Noe Valley Voice February 2005

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 e-mail Please include your name, address, and phone number. (Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication.) Be aware that letters may be edited for brevity or clarity. We look forward to hearing from you.

Noisy Valley


I'm a third-generation Noe Valley resident. I've seen the neighborhood change from working-class to wealthy. Throughout the change, there have been wonderful shops and kind people. Unfortunately, among the changes is a drastic increase in the level of noise.

People commonly leave barking dogs tied up for long periods of time outside of stores and restaurants. I've seen some owners of these poor animals yell at people who have suggested that the pet owners not eat a meal or wait for coffee while their dogs whine away. I've also seen these upset animals snap at passersby, which is especially dangerous if those passing are small children who cannot get out of the way quickly.

I understand and applaud the shopkeepers who are trying to keep the neighborhood clean. However, steamcleaning is a disruptive and surprisingly ineffective way to cut down on filth. The temperature of the steam actually helps microbes breed, whereas the old-fashioned method of soap and water not only kills germs, but doesn't add the noise of a generator to the loud mix.

For the most part, shop owners have been more than accommodating, once their attention has been called to nearly any pertinent issue. I realize that of all the sources of noise, only a few are containable. Until, like in Manhattan, car alarms are outlawed (rarely do they signal an actual theft, and they do not slow thieves), until drivers stop playing music with the bass set at eardrum-tearing volumes, and until they make a bus or a garbage truck the size of a Prius, noise will continue. However, simply reconsidering our actions can help make the neighborhood more livable.

Mary C. McFadden

24th Street

That Street Is Not 27th


I live on 27th Street currently, so I recognized the view in the photo of the young woman in the roadster in your December issue.

However, the photo is not of Noe at 27th Street. It is of Noe Street looking north at Duncan Street. The car in the photo is coming up the now blocked intersection of Noe and Duncan. The trees in the background behind the boy in the white shirt are still there, near the corner of 27th Street one block to the north.

Jim Constantine

27th Street

It's Duncan!


I love seeing old photos of our neighborhood and look forward to Mr. Yenne's book, but since I live on Duncan Street and know Duncan Street, I have to tell you that the photo of the large car on the cobblestone street is not 27th but is Duncan. How do I know? The steps are the first giveaway. The house behind the car and by the steps is still there. Although remodeled several times over, the side door on Duncan remains.

The other tipoff is the adjacent cottages on Noe Street. Only one is left now, but all three were there until fairly recently, when they were replaced by two new houses that mimic the fourth house in the photo. What may have confused someone into thinking the photo was 27th Street is the absence of a cement wall at the top of Duncan. The wall that exists there today was put in during the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

I also would like to think that one of the little girls in the photo is my neighbor Myrtle. She died about 16 years ago when she was in her 80s. She had told me about the cars that were road-tested on the Duncan Street hill before it was closed off.

Georgia Schuttish

Duncan Street

How the Cable Cars Got Their Name


The photograph of the cable car on the front page of the December/January issue is very good, but there was no such thing as a White Line cable car. At the time of the photograph [1938], the Castro Street cable car line was operated by the Market Street Railway, whose streetcars and cable cars were called White Front cars, because of their patented white fronts.

Bob Callwell

San Francisco Municipal Railway

Editor's Note: Both photos, which are reproduced again on this page, were used as illustrations for a December-issue story about local author Bill Yenne. Yenne recently published a book on Noe Valley history called San Francisco's Noe Valley. The book is filled with historical photos, many of which were borrowed from the Noe Valley Archives, a collection of neighborhood memorabilia stored at the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library on Jersey Street.

Thank you, readers, for catching the mistakes in the captions. The Voice has passed them on to Yenne, who, with longtime resident Paul Kantus, will watch over the Archives when the library closes for renovation later this year.

You Can Still Donate to Prenatal Project


Thanks to Valeria Vegas for promoting our holiday donation drive for the Homeless Prenatal Program in a story in the December/January issue. And thanks to the generosity of many local families.

Year after year, we've asked our community for gently used items for homeless women and children, and the response consistently reflects a deep generous spirit. We were so thrilled to add to our own donation a hugh array of desperately needed essential items.

I would like to remind my neighbors that the Homeless Prenatal Project will take donations year-round (and can be reached at 546-6756), and we will be holding a spring donation drive accepting maternity and infant clothes, infant carriers, and baby blankets from April 1 through 15.

Happy to live and work in Noe Valley,

Lisa Moresco

Director of Natural Resources

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Early Parenting Center

816 Diamond Street

P.S. Although I am always happy to hear people find an attractive, quiet corner of the earth to live, I am saddened by Laura McHale Holland's move out of Noe Valley. She was a delight, as was her column.

Take a Bow for the Bows


Kudos to David Eiland of the Noe Valley Merchants Association for a job well done on the Christmas decorations along 24th Street.

Phillip Wald

Noe Street

Love Notes to Parking Hogs


Even with the fabulous new parking lot on 24th Street, parking is still a terrible problem in Noe Valley, for shoppers, merchants, and residents. A friend and I decided to brainstorm on how to deal with one small problem: parking hogs--people who park so carelessly that there is no room for a second car.

We had the idea that we could place pre-written notes or stickers in baskets on the counters of Noe Valley stores and restaurants. That way, you could immediately notify an offender of his or her "mistake" by putting a note on the windshield. These notes would also be great for cars blocking driveways.

We want a phrase that makes people aware that they've committed a social sin, without getting them angry. In the '50s, the "Don't be a litterbug" campaign really helped cut down on littering around the country, so we tried to come up with simple phrases like that. "You're taking up too much space" is one suggestion. "Notice how you've parked" is another. "Don't be selfish" a third.

There must be something even better. We'd like to ask our fellow Noe Valley residents to submit their ideas for Post-it note messages and/or any other ideas of ways to improve the parking situation in Noe Valley (fewer loading zone meters might be one possibility).

Naomi Epel


We at the Voice would also be happy to print readers' suggestions. Send letters to

Outpouring of Aid for Indonesia


Congratulations, Noe Valley! On Friday evening, Jan. 14, you helped raise close to $5,000 in aid for tsunami victims in Indonesia.

The benefit, a show performed by Noe Valley local Larry Reed and ShadowLight Productions in collaboration with the Noe Valley Ministry and SF Live Arts, was a huge success. The generosity was overwhelming, demonstrating the strength and resolve of our community. The donations went to two local Indonesian organizations--Wahli, the Indonesian Friends of the Earth, and IDEP, a sustainable-living organization--through the Tides Foundation. These two groups are first-responders, and their aid is given directly to the people.

Again, we would like to thank the community for its contributions, and we encourage further donations through the Tides Foundation at rr1204.cfm, or contact Catalina Ruiz-Healy at 415-561-6345.

Larry Reed

ShadowLight Productions

A Friend in High Places


In early January, there were four unexplained power outages on 26th Street (between Noe and Sanchez) within two weeks. While weather-related outages can be expected, at least one of these happened on a sunny, warm day. I recalled that another spate of non-weather-related outages occurred on our block last winter, but the big Union Square blackout shortly before Christmas got all the attention.

I called Supervisor Bevan Dufty's office for help because it always seems as if our block is the only one affected. Within two weeks, I received a letter of explanation and apology from PG&E. Now that's service!

I am impressed with the quick mediation by Bevan Dufty and his staff, and enjoyed seeing firsthand the results of the work that they do on our behalf. Thank you, Bevan!

Sharon Gillenwater

26th Street

Mama Gravender's Outfit


It was a great pleasure to have our cold family home in Iowa warmed by good California writing. Our thanks to Florence Holub for her May 1999 story about "Mama Gravender." Today we have sent a beautiful book to press with a quote from her article. We are a Scandinavian community that appreciates a good description. And the story about Mama Gravender and her outfit was so well told that we quoted it and gave credit for such fine writing to Florence, and the Noe Valley Voice. My teacher was Marguerite Wildenhain, the great potter. She lived at Sweden House in 1940. Our book, Marguerite: A Diary to Franz Wildenhain, smiles upon the quality of your publication. Thanks for making our lives richer by letting your "Voice" be heard.

Dean Schwarz

South Bear Press, Decorah, Iowa

Editor's Note: To read Florence Holub's column about Swedish weaver Valborg Gravender, go to www.noevalleyvoice .com, click on "SEARCH," and type in "Gravender."