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Letters to the Editor
Noe's Is More Than a Bar
I'm writing in response to Ray Stanten's slam against Noe's Bar in the letters section of the September 1998 Voice. Yes, Noe Valley and 24th Street in particular are evolving. But I would contend that Noe's Bar has evolved, too.
I invite Mr. Stanten and anyone else unfamiliar with Noe's to come in and check out our clean, bright, and sometimes noisy atmosphere. You'll find a mix of new faces and regular neighborhood patrons who are fun and cordial. We serve a delicious house coffee, soft drinks, and mineral water in addition to alcohol. And sporting seven TVs allows our 49er fans a clear view from any seat in the house.
Mr. Stanten's statement that patrons from Noe's Bar "leave the sidewalks covered with trash" is not true. Mr. Stanten's characterization of Noe's as having a negative impact on the neighborhood is distressing to those of us who work to make it more than a bar. It's a comfortable, clean, and safe place for people to get together.
Nancy Emery, Bar Manager
Noe's Bar, 1199 Church St.
Have You Lost a Neighbor Due to an Unfair Eviction?
Star Magic, the Acme Cafe, and Glen 5 and 10 are gone from 24th Street's changing face. Real estate speculators are building rental property with rents so high that the existing Noe Valley residents cannot afford to rent them.
I despair as the character of our neighborhood changes rapidly, and so many of my friends and neighbors are forced to leave the area. I rarely see or hear from my closest friends, Martha and Terry, who lived on 23rd Street for years, until their building was sold and the new owner evicted them. We shared friendship, holidays, birthdays, and wedding festivities. Now that they've relocated to 23rd Avenue, the couple pays an additional $300 in rent. The new owner reportedly lived in their unit for just a year, and now plans to sell the apartment as a condo.
As good long-term tenants leave their apartments to make room for the new owners who displace them, the records show that the typical speculator occupies the apartment for one year. The new owner can make an enormous profit by selling percentages of the ownership and skirting the condo conversion law, instead of settling down to live in the apartment.
Do these speculators honestly expect the tenants they displace to find affordable apartments, when they've inflated the prices for rent? It's like offering pie in the sky.
Working-class people need homes. The neighborhood's stock of affordable rental units is dwindling. The lives of evicted seniors, low-income and working-class people are devastated with the loss of affordable housing in Noe Valley.
I am grateful that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution to curb the unscrupulous practices of those wealthy speculators who systematically evict longtime Noe Valley residents from their rental units for profit, and that Mayor Willie Brown is signing it.
Proposition G, placed on the Nov. 3 ballot by the San Francisco Tenants' Union, goes further to preserve the existing stock of affordable housing in Noe Valley for its residents. It will restrict those owners who evict for profit. It will protect the most vulnerable residents of our community, low-income persons and seniors, from being uprooted from their homes.
Get out and vote "Yes" on Prop. G to preserve the existing stock of affordable housing in Noe Valley, and the character of the neighborhood for its residents.
Noe Tenants' Association
Enforce the No-Smoking Law
The city's anti-smoking ordinance needs to be enforced. Smoking is going on openly in neighborhood saloons, especially in the Mission District and Noe Valley.
This blatant disrespect for the law is partly the fault of Mayor Brown and his puppet Board of Supervisors -- for their failure to give strong backing to the police. The police--now seen as spineless and weak -- often just look the other way.
The city should realize that this open defiance and contempt by saloon owners and inconsiderate smokers can lead to further crime outside the bars and in the streets. Non-smokers have rights, too! Will somebody please do something?!
Noe Valley resident
(name withheld by request)
A Better Plan for Central Freeway
It's rare that we have a chance to right past mistakes, but in the case of Proposition E this November, we have that opportunity. Instead of retrofitting and widening the earthquake-damaged portion of the Central Freeway, the proposition would replace it with new ramps from Mission to Market and a new high-traffic-volume boulevard. A task force of architects, planners, traffic engineers, and representatives of neighborhoods throughout San Francisco developed this "Boulevard Plan" and concluded unanimously, after studying numerous options, that it best served the city.
When compared with the retrofit plan, which narrowly passed last November, the Proposition E plan is clearly much better for several reasons. According to Caltrans estimates, it would be at least $20 million cheaper and 12 to 16 months faster to build. An analysis by structural engineers concludes that new construction would be safer than retrofitting the existing 40-year-old overhead freeway.
In addition, studies by Caltrans and the City of San Francisco indicate that the boulevard would move traffic to and from the west side in the same amount of time as the elevated roadway, but the boulevard has the advantage of providing better access for north side neighborhoods.
Proposition E would also have positive environmental and economic impacts that would benefit all San Franciscans. It would eliminate the terrible blight that now exists beneath the freeway overpass on Market Street, contribute to the revitalization of the mid-Market area, and restore the vista from the Ferry Building to Twin Peaks. To get some idea of the potential benefits, we need only look to the emergence of our waterfront following the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway. Or consider the revitalization of the Hayes Street commercial district after the demise of the freeway ramp there.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, Prop. E would free up 14 acres of Caltrans land for the construction of 700 to 900 units of affordable housing adjacent to the Civic Center and in Hayes Valley.
This is an opportunity we can't afford to pass up. Proposition E would provide comparable or better service for less money in less time with a higher level of earthquake safety while improving neighborhood livability, providing much needed housing, and creating overall enhancement of our beautiful city.
That's why we support Proposition E and urge other Noe Valley Voice readers to do so as well.
Harry Stern, 25th Street resident
Janet Jacobs, Jersey Street resident