Noe Valley Voice June 2007

Short Takes

By Erin O'Briant

Trouble with Private Transit?

Members of the Friends of Noe Valley and other neighbors have called a meeting to discuss a weighty matter: the large coach buses currently operating in the neighborhood. According to Friends member Jacqui Sawers, these private transit vehicles, which can weigh up to 25 tons and accommodate more than 50 people, have stirred controversy, particularly along narrow residential streets like Jersey Street.

Participants in the meeting will discuss the safety and quality-of-life issues involved in allowing bus and limousine companies--such as those hired by Google, Inc., to shuttle its employees--to operate in the neighborhood without being integrated into the public transit system. They also will try to develop compromises and solutions that can be presented to the companies, as well as to Supervisor Bevan Dufty's office.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m., and will last about an hour. For the meeting site and other details, e-mail Sawers at All concerned neighbors are invited to share their views at the meeting or by e-mail with Sawers if they are unable to attend.

Fairmount Heights Club Rises Again

If you live in the hilly area bounded by San Jose Avenue, 30th Street, Castro Street, and Beacon Street, there's a new residents group in the neighborhood. Gregg Brooks is spearheading an effort to reincarnate the Fairmount Heights Neighborhood Association, the voice of the residents in decades past. (Brooks notes that "Fairmount Heights was the first subdivision in 1860 in Rancho San Miguel," the huge spread once owned by Jose de Jesus Noe.)

The first meeting of the group is invitation-only and will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on an unspecified date during the second week of June.

According to Brooks, the association's areas of interest include preparing for earthquakes and other disasters, curbing identity-related theft from garbage cans and mailboxes, and increasing children's and traffic safety. If you'd like to attend the meeting, e-mail Brooks at sflyric@ or drop a note to: Fairmount Heights Neighborhood Association, P.O. Box 31059, San Francisco, CA 94131.

J-Church On-Time Project Runs Late

Like the J-Church line itself, the project to determine just what makes Noe Valley's main train late has fallen behind schedule. In a memo issued May 8, the team in charge of the J-Church Pilot Project announced that it required a six-week extension because the opening of the new T-line had caused problems with rail operator availability and schedule changes.

According to the memo, which was signed by TEP Program Manager Julie Kirschbaum and Chief Operations Officer Kenneth McDonald, "Reports from regular J-Church riders...indicated that the first weeks of the [three-month] pilot were a success. They observed more trains, shorter headways, and greater reliability on the J-Church Line."

During the week of April 1, on-time performance averaged 72.5 percent, with 84 percent of trains on time during the morning commute. Unfortunately, that success soon ground to a halt. During the week of April 19, on-time performance reached a low of 55.9 percent.

The team believes that it can evaluate improvements to the J-Church line after the complications due to the T-line are addressed, so they plan to re-evaluate the J-Church Pilot Project in early September instead of mid-July. Anyone who has questions about the extension should contact Kirschbaum at 701-4305.

Kids Do Latino Arts This Summer

The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts welcomes children and teens ages 7 to 17 to the 2007 Multicultural Arts Summer School Program. Now in its 15th year, the school introduces participants to a variety of artistic disciplines and to local artists and artisans.

Classes include dance, painting, silk-screening, capoeria, and folk art. Students will collaborate on an exhibit and performance at the end of the session, to which family and community members are invited. The MAS School takes place Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.; the first session is June 25 through July 20 and the second is July 23 through Aug. 17.

The cost for one session is $175 and includes a free T-shirt. For more information, call Jose Leon at 643-2787 or e-mail

Mayhem and Merriment in Movies

Enjoy cartoons by day and horror flicks by night during a newly combined film festival this month at the Roxie Film Center in the Mission. The fourth annual Hole in the Head Film Festival has paired up with the brand-new SF IndieFest: Gets Animated for an event the organizers describe as a "cinematic yin and yang."

The Hole in the Head fest features a lineup of blood and guts galore during the evenings, including the world premiere of Simon Carthcart's Stagknight and local filmmaker Matthew Leutwyler's Unearthed. By day, the Gets Animated program presents cartoons for adults and children. The world premiere of Robert Brousseau's Race, appropriate for all ages, kicks off the festival. Adult audiences can boo for the worst of Warner Brothers in Dennis Nyback's Bad Bugs Bunny, a compilation of racist, sexist, homophobic, and violent cartoons that have not been shown for more than 20 years.

Both film festivals run June 1 through 14 at the Roxie Film Center, 3117 16th Street between Guerrero and Valencia streets. Advance tickets for films are $10 each, and passes are available. To buy tickets in person, walk over to Borderland Books at 866 Valencia Street near 20th Street or visit For more information, call 820-3907.

Come Grill D.A. Kamala Harris

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will address the next meeting of the Noe Valley Democratic Club, on Wednesday, June 20, at 7:30 p.m. Her topic will be "Crime, Punishment, and Conviction in San Francisco."

In December 2003, Harris was elected the first woman district attorney in San Francisco's history. She is also the first African American woman in California to hold the office. Since she took over the role of chief prosecutor for the city, Harris says she has increased conviction rates for serious and violent offenses, expanded services to victims of crime and their families, and created new prosecution divisions focused on crimes against children. She also notes that during her tenure the city's trial conviction rate for gun felonies rose from 43 percent in 2003 to 91 percent in 2006.

You can ask about local law-and-order issues at a question-and-answer session following her talk. The meeting of the Democratic Club is open to all, and will take place at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street. For information about the group, call Andy Fleischman at 641-5838.

Free Music and Dance at Folk Festival

The San Francisco Free Folk Festival, now in its 31st year, is moving to a new venue to accommodate its ever-growing crowds of 2,000 to 3,000 people. The festival will be held from noon until 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, at the North Gym at City College of San Francisco. Located at Phelan and Ocean avenues, CCSF is a five-minute drive or a quick trip on the J-Church train from Noe Valley.

The weekend line-up includes singers, dancers, and storytellers representing folk traditions from around the world. They'll hold concerts, workshops, and family-oriented events such as craft activities and special kid-friendly musical performances. Topics for singing workshops include sea shanties, barbershop harmony, song circles, and ballads; dance workshops will be offered in Scottish country dance, salsa, Israeli dances, the Argentine Tango, English ceilidh, and more.

The free fest is a gift to the people of the San Francisco Bay Area from the San Francisco Folk Music Club. For a complete schedule of activities, visit the festival web site at To find out more about the Folk Music Club, call 661-2217.

Picnic for Puppies Behind Bars

Join activists who are trying to put puppies behind bars for a picnic fundraiser. Puppies Behind Bars pairs puppies with prisoners, who train the pooches to be guide and service dogs as well as explosive detectors. The program is designed to help both puppies and prisoners prepare for the outside world.

The Picnic for Pawsability fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday, June 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Glen Canyon Park in the field behind the recreation center. The entrance to the park is on Elk Street between Sussex and Chenery streets. There will be food, a raffle, a kids' corner with face-painting and more, and, of course, puppies.

The requested donation is $20 for adults and $10 for children, and everyone gets a free raffle ticket. For more information, including directions, visit To learn more about Puppies Behind Bars, go to

Mission Hosts Queer Arts Fest

The 10th annual National Queer Arts Festival happens throughout the month of June at 13 San Francisco venues, many of them close to Noe Valley. The festival kicks off with the QBall 10th Birthday Party and opening-night performances, and is followed by 49 more events featuring more than 300 artists.

On Saturday, June 9, Bastard Out of Carolina author Dorothy Allison reads with the Bent Writing Institute high school students. The Queer Women of Color Film Festival takes place June 8 through 10 and includes 32 new films. One highlight of the film fest is a panel discussion, Representations of Queer Black Women in the Media, featuring filmmakers Cheryl Dunye and Tina Mabry and moderated by Jewelle Gomez, on Saturday, June 9. Transgendered artists read and perform at TransForming Community on Thursday, June 21.

On Saturday, June 30, Noe Valley resident Marga Gomez and other comedians deliver a fast-paced, raunchy review of all the queer personalities, parties, films, floats, controversy, fashion, and hot topics of Pride 2007. Venues include the LGBT Community Center at 1800 Market Street at Octavia Street, the BRAVA Theater Center at 2789 24th Street at York Street, Dolores Park at 18th and Dolores streets, and El Rio at 3158 Mission Street near Cesar Chavez Street.

For more information about the festival, visit or call 864-4124. Tickets range from free to $15 and are available at www.brown or 800-838-3006.

Don't Lose Your Best Friend

If your dog or cat gets lost, a small microchip embedded in its back can help ensure that the animal is returned to you. Microchipping costs as much as $80 at a veterinary clinic, but San Francisco Animal Care and Control has scheduled a microchipping clinic on Sunday, June 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. It's free for San Francisco residents and $15 for non-residents, but if you feel moved to pay more, donations are always welcome.

This will be the last free clinic in 2007. No paperwork is needed, and appointments aren't necessary. Dogs of San Francisco residents must be licensed, but if yours isn't, licenses will be available if the owner has proof of the dog's up-to-date rabies vaccination. All dogs must be on leash and under close control by their handlers and each cat must be in his or her own carrier.

For more information on microchipping in San Francisco, go to www.FSFACC .org and click on "About ACC" or call 822-5566.

A Positive Brush with the Law

The Police Activities League is recruiting 15 cadets who would like to learn more about law enforcement. Youths ages 14 to 20 who are interested in a career in police work are invited to apply.

If in school, all cadets must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and be able to pass criminal and driving background checks. The purpose of the program is to introduce young men and women to careers in law enforcement and to build better relations between young people and the San Francisco Police Department.

Summer cadets will spend three to eight hours per week in a service-training program. They'll ride along with officers, help out with civic and charitable events, learn emergency procedures, participate in competitions, and get training in leadership. To find out more about the program, visit or call Officer Matthew Balzarini at 401-4781.

Can I Raise Chickens in the City?

You certainly can, according to the nonprofit Garden for the Environment. A workshop on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., will teach participants how to legally keep chickens in San Francisco. Representatives from the Santa Cruz Homeless Garden Project and Paul Glowaski from Pie Ranch will explain chicken coop design, raising chickens from eggs, keeping laying hens, health concerns, and what to feed chickens. They'll also show examples of city chicken systems. The cost for the City Chickens workshop is $10.

Meanwhile, if you're wondering how to make a gorgeous summer garden, a free urban composting workshop is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. until noon. This workshop is hands-on training for backyard and worm composting for both home and community gardens.

Both events will be held at Garden for the Environment at Seventh Avenue and Lawton Street. Call 731-5627 or e-mail to register or for more information.