Noe Valley Voice June 2002

Letters to the Editor

Nina Needs a Home--Please Help


My wife Sharon and I came to Noe Valley in the summer of 1992. Two years ago our house was sold. We went through the difficult process of finding an affordable rental in the Noe Valley area, since we wanted to continue to have our children attend the Noe Valley Nursery School. This school has been a parent-run co-op for more than 30 years and has helped hundreds of families raise their children in a community atmosphere.

Due to help from parents at the school, we eventually found an apartment close to the school. Interestingly, our new landlord's children attended the nursery school in the early '70s. The teacher then, as now, was Nina Youkelson, and we instantly had a common thread that cinched the deal to rent the apartment.

And here comes the reason for our letter: In the second to last week of May, we were informed that Nina Youkelson, the longtime and much-loved director of the parent-run Noe Valley Nursery School, had been served an eviction notice following the sale of her house. (The house was converted into a TIC, with one party moving into the open apartment and the other doing an owner-move-in eviction.)

Nina and her roommate have been in their apartment for more than eight years and now have little more than a few days left to vacate. Nina has written the new landlord, asking for an additional 90 days to give her reasonable time to move but has yet to receive an answer.

On behalf of the current parents of the Noe Valley Nursery School and all parents who have sent their children to this wonderful place, we are asking for everyone's help to find a reasonably priced two- to three-bedroom rental in the Noe Valley vicinity. Noe Valley has great weather and nice houses with backyards, but it will not have vital community members like Nina if we do not step in and help when needed. We can prevent our cherished community members from being moved out of the community.

If you want to help or know of a vacant apartment that can accommodate two wonderful women, please write a note to Nina Youkelson, Noe Valley Nursery School, 1021 Sanchez Street, SF 94114, call me at [phone number removed] , or send an e-mail to [email address removed]

Johann Zimmern

Noe Valley resident and
Noe Valley Nursery School parent

A Little Less Fanfare on July 4


Every year, the residents of 26th Street between Noe and Sanchez have a block party on July 4. It is wonderful to see the children running freely on the street, which is blocked off at both Noe and Sanchez to vehicular traffic. There are booths and music and it's tons of fun for everybody. However, we have a complaint that we would like to address to the organizers and the people who are responsible for the event.

The use of loudspeakers to amplify the music and the karaoke singing is very loud and goes on from noon until 8 p.m. (and sometimes later). The residents of the buildings and single homes above your event on Cesar Chavez Street are nearly blasted off their chairs for more than eight hours every July 4. We cannot keep our windows open or balcony doors open because of the volume of your speakers.

Perhaps this year you might try to do your event "unplugged," or use smaller ground-based speakers at reduced volume instead of the large elevated speakers. We think your event is wonderful and fun for all who attend, but please be more considerate of your neighbors. Thank you.

Gene Ginsberg, for Concerned Neighbors of Cesar Chavez Street

Mail Theft on Elizabeth Street


I wanted to let the neighborhood know that I caught someone stealing mail from my mail slot today [May 20]. A man with short dark hair, sunglasses, a blue jacket with gray trim, and two messenger-like knapsacks took mail from my mail slot around 2 p.m.

I live on the 500 block of Elizabeth Street, and my next-door neighbor had told me there were problems with this in the past. So I usually wait for the sound of my postal carrier first taking my outgoing mail and then dropping my incoming mail through the slot in my door. Well, today I heard someone take my mail, but I didn't hear any mail drop through the slot. I looked outside and saw no sign of the mail carrier; in fact, I only saw a man walking quickly down the street. So I ran after the guy and confronted him.

He told me that he was sitting on my steps and had handed the mail to the postal carrier as he came by. I told him he was lying, and after arguing for a minute, he gave me back my mail. I was lucky he wasn't carrying a weapon, but I was very angry and wanted my mail back!

When I called the postal inspector, they told me they would send me a complaint form to complete. That didn't satisfy me, so I called the Mission Police Station. They said they could send out someone to take my statement, but that I should call the postal police. I called the mail fraud section of the U.S. Postal Service, but they told me they only handled mail fraud, not mail theft.

Not willing to give up, I ran outside to inform my postal carrier when I finally heard him drop mail through my slot. He said he had received other complaints in the neighborhood and that sometimes he finds mail opened, the contents rifled through, and thrown on the ground a block from where it likely was stolen. He gave me a number to call (USPS customer service: 1-800-275-8777), and I called and the person took down my information.

I just wanted everyone in Noe Valley to be on the lookout, and to know that they should never leave outgoing mail in their mailbox!

Deanna Grams

Elizabeth Street

How "Democratic" Is Israel?


Donna Even-Kesef wrote in her May letter to the editor that Israel is a democracy. This is absolutely false. Would she defend South Africa during its apartheid reign, calling it a democracy?

Israel allows only a handful of Palestinians to vote, in order to defend itself against apartheid accusations. Less than 5 percent of Palestinians can legally vote. How in the world is that a democracy?

For the past 30 years, as a population, Palestinians have been subjected to search and seizure without warrants; prison sentences without trials; long interrogations; sudden loss of water, electricity, and food supply; homes bulldozed after five-minute eviction notices, and the list goes on. These actions have not been relegated to "militants" or "terrorists." They have been dealt out to each and every Palestinian man, woman, and child, regardless of their situation. All of this happens simply because they are Palestinians and the Israeli government (not its people) considers them less than third-class citizens.

Laith Salma

Via e-mail

Walk a Mile in a Palestinian's Shoes


"Back home." The expression struck me. It was used several times in the two Voice articles on the current conflict in Palestine [April and May 2002 issues]. My parents want to be able to go "back home" too, to where they were born and raised -- in Jaffa and Haifa, Palestine. But they cannot. They are not Jews.

On March 10 of this year, my mother commemorated the 54th anniversary of when a Jewish militia forced her and her family from their home in Haifa. My father's family left their Jaffa home in fear, as word spread of massacres in Arab villages, most notably in Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem.

Some of the letter writers and interviewees in the Voice expressed a longing for mutual understanding, which I share. An important first step toward that understanding would be for Israelis and their American supporters to respect the humanity of the Palestinians. It would begin with an acknowledgement of the catastrophic price the Palestinians paid for the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

In 1978, I enrolled in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in order to see things for myself, to try to understand Israel. I also wanted to learn some Hebrew and improve my Arabic. On my first day in Jerusalem, I learned two Hebrew expressions: "shalom" or "peace," and "Aravi tov, aravi met" or "A good Arab is a dead Arab." I specifically requested an Israeli roommate, but when he learned that I was an Arab, he demanded to be reassigned. Mind you, this was during the Camp David era.

Israeli dehumanization of the Palestinians only leads to the dehumanization of both peoples. This dehumanization allows the Israelis to justify the continued expropriation of land and collective punishment of the Palestinian people. And as we all know, it serves as a rationalization for reprisals by both sides.

To those Israelis who expressed a desire for understanding, please try walking a mile in a Palestinian's shoes. Then see if you can still justify Israeli military and settlement policies.

Najib Joe Hakim

Valley Street

They Were the Cutest Couple


Hi, my name is Johnnie Sue Huddleston, and I lived at 30th and Noe 22 years ago. I love your paper, and remember that area fondly.

I saw in one of your issues that Terry Dowling had died in February. I worked with him and Corinne at the Boarding House [nightclub] in the 1970s. Did he die this year or last? That makes me so sad. He and Corinne were the cutest couple I've ever known.

Thanks again for a great paper: I'm saving it in my file of favorites!

Johnnie Sue Huddleston

Via e-mail

Thank you, Johnnie Sue, for your nice note. Neighborhood bartender and musician Terry Dowling was 56 when he died of a heart attack in February 2001. --Ed.

Remembrance of Toots Past


Kathy Dalle-Molle's piece in the March issue about SFPD Captain Greg Corrales ("The Return of 'Superman'") triggered a brief bout of déjà-Voice: Last millennium, Melinda Breitmeyer and I interviewed then-Sergeant Corrales for the June 1980 issue ("Sgt. Gregory Corrales: The Baretta of 24th Street"). Our earlier story was at least in part precipitated by nagging rumors that Corrales or other Blue Meanies were looking to bust our beloved Finnegan's Wake, the once-happenin' joint on 24th Street where Coyote Club now resides.

We couldn't imagine why anyone would want to pop Finnegan's. Oh sure, some folks opined that mass quantities of illicit powders were being inhaled at all times by most if not all of the bar's patrons. It was even attested that brazen bartenders were wont to offer up sausage-sized lines right on the bar as gestures of hospitality to the latest dewy-eyed lass trying out a fake ID.

Well, I helped pay the rent at Finnegan's for several years, and I can attest that the bar itself was far too wet for tooting. (Instead, we'd hit one of the rest rooms or a parked car across the street.)

In the intervening 22 years, Mr. Corrales, the Voice, and I have all acquired plenty of padding. Meanwhile, the tavern now known as Coyote Club still has the best views on the street. Strolling down 24th a few Saturday nights ago, my 50-year-old, industrial-sized prostate ordered me through Coyote Club's hordes to the men's room. I can attest that I witnessed no evidence of questionable powder anywhere on the premises.

Bill Yard

Bonview Street

Letters to the Editor

The Voice welcomes your letters to the editor. Write the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Or send e-mail to Please include your name, address, and phone number. (Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication.) Letters may be edited for brevity or clarity.