Noe Valley Voice July-August 1998

Rumors in the News: Crunching the Noe Votes

By Mazook

OUR VOTING RECORD: Out of the 17,682 Noe Valleons who are registered to vote, only 8,259 actually cast ballots in the June 2 primary election.

That 47 percent turnout was the fifth highest of the 25 neighborhoods tabulated by the San Francisco Registrar of Voters. (West of Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights were among the four that beat us out, each racking up 49 percent.)

The citywide average was an abysmal 44 percent. Obviously, that means that less than half of us decided the issues for everybody else. Tsk, tsk.

If you didn't vote, maybe you'll get a vicarious thrill from seeing some of the raw totals. Remember, this primary election was an "open" one, where you could cross party lines.

At first glance, the gubernatorial (a funny word) race produced predictable results. In Noe Valley, Democrats Gray Davis and Jane Harman were the top vote getters, garnering 3,625 (44%) and 2,218 (27%), respectively.

But here's where the numbers get interesting. The next highest vote getter was the Green Party's Dan Hamburg, with 609 votes (7%). Republican Dan Lungren scored 509 votes (6%), barely beating archrival Dennis Peron, who won a whopping 418 votes (5%).

Then came "checkbook Democrat" Al Checchi, who got 375 votes in Noe Valley at a cost of about a zillion dollars per vote.

Some of the state propositions were especially revealing of Noe's state of mind. Prop. 226, which would have limited union political contributions, was handily defeated (5,519 no, 1,994 yes). The controversial Prop. 227, which pushes an English-only agenda in public schools, was nixed here also. Sixty-five percent (5,345 votes) said no way, Jose Noe.

In the city propositions, 56 percent of Noe Valleons voted in favor of the de Young Museum bonds (Prop. A), but the measure needed a two-thirds majority to pass. (Citywide, Prop. A scored 64 percent, which was close but no cigar.)

We meshed with the rest of the city by voting to increase the supervisors' salaries by a margin of 62 percent.

Proposition F, sponsored by Quentin Kopp to preserve City Hall for city agencies rather than for what Mayor Brown had planned, showed Noe Valley's ambivalence on the issue: 48 percent said yes, 40 said no, and 12 said nothing. Citywide, the measure passed 59.3 percent to 40.6 percent, with the rest abstaining.

As for Proposition E -- the rent control exemption favored by most landlords and property owners -- well, the tenants groups mobilized against this one. Locally, the vote was 62 percent against and 33 percent for, with 5 percent not voting. The citywide vote was about the same, to the relief of many renters.

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ONE BIG WINNER in last month's primary was State Assemblywoman Carole Migden. The former city supervisor took more than 70 percent of the Noe Valley vote. It looks like November's general election will return her to Sacramento to continue representing our district.

In the meantime, the Noe Valley Bureau of Investigation (NVBI) called Migden to get her personal critique of the Valley Votes.

First, the NVBI asked if she knew why the turnout was so shabby. Said Carole, "As ballots get longer, voters are required to be informed on a lot of complex issues, and I think some of us are overwhelmed by it all. Voters are also getting a lot of campaign literature. The barrage of information may be turning some people off."

As to Carole's thoughts on Dennis Peron getting more nods than Al Checchi in Noe Valley: "I think Al Checchi's weak showing indicates that voters want experience. When you work your way up the ladder, you get to know your constituents and your community. You know the issues better and you can do a much better job in a leadership position. That's why Gray Davis and Jane Harman were so far ahead of everyone else in Noe Valley."

The NVBI has already projected her victory in November and has learned that Migden will be spending a lot of time, energy, and effort getting Gray Davis elected governor.

Warns Carole, "It will make a big difference having someone like Gray Davis in office when it comes to issues like public transportation, education, the environment, and health care."

Warns the NVBI, the only way Gray Davis will win is if the Democrats can get all those people who are registered to vote to actually go out and exercise their inalienable right. Vote!

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THE LEGISLATION sponsored by Supervisor Sue Bierman barring further coffee and juice bars or the expansion of any "accessory takeout food service" on 24th Street is currently stalled in committee.

The matter was originally set for a June 18 Board of Supervisors Housing and Neighborhood Services Committee meeting but was continued because the Planning Department had yet to send an official report, which is required because the proposal would amend the planning code. (Overwhelmed yet? Need a caffeine jolt?)

However, everyone thinks the Planning Department's report will have been submitted by the time you read this.

Assuming the report is submitted by June 30, Bierman's office says there will be a public hearing before the Housing and Human Services Committee in mid or late July. The coffee ban could be sent to the full board for a vote as early as 10 days after that hearing.

Bierman's office wants to emphasize that "we are not able to keep chain stores off 24th Street."

Evidently, being swallowed up by chains is what's really bothering people in our neighborhood. That's why we drink so much coffee --in order to stay alert.

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WE OWE A BIG THANKS to Harry Stern of Friends of Noe Valley, Ed Mason of the East & West of Castro Improvement Club, and Dave Monks from the Noe Valley Democratic Club for giving so generously of their time by participating in the San Francisco Neighborhood Alliance (SFNA).

The SFNA is a new group composed of many groups from different neighborhoods trying to reach common goals. It was formed earlier this year.

Harry and Ed spoke on behalf of their respective groups at hearings held by the Board of Supervisors last month on the Muni budget. They were demanding that there be no cuts in the proposed budget. And that's what happened.

At the end of June (and after my deadline), the SFNA was slated to stage a "summit" on planning issues at San Francisco State. Mayor Brown and Planning Department chief Gerald Green were scheduled to face representatives of the various neighborhood groups in SFNA. Stay tuned for further info on this new force in S.F. politics.

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SIT BACK, RELAX: A new yoga studio called Yoga Shala will be opening on the corner of Castro and 25th streets (where 25th Street Workout used to be) on July 12. There will be a grand opening party (open to the public) at 7 p.m., featuring a vegan/vegetarian buffet and band.

Yoga, as you know, is basically the union of opposites, and shala means school in sanskrit.

According to studio founder John Robb, who recently bought the building, Yoga Shala will be a one-stop yoga center. "We will have 12 teachers and 35 classes per week and will offer all types and levels of yoga classes," he says.

John, who is putting his whole mind, body, and spirit into this venture, says there will also be a retail shop on the premises, selling yoga props and music, books, incense, and clothing.

FYI, John has a unique introductory offer: he'll be giving free yoga classes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights from 6:30 to 8 p.m. until July 8.

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CHURCH STREET LINES: The new and popular Regent Thai restaurant on the corner of Church and 29th streets was closed for several weeks last month, after city inspectors determined that the kitchen's gas lines were inadequate to handle the cooking. After dealing with a two-week PG&E backlog, the owners said their new gas line installation was slated for Saturday, June 27. They planned to reopen the restaurant the following day.

Also reopening was Kennedy's Bar on the corner of Church and 25th streets. The place used to be called Jack's Taps, but now has been remodeled and turned into an Irish pub, says manager Earl Stokes.

Despite the fact that the "For Sale" sign has been taken down, it looks as if the building at 27th and Church, where Lady Sybil's used to be, has not been sold. Calls to the owner get no response, but the rumor is, the "For Sale" signs will reappear.

My "reliable" sources on the Joe Cassidy rumor last month weren't. Cassidy did buy the Planters Nursery building on 24th near Church, but he didn't buy the other building, the one across the street. Sorry for the false alarm.

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THAT FILM CREW you saw on Chenery Street last month, in front of the secluded Pritikin Mansion, was from Faultline Pictures, a Potrero Hill movie production company. The film they're making is called The Space Between Us, and stars Jeremy Sisto as a "tortured artist" who returns to his San Francisco hometown after losing his wife in a car accident. The Faultline people says it is scheduled for release the end of this year.

The Chenery site is being used as a backdrop for many scenes, and may offer a peek inside the local landmark. (The mansion was built 15 or so years ago, by millionaire ad man Bob Pritikin.)

In an unrelated item, many of you may have noticed that the temperatures in Downtown Noe Valley are now being broadcast on KOIT -- 96.5 FM and 1260 AM on your radio dial. (I remember when that used to be KYA.) Deejay Laurie Sanders, who has the 3 to 8 p.m. show, says she started giving alliterative weather reports a while back. She lists the temperatures in Mill Valley, Castro Valley, Portola Valley, and Noe Valley.

But Laurie admits, "The Noe Valley temperatures are actually from a reading taken at closeby Mission Dolores from our weather service."

Sanders lives in the Tri-Valley area (San Ramon in the East Bay) and likes to visit Downtown Noe Valley "to shop and meet friends for coffee."

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THAT'S THIRTY for all of you out there in radioland. Have a great summer vacation. We'll be back at the same time same place in September. Ciao for now.