Noe Valley Voice April 1999

Rumors Behind the News

By Mazook

THE NOE VALLEY Democratic Club is organizing an all-out effort to march to City Hall with a wish list for Noe Valley.

Demo Club president Dave Monks says, "All the politicians come to talk to our group and ask for our endorsements, so it's time for us to ask them to help us."

The Demos have invited representatives from all the prominent neighborhood groups to come speak to the club. After they're finished, they will summarize our common agenda (and grievances) and present them to Mayor Brown et al.

The club has already heard from Alison Pence from the Advocates for Upper Noe Recreation Center. She and her group want to improve the children's play area, field, and other facilities at the park located at Day and Sanchez streets.

Next in the series was Dorthe Deubler and Debra Neiman, who speak for the Noe Valley Neighborhood Parks Improvement Association (NVNPIA). They presented ideas on how to fund improvements at our two other parks, Noe Courts and Douglass Park. More on that later.

Monks says that the Demos' April 14 meeting (7:30 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry) will feature speakers from the Noe Valley Merchants Association, who will add their two cents. You can bet the merchants will bring up the p word (parking).

According to Dave, the May meeting might well feature the Upper Noe Neighbors, who are becoming more active. UNN pres Vicki Rosen says the group has elected new officers (v.p.. Marybeth Wallace, secretary Jason Kletter, treasurer Karen Powell) and stepped up its meeting schedule. Now they will be meeting at the Upper Noe Rec Center on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m.

At their next meeting, April 22, Vicki says the group will be signing up new recruits, discussing plans for Upper Noe Rec, and naming committee heads. "We'll also talk about special events. We want to get our neighbors involved," she says.

At the risk of Balkanizing Noe Valley, perhaps the group could also identify the geographic boundaries of "Upper Noe."

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GETTING INVOLVED is exactly what Dorthe Deubler, Debra Neiman, and Krista Keegan are all about. They organized the NVNPIA in August of '98, got nonprofit status, came up with wish lists for both Noe Courts and Douglass Park, worked with the Rec and Park people, and went to the locals for funding...all of which resulted in real improvements.

The first thing they got was a porta-potty for Noe Courts. As you Noe Courts users know, the bathrooms there have been in disrepair and closed since the late '50s (make that the 1850s). Word is, the gardener was the most grateful.

Within the next month or so, Rec and Park plumbers will install new drinking fountains at both Noe Courts and Doug-lass Playground, thanks to the NVNPIA.

According to Dorthe, the Friends of the Parks matched the $3,500 raised by our groups. "We got $400 from the East & West of Castro Club; Noe Courts Coalition [the dog proponents] contributed $875; Zephyr Realty gave us $1,750, and the balance was from an adamantly anonymous $500 donor," she says.

The drinking fountain at Noe Courts will have a spigot on top for humans and a bowl near the base for dogs.

"We've also been working on getting the Noe Courts sandbox a bench with a back and arms -- a great help, especially to moms holding little babies -- and we just learned that [local realtor] B.J. Droubi has donated money for the bench."

The group's current wish list includes acquiring a modest sum of money for a bulletin board to hang in the clubhouse at Douglass Park, and for a freestanding one at Noe Courts. "Another high priority should be all-new playground equipment for Douglass, some of which dates back to the fifties," she says, "and which Rec and Park has no plans to update."

She's been told that it would cost $350,000 to $500,000 to replace the playground equipment through the city, "but we hope that we could have a community building effort, which would reduce the cost to about $100,000." You go, girl.

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THE SUDDEN CLOSING of Crystal Market on the corner of Church Street and Cesar Chavez at the end of January was both a surprise and a mystery to many.

The market's owner sold his lease to Celia Sack and her partner Paula Harris, who are busy building the Noe Valley Pet Company and Dog Walking Service, scheduled to open in May.

They currently operate a dog walking service called Go-Dog-Go from their house over the hill in Eureka Valley. Now they are expanding into dog, cat, and bird supplies, and even antiquarian prints of animals and birds.

"Paula started the dog walking business about a year and a half ago, and business got very good,"' says Celia. "I left my job at the Pacific Book Auction [she is a specialist in rare books] to join in the business. I now make the same money in less time, doing something I love."

Paula lived on Church and 26th before moving over the hill, and she's "delighted to get back to my old neighborhood."

A bit of history on the Crystal Market has been provided by the building's owner, Chuck Fadel. He says the building was built in 1880 as a livery stable. "We were doing some repairs," says Chuck, "and we found some horseshoes in the crawl space." Sometime around 1915, the livery stable closed and a butcher shop opened.

Speaking of history, the East & West Club will be hosting Noe Valley History Day at the Noe Valley Library in June, and would like you to loan any memorabilia of the neighborhood you might have. Contact Paul Kantus of East & West at 647-3753.

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HISTORY is what the Glen Park Courier is, with the publication of its March 1999 issue. Courier editor Jacquelyn "Lyn" Estrella is moving to the East Bay, and her staff is disbanding after two years of serving the Glen Park neighborhood.

An odd parting shot came from copy editor Bob Vanderheiden, who was quoted in the paper as saying, "The Courier has more spark, more life, than other nearby neighborhood newspapers. Those Noe Valley vanity rags are too full of egotistical ramblings and pompous poetry."

Thanks, neighbor. Bring back the Glen Park Perspective.

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TENNESSEE WILLIAMS' play Sudden-ly Last Summer will be opening April 9 at the Shelton Theater (533 Sutter St.), and will be directed by Noe Valleon Neal Shorstein. Another Noe Valleon, Anna Van der Heide, will perform the role of the possessive matriarch, Mrs. Venable. Says Anna, "This is an opportunity for people to see one of Tennessee Williams' finest plays, which is rarely produced around here." The show runs through April 25. For tickets, call (510) 594-1400.

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TOP OF THE POPS at Streetlight Rec-ords is a local group called the Latin Playboys, with their inaugural CD, Dos. According to Streetlighter Art Casares, this Los Lobos spin-off has "an eccentric Tex-Mex style in a very abstract sort of way." Close behind in sales, says Art, is Van Morrison's new disc, Back on Top.

Down at Aquarius Records (Valencia and 22nd), the hottest group is a band out of Georgia called Olivia Tremor Control, whose album is titled Black Foliage.

On the video scene, Video Wave on Castro Street reports that your favorite movie rental is Living Out Loud, starring Danny DeVito and Holly Hunter. Over at Video West on Church, Adam Sandler's The Waterboy is in high demand.

Brian Dunleavy from 21st Century Video on 24th Street says Bulworth, starring Warren Beatty, "is flying out the door." Brian adds, "This politically incorrect farcical comedy is one of Beatty's best."For those of you who prefer to read, Cover to Cover Booksellers says their current nonfiction bestseller is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman. This is the story of the culture shock of the Hmong people who lived on the border of Cambodia and Vietnam and came to America after the war.

On the fiction side, your choice is J.K. Rowland's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a story about a little boy's mysterious invitation to a sorcerer's school.

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THAT'S IT FOR NOW. But before I go, I want to remind you to support the city's arts and cultural organizations by adding a donation to your April property tax bill. All donations, no matter how small, will be gratefully accepted. Last year $150,000 was shared citywide. That's thirty.