Noe Valley Voice September 2006

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Drivers, Please 'Do Not Pass'


I really appreciate reading the Voice month after month, but I do have a complaint that concerns Noe Valley.

As you know, Noe Valleyans are great people...and they are doing their best to be good citizens, including taking Muni to work or on other outings.

Unfortunately, every week I see more and more idiots who sneak, cheat, and put people in danger. I'm referring to the drivers who knowingly and aggressively pass the J-Church streetcar while it is stopped at a bus stop. Drivers assume nobody will leave the streetcar or step out into the crosswalk, and they pass without a second thought. I've noticed this at both the Clipper Street and 27th Street stops.

There are "Do Not Pass" signs, but nobody enforces them.

The Muni, the police, and DPT should do something soon--before we read a horror story in the Voice, and before my own kids refuse to take Muni out of fear.

Here are my suggestions:

* Put the "Do Not Pass" signs midblock--about where the end of a streetcar is while it's stopped at a bus stop--so when a car is right behind the streetcar, the sign is right there.

* Paint "Do Not Pass" or some other sign on the pavement, the same way a painted "STOP" and a white line remind us of a stop sign.

* Freshen up the yellow Muni stop signs on the posts, poles, and curbs.

* And if it's not too much to ask, let us have some on-off enforcement of the law.

Thanks for reading me.


Clipper Street

Noe Valley--Exclusive Playground of the Wealthy?


I'm writing concerning an article on recent rents and homes sales in Noe Valley in the July-August 2006 issue. The article seems to have been written in such a manner as to almost be proud of the fact that in May 2006, of 13 homes sold, all but one sold for $1 million plus!

Meanwhile, the Noe Valley Rents chart showed that rental rates for a one-bedroom apartment ranged as high as $3,000 a month ($36,000 a year!), and the average was over $1,800 a month. A lot of folks don't even earn $1,800 a month, much less $3,000. And rents are increasing year to year.

It seems to me Noe Valley and this city of ours has some soul-searching and reflecting to do on what kind of place we want this to be, an exclusive playground of the wealthy or a place where low-income service workers, public school teachers, janitors, taxi cab drivers, and a whole host of other workers--and senior citizens and disabled folks on fixed incomes--can also afford to live. So many lower-income individuals and families are forced to move out of San Francisco because they are increasingly being priced out of house and home here.

Coming from the Midwest, I think such housing prices are outrageous and irrational, not to mention exclusive and inhospitable to so many who cannot afford them. We can, and have, forced our less fortunate citizens, including our seniors and service veterans, to live either in wretched single-room-occupancy hotels or on the streets, but I thought our town was so progressive and enlightened!

Does Noe Valley intend to serve only the upper-middle and upper classes? Let us think about all of this and look honestly at ourselves in the mirror and get serious about who we are, what we are becoming, and who we want to be as a neighborhood and community. Who are we excluding and why? Shall we be exclusive, or inclusive of a wide range of vibrant diversity? If the former, we're doing a great job of it through housing pricing. If the latter, we need to provide housing at considerably below $1 million plus!

Rebecca Freund

Arlington Street

A Well-Read Place: West Portal Books


In the Rumors Behind the News section of the July-August 2006 Noe Valley Voice, a statement made by Noe Valley resident Neal Sofman--the former owner of A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books--caught my eye. In explaining why he and his wife Anna Bullard recently opened a bookstore in West Portal, Sofman stated, "One of the mothers in our child's preschool told me there was no bookstore in the West Portal shopping district and that the neighborhood really needed one...."

Having owned and operated, in partnership with my wife Diane, West Portal Books (a used bookstore, yes, but a bookstore nevertheless) for almost 15 years, I can't help but wonder about the veracity of Sofman's story. Also, West Portal has a Waldenbooks, which has been there longer than we have.

I write this because Sofman claims that he closed ACWLPB and opened his Bookshop West Portal for "reasons [that] are many and complex, [but] the simple answer is that the book-buying market has moved on, either geographically or culturally," yet local independent chain Books Inc. has been quick to take over the spot ACWLPB vacated and will have a similar store to Sofman's, in the same location, before the end of the year.

A "rumor behind the news" that we've heard at our place is that Sofman simply may have gotten tired of ACWLPB's declining sales, parking woes, and the financial burden of paying a living wage and benefits for 30 employees.

Does it sound like I have sour grapes? You would too if someone started a new local newspaper called the Voice Noe Valley and you had to field calls from everyone from bill collectors to potential customers because your competition used an almost identical name.

Be sure to let your readers know that when visiting the West Portal shopping district, either by car or the 48 bus, we offer a fine selection of secondhand recycled books at popular prices! Thanks for the opportunity to clarify the situation.

Jeffrey A. Goodman, co-owner

West Portal Books

111 West Portal Avenue

Library Campaign Correction


Thank you very much for the story you ran in the July/August issue about the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library Campaign. It is remarkable how much interest in the campaign that story generated--I've been getting numerous e-mails from neighborhood residents interested in buying a brick, making a donation, or volunteering their time to the effort.

There is one point that I want to correct, however. Our booth is at the Farmers' Market on only the FIRST Saturday of each month--not every Saturday.

Thanks again for publicizing the campaign.

Kim Drew

Chair, Noe Valley Library Campaign

Time to Ban Heavy Trucks on Jersey Street

Dear Residents of Noe Valley:

Is anyone else tired of the endless stream of delivery trucks and Google shuttles bustling down our residential streets? In Noe Valley, Jersey Street is just one of the residential streets that is jammed with large delivery trucks and commuter vans causing noise violations and unsafe conditions. I recently witnessed a gas trolley full of noisy tourists traveling down Jersey Street after 9 p.m. Enough is enough.

It is time for us to say no to delivery trucks and 18-wheelers; we do not have to endure this noise pollution.

The San Francisco Traffic Code (Article 3, Section 28.1) states that vehicles exceeding a maximum gross weight of three tons may be prohibited from coming down certain residential streets.

Many streets in our area, such as Chattanooga Street and Fair Oaks Street, are already on the prohibited list. So the question is, what needs to be done to add Jersey Street (and your residential street) to the list of prohibited roads?

After much research, voicemails, e-mails, and dead-ends, I am still looking for a clear way to take action. If you have some insight on this matter, please contact

Meanwhile, if you too are sick of wearing earplugs at night and support this cause, please e-mail, write, or fax the Department of Parking and Traffic. E-mail; phone Bryant Woo, 415-701-4569, or Kathleen Swindler, 415-701-4580; or write or fax:

Bond M. Yee, Executive Director

Municipal Transportation Agency

Department of Parking & Traffic

1 So. Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94103

Fax: 415-701-4735

Note: The DPT also has traffic calming projects designed to reduce congestion on neighborhood streets. Go to and search for the words "traffic calming."

Amalia Gonzalez

Jersey Street

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.


1021 Sanchez Street

San Francisco, CA 94114

The Noe Valley Voice is an independent newspaper published monthly except in January and August. It is distributed free in Noe Valley and vicinity, on or before the first Friday of the month. Subscriptions are available at $30 per year ($20 for seniors) by writing to the above address.

The Voice welcomes your letters, photos, and stories, particularly on topics relating to Noe Valley. All items should include your name, address, and phone number, and may be edited for brevity or clarity. (Unsigned manuscripts will not be considered for publication.) Unsolicited contributions will be returned only if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.