Noe Valley Voice December-January 2001

Rumors Behind the News

By Mazook

SAN FRANCISCO WINTER is settling into our valley, and the wind coming off Twin Peaks is getting colder and colder. Brrrr! Seems like everybody has a cold, the flu, or some bronchial thing. It's not anthrax. No, really it isn't.

Still, over a hundred people queued up at Walgreen's drugstore in downtown Noe Valley on Veteran's Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, to get their annual flu shot.

By 8:30 that morning the line stretched from the front door right on through the parking lot. To an uninformed passerby, it looked like there was some kind of bio-attack panic reaction going on that the rest of us hadn't heard of yet. Yikes!

But according to Walgreen's manager Annie Kishiyama, everything went smoothly this year. The shots were administered by a nurse and cost $16.

"We were also offering pneumonia shots," says Annie, "but there were very few people who wanted that shot. Maybe two shots were too much for some people."

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QUITE CHILLY were the remarks Examiner columnist Debby Morse directed at Noe Valley in a column Nov. 7. She allowed as how in San Francisco "each neighborhood has its walk....

"Take Noe Valley. Was there ever a place with more sense of entitlement? Liberal politics and every baby raised by the whole village add up to a very special kind of walk," wrote Morse. "Natural-fiber-wearing folks float slowly down the sidewalks of 24th Street, congregating outside coffeehouses and blocking the way, to the consternation of other walkers (from other neighborhoods, no doubt). Strings of them self-absorbedly ooze across intersections like a long-chain molecule, never giving waiting cars a chance to move through before yet another one of them steps into the crosswalk."

Well, okay, that might have the ring of truth, but then Debby takes it a step further: "Many Noe Valley walkers push babies in strollers, often using them as battering rams in crowded situations. Shockingly, these baby strollers are rolled out into crosswalks in front of oncoming cars, and the indignant parent then steps into the intersection with a look of outrage that the monster behind the wheel should have the despicable audacity to drive where there are children present."

Puh-leeze. Do you sense a little child envy? Oops, I didn't say that.

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MUD ON THE BALLOTS: The Noe votes in the Nov. 6 municipal election have been tabulated by the Noe Valley Bureau of Investigation (NVBI). Out of the 17,078 voters registered in our neighborhood, only 5,921 actually voted, which means we had a rather embarrassing 35 percent turnout. Citywide, though, a little over 28 percent bothered to vote. The rest of us presumably were content to stay home and worry about making the world safe for democracy.

The local vote in the city attorney's race was Jim Lazarus, 1,873 votes; Dennis Herrera, 1,641; Steve Williams, 1,057; and Neil Eisenberg, 838. Don't forget, there will be a runoff election between Lazarus and Herrera on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

For all you Susan Leal fans, take heart in knowing that she carried Noe Valley with 89 percent of the vote, to Petroni Carlos' 11 percent, in the city treasurer race.

The big issue items on this ballot were the two measures that would create self-sufficient municipal utility districts (MUDs) to take over San Francisco's public utilities, specifically, gas and electric.

As expected, Noe voters voted wildly in favor of authorizing solar energy bonds (Bond Measure B) and the Board of Supervisors' authorization of solar power and energy bonds (Charter Amendment H). Proposition B passed in Noe Valley by a huge margin, garnering 82 percent. H also won handily, with 65 percent in favor. Citywide, B passed with 73 percent, and H with 55 percent.

Then there was Charter Amendment F, which would have created a Municipal Water and Power Agency, a first step toward publicly owned utilities. That plan, which would slowly take over the functions now provided by PG&E, was narrowly defeated by San Francisco voters, although proponents of the measure will probably challenge the results in court. According to the Department of Elections, the citywide count was 49.6 percent yes and 50.4 percent no. The Noe vote was 58 percent yes and 42 percent no.

An even more controversial plan to create a Municipal Utility District and take over PG&E's power distribution, Measure I, passed here in the 'hood, but failed in the citywide count by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin. Noe Valley supported Proposition I with a 55 percent aye vote, to 45 percent for the naysayers.

In the moot-point department, we had all those votes for directors of the four wards that would have been established (oh Lord, deliver us from more political fiefdoms) had Prop. I passed. In Noe Valley, Ward 1 candidate Dan Kalb was the big vote-getter. In Ward 2, it was Joe Alioto Veronese. The Ward 3 winner was perennial candidate Joel Ventresca, and in Ward 4 it was Medea Susan Benjamin (of Global Exchange fame), followed very closely by Crystal Chamness.

I imagine you will see these names again on future ballots.

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CROSS PURPOSES: Next time you find yourself crossing the intersection of Church and 25th streets, you should feel a little safer. The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Nov. 19 to install stop signs on Church, making the intersection an official four-way stop.

Over the years, the haircut patrons sitting in the J&S barbershop on the northwest corner of the intersection have witnessed dozens of hair-raising accidents.

"It has been like a demolition derby out there," says J&S barber Mike Skoufas, "and I'm only here on Mondays." Mike has been barbering in Noe Valley since 1953 and is now semi-retired, working only eight of the 168 hours in the week. He still wears his hair in a "flat top."

A year ago, concerned neighbors started gathering petitions for a four-way stop, but they were repeatedly thwarted at City Hall by our Municipal Railway, whose trains are part of the problem in the first place. (They must run on time, you know.)

Finally, neighbors got the backing of our representative on the Board of Supervisors, Mark Leno. Leno introduced the petition as an item on the board's Housing, Transportation, and Land Use Committee. From there, Leno made contact with Department of Parking and Traffic's Diana Hammons, to research the safety record of the intersection. The DPT confirmed what everyone already knew: This was a dangerous intersection!

Leno wrote a letter to Muni chief Michael Burns in early October, requesting that he reconsider opposition to the stop signs, since it was clear many accidents could have been avoided. "I have also received a number of letters from my constituents indicating their desire to make the intersection safer for pedestrians, residents, and many of the children and elderly that live in that area," wrote Leno. "I frequently drive on a route that goes on 25th Street through that intersection, and I always have to inch out into the intersection slowly because of the speeding cross-traffic and bad visibility in both directions, making it very dangerous," he continued.

In the face of these demonstrable safety concerns, even Muni had to relent.

Now there's a rumor floating around 26th and Castro that neighbors will be making a concerted effort to get stop signs put on Castro, for the same reasons. Look for petitions at Video Wave on Castro.

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IN DOWNTOWN NOE TOWN, a Nov. 8 "town hall" meeting sponsored by the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals to discuss panhandling was attended by only about 20 people.

Mark Leno attended, along with people from the Public Health Department, a lieutenant from Mission Police Station, a representative from the District Attorney's office, and Keenan Kelsey, pastor of the Noe Valley Ministry. But hardly any residents of the neighborhood.

Reports from the meeting (since I couldn't make it either) were that nothing was resolved, and most people were dissatisfied for one reason or another. Local merchants don't want panhandlers on 24th Street. Residents and shoppers sometimes give them money, which encourages them to continue panhandling. The merchants feel like they're between a rock and a hard place.

Unfortunately, the problem goes way beyond panhandling. (I'm sure you earlybirds on 24th Street have seen the shop doorways occupied by sleeping people.)

There is talk of having another town hall next year. Next time, let's make sure the local beat cops can come to the meeting, and some mental health professionals too, to help us work out solutions.

Speaking of police officers on the beat, our beloved Lois Perillo has come back to work at the SFPD after her maternity leave. She has moved over to the Ingleside Police District (south of Cesar Chavez /Army) and will serve as a school resource officer. Lois was one of the first SFPD officers to patrol on a bicycle, and Downtown Noe Valley was her beat. She started the popular Police Beat column in this paper.

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THE PUZZLE of who was filming what at the San Francisco Mystery Book Store on 24th Street last month has been solved. The "who" would be local filmmakers Alex and Kurt Nangle. The "what" would be a short film (about 121/2 minutes), titled Only You Can Be Me. The Nangles are also filming up at Laguna Honda Hospital and out in McLaren Park, besides using their own house on 24th Street.

According to Alex, the film "is a story of a future world where everyone would have a twin." She says the leads are played by local comedians John and James Reichmuth and local actress and comedienne Cameron Galloway. The film also features Sanchez Street twin boys Aidan and Finn Mitchell.

Alex and Kurt hope to finish the film by the end of January. "We hope to enter it in several festivals next year, including the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals, and hopefully something locally."

Good idea. How about a Noe Valley Film Festival? Maybe at the old-theater-turned-church at 28th and Church streets?

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS, and make sure you worry globally and shop locally. It was great to see Francisco Vranizan passing out numbers for the next place in line to patrons as they double-parked on Church and stormed into Drewes Market the day before Thanksgiving to get their turkeys. Francisco is a regular customer of the meat market who has shopped there every day for almost nine years. (How many pork chops does that make, Francisco?)

Before I go, congratulations are on the plate for Noe Valley resident David Marshall, who recently won first place and a $5,000 scholarship in a hazelnut dessert competition at the California Culinary Academy in downtown San Francisco.

The competition was sponsored by the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board, and David won out of a field of 34 contestants. His award-winning recipe for Hazelnut Cookie Bars, reprinted here, might come in handy this holiday season. Especially if you get the flu.

David Marshall's Hazelnut Cookie Bars

Noe Valley resident David Marshall graciously offers Voice readers his hazelnut
cookie bar recipe, which won first prize in a dessert contest sponsored by the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board. Marshall was among 34 student-chefs competing at the California Culinary Academy. He says the recipe takes 30 to 45 minutes to prepare.


Cooking spray

3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons sour cream

1 box (18.25 oz.) commercial vanilla or butter cake mix

1/8 cup powdered sugar

13/4 cups hazelnuts, divided as follows:
1 cup finely ground in a food processor (be careful not to grind into a paste)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

3/4 cup butterscotch chips

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

14 oz. (1 can) sweetened condensed milk


Preheat oven to 350& F.

Coat a 9 @ 13 @ 11/2( flat baking pan with cooking spray.

In a double broiler, over low heat, melt the 3 tablespoons of bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring until well mixed. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Mix until smooth.

Place cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl, and mix well with 1 cup finely ground hazelnuts. Pour chocolate mixture over the cake mix and hazelnut mixture. Beat together with an electric mixer on low, until mixture is moist. Be sure to scrape the sides to ensure complete blending. Press evenly into baking pan.

Sprinkle top with butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts. Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over the entire surface.

Bake on middle rack in oven for 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Yield: 24 bars. Note: Bars get chewy after 2 to 3 days.