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Newsom 'Conversation' One-Sided
Open Letter to the Supervisors:
What was billed as a "conversation" between Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Bevan Dufty at St. Philip's Hall on Oct. 18 turned out to be nothing more than a staged self-promotion by the mayor. There was no dialogue with the audience; we weren't permitted to speak; our questions and concerns had to be submitted in writing. Taking a leaf out of Bush's playbook, n'est-ce pas? The questions were then vetted and selected by our "representative," giving Newsom the opportunity to posture and pontificate, and deliver prepared responses trumpeting his accomplishments and "plans for the future," essentially taking credit for the years of work by others more qualified and committed than he (our thanks, as always, to Tom Ammiano, in particular).
I was able to delay the mayor briefly before he was hustled out the door and asked if he was going to hold Lennar to its promise to build low-income rental units in the Bayview. His rushed response was essentially "Oh, that was an unfortunate article...the way it was written...we actually got much more than we gave up"(SF Chronicle, Oct. 18, 2006, Robert Selna).
It comes as no surprise to us that promises are being broken and new backroom deals brokered out of public view in favor of "special interests." What did we gain by giving up these "affordable" units? What consolation will that be to the 400 families who will now not be able to rent these units (except perhaps avoiding the potential health hazards of living over a toxic dump site)?
If the rules and requirements as laid out in the redevelopment proposal can be broken and manipulated in this way for the financial benefit of the speculators, why can't you bend a little in favor of the residents of this city, whom you are legally and morally bound to represent, challenge the city attorney's specious opinion invalidating 33,000 petition signatures, and restore the citizens' right to vote and participate in our democracy and future?
P.S. Gavin's hair appeared less greasy. Maybe he's trying the Matt Gonzalez look; if only he would adopt the Matt approach. Maybe in a couple of years we can get the real thing!
It's a Wonderful Life
This is regarding the letter from Tim Finn in the October Voice about the video store that closed recently at 24th and Church [First Choice Video]. My name is Robert, and I worked there for over 15 years. I remember your daughter, Tim. She always walked through the door with a smile on her face. She was always polite, too. Thank you for the wonderful letter you wrote. I miss the interaction with all the wonderful people of Noe Valley. In 15 years' time, I had problems with maybe three people. The people of Noe Valley are the most pleasant I've ever met (and I must say, the women are the most beautiful in the city).
To all you parents who came in our store: You should be proud of yourselves. All of your children were so well-behaved and respectful. It was always fun to turn around and see a group of kids come walking in, usually for a slumber party, and listen to them all try to find the right movie. Then, the parent in charge would walk in a few minutes later, enjoying what little quiet time he'd had before heading back home with a movie. I watched many kids grow up into little adults that any parent could be proud of.
Finally, to all the adults: I was never much of a talker, but I enjoyed being part of your life and family for so many years. I'm glad that most of you took the time to say you enjoyed the music playing. I enjoyed watching you all sing and dance around the store. Thank you for the memories.
Noe Valley Good Deed
On Oct. 22, about 40 women and children got a gift from the staff of Isa's Salon & Spa on Castro Street. Isa's treated the group to free haircuts, styling, makeup application, and eyebrow shaping--the works. The project was a staff-driven idea, done in cooperation with La Casa de las Madres, a Mission District shelter for battered women and children.
Participating in this good deed were owner Isa Muhawieh (a frequent donor to neighborhood events, most recently the Noe Valley Harvest Festival), artistic directors Lori Koon, Joel Messerer, and Cathy Scarborough; senior stylist Tony Ferri; and estheticians Tara Parenti and Shannon Velasco. The day was a total success and a lot of fun for everyone involved. One of the La Casa clients told the Isa's stylists that she felt like a movie star after her makeover.
Working together, Isa's Salon and La Casa de las Madres made a real difference in people's lives. This is a great example of the kind of business-community partnership that Noe Valley is justifiably well known for. Congratulations to all involved!
President, Friends of Noe Valley
Be Alert to Mugging Threat
I was mugged on Nov. 17 on Guerrero Street at 25th as I was walking home from BART. I raised such a ruckus that I slowed the robber down enough so that there were witnesses. He got my purse, but a witness got his car description. Within 90 minutes, the police had him and the getaway car driver behind bars. The police told me that I might have put an end to a string of muggings in the Mission/Noe area: all people (mostly women) talking on their cell phone while walking (as I was) or listening to an iPod--distracted instead of vigilantly walking. I asked, "Why isn't there a neighborhood vigilance warning outside the BART?" Both police rolled their eyes to say the local government wouldn't want to admit there's a crime problem. But our neighborhoods and neighbors are in danger. At the very least, Noe Valley citizens need to know how to protect themselves.
I have been most impressed with the police detective, and our Noe Valley neighbors. The three witnesses who heard me screaming and came to my aid are heroes; one of them followed the getaway car in order to give a detailed description to police. Another pulled over to let me use his cell phone. All were locals just doing their part to help a screaming lady. On Nov. 20, a Folsom Street business called to say they'd found my wallet in the grocery cart of a homeless man who hangs around their shop. I got nothing of value back, but I did get what was left of my wallet.
What the heck are Bevan Dufty and Gavin Newsom doing about street crime? I refuse to be terrorized in my own neighborhood, and I love commuting by public transportation. Thank you to our neighbors who helped me. Please, Bevan and Gavin, do something to stop the crime.
Bring Back the Recycling Basket
Today I saw an elderly gentleman at the trash bin at 24th and Vicksburg. He was awkwardly and painfully trying to reach under the recycling basket for bottles and cans tossed in the main bin, his only option now that the baskets have been turned into flowerpots. I wonder if whoever did this project had this scenario in mind. Those baskets actually serve a function and look much better with cans and bottles in them than with some fluffy plants that send the message that 24th Street is too precious for poor people who actually want to use the recycling service at Bell Market and earn some honest money.
Our Face Is Red, Too
In the November issue of the Voice, the two photos of 96-year-old Bob Johnson, one showing him behind the wheel of his red Mercedes and the other showing him playing chess, were mistakenly credited to Pamela Gerard. In fact, the photos were taken by longtime Voice photographer Beverly Tharp. We apologize for the error, and hope Beverly will forgive us. --Ed.
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 editor@noevalley voice.com. 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.