm going to have a lot more of a neighborhood focus than the past commissioners," he says. But he won't say whether he'll favor any particular local landmark, just that "Noe Valley is full of landmarks."

Also, best of luck to two other Voice writers, Doug Konecky and Jane Underwood, who recently published a country-western song on the new CD A Trucker's Xmas Album. The song they wrote is called "One More Truck Stop Christmas."

There's something Downtown Noe Valley doesn't have: a truck stop. Why don't all you SUV owners get on over to Friends of Noe Valley and start buttering 'em up.

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LASTLY, I'd like to give a Dolly Parton hug to the merchants of 24th Street for their eager participation in this year's Halloween parade. My kids are still eating their Halloween candy and probably will do so well into the next century. The rumor is that there were around a thousand kids in the late-afternoon costume parade, and that's a lot of grab bags.

I've got to say that one of the more unusual handouts was from the folks at 21st Century Video (24th and Sanchez), who gave a free video rental to the first 400 kids who showed up.

The most unusual treat I saw in the rest of the neighborhood was up on Hoffman Avenue, at a home near the scary haunts of Marilyn Lucas, the Haunted House Lady. At the top of about 25 steps was a big metal bowl sitting on a stool. And the thing was filled with quarters.

We were there embarrassingly late (the kids were close to sugar shock), but the bowl was still filled to the brim. There was a sign that basically told everyone to take but two quarters and that if they took more they wouldn't have a guardian angel watching over them anymore.

We were very careful to dip only once. I just had to make sure the kids didn't eat the quarters!

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CIAO FOR NOW. But before I go, I want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season. Remember to set a reasonable budget for your Christmas list, and then spend the dough right here in Downtown Noe Valley. That's the way to keep your favorite merchants here all year-round.