Noe Valley Voice March 2004

Letters to the Editor

Anne Sachs Touched Many Lives


You know what a close-knit community Noe Valley is when you open up the Voice and see a picture of a woman that you know but don't really know.

Such was the case for me when I saw Anne Sachs' picture in the February issue ["In Remembrance of Anne Sachs," February 2004]. The second I saw Anne's picture, I cried "I know that woman!", as we had both had children in 1988 and met over strollers at the Day Street playground sandbox. We chatted as new moms did, and found that we both came from New York and shared a lot of the same interests. I remember Anne telling me about the writing and music in her life.

As our children grew older, we lost touch, but I did see her, almost on a daily basis, holding her two daughters' hands as she walked them to school at 30th and Noe streets. We would smile and nod to one another, and when she saw me with my son, we both silently noted how our kids were growing up, as they reached and surpassed our own heights.

And so it was like a punch in the stomach when I saw Anne's face and read that this woman who I knew but didn't know had died of breast cancer at such an insanely young age. Once again, it brings home the pervasiveness of this disease, how it happens not just to others, but to people you know and to people who have touched your life in soft sweet ways. It seems so strange to me that I will not see Anne lovingly walking with her girls in my neighborhood anymore, and we will not quietly acknowledge that we shared the wonderment of our first steps into motherhood 15 years ago when our eyes met.

My heart goes out to her family and friends, who indeed were blessed to have known Anne Sachs.

Jane Lewis

29th Street

Farmers' Market Spoils It for Small Grocers


Is it a coincidence that the three lead stories ("Empty Stores Cast a Pall on 24th Street," "No Signs of Remodeling at Real Food Co.," and "Most Think Farmers' Market Is Peachy") in your February issue appeared at the same time? I think not.

Of course, everyone loves the farmers' market. As I understand it, the "farmers" pay no rent and sell directly to consumers. And it's fun. Who wouldn't like that?

Well, we also like the ambiance of 24th Street, and the vitality of it as a retail center affects our overall quality of life and (dare I say) real estate prices in the area. Yet how could a storefront grocer on 24th Street possibly compete with the farmers' market? How could any store that sells the same goods as are offered at the market?

The reality is that as long as the farmers' market continues to operate, there will be no replacement of Real Foods because it wipes out the thin margin a grocer expects on the key shopping day of the week.

It is ironic that the anti-growth forces that dominate our local politics have sewn the seeds of their worst nightmare: The only merchants who can afford to occupy the larger spaces on 24th Street will be the national chains. So, if you love the farmers' market, visualize a Gap where Real Foods used to be.

Doug Evans

Noe Valley resident

Report Those Car Break-ins


I live on the 400 block of Valley Street, and on the evening of Jan. 19 I had to park at Castro and Valley streets. I did not go back to the car until the early morning hours of Jan. 21. Although there was no stereo to steal (I have learned my lessons well, being the owner of a convertible), the car top was slashed. To further aggravate the situation, since it was 5-ish in the morning and quite dark, I slipped and seriously hurt my knee.

When I called the Police Department, the help was dismal:

1. No one would come out despite the damage to the car, which ultimately cost $4,852. (I would call that major vandalism.)

2. No one would come out despite my knee injury.

3. Instead, I was given a number to dial that took over 90 minutes for a real live person to answer. She was a nice lady, but not someone who would be able to look at the car or link this break-in to others in the neighborhood.

Truthfully, I could have answered the same questions she asked to an automated voice system. I did have the option, of course, of driving to the police station to report this incident, but oddly enough, that was suggested only in passing, and never was I told where the station was.

I wrote to the mayor's office about my experience, but in mid-February had not heard any explanation for the fact that the system to report car break-ins actually discourages such reporting and thus can make a neighborhood appear safer and crime rates lower. Most of us don't have 90-plus minutes to sit on hold. Lucky for me, I had a speaker phone and a paper to write.

So drivers, be warned: Cars in Noe Valley are being broken into. This is the second time for me in eight months.

Oh, and just the other night, I saw a motorcycle knocked over for no reason other than meanness. So motorcyclists, beware, too.

K. E. Singleton

Valley Street

More Power to Mayor Newsom


I want to congratulate San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for his courageous and principled demonstration of equal rights for gays and lesbians.

Many nations around the world, including my own, look to the United States for guidance and leadership. However, President Bush, Governor Schwarzenegger, and Attorney General Lockyer appear to have failed to demonstrate leadership in human rights.

President Bush's proposal to write a new form of prejudice into the U.S. Constitution is abhorrent to both humanity and history. It is the responsibility of elected officials to provide protection and equality to all their constituents, not merely to those who share their own personal religious views. Mayor Newsom is to be commended for his actions.

The world watches this battle, as the outcome may determine a new era of liberty and freedom--or one of heightened repression and persecution--in countries everywhere. It reaches into Noe Valley, and out past Tasmania.

I ask your readers to support Mayor Newsom's stand for equality.

Geoff Allshorn

Melbourne, Australia

Love, Marriage--What's the Problem?


People fall in love. It's a natural part of life, so what's the problem? People are homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, and asexual...there are even a few folks out there who are celibate. That's also a natural part of life.

Many of us take on the role of "god," assuming we have the right, nay the responsibility, to condemn those we do not understand. We judge one another by standards which have not been re-examined since Jesus walked, and expect to justify the wagging fingers and tongues by saying we are broad-minded, love everyone, and are just following God's plan. Well, love is not boastful or belligerent. Love does not seek to destroy. And marriage is a commitment made between people because they are in love. Period.

The government has no right to dictate what constitutes a loving relationship between consenting adults. Any laws still on the books indicating that only male/female couples are permitted to marry must be changed. They are archaic and do not reflect the true nature of our society.

Congratulations to all those wonderful, beautiful, blessed couples who braved the elements of nature and human nature to get married.

Rev. Sister Rosemarie DSM

Vallejo Street


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