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Letters to the Editor
A Disappointed Teenager
I am one of the few teenagers who live around the 24th Street area of Noe Valley. I'm not sure this is the right place to send this letter, but I just wanted to express my disappointment in how Noe Valley has turned out. It seems as if the Noe Valley area isn't as teenager-friendly as it used to be.
I've lived in Noe Valley since I was a baby. I lived on Fair Oaks until I was 5, when we moved to Noe and 22nd streets, so I guess you could say that at 15 I know a lot about living here. Growing up, it was fun to just walk around Noe Valley and visit the various parks and shops in the area. However, now it seems like I'm no longer welcome in the area I grew up in. The parks have more or less literally "gone to the dogs," and many of the shops aren't very teenager-friendly. Actually, I can remember a few times in eighth grade being asked to leave a store because they didn't like having the St. Philip's kids inside at the same time as the James Lick kids. The increase in police in the area isn't very comforting. To me, it seems like teens are often stopped for just hanging around on 24th Street.
What happened? Did we suddenly become undesirable when we turned 13? Are we expected to leave and not come back until our 20s? In all honesty, I no longer have the same respect and love for Noe Valley I once had. As I embark on my junior year in high school, I almost feel bad saying that I can't wait until college so I can leave the neighborhood I once loved.
Noe Valley is no longer a family-friendly neighborhood. It has turned into an area of yuppies and straight-laced couples who would prefer nothing more than to rid Noe Valley of its youth. What happened?
CBD Vote a Sham
I read a news article [in the Aug. 12 San Francisco Chronicle] about the Community Benefit Districts. It stated that Noe Valley, among other districts, had voted overwhelmingly to tax themselves to pay for extra services.
This was grossly untrue. The only people being taxed were the property owners on 24th Street from Church to Douglass streets. There was a total of 168 owners polled. Of the 168, only 96 voted. The vote was 50 no and 46 yes!
This is another city boondoggle. There was little publicity given to this issue, and many owners probably threw away their ballots. There should be more notification, the vote retaken, and this travesty corrected.
Harry J. Aleo
Editor's Note: As a point of clarification, state law (Proposition 218) mandates that any effort to raise taxes by creating a special district must give property owners with larger tax assessments proportionately more say than those with smaller ones. The "weighted-assessed" results of the Aug. 2 vote by 24th Street property owners were 57 percent in favor of the new district and 43 percent against (see story, front page).
Stop, Look, and Listen
I've been avoiding 24th Street for three main reasons: aggressive drivers; pedestrians who cross the street whenever they please, often jaywalking; and, when I'm driving, the lack of parking (it'd be nice if a parking garage were available).
I think if drivers followed the speed limit, stopped double-parking, and took their proper turns at the stop signs, it would be less stressful for all of us. Pedestrians need to respect the road rules, too, and practice what we were taught as children: "Stop, look, and listen."
Name withheld by request
Hard of Hearing? SHHH!
I really applaud your decision to run an article on hearing loss in your recent July/August edition. Yet as soon as I had finished reading "Michael Chorost Tells Us What Bionic Hearing Feels Like," I realized the need for a crucial issue to be addressed as well: support and education for individuals with hearing loss who do not consider themselves to be culturally deaf and who do not know or use American Sign Language.
While the cultural deaf have an excellent support system, there is a large and growing number of people with hearing loss who not only go unnoticed and feel very isolated, but who also do not know where to go for support and education. Fortunately, there is a national non-profit organization that, combined with its local and state chapters, meets those needs: Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH). SHHH's mission is to "open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, support, and advocacy."
SHHH has seven local chapters in the Bay Area, including one in San Francisco. Our meetings are free to all who are interested in issues concerning hearing loss. Once a month we come together to socialize and to listen to guest speakers addressing a range of topics, such as coping skills, new developments in hearing-aid technology and other assistive listening devices, and legal rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I have been the president of the San Francisco chapter of SHHH since 1996, and I am proud to say that our chapter maintains good working relationships with other agencies such as the Mayor's Office on Disabilities, the San Francisco Main Library, and the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California. Another accomplishment of the local chapter was the introduction of a noise-level rating system symbolized by bells, to accompany restaurant listings and reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle.
We welcome new members at our meetings, held on the second Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. to noon, at 1400 Geary Street, Level A. For information call 705-0550 or go to our web site, www.hearing loss.org.
A Blissful Luncheon
I would like to share the wonderful experience I recently had with my neighbor Lucille Bliss, who happens to be the voice of Smurfette, Crusader Rabbit, and Anastasia, one of the "ugly" stepsisters in the Walt Disney cartoon production of Cinderella. Miss Bliss was discussing with me, during lunch at Savor's on 24th Street, the recent interview she completed for the upcoming re-release on DVD of Cinderella. She is quite excited, as well she should be, as Cinderella is one of Mr. Disney's most beloved creations. According to Lucille's inside information, her interview will be part of the special features included in the DVD package. You can rest assured I will ask her to autograph my copy of Cinderella.
Lucille Bliss has resided here in Noe Valley for more than 40 years, and commutes by jet frequently to her second home in Hollywood. I have been blessed having such a dear lady as my neighbor and can honestly say she is one of the kindest individuals I have ever met.
Lucille has informed me she is in the process of writing her life story, which will be chock full of her unique experiences in the movie industry throughout her years as a voice actress in the glamorous Hollywood studios. When her book is finished, I won't be surprised if I happen to see her interviewed on Oprah or even the Today Show. She has a lot to tell!
Over the years, Miss Bliss has kept me informed of her many auditions, and I have witnessed her getting a part in Tales of the City and her work for George Lucas on video game voiceovers. Her non-stop enthusiasm for her profession is mind-boggling, and I often wonder where she gets her energy.
She is a very light eater, takes her vitamins, and does not use stimulants or anything in excess. In the 28 years I have known her, she hasn't gained an ounce. Indeed I am jealous! So get prepared for the release of Cinderella in October, and look for her fascinating life story, which she promises will be published soon.
Around the World--Starting from Chattanooga Street
My name is Walter Thompson, and I'm fortunate enough to live in Noe Valley.
My partner, Liz Warner, and I have been traveling around the world since June, and we've seen and done many fascinating things along the way. We've been blessed by a temple elephant in Hampi, India, studied the intricate detail of the Taj Mahal, wandered through the ruins of Angkor Wat, and cruised the islands of Halong Bay, Vietnam.
Apart from the major points of interest, we've met some incredible people in the countries we've visited--some tourists, some residents, some expats. One thing is certain, I've developed a new appreciation for my friends and family, and for the neighborhood in which I reside.
We've created a travel blog that we'd like to share with our neighbors--you can find it at www.withoutreservations.net. We update the blog with photos and text whenever we have an opportunity, so please feel free to check in often. Our itinerary is posted, and we'd love to have you meet us along the way.
I'm extremely lucky to have this opportunity--and to share it with Liz. I can't imagine a better travel partner.
We're now in Hong Kong, but we leave tomorrow (Aug. 12) for Istanbul, then on to Central Europe. After a jaunt to North Africa, we'll head to New York City to visit some friends, stop off on a few Caribbean islands, and wind up in Central America before completing our "circumnavidate" Oct. 13.
Hope all's well in Noe Valley.
Kitties Need Mice
I've been told that San Francisco Animal Care and Control often runs out of toys for the cats and kittens. The cats especially love the little furry mouse toys.
So I'm writing to request donations of new kitty toys--especially little fake mice, preferably without catnip. If you have any or can buy some, please drop them off at Animal Care and Control, 1200 15th Street at Harrison, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (until 7 p.m. Wednesday).
I'd also like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Pet Food Express, whose owners, Michael Levy and Mark Witriol, have generously donated (and continue to donate) dozens of cardboard cat scratchers for ACC's kitties over the past year. They are a Bay Area treasure.
Founder/President, Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control
Pot Club Protest Smells Like Racism
The Green Cross made one mistake ["Cannabis Club's Permit Suspended After Complaints from Neighbors," July/ August Voice]. If they were east of Guerrero Street (the brown side) rather than west (white, million-dollar homes), there would be no problem.
Noe Valley has no room for racists! The real solution is a pot club in every neighborhood.
John Wiget and Melissa Goan
Last Page the Best
Recently, my son, who lives in San Francisco, sent me a copy of your July/ August publication. I found it very interesting and informative. You do a great job!
You did save the best for last. My favorite was the article "My Brother Was Eaten by a Bear" [Last Page, July/August 2005]. Author Dan Halas has a unique way of sharing his brother's life. What a wonderful tribute to his brother Bill.
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