Noe Valley Voice February 1999

Letters to the Editor

Noe Valley Nursery School Is Actually a Bargain


I feel it is important to point out an error printed in the December issue of the Noe Valley Voice. In the story on day care in Noe Valley, you listed prices of various nursery schools and day care centers. The price listed for the Noe Valley Nursery School was more than four times its real price.

Because it is a nonprofit, cooperative nursery school, owned and operated by the parents in the school, it costs a fraction of what other nursery schools do. The price listed in the article was $160 per week when, in fact, the cost is $160 per month for a five-morning slot.

A co-op nursery school is not a day care service, it is a work-intensive labor of love on the part of the parents (and teacher) of the school. The low cost reflects this.

Claire Siegel

Noe Valley Nursery School

1021 Sanchez St.

The Voice sincerely apologizes for the error. The Noe Valley Nursery School is a neighborhood institution that has long been one of our most affordable childcare options. As Ms. Siegel points out, the cost is $160 per month, not per week. --Ed.

Our Libraries Are Jewels


When Jimmy Carter was president, he talked about the coming "malaise" and thought we should declare war on it. However, since then, many of us have been puzzled and perplexed and confused. Barbara Tuchman, a historian, has written: "Where is the outrage? We have lost a sense of respect for serious, honest conduct. If we are moved merely by greed, and there's no longer any respect for decent or honest government, then we will suffer the consequences."

My disillusionment caused me to begin to search for knowledge that will help me understand the malaise. Of the many good sources, one of the best is the Manchester Guardian Weekly. I decided to share it with others and offered a free subscription to the Noe Valley Library. I can't describe my dismay when the librarian told me that it was not wanted, that they didn't have space, and that no one would read it. Fortunately, I got a very different reception at the Mission Branch, and the MGW was expected to be available there in January. The Mission Branch will soon be moving from Mission and 22nd back to its permanent home on 24th Street when renovations are finished.

This experience has caused me to reflect on the great library system we have, where vast stores of knowledge are available to all without cost. It is open to children, scholars, and the curious and eager to learn, whether they are three, or one hundred and three. I give credit to Andrew Carnegie, who in the last years of his life gave most of his vast fortune to building libraries. This is how our free and open library system began.

When I lived in other countries, I discovered that libraries like ours are seldom available and rarely free. Ours are better than crown jewels, which are kept locked. Our jewels are there to be used. We should never let this great democratic tradition slip away.

L.E. Partridge

Guerrero Street

Noe Valley Librarian Roberta Greifer responds:

This is what I recollect of the conversation: A woman phoned to say she no longer wanted her subscription to the Manchester Guardian and wanted to see if Noe Valley would like it instead. I said the branch was short of space for newspapers and periodicals and I did not feel the readership for the Manchester Guard-ian at the branch warranted our receiving it. The caller protested strongly and asked me how familiar I was with this publication. I said I wasn't and offered to look at some issues if she brought them by. That was the last I heard from her.

According to SFPL's periodical holding list, only the Main Library subscribes to the Manchester Guardian. The Mission Branch is a resource library, considerably larger than the Noe Valley Branch and with more space.

Over the years at Noe Valley, we have received requests for the daily New York Times, the San Francisco Examiner, the San Jose Mercury-News, and the Sunday Los Angeles Times. If anyone wishes to give us a gift suscription to one of those, we would be very pleased.

Roberta Greifer, Head Librarian

Noe Valley ­ Sally Brunn Library

451 Jersey St.

Don't Call the Whole Neighborhood Racist


I read the article in the November 1998 issue entitled "James Lick Kids Barred from Shop on 24th Street." My name is Frances Grimstad. I am a Noe Valley resident and a James Lick Middle School seventh-grader. I see both sides of the problem and understand both sides' complaints. Yet I would like to bring up the point of how Noe Valley and JLMS were being portrayed in the Voice.

This article portrays my neighborhood as racist. But the actions of one store do not mean that the entire neighborhood is the same. Noe Valley is mainly a Caucasian neighborhood. But being Caucasian does not mean that you are racist. If that were true, then all of Europe would not welcome anyone from other countries.

Being a Noe Valley resident, I would like to be able to go into my neighborhood stores after school. I have known many store owners on 24th Street for years. Noe Valley has been one big happy community, and I would like it to stay that way.

Frances Grimstad

Ban Discriminates Against
Young People


I am a teacher at James Lick Middle School and a resident of Noe Valley. I found your November article about students being temporarily banned from Just for Fun to be disturbing.

Articles like this perpetuate social norms in this society that make discrimination against youth acceptable. It wasn't long ago that in certain parts of this country it was socially acceptable to bar people from entering establishments based on gender or race. Fortunately, such social norms have changed so that it would be unthink-able for a newspaper to publish an article about a store barring Latinos or women without condemning the store's policy.

Sadly, it is still acceptable to discriminate against youth. Thus, the Noe Valley Voice sees no problem in reporting from a "neutral" stance about a store that denies entrance to people simply because they are young and happen to attend a school where one of their classmates may have shoplifted. This is really too bad, because the Voice could have used this story to try to change the social norms that make it acceptable for people and establishments to discriminate against young people based solely on their age.

Eric DeMeulenaere

Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher

James Lick Middle School

Give Just for Fun a Break


Please, for heaven's sake, folks, let's give Just for Fun a break. I don't know the owner. Never met the man. But I bet you that he's not some evil grinch who sits in the dark thinking of ways to alienate the buying public.

Shoplifting is a problem in our valley. For that matter, we also experience robberies, some armed, and assaults. (Read Officer Lois Perillo's columns.)

I, for one, appreciate being reminded of reality by the pictures at the entrance of the Just for Fun store. (Perhaps those people offended by these pictures should also avoid doing business at the Post Office.) It seems to me appropriate that proprietors take steps to protect their businesses and thus the livelihood of the people they employ. And guess what, Just for Fun is not the only business on 24th Street to limit student entry.

Some of your letter writers appear to believe that Mr. Eiland and his management staff have been heavy-handed and insensitive. Maybe they have. I don't know. I submit, however, that name-calling and withdrawing business may not be the most reasonable or effective approach to ameliorating the situation. What we need is a fix that's fair to our kids and fair to our merchants.

Mason S. Cartmell Jr.

Jersey Street

Parrot Film Ready to Fly


Thank you for running the wonderful article about the parrot movie in your November issue ["Filmmaker Hears Call of the Wild (Parrots)," by Suzanne Herel]. The Voice publicity helped generate $2,600 in contributions. In addition, a French producer who is spending a year in Noe Valley saw the story and may come on as a co-producer, providing some of the funding in return for European broadcast rights. Thank you, thank you! You really helped launch this proj-ect. (Donations are still welcome.)

Meanwhile, here is an update: The documentary is now called The Wild Parrots of San Francisco. I've started shooting and am happy to say that the birds don't seem fazed at all by my 16mm camera. They let me get very close, especially when Mark Bittner, their North Beach benefactor, is feeding them!

I haven't had much luck with "our" Noe Valley flock, however. The one time I tried to film them in a Douglass Street back yard they didn't show up, and I was left with pigeons, house sparrows, and mourning doves fighting over the food in the bird feeder! I'll keep trying, though.

Here is a request for your readers: I need to film both the North Beach flock (cherry-head conures) and the Noe Valley flock (canary-wing parakeets) from a variety of viewpoints: in flight, landing in various kinds of trees, feeding, preening, roosting, etc. If you see the birds on a regular basis, if you have a good view of them from your house or apartment (e.g., on Twin Peaks looking toward downtown), and if you would like to help this film production, please call me at 824-5822. I would like to set up my camera at your window or on your deck and try to get some shots!

Also, if you know where the Noe Valley flock sleeps (roosts), that is, in which tree(s) they spend the night, please let me know. Some people say the palm tree at Dolores and 24th Street; others say the eucalyptus trees beside San Francisco General Hospital. Does anybody know for sure?

I've noticed that the Noe Valley flock tends to fly to the Twin Peaks area in the morning, and I would love to try to get some shots of them flying with San Francisco's downtown in the background. Thanks!

Judy Irving

IDG Films (Independent
Documentary Group)

Elizabeth Street

P.S. Bird expert Mark Bittner (989-5909) has to move out of his place on Telegraph Hill in April and needs to find somewhere else to live. He'd like to go to a "cabin in the woods in northern California," so he can write his book about the parrots. Any ideas?

Also, Mark will be giving a talk and slide show on the parrots (and I'll show some clips from the movie) at a fundraiser on Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., at the Eureka Theatre on Jackson Street. Everyone is welcome. It's free. Call the box office: 788-SHOW.

All I Want for Christmas Is
My First and Last Month's Rent

Editor's Note: Reader Karen Tello-Reep-en sent us this ditty, about the huge rent hikes visited upon San Francisco this year. She drew a picture of Santa, too. Now if we could just find her an apartment in Noe Valley, we could insist that she work on her neighborhood newspaper.

You Better Watch Out

You better watch out,
It's getting real bad,
Running about,
Looking for a pad.
City rents are climbing sky high.

They're running credit checks,
Checking 'em twice,
Then taking bids
For the highest price.
City rents are climbing sky high.

They're getting all the money they're asking

From all those Silicon flakes,

The only thing that'll stop them now

Is one big fricken' quake.

You better not pout,
Though it's gotten real sad,
Without a doubt,
You'll be moving in with Dad.
City rents are climbing sky high!

Karen Tello-Reepen

Stillings Avenue

The Parade Was a Treat


The primary grades of St. Philip School would like to thank the many 24th Street merchants, banks, and professional offices who provided treats for our annual Halloween parade held on Friday, Oct. 30, 1998. The children always appreciate the store owners' cooperation, as well as that of the San Francisco police, who ensure that our parade will be a safe and happy experience.

Mary Ann Collins

St. Philip School

665 Elizabeth St.

Mea Culpa: The above note arrived in plenty of time for the December Voice. But it somehow got lost during the mail-sorting. (I tell you, that pneumatic tube method has got to go.) Please accept our apologies, St. Philip's students and staff, for the delay in thanking our bewitching 24th Street shopkeepers. -- Ed.