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Obama's Message of "Change" Appeals to Noe Superdelegate
By Nader Gonzalez Huckabee
Noe Valley panhandler Gary Hartpenny has gotten used to people ignoring him as he asks for spare change in front of the abandoned Sullied Coffee Warehouse on 24th Street. But he's been getting a lot more attention lately, and not from just anyone--from the leading candidates for President of the United States.
That's because Hartpenny is a superdelegate in the Democratic Party.
As our history-minded readers may recall, in the past the Democratic Party held contests in individual states around the U.S., awarding delegates based on the proportion of votes received. Nowadays, the party has left behind this antiquated system for a far more efficient mechanism in which 795 "superdelegates" select the party's nominee.
The set of superdelegates is largely composed of elected officials, high-ranking party operatives, and as-yet-unindicted campaign donors. But there are a few like Hartpenny who don't fit the standard profile, and they've been the focus of unprecedented attention during the 2008 election cycle.
Both remaining Democratic candidates have been in touch with Hartpenny on an almost daily basis, and former President Bill Clinton has been camped out in the back of a pickup truck in the alley next to Hartpenny's cardboard box for three days.
Hartpenny enjoys the attention, but he also takes the responsibility seriously. "This is a difficult decision," he said recently during a break between two nationally televised satellite interviews. "I admire Senator Clinton's past work on universal health-care coverage, and I think her economic plan is good. On the other hand, Senator Obama gave me a very nice pair of socks."
Noe Valley residents, many of whom have known Hartpenny since he first appeared on 24th Street in the early '90s, seemed surprised last month to learn about his crucial role in the election process.
"I'd heard him mention he was a superdelegate maybe a dozen times before," said author John Rockefeller Jr., who wrote several of his novels while sitting at Warbucks on 24th Street nursing a grande old cappuccino. "But most of those times he was talking to the parking meter, so I wasn't sure how seriously to take it."
The Ship Hits the Span...Again
By Rosco Busan
The same tanker that crashed into the Bay Bridge last Nov. 7, fouling the waters with 58,000 gallons of oil, has done it again, but luckily this time the spill was vinegar and the collision occurred on the left side of the pylon.
The container ship Blunderbuss, again piloted by Capt. Kent C. Dafog, struck the bridge the morning of Feb. 30, just before the cock crowed. Fortunately, by sunrise, the spill was being sopped up by a crew of foodies from Alice Waters Plants, Inc., who happened to be trolling the Bay for edamame. They dipped their bushels of lettuce varietals in the serendipitous dressing, and filled cruets to serve at Berkeley's Chez Pan Eats. The Noe Valley Farmers' Market was also called in to set up crouton and crudité stands along the Baker Beach salt bar.
Volunteers with salad spinners are still needed to remove excess marinade from the fish and aquatic birds, which will be available for grilling at the Sunshine Sustainable Foods kiosk at Safeway Heights Shopping Center.
Smoker Escapes Designated Area, Attacks Pedestrian
By Sue Keeper
St. Patrick's Day revelers in downtown Noe's famed Blister Bar stood by in horror as a bar customer apparently leapt from the smoking grotto to attack an innocent passerby.
Bar patron Jerry Raff, a witness to the attack, said he first noticed an obviously sober man loitering on the sidewalk outside. According to Raff, the pedestrian was taunting the smokers, who were pacing back and forth in the designated smoking area at the front of the bar.
Raff said the man "made some loud noises like he was inhaling a cigarette, then he coughed with his mouth open. I didn't think anything about it until he started throwing acorns at the smokers.
"Then he started saying, 'Ha, ha, I bet you'd just die for a Camel, wouldn't you?'"
Suddenly, a female smoker in an orange-and-black T-shirt lunged at the heckler. As the man stumbled to the ground, she pounced. "It happened so fast, there was nothing we could do," said Raff. "That smoker just sprang out of the smoking cage.... You know, I always thought that ledge was too low."
In fact, according to the Noe Valley Bureau of Weights and Measures, the ledge of the grotto was four inches shy of the height requirement specified in the National Smoker Containment Ordinance.
The bar's manager, Petey Barnum, stated the incident might never have happened if the laws had been changed to allow smokers back in bars. "It's not natural to be forced to drink and smoke while on display in such a small enclosed area. Hey man, it's a tense environment, and sooner or later...
CONTINUED IN SUPERIOR COURT
Google Instructs Muni to Reroute J-Church Line
By Barney Google
By now, you've probably seen them--the group of well-dressed young professionals who stand on the sidewalk at Church and 24th each weekday morning waiting for their mass transit vehicles to whisk them to work. But starting April 1, these Muni riders will have to wait a block away, because their streetcars are interfering with Google's commuter bus service to and from Mountain View.
Muni's "J-Church" streetcar line has been picking up passengers at this corner for some time, but in recent months Google has become increasingly concerned about delays in its luxury coach service caused by the streetcars' daily loading and unloading of passengers.
"We made every reasonable effort to accommodate the city's transit service, but we were really starting to get deluged with text messages from our employees complaining about the situation," says Google PR representative M. Phelan Lucky. "We tried to mollify [our employees] with extra pheasant canapes during these delays, but they were still dissatisfied."
Starting at midnight on April 1, the metal rails embedded in Church Street between 23rd and 25th streets will be ripped up, stretched to be a bit longer, and then rerouted along Sanchez Street. (See Google maps.) Google expects the work to be completed in approximately 0.014 seconds. In addition to the rerouting, the streetcar line will be renamed the "G-Church" line.
Muni boss Michael Moonshine was initially surprised by Google's decision, but a quick Web search revealed that the Silicon Valley behemoth has final say over transit routes in Noe Valley, now that more than 50 percent of Noe residents are employed by the company.
"Besides," says Moonshine, "I think our riders will enjoy the new targeted advertising in front of each seat, based on the content of their recent e-mails."
Voice Goes HD
By Ann Tennah
On April 1, 2009, the Noe Valley Voice, along with most other monthly newspapers in the city, will convert to HD. This will be a great improvement: Photos and type will be sharper. And the actual thoughts expressed in the news and features will be crisper and more cogent. However, in order to view this new improved paper, readers are going to have to acquire special HD-NVV glasses (Gill Sans compatible), or else obtain a converter box, which plugs into any AC/HD wall socket. Without one of these gadgets, the Noe Valley Voice will look like one big blur.
The Voice will be offering a special price of $150 ($140 seniors) for the glasses, to the first 100 readers who take out a half-page ad with a one-year contract; call Steve for details. The converter box, easy enough to be assembled by a fifth-grader, is sold in individual shrink-wrapped pieces at Radio Shak on 24th Street.
Fictional Characters Return for Library's Opening Day
By Mr. Toad
A litany of literary characters paraded down Jersey Street and reported for duty at the Noe Valley Branch of the San Francisco Public Library, just in time for the library's April 1 reopening. After waiting out a two-year renovation, they will now resume their roles in the library's collection.It was a day of great excitement for Noe residents, who lined the red carpet waiting for a glimpse of their favorite figments. Eight-year-old Rita Lynn jumped up and down, pigtails flapping, trying to see over the crowd. "I think I saw Ramona Quimby!" she shrieked gleefully.
The characters themselves exhibited a range of emotions upon the occasion. Brothers Frank and Joe Hardy showed up at the exact opening time of 9:30 a.m., freshly scrubbed and eager to get back to work, while Holden Caulfield lingered around the corner on Castro Street, finishing off a pack of Kools and muttering sarcastically.
Many in attendance agreed that the most glamorous entrance was made by Blanche DuBois, who arrived on the arm of sharply dressed Mayor Gavin Winsome. The couple have been seen about town together on an almost constant basis after they met at a weekly support group.
The day was not without mishaps. At around noon, Curious George scaled the south wall of the library and hopped onto the roof, while a man with a big yellow hat watched in horror. And later on, Waldo wandered off the red carpet and into the crowd; as of press time, event organizers were still unable to locate him.
Photo by Pippi Longstocking
What's Really Behind the Real Food Door
By Rap Scallion
The Voice has learned that the Real Food Company on 24th Street, which abruptly closed in 2003 following employees' attempts to unionize, has been secretly operating for three years as a private club for food fetishists. The secret remained safe until rival Bell Market leeked the story last month, after being tipped off by former club members who had quit because they couldn't digest fennel pollen. Since then, the Real Food building has remained shrouded in butcher paper depicting artisanal carrots and bananas.
According to the Onion, those who belong to this exclusive group of gourmands are arriving at midnight in sleek V8-engine limousines and entering through a coded security gate on the Jersey Street side of the building. "I saw a truck come by and unload five barrels of bean curd one night," said Olive Mee, a neighbor on Jersey Street. "I'm afraid they're going to attract raccoons and people who eat that stuff."
Photo by E. Spitzer
A Carrel of Fun: Although many of the services at the newly renovated Noe Valley Library are aimed at children, some are geared for adults only. Besides a new petting zoo on the lower level, the branch opened last month with three PlayStations and a jazz band on the main floor. Clearly, there is more to check out than books.
APRIL CALOMINE LISTINGS
April 1: Author Liz Truss gives a READING of Eat, Pray, Shoots, and Leaves at the Grammarian Society Ashram. 9 pm. Cuckoo's, 40 Maiden Road.
April 1: The Noe Valley Chamber Orchestra performs a CONCERT to benefit the SPCA and the SF Tenants Union, featuring Beethoven's Furry Lease. 4 pm. No College of California, 32900 Valencia.
April 1: The Noe Valley Music Serious welcomes Mumblin' Jack Elpmfnwgz, performing TUNES from his new CD, Tell Me What'd I Say. 8:15 pm. Noe Valley Pirate Center, Sanchez & Hoffman.
April 1: Bring new and gently eaten food to a neighborhood FOOD DRIVE for distribution to families in need. 6:15 am. In front of Holly Bagel, 24th Street.
April 1: A Progressive Reading to save the COLOR WHEEL includes appearances by Amy Tan, Cara Black, Scarlett Harlot, Gray Davis, Vida Blue, Hue Grant, and Old Yeller. 4 pm. Blue Church, 16 Church Street.
April 1: "Gosh Darn America" is the topic of the Rev. Archie Bunker's 9 am sermon at the Definitly Unified Church of White. 1022 Alvarado. KKK-5555.
April 1: Meet Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, Similac, forged steel, counterfeit money, faux fur, Tofurky, pleather, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. 3 pm. Walgreen on 24th. 555-FAKE.
April 1, 5, 9: Learn how to pick a wrench, stop a leaky faucet, and install a toilet, at a series of PLUMBERS NIGHTS sponsored by the Home Owners of Noe Valley at three local bookshops. 7 pm. 555-PLUG.
April 1: The American Dental Association hosts a PANEL DISCUSSION on "Gum Control." 8 pm. ForTeethin', Diamond & Church.
April 1: "Public Opinion Polls: Do We Need Them?" is the topic at the local DEMOS & Independents meeting. 7:30 pm. Our Lady of Assumptions, Noe & Diamond. firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 1: April 1 is the deadline to register for Katie's Drop-In WEIGHT-LOSS Clinic. (The following week a team of professional nannies will make a surprise visit to your home to remove your food.) Preregister: 555-GULP.
April 1: Osama Hussein Hitler reads and signs his new BOOK, What's in a Name? at Bird & Covers Bookstore. 7 pm. 2999 Chenery. 555-MYTH.
April 1: John Kale & Pea Diddy (8:30 am) and Spuds MacKenzie (10:30 am) play the Noe Valley Farmers' Market. 7 am. 24th & Vicksburg.
The Noe Valley Voice would like to apologize for an error in our February 30 issue. The newspaper printed an excerpt from a recently published memoir, White as a Ghost, written by a young white Anglo-Saxon Protestant girl growing up in carefree, rough-and-tumble Noe Valley. The editors have since learned that the author was in fact a South-Asian man in his 80s who has spent his entire life living in a small village outside Bangalore. The editors apologize for being fooled by the author's insightful and colorful descriptions of singing in the church choir, waiting endlessly for the J-Church, and selling Girl Scout cookies in front of Bell Market on Clipper Street.
Easy Letters to Editor
The Voice has established a new letters-to-the-editor recognition system. All you have to do is answer "yes" or "no." Did you write a letter complaining about the strollers on 24th Street? We thought we heard you say "Yes." Okay, so dogs are a problem.... That was a "no," right? How many senior tickets would you like? Let's try again. Please spell your name, starting with the first.... We heard you say "Human Being." If this is correct, say...... To speak to a customer service representative...
THE SUBPRIME VALLEY VOICE
EDITORS: KAROL BARSKE, ELLIOT POGER, SALLY SMITH
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: HEIDI ANDERSON, KAREN TOPAKIAN
OTHER MANUFACTURERS: PAMELA GERARD, JOHN HOHULIN, BARB KONECKY, DOUG KONECKY, JACK TIPPLE, BEVERLY THARP
Warning: Reading this issue of the Fool's Valley Voice may cause serious side effects. Stop reading immediately if you are pregnant or nursing, or may become pregnant, or may become a nurse.