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Rumors Behind the News
THE NOE VALLEY BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NVBI) reported on April Fool's Day that our quaint little hamlet will be spared from the flooding likely to occur in San Francisco during this century as the ocean rises because of global warming. Local residents were quite concerned when results from a climatological study, published in last month's Science journal, predicted that as the North and South Poles rapidly melt because of the impact of greenhouse gases, the oceans will rise 20 feet by 2106.
Said NVBI spokesperson Hugh R. Fludded, "The Bay waters will probably inundate the inner Mission District. But our projections show that the Bay will extend in from China Basin no further than Folsom and 20th streets. And Twin Peaks will protect us from the ocean rising from the west. So Noe Valley has a few more years to fiddle [while Rome burns]. Still, I'd invest in a good pair of galoshes."
Fludded said the study, by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., had to go back 130,000 years for a data comparison, because that's when the earth was the most tilted on its axis toward the sun. (According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea level has been rising 8.4 inches per century at our beaches.)
"I think this is the first time in U.S. history," observed Fludded, "that the government in Washington, D.C., has become so tilted on its axis the other way that it has refused to accept scientific reality. According to the climatologists, if we don't do something in the next 10 years, we're sunk."
Okay, just kidding--about the name "Hugh R. Fludded," anyway.
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OUR MAN IN WASHINGTON: Chattanooga Street activist Craighton "Craig" Gee has been marching in front of the White House since March 11, in "a walk for truth." He is holding up a sign proclaiming that "Americans deserve a thorough investigation into the whole run-up to the Iraq War." The sign also calls for the impeachment of President Bush.
"I arrived here at the beginning of March," Gee reports by telephone, "and during the first week, I visited members of the House of Representatives in support of Rep. John Olver's (D-Mass.) resolution to impeach the President (HR 635), which now has the support of almost 40 members of Congress."
Gee has lived in Noe Valley for the past 18 years and has an engineering degree from Cal and an MBA from USF in International Business and Finance. He worked for several Silicon Valley companies, has done a lot of traveling, and has authored a book called Notes on the State of America.
"The Secret Service, who are very respectful and nice people, keep asking me how long I will be here. I tell them 'I don't know,' and they smile. I can keep marching right here at the North Gate, and as long as it is just me, things are fine. But if people started to join me in the march, when our numbers reached 25, we would need a permit," Gee says.
"I have had a mixture of reactions, some agitated," he continues. "The vast majority of the people I have encountered are sympathetic to my message. A lot more people than I ever thought are actually voicing support for HR 635, so I'm feeling very good right now about this resolution."
Gee describes Notes as "a compilation of less-commonly discussed facts and historical events. For example, an infuriating fact to me is that one-half of our $2.4 trillion 'discretionary budget' goes to the military."
He says the book is readily available at the library and in most bookstores, and retails for $10. It's now being used by several colleges and universities as a textbook, he says.
Hey, Craig, maybe you could be the Noe Valley Voice correspondent in D.C., if your stay is a long one. You could report on what happens in November, when all 435 of our country's representatives in Congress and one-third of the senators are up for reelection. Perhaps this fall, we'll finally be able to put some checks and balances back in government.
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BELL'S DEMISE EX-AGGERATED: Fears that Bell Market might close were fanned last month by a March 8 story in the Examiner. Reporter Marisa Lagos wrote: "Imagine having to walk a mile just to get bread, meat, and vegetables under the same roof. In a city like San Francisco, it may seem unlikely, but neighbors in areas as diverse as the Excelsior, Noe Valley, and Haight-Ashbury are worried that the possible exit of Cala Foods and Bell Markets from the city may mean just that."
It's true that the Excelsior Cala has closed, as has the store at Geary and Fourth Avenue. It's also shockingly true that the Haight Cala (at Stanyan) is closing very soon--workers there have already been given notice. The building will be demolished, and the Haight will be left totally without a supermarket.
But my spies tell me that both the Eureka Valley Cala on 18th Street and our 24th Street Bell Market are safe.
Rumors-mongers will remember my optimistic prediction last month that a group headed by former Bell operator Harley Delano will be taking over our Bell again, and bringing back brands like Sunnyside Farms dairy products. The Delano rumor is still my best bet.
Nobody's talking on the record, but little clues have begun to pop up. For the first time since 1999, a particular Sunnyside product has reappeared on the cold-storage shelves, as if it were a message from Delano himself.
Meanwhile, Bell club card holders have seen big price breaks this past month, especially on those 10-for-$10 items, as the store tries to liquidate its inventory of Kroger/ Ralphs brand products. Now is the time for all you shoppers to check your wine and pet club totals and turn in your Ralphs' coupons, which soon will be redeemable only in Ralphs' Southern California stores.
Another good sign is that the chattering is getting louder that Delano has contracted with a super-large wholesale grocery distributor named C&S, whose Northern California headquarters are in Sacramento. When the deal actually goes down, our familiar friendly Bell workers will be notified by their union, and an application for an ABC license transfer will be posted on the window. Insiders say the sign could go up as early as mid-April.
Noe Valley Merchants Association President Carol Yenne says she is not so much concerned about Bell as she is about the Real Food debacle across the street. "There is absolutely no sign that the situation will change in the foreseeable future." Yep, Real Food's empty storefront is still papered over.
Yenne adds, "I had to laugh when an elderly longtime resident stopped me on the street earlier this month, very upset that Bell was reportedly going to close. She asked me what I was going to do, and I told her that I travel up to Mollie Stone's (Tower Market) and Safeway in Diamond Heights to shop now. And if I need some very basics and I don't want to leave 24th Street, if there's no Bell, there will always be Shufat Market."
Shufat, and Jim and Sons, and Angel's Deli, and Church Street Produce...don't quit us.
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UPPER NOE NEIGHBORS is in the midst of a membership drive that according to UNN President Vicki Rosen has brought in "almost 30 new members to our organization. We now have about 140 on our mailing list, with nearly 100 dues-paying members." Rosen says annual dues are $20, "but we will accept more!"
The March 30 meeting, held at Upper Noe Rec Center on Day Street, featured the Neighborhood Parks Council, an independent group, which told the attendees how they could help improve our public parks. The Upper Noe Recreation Center is scheduled to close in June for a major remodel that's going to take two years to complete.
By the way, when the Rec Center closes, Upper Noe Neighbors will move its monthly meeting around the corner to St. Paul's Church.
UNN elections were held just as Rumors was going to press, but barring a coup d'état, the same slate of officers is expected to continue (by acclamation). That would be Rosen as president, Tom Mogensen as VP, Olga Howells as treasurer, and Marianne Hampton and Eileen Bermingham as co-secretaries.
Rosen reports, "We have a lot of things happening in our commercial district. There's a new restaurant replacing Verona, new owners taking over Hungry Joe's, a new café opening in the Mikeytom space (which has been vacant for three years), and the Long Island site (formerly China Pepper) is turning into a French restaurant."
If you want to join up or renew your membership, do so by sending a check to Upper Noe Neighbors, 169 Valley Street, S.F. 94131.
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LOST IN THE FOG fans will be happy to know that he will be running in the six-furlong $100,000 California Sprint at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, April 22.
According to Twin Peaks Properties' Harry Aleo, who owns the thoroughbred, this will be the Fog's first race of the season, and hopefully the first of many victories along the road to the Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs. Aleo is sorry that his other sprinter, Frisco Star, won't be racing for the next four to six months, because he suffered a hairline fracture in one of his shins in his last race.
Aleo says the Turf Club tickets are already sold out. The Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals have bought a block of tickets and they'll be sending about 50 members to the track that day. The track will be giving out Fog bobbleheads to attendees. Sounds like fun.
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NOE QUIZ: Before you leave, we'd like to test your Noe Valleyness. You may e-mail your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Valuable prizes will not be awarded, but the answers will appear in next month's Voice.
1. Where on 24th Street was Surf Supermarket located?
2. What is Shufat Market named after?
3. What year was the East & West of Castro Street Improvement Club organized?
4. Who was the first president elected by Friends of Noe Valley?
5. What was Douglass Park once called?
6. Where in Noe Valley was a bar called the End of the Line?
7. Where is San Francisco's second-steepest street (Filbert being the steepest)?
8. What was Panos'?
9. Where was the Noe Valley cable car barn located?
10. What was the street the next block south of Army Street named?
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THAT'S 30, you all. Have a foolish April.