December 2002 - January 2003
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Rumors Behind the News
VOTE IS A VERB: The Noe votes for the November general election have been tabulated by the S.F. Department of Elections, and there weren't enough of them. Consequently, the Noe Valley Bureau of Investigation (NVBI) has lowered our neighborhood's political credibility rating to a C because only 56.7 percent of the 16,476 registered voters in Noe Valley actually voted.
According to the NVBI, the turnout for the city as a whole was a dismal 50 percent. In some neighborhoods, a mere 32 percent bothered to go to the polls.
Even those go-getters in Diamond Heights, who led the city in voter turnout, scored just 60.2 percent. The second-place neighborhood was Eureka Valley/ Upper Market (59.8%), followed by West of Twin Peaks (59%). Noe Valley finished fourth, with Sea Cliff/Presidio Heights licking at our heels.
To wake up the electorate, the NVBI has issued a citywide alert, saying democracy itself is in peril. "We Noe Valleons know that when a lot of people don't vote in elections, bad things happen," the NVBI warns. It then quotes Jean Jacques Rousseau: "All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win the world is for enough good people to do nothing."
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WE'RE MORE GREEN THAN GRAY: If you look at Noe by the numbers, things get interesting.
In the governor's race, Democrat Gray Davis won handily in Noe, with 66 percent of our votes. But Green Party candidate Peter Miguel Camejo racked up a surprising 19 percent, pushing Republican Bill Simon into third place with 9 percent. (Libertarian Gary Copeland lagged way back with 1.5 percent.)
In the U.S. House of Representatives race, Noe Valleons gave Democrat Nancy Pelosi a whopping 78 percent. Her nearest rival, Republican Michael German, got just 8 percent of our votes. As you know, Pelosi has become the first woman in history to be elected minority (that's all us Democrats and left-leaners) leader of the House--the one bright spot in these otherwise redneck times.
In his run for State Assembly, Democrat and soon-to-be-former District 8 Supervisor Mark Leno tallied 76 percent of Noe votes, with a distant second place going to the GOP's Gail Neira (10%).
In the state propositions, we voted in favor of Housing Assistance (Prop. 46) and School Building Bonds (Prop. 47) by a three-to-one margin, but Arnold Schwarzenegger's After-School Programs (Prop. 49) lost in Noe Valley by about three percentage points. (It won statewide.)
Here is how N.V. voted on some of the more controversial local propositions:
A (Hetch Hetchy Water) 6,231 yes 2,345 no
B (Affordable Housing) 5,359 yes 3,494 no
D (S.F. Power) 4,661 yes 4,085 no
L (Real Estate Transfer Tax) 4,112 yes 4,618 no
N ("Care Not Cash") 5,271 yes 3,657 no
O (Exits fr. Homelessness) 4,209 yes 4,485 no
R (Condo Conversions) 3,437 yes 5,289 no
S (Medical Marijuana) 6,338 yes 2,469 no
Noe Valley sided with the winner on all but Prop. D (lost citywide) and Prop. B, which needed a two-thirds vote to pass.
In the closely watched race for District 8 representative on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Noe Valley gave candidate Eileen Hansen (34%) a slim victory over rival Bevan Dufty (33%). (Districtwide, Hansen garnered 36.3 percent to Dufty's 32.5 percent.) Next in the Noe pecking order came Tom Radulovich (20%), James Green (8%), Starchild (3%), and Shawn O'Hearn (1.5%).
Since no one candidate won a majority, there will be a runoff election between Hansen and Dufty on Tuesday, Dec. 10. If you didn't vote last time, you can redeem yourself by reporting to your polling place promptly at 7 a.m. (polls close at 8 p.m.). Actually, you can vote at City Hall anytime between now and the election.
To encourage model behavior, the NVBI is hereby awarding a certificate of recognition to Phoenix Books and Records, which closed its doors on election day, Nov. 5, and offered a 20 percent discount to any customer who brought in their ballot receipt the next day.
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VALLEY VICE: The Fred Methner Memorial Bench has mysteriously disappeared from its spot in front of the Noe Valley Ministry (1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd). Evidently some misguided miscreant carted it off on Halloween night and forgot to bring it back.
The bench was a gift, with a plaque in honor of Methner, who was a leader and "first secretary" for over 20 years of the East & West of Castro Street Improvement Club. He was a champion of 24th Street preservation and the unofficial mayor of Noe Valley. Over the years, Methner eradicated about 4 bazillion graffiti tags on neighborhood walls, using his own paint and ladder. He died in 1991.
Perhaps you or someone you know has seen the bench. Just return it, no questions asked, or leave it in Noe Courts or up at Douglass Park where someone can find it and return it to the Ministry.
The Ministry also reports that on Saturday, Nov. 16, one of the weavings on display by the San Francisco Weaver's Guild disappeared from the southwest corner wall of the sanctuary. It was created by Barbara Nitzberg and was a replica of an ancient Peruvian fabric, in natural and dyed linen. Please return it, too--but not to Noe Courts. Or you may call 282-2317 if you have clues to either of these items' whereabouts.
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STOCKING STUFFERS: It was curtains for Tom and Dave's Juice It on the corner of 24th and Sanchez streets at the beginning of last month. The once-thriving smoothie parlor closed its doors without warning on Oct. 31. Taped to the door was a letter from the building owner saying Juice It had "abruptly broken their lease agreement...and closed their doors for good," and that the space is now available for lease. Attempts to reach Tom Burwell and Dave Allen have been futile. Their recorded message says, "Your call cannot be answered at this time. Goodbye."
Everyone is waiting to see what will replace the former barbershop on the corner of Church and 25th streets. The latest buzz is that it may become a Chinese takeout restaurant.
As far as the Star Bakery storefront at Church and 29th goes, according to the real estate agent, it has indeed been rented. The new tenant will be putting in a restaurant, but probably not Chinese takeout.
Rumors sprang up that Walgreen's on Castro Street had changed the store's parking policy to one hour for its shoppers only. Apparently a simple change in syntax on their sign caused a mild panic in Downtown Noe Valley, where a parking place is a valuable commodity. The parking professionals who monitor the Walgreen's lot say there has been no change, and you can still park free and shop anywhere, even at Rite Aid, for that first hour. The second hour, on the other hand, will cost you $8.50.
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CONSTRUCTION PAPER: It's a go for the demolition of a Noe Valley landmark, Dan's Gas Station at 24th and Vicksburg. A 29-stall parking lot, attendant kiosk, and mini-park will be built by the Noe Valley Parking Corporation, which is a venture of the Noe Valley Ministry and a national group of Presbyterian donors who want to promote urban church attendance. They fronted the $3 million-plus to purchase the property, which will be available for public parking when church isn't in session.
According to the project chief, we should see some construction activity by Christmas. Once the lot is complete, one of Dan's driveways will be closed, which should add a couple more spaces to the street parking.
The trash and debris have been cleared out in front of the boarded-up house at 3953 24th Street, across from Bell Market. The rumor is that the building will be demolished and a four-unit condo complex built, with two ground-level commercial stores and space for residential parking below. The neighborhood groups should be snooping this out as we speak.
That notorious little house at 1329 Sanchez near 26th is on the market again, this time for $699,000. The house was owned and occupied for decades by Anna Muru, who earned the name "The Pigeon Lady" with her daily feeding of Noe Valley's flock. Hundreds of eager birds perched on wires and rooftops near her house and had Muru's neighbors spitting feathers. She was finally ordered by S.F. Superior Court to stop the pigeon feeding, or else. She picked "or else," sold the cottage for $249,000 in 1997, and retired to her native Estonia. The house was gutted and remodeled, and has already been sold once since then. Most of the pigeons seem to be gone, too--to Estonia, no doubt.
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NOE SOUP FOR YOU: A new soup specialist has established his administrative headquarters near the corner of Church and Jersey. Three years ago, Noe Valley resident Chuck Zimmer tasted a terrific bowl of soup while traveling in London. As he slurped his way through Europe, he decided it was time to get out of the hectic brokerage consulting business and to make soup, healthy schmaltzy soup.
In 1999, Zimmer founded Heartland Soups, a line of preservative-free, low-salt, low-fat, but still tasty soups. A bunch of varieties--there's Butternut Corn Chowder, Carrot Ginger, Beef Lentil, Chicken Artichoke, and Black Bean Chili, to name a few--are now made in a production facility in the South Bay and distributed all over the Bay Area, including at Whole Foods and Mollie Stone's.
They've also been available for a while at Lite for Life, the nutritional counseling place at the corner of Sanchez and 26th. Now, according to Heartland marketing chief and Zimmer pal H. Joseph Ehrmann ("Just call me 'H'"), the soups will be going into the Real Food Company on 24th Street. And Tom's Peasant Pies on 24th above Castro also has plans to stock them.
The price is $3.69 for a 16-ounce serving; they come in airtight paper tubs. Zimmer (just call him Chuck) says if you haven't tried them, he'll be happy to run a soup order over to Lite for Life for you. Just call him at 647-6732 and say you're a Noe Valleon. To take a look at other soup choices, go to www.heartlandsoups.com.
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LASTLY BUT NOT LEASTLY: Noe Valleons made the most contributions in 2002 to the city's Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund (VACF), which has distributed more than $100,000 to 32 different theater groups, children's educational projects, arts programs, and the like. According to fund administrators Karina Kinik and Jo Ann Driscoll, the zip codes 94114, 94110, and 94131 (in that order) have the most philanthropists in the city. Congrats and keep it up in 2003.
Meanwhile, have a terrific Hanukkah, a heartwarming Christmas, a wonderful Kwanzaa, and a happy New Year. We'll be back in February with all the Noes that's fit to print. Ciao.