Noe Valley Voice December-January 2003

Letters to the Editor

Real Food Often Real Rude


I am not one of the great supporters of Real Foods. I found the employees disinterested, unhelpful, and often downright rude. While I am always pro-union, those employees needed lots of training in customer service.

Probably the wretched wages paid by management did not motivate employees to care much for the quality of service they rendered. A lot needs to be done to make whatever goes into that space a pleasant place to shop.

Robert Warren Cromey

20th Street

A Nasty Way to Do Business


This is in response to the letter in the November 2003 issue from Lorraine Evanoff, entitled "Noe Valley Could Use Some Fresh Organics."

The protests against Fresh Organics, Inc., are not about clean sidewalks and new awnings but about justice for the workers who were fired and a positive and progressive wish to support businesses whose practices match the "spirit of the area." Closing a store suddenly without notice to the 30 workers who depend on the store for their livelihood is a nasty way to do business. Closing a store that a community depends on for its food without any communication whatsoever to the community is not a decision made for the good of the community.

The expected shiny fixtures, clean awnings, and sparkling interior of the new store will not hide the dingy and possibly illegal practices this company engages in. This community doesn't resist change; it resists uncaring, greedy, out-of-state corporate ownership, and I'm proud to be part of the resistance.

Vanessa Barrington

Castro Street

Unsung Hills


One of my favorite activities is walking the hills of our city. They define us to the world; they are celebrated in song and story. I was somewhat surprised, then, to discover that a couple of fairly substantial peaks right in our own back yard seem to have gone unrecognized. I wonder whether this is really the case, or whether your readers can offer any established nomenclature.

One such hill is near and dear to my heart because it stands between my home and Noe Valley's 24th Street shopping district, and must be planned around when we venture in that direction. This is the rise whose summit is the block on Dolores Street between Jersey and 25th. It slopes down in all directions and, viewed from Twin Peaks, can be easily seen to have its own identity.

The other forms a large part of any view of Noe Valley. This is the spur of Diamond Heights crowned by the Duncan/ Castro open space. The saddle between it and Gold Mine Hill is not deep, but neither is it wide, and anyone enjoying the view from the Duncan/Castro space will agree that the hill they are sitting on is solidly self-contained.

I'd be interested to hear whether your readers know of any names that have been given to these oldest kids on the block.

Dave Schweisguth

San Jose Avenue

Cover to Cover Can Cover It

Dear Noe Valleyans:

If you are planning to shop for your holiday books at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, consider doing your ordering through Cover to Cover. Any new publication available from Amazon, etc., can also be ordered from Cover to Cover. The store's web site is

You can shop for a book and order it at the site. Your book can be shipped to any address, or to Cover to Cover, where they'll hold it for you to pick up (thus avoiding shipping charges). If you can't find a book at the web site, just e-mail Mark Ezarik or Tracy Wynne with the book information (title and author), and they will get it for you. You can also order this way if you don't want to put your credit card information online.

Our local independent booksellers need our support to continue serving us.

Kathy Willems

Elizabeth Street

Anyone Have a "Parlor Peeker"?


I own a third-floor flat on Clipper between Noe and Castro, and I recently became interested in rebuilding and restoring a unique feature in my home. The home was built in 1908, and it has a large handle at the top of the stairs that used to operate a mechanical door opener. The feature even showed up in a scene in Bullitt! (Bullitt lived at Clay and Taylor, but I'm reluctant to bother the occupants to see if their opener is still in operation.)

I'd love to find someone who has one of these door openers so I could see it in action and find out how to rebuild mine. These are the facts I have so far: The handle says, "G. Rischmuller, Pat. Aug. 21, 1894." According to the San Francisco Call, George Rischmuller had a daughter born in 1895. I found an article in the Search (Peninsula Library publication) that calls this device a "Parlor Peeker," since it allowed Victorian parents to check up on their daughters' suitors.

Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can give!

Rob Robinson

Spots for Toys for Tots


As a local Noe Valley resident and longtime Voice reader, I thought other readers might want to know about my office's Toys for Tots program, which we host every year. We encourage readers to drop off an unwrapped toy or two at any of our offices by Dec. 22, to help give a little joy to a needy child this year.

The Toys for Tots program serves children of all ages, and with the economic downturn and recent Southern California fires, that need is greater than ever. We'll have collection barrels at our offices at 2241 Market Street (between Noe and Sanchez), among other places. Please join us in making the holidays a little nicer for needy children and their families.

Galen Gruman

Prudential California Realty

Bird & Beckett Blues


People need to hurry to the Bird & Beckett Bookstore at Diamond and Chenery in Glen Park if they want to get discounts on books and hear great jazz on Fridays, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and the first Sunday of the month. Without our help, the bookstore might have to close in January.

Five years has not given the store enough regular customers to operate at a profit, so new customers are needed to at least make the Christmas season a good one. The phone number at Bird & Beckett is 586-3733.

Dorothy Lefkovits

Chumasero Drive