Noe Valley Voice March 1998

Letters to the Editor

Neighbor Foils Car Break-In


I would like to say thank you to the woman who called the police as our car was being broken into at 3 a.m. on Feb. 8 at the corner of Elizabeth and Vicksburg.

Since the police caught the man, she not only saved us from losing the things that were in the car, but she also prevented many other break-ins. Thanks for being such a great neighbor!

Amy Gustincic

Via e-mail

Indoor Cats Live Longer


I read with sadness the February Voice story about the death of Amelia, a beloved neighborhood cat. Nevertheless, I think it's time that pet owners realized Noe Valley is not a sleepy little village. There is lots of traffic and lots of opportunities for our beloved pets to come to sad ends.

Thankfully, Amelia died at the ripe old age of 17, and her travels around the neighborhood made her many friends. But how many pets' lives are cut short by being run over?

I might add that running over a pet accidentally is as traumatic to the driver as it is to the pet's owner. At least the pet's owner had the option of keeping her pet out of harm's way. In addition to grief counseling, the SPCA should, in these cases, make it clear that they do not endorse letting cats roam freely.

I admit it might make for some guilty feelings, but I think Amelia's owner/companion bears responsibility.

Wendy Beck

Church Street

People Have a Right to Clean Air


Thanks for including in your recent article ["Most Barflies Say Smoking Ban Is a Drag," Voice February 1998] some opinions from people who agree that smokers have no right to make the air toxic (with carbon monoxide, benzene, ammonia, formaldehyde, etc.) for everyone else, especially in someone else's workplace.

Bartenders have every right to earn their living free from toxic air. Non-selfish smokers can smoke as much as they want...outside.

Your story asked: Will smoking in bars become a distant memory like smoking in airplanes? Yes. But only if we keep foremost in our minds that secondhand smoke from a burning cigarette inflicts disease on the person next to you, and that you no longer have the right to hit your neighbor in the lungs, any more than you can hit your neighbor in the nose. Your "right" stops when you inflict harm on another.

Want to save the smokefree bar law from possible repeal? Contact state senators John Burton, (415) 447-1240, and Quentin Kopp, (650) 301-1721, now.

Robert E. Gordon

Church Street

Let's Just Snuff out the Smokers


I personally would like to see the death penalty for all smokers. They are all going to die anyway, and I say, the sooner the better.

America is such a great country, or is it just California that I adore? Where else can you implement a law that puts bad people (who smoke cigarettes, yikes!) out on the dark and dreary streets in the cold and rain to satisfy their disgusting, filthy, and unpopular habit?

Smoking is so un-Californian. I am empowered as I walk by my neighborhood bars and see only nonsmokers who are so happy to have an empty, smoke-free bar that they can go to once a month and have A drink. After all, A drink is good for your health, and your health is everything. And besides, socializing with the bartender is really much better without the crowd. It just tickles me to know that the State of California can and will put small business owners out of business and many employees out of work. I am proud to be one of the righteous people, and I rule.

My next plan of attack, as a Californian, will be to turn all bars into a new, oh so popular Drinking Health Club, where after you accomplish 30 minutes on the Stairmaster, you are required to have two drinks to protect your cholesterol level. However, the big drawback will be that you must give the bartender a big tip because they are used to the big bucks smokers leave them, and if you don't, the bartender is prone to get cranky and might make you have your drink out in the rain. Two drinks per session, that's all you get! And don't forget that big tip.

I will be oh so sorry if these fun-loving establishments get put out of business. You know, they really are bad places where bad people sit around expressing their woes to one another while drinking and having -- dare I even say it? -- a CIGARETTE!

I will also be so sorry if these establishments get taken over by those big corporate chains. Oops, I forgot, chain stores are quite popular now. And I forgot that I just love Starbucks where you have to say short instead of small, tall instead of medium, and grande instead of large, and then there is venti (what the hell is that?!).

Now for that secondhand smoke issue, those commercials are great. They have me thinking about death every day. After all, that is their job, and now I am really afraid to die and I know that awful smoke is going to get me. I don't think about the pollution or the buses anymore, or even running into a tree, mainly because I don't ski. I don't even think about my weight problem or how poorly I eat or that I drink too much or that I never exercise, but I do think a lot about smokers because I just enjoy hating them. I am so superior.

I really do love America. I just couldn't live in a country where people still have the freedom to eat and drink and enjoy life as they see fit.

God bless America, and especially thank you, California, my kind of state.

Ruthanna Levy

Liberty Street

Farewell to Bill Fahr, 1944­1997

Dear friends and neighbors,

I met Bill Fahr in 1980. I was looking for a teacher who could clarify certain "mystical" experiences that were opening doors to dreams. At that time Bill was living at the eastern edge of Noe Valley in a top-floor apartment. A friend took me there, and as I walked through the door, I had a strong sense of déjà vu. When I left that day, I knew I would study with him, and I did, for two years. We kept in touch for many years thereafter.

When I heard Bill had passed into spirit, I felt no sadness. Strange? Not really, since I felt he had chosen his time of departure well -- on Nov. 2, All Souls' Day -- a time for honoring the ancestors. Bill left to join his beloved mother and grandfather and all those wonderful souls, recently departed, who seem to radiate their lights back to those of us still struggling on earth.

Bill Fahr taught classes in metaphys-ics, the Alice Bailey teachings, astrology, cosmology, and spiritual healing. He had a love of the stars -- astrology and astronomy. Over the years, he kept his prices at a level most students could afford and he did not advertise (people knew by word of mouth). He lived modestly, and we learned so much, so quickly, from him.

Bill had a great sense of humor, and our class would often erupt into laughter. He had an appreciation of beauty and nature, and a love of music. He also had a sweet tooth, and we often brought treats to class to share. Once when I picked him up at the airport after a class he'd taught in Bellingham, Washington, I gave him a box of fresh-baked brownies. We chatted about using crystals and meditation to help move past the pressures of the times we live in. Now I treasure that memory.

Our class bonded as a spiritual family, and although many of us have gone our separate ways, we have often checked in with Bill and each other. In times of crisis, we've been able to lovingly support one another.

In November, Bill Fahr's life was celebrated on his favorite mountain, and a family of foxes and many hawks came to say goodbye. On that rainy-sunny Friday, a rainbow seemed to light his way home.

Bill, thank you for opening doors to higher consciousness and helping us go through them unafraid. Shine on, friend, teacher, and mentor to many. You made a difference. Rest in peace. Vaya con Dios.

Kim Mercuri Bullis

Clipper Street

Editor's note: Kim Bullis also writes that she celebrated her 75th birthday in July "with my family of friends and my son at the Morrison Planetarium. At that time, I asked for 20 more summers here." Thank you for your heartfelt tribute to Bill Fahr, Kim.