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AND NOW FOR THE RUMORS BEHIND THE NEWS:
Veni, Vidi, Vote
THE NOE VALLEY BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NVBI) has issued a red alert for Nov. 8, 2000, warning that there may be riots in Downtown Noe Valley. Merchants are advised to board up their windows, and as for you professionals -- watch out.
The 8th, of course, is the day after the election. By then, we will know who was elected president of the United States. If "W" wins, angry mobs of Noe Valleons will take to the streets, demanding that San Francisco secede from the Union.
According to NVBI polls, a Bush-Chen-ey victory is unthinkable in San Francisco. This city would never vote for those two rich oil men from Texas. Everyone in Noe Valley agrees that they're good for Texas, and that's exactly where they should stay.
However, there is a slight chance Bush could win in California and elsewhere around the country, but only if our liberal brethren twiddle their thumbs Nov. 7. So, the NVBI is urging all Noe Valley folks to each call 20 friends who live between Pittsburg, Calif., and Pittsburgh, Pa., and tell them to be sure to vote.
The NVBI expects a 100% turnout in Noe Valley...or else.
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WE'RE ALL IN THE SAME VOTE: Proof that we're a hotbed of liberalism comes from a 1999 survey of registered voters done by S.F. pollster David Binder. His statistics are broken down by district and neighborhood.
According to Binder's research, a majority of Noe Valley voters are European Americans (80%), between the age of 30 and 49 (53%), women (51%), sexually straight (71%), and renters (52%), who are college graduates (78%) and Democrats (72%). Only 11% in the Valley are avowed Republicans. The big picture for District 8 shows that 81% are white, 54% age 30 to 49, 58% male, and 59% sexually straight. Fifty-five percent are renters, 71% college grads, 72% Demos, and 12% Republicans.
Therefore, the average Noe Valleyite is a woman, and the average District 8'er is a man. Ha. Also, it looks like 17% of Noe Valley and 16% of District 8 are Independents, Green Party voters, or "other."
An interesting District 8 statistic is that while 56% registered voters identify with some religion, 40% declare they are "not religious." Noe Valley showed itself to be somewhat more spiritual, with 63% admitting to a religious affiliation, and 38% "not."
Well, Bush doesn't have a prayer in Noe Valley or District 8. But what about in Peoria and Podunk? Don't forget. Make those calls to 20 friends "back East."
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DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCY DEPT.: San Francisco Department of Public Works agents descended on Downtown Noe Valley last month issuing "Notice of Violation" tickets to seemingly every merchant on 24th Street. Someone must have complained to City Hall that the sidewalks were dirty.
According to Marjory Panetti at Panetti's Gifts, "DPW was going door-to-door issuing these warnings," telling merchants to "remove grease, grime, stains, garbage, and so forth" from in front of their businesses or face a fine of up to $500. The DPW agent also noted that the sidewalks weren't "light" enough, which seems a bit unreasonable in a fine old neighborhood like ours, where the concrete was probably poured in 1890.
Merchants are even more concerned about a notice they recently received from the Department of Building Inspection informing them that the city is considering new rules for disabled-accessible aisle widths in retail stores. Minimum aisle widths and wheelchair turnaround spaces would be specified by law.
The Noe Valley Merchants Association is trying to organize opposition by circulating a letter from Streetlight Records' general manager Jeffrey Moss. Jeffrey writes: "It is difficult to understand how small retail stores...can possibly meet these proposed regulations. Short of tearing down and rebuilding [the stores] in the style of suburban malls, most older, neighborhood, and historic buildings housing retail...could not meet these requirements."
Jeffrey's point is that only corporate chains have the money to do what you gotta do, to follow the path of compliance.
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LIGHTS, CAMERA, PARKING TICKETS: Nash Bridges brought its San Francisco based production crew to Noe Valley on the morning of Oct. 19 and created quite a stir, and it wasn't just about Don Johnson. The popular TV show (Fridays at 10 on CBS) was filming scenes for an upcoming episode on Church Street and 27th in front of Mia's flower shop in the morning, and then in Comerford Alley, on and on into the night.
The problem was that the production crew had staked out Sanchez Street from 27th down to Day Street, and then down Day to Church, to park their zillion cars, trucks, trailers, and star-mobiles. Tow-away signs were posted only one day before.
At 9 a.m., a parade of police and Bridges security staff and a flotilla of tow trucks appeared and removed umpteen "illegally parked" cars. Many residents who went to work early on public transit, or slept in late, were surprised to find their cars missing.
Police found several signs on the ground and surmised they had been torn down by disgruntled residents. But neighbors say there have been so many "no parking" signs posted on that part of Sanchez lately, for construction crews who never materialize, some residents may have assumed Nash Bridges was just another round of phantom street-digging and pole-climbing.
Police were referring all complaints to the Film Commission. I don't think we've seen the closing credits on this one yet.
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SPIN CITY, a new laundromat/espresso bar on the northeast corner of Sanchez and 26th, got a quick rush of business from the cast and crew of Bridges.
Although the doors are open and the washers and dryers are respectively spinning and tumbling, the "grand opening," according to co-owners Rick Eakin and Victor Castro, will be on Halloween night. They, along with building owner Charlie Harb, grew up together in Noe Valley. When the A&A Market on that corner closed two years ago, the three decided what the neighborhood needed was a wash-and-dry laundry with a small coffee bar and comfortable lounge.
Victor recalls that when Charlie's dad opened up a butcher shop and grocery store in that selfsame spot in 1961, the three of them would play outside on the sidewalk.
Rick expects that by Halloween the comfy couches and TV sets will be installed, along with a computer setup, so you can check your email during the rinse cycle. One wall will be dedicated to showcasing the art of students in local schools.
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MUSICAL STORES: Rumors are true that Purely Physical closed the doors to the 500 members of its Castro Street gym on Oct. 11. That's when negotiations ended over the landlord's demands for almost $14,000 a month rent. However, according to co-owner Lori Bitterman, the gym is going to downsize and move into the space last occupied by Kennedy's bar on the corner of Church and 25th streets.
Meanwhile, Downtown Noe Valley's painted pottery palace, Terra Mia, is about to ink a deal that will move it over to Castro and 24th, by the southbound 24-Divis bus stop. The space had been occupied by a laudromat for many years. Word is that Terra Mia's current spot, the long-ago site of the notorious Cork 'n' Bottle, must be vacated for seismic retrofitting.
A few doors up Castro, the DVD specialty shop, Laser Disk, is closed and nobody knows what's going to replace it.
The storefront recently vacated by Lovejoy's Tea Room, on Church Street near 24th, has been remodeled with a glossy hardwood floor and is now available to rent for $2,700 a month. Lovejoy's owners packed up the Darjeeling and moved down Church to the corner of Clipper several months ago.
It looks as if Phoenix Books has been able to negotiate a year and a half lease at its present location on the corner of 24th and Vicksburg. This, according to owner Kate Rosenberger, allows her some valuable time to try to relocate in Noe Valley.
The new owner of the Phoenix building is longtime Noe Valley realtor Sue Bowie. Will she open an office there? She's not saying. Let's put it out of our minds for the next year and a half.
Dirt Cheap Travel is now known as Value Vacation. The travel agency, on the corner of Sanchez and 23rd, which has been sending Noe Valleyons out of (and back to) Noe Valley for over 20 years, has been sold to its longtime manager, Ellen. Meanwhile, Rich's One-Hour Photo has gone continental and been replaced by Euro Photo.
The world-famous (for his pioneering work with AIDS patients) local ophthalmologist, Dr. Robert Neger, has retired. He closed his office at the beginning of September, and is selling the building on the corner of Church and 25th for $1.8 mil. Put on your specs and check out the upstairs when the realtors put out the open house sign.
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NOBODY'S FUEL: The latest word on the fate of Dan's Gas Station is "slow." That, according to property owners John McCarthy and Fred Hornblower, is how they intend to proceed, at this point.
"We've certainly been getting a lot of calls since word got out that the station had closed," says Fred, "but while we have decided to sell the property, we have not yet gotten an agent to list the property, nor do we know what our asking price will be."
Fred says a lot of developers have contacted him and made offers for the four lots (10,800 sq. ft.). Cassidy Construction, the contractor that owns the large complex next to Bell, was the first to call, he says, "and there have been many more." Fred noted that the highest bid was $2.5 million.
The property, at 24th and Vicksburg, became a gas station in 1930, when John's father, John McCarthy senior, opened a Shell outlet. In 1959, the original building was demolished and the present structure built. Dan's Shell ran it for 20 years, and Wayne Rosemont for the past 16 years.
Neighbors can breathe a sigh of relief that the water table below the station is finally clear of leaked oil. The process of cleaning the underground tanks has taken eight years. Fred says the site has been given a clean bill of health by the State of California.
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CIAO, CHOW: It looks as if Little Italy has rolled its last meatball, after a more than 20-year run in Noe Valley. The once-popular restaurant has been closed since September, and now there is a "Notice of Abandonment" posted on the front door by the landlord.
Rumors are that owner J.P. Gillen created quite a scene in the restaurant a few months ago, which culminated with his walking out and vowing never to come back. Evidently, he kept on walking and is now living on the East Coast.
Gillen had been trying to sell the restaurant for a while, but apparently there were no takers. Too bad!
I remember the good ol' days of the early '80s, when the line to get into Little Italy was longer than the one at Bud's Ice Cream. One evening, the over-capacity crowd of happy diners got so noisy the fire department was called to close the place down.
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BEFORE I GO, AND GO I WILL, let me say you've got to give gold stars to everyone who was involved in getting City Hall to install the stop signs on Castro Street at Jersey (on Friday, the 13th). At last, to the relief of pedestrians and drivers both, this corner is a safe four-way stop.
That's all, you all. Look both ways, and vote early and often.