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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 email to email@example.com. Please include your name, address, and phone number. (Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication.) Letters may be edited for brevity or clarity.
Loss of a Valued Memorial
In early October, I was heartbroken to witness the last bit of destruction of the wonderful sidewalk memorial park in front of a house on Sanchez near Cesar Chavez, which was at one time the home of a tilemaker named Sonda.
The park consisted of a tiled retaining wall between the house's front yard and the sidewalk, tiled stairs into the yard, a large wooden bench supported by mosaic-covered uprights, and the sidewalk itself. A tiled inscription read, "I, Sonda, dedicate this park for the enjoyment of the community in loving memory of my daughter Linda, a crippled child. --Sonda, 1978."
The retaining wall tiles depicted angel-like figures and princesses in tall conical hats and flowing dresses. The steps were covered in tiles with swirling designs. Handmade mosaics covered all four sides of the bench's support columns and showed birds preening or pulling worms out of the ground.
The main bench completely surrounded two large trees, one of which has now had all its branches sawn off. Another bench, this one of cast iron, sat on the other side of the park, along with several cast-iron enclosures that once contained small trees. The sidewalk itself was painted brown and green, with painted stepping stones crossing it. The effect was of walking through an utterly magical woods.
We are often reminded of the failings of our species. But every time I walked through that beloved little park, I thought only of the best we humans have to offer: love, caring, generosity, imagination. I don't want to demonize the people who were responsible for what happened. For whatever reason, they were unable to respond to the extraordinary warmth, charm, and meaning of that bit of sidewalk.
I urge anyone who has photos of the park to send labeled copies to the Noe Valley Historical Archives, Attention: Roberta Greifer, Branch Manager, Noe Valley Library, 451 Jersey Street, San Francisco, CA 94114.
Anne Connell Wilson
Wash Your Face, 24th Street
This is an open letter to the merchants of Noe Valley.
With one or two exceptions, the merchants along the 24th Street corridor, from Diamond Street to Chattanooga Street, have failed to realize that it is their responsibility (and it is also good business sense) to keep a clean storefront.
I have lived in Noe Valley for nearly 20 years, daily frequenting the shops and markets of 24th Street, and never, since the intrusion of newly "affluent" youth and the influx of panhandlers, have I seen 24th Street look so filthy. Let's clean it up!
Last name withheld by request
On the Trail of the Gallaghers
My name is Donna Stinson. I am a family historian looking for information about our San Francisco Gallaghers. Would your readers know anything about the family of a Frank Gallagher? His wife's name is Ruth.
Frank Gallagher died in 1986. He was in real estate and also president of the Mission Merchants Association. He was a member of the San Francisco Parking Authority and belonged to the San Mateo Elks Club. He served as president of the South End Rowing Club and as a member of the Sunrisers. Frank and Ruth had a son, David F. Gallagher, and a daughter named Pamela, who married a Brewster.
I don't know if I am searching in the right part of San Francisco, but I have his obit saying he was buried from St. Paul's Church in Noe Valley. Also, there was a Gertrude Gallagher (Frank's sister), born in 1922, who became a nun and attended St. Paul's grade and high schools. Our Gallagher family came to San Francisco from Ireland about 1890.
Thanks for having such a great web site. I have enjoyed reading about Noe Valley and I look forward to each issue.
Pension Parity for Police
The Nov. 5 election is drawing near, and most people are thinking about which candidates and propositions to support. While voters face some tough decisions, there is one ballot measure I am confident our entire city can stand behind.
Proposition H, pension parity for police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, has received an outpouring of support from our city's elected officials and civic associations. That's because Prop. H will help make San Francisco safer, at no additional cost to taxpayers.
I hope you will join me, as well as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Independent, San Francisco Examiner, Assembly member Kevin Shelley, and the San Francisco Democratic and Republican parties, and vote yes on H.
President, San Francisco Police Officers Association
Homeowner Who Supports Hansen
As a Noe Valley homeowner since 1989, I value the very special character of our community. We and our dogs love Douglass Park. We revel in our micro-climate and our sense of tranquility.
I strongly support Eileen Hansen for District 8 supervisor because she has demonstrated to me that she can work effectively with a wide range of individuals and interest groups, and find common ground that forms the basis for solid solutions. Eileen has solutions that will work.
Eileen Hansen is opposed to Proposition R, which greatly expands condominium conversions, and to Proposition N, which does not guarantee services and does not specify realistic solutions to homelessness. As a small property owner of a 12-unit apartment building, I am very concerned about the actual impact of Prop. R, because only 25 percent of the tenants, or three apartments in our case, are required for potential condominium conversion. Would the courts validate lifetime leases for those who wished to continue renting? I greatly doubt it, and renters should not risk this chance.
I also have been an active volunteer for Project Open Hand, providing meals for those in need, for more than 15 years, and have been financially supportive of shelters that provide comprehensive services. I know from personal experience that there are insufficient services for the homeless. The solution is not to cut cash grants, as Prop. N would do, but rather, to increase services as Prop. O would do.
I believe Eileen Hansen is the best candidate for supervisor for our District 8.
Gail P. Roberts
Homeowners Support Hansen?
Recently, Eileen Hansen left campaign literature at my doorstep. I'm writing to counter her misleading information.
Ms. Hansen claims to have the support of homeowners within District 8. Yet she is not endorsed by the Noe Valley Democratic Club, Plan C, or Small Property Owners of San Francisco. All three of these organizations have large populations of homeowners and aspiring homeowners among their ranks.
Furthermore, while recently addressing one of these organizations, Ms. Hansen spoke openly about her experience protesting a legal owner-move-in eviction and accepting an illegal settlement to move, after not paying rent for months. (Ms. Hansen claimed she had reason to believe the owner's intentions were not valid and that her eviction was therefore not enforceable. However, when pressed, she did admit that the owner did move in to her former unit and has remained there to the best of her knowledge.)
If actions speak louder than words, how can we truly believe Ms. Hansen supports homeowners or homeownership? In a very personal situation, she prevented the rightful owner of a home from moving in legally and in a timely fashion. If she is elected to the Board of Supervisors, we should not expect her to work toward home ownership for those who seek it.
Fair Oaks Street
A Typical Fan Letter
My God, I've almost forgotten what it feels like to lower my hardened lance of cynicism and gleaming shield of doubt....
Greetings from fabulous Fountain Street! A one-block universe of stunning dahlias, breathtaking vistas, and beautiful people with whiplash smiles. We Fountainites are a proud and feisty bunch who issue praise the same way we make love--fast, hot, and hard.
As such, I have only briefly set aside my formidable array of weapons to raise a salute of love, respect, and warm fuzzies in your general direction. I have commanded my computer to leave its flat-footed, size 12, triple-E, Fred Flintstonelike iprints at your edoor, for regular doses of your heady blend of wisdom, beauty, and grace. And just when I foolishly think I've grokked all of you, my experienced lover, my heart flies apart like a joy-filled machine when you give birth to your September issue.
Its beauty fills these child-like eyes with grownup tears. Thank you.