Noe Valley Voice June 2009

Rumors Behind the News

On the Noe Valley Beat

By Mazook

THE DUFTY FOR MAYOR whispers have been thundering through Eureka and Noe valleys for months. So in May the Noe Valley Bureau of Investigation (NVBI) decided to track down the source.

"It is no secret that I have been eyeing a run for mayor in 2011," confirms Supervisor Bevan Dufty, our District 8 representative, "since my second term as supervisor will end in 2010, and I will be termed out."

Dufty says he was a bit surprised that although he has not formally declared his mayoral candidacy, the San Francisco Sentinel endorsed him for the job in its May 18 issue.

"I was at a Harvey Milk Plaza demonstration [May 17] against Iraqi abuse of their LGBT people, when the Sentinel's Pat Murphy came over with a photographer. We both smiled into the camera, and click, the endorsement was in the paper the next day," says Dufty.

Why would you run for mayor, Bevan?

"I am the luckiest guy in the world to be able to work for the people in this city. I've been involved in our city government for the last 16 years, and I have learned you can make things work in city government by reaching out and finding common ground and bringing people together to get things done.

"During my term as supervisor, I have so enjoyed representing all the neighborhoods in our district, and helping to solve neighborhood issues, whether big or small. I want to reach out and work for the whole city," says Dufty.

While it is too early, he says, for him to officially throw his hat in the ring, evidently it is not too early for no less than four people to declare their intentions to run for Dufty's District 8 supervisorial seat. Among the candidates thus far are PUC Assistant General Manager Laura Spanjian; Scott Wiener, who is a city attorney and current president of the Eureka Valley Promotion Association; Rebecca Prozan, assistant district attorney and Dufty's former legislative aide; and attorney and Board of Permit Appeals member Rafael Mandelman, who is the current president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and a former president of the Noe Valley Democratic Club.

Dufty says any one of the four would be worthy of succeeding him, but he is not endorsing anyone at this time (contrary to reports in the Examiner). "Any time any of [his job seekers] attends a neighborhood meeting in which I am appearing, I always introduce and praise each of them," he says. "I remember when I first started as a candidate for supervisor how good it was to be introduced at those many neighborhood meetings."

Speaking of elections, the Department Thereof has released the voter turnout in San Francisco for the May 19 special election. It's probably no surprise that the turnout for Noe Valley was a paltry 28.6 percent. Put another way: Of the 16,440 of you who dutifully registered to vote, only 4,701 actually voted. (Remember November, when 89 percent of us marked our ballots. Now that's an election.)

You also must know that voters across the state said an emphatic no to Sacramento's "Rainy Day Budget" solutions to the state's massive budget crisis. In San Francisco, roughly 55 percent of the voters said no on 1A and 1C through 1E, but 52 percent voted Yes on 1B (schools) and 75 percent said yes to 1F, to bar salary increases for state legislators during budget deficit years.

For the record, District 8 includes Noe Valley, Glen Park, the Fairmount, Diamond Heights, Liberty Heights, Eureka Valley, and Dolores Park, to the Duboce Triangle, and Buena Vista Heights.

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LAW & ORDER, NOE VALLEY: The NVBI has issued a red alert to all residents who park vehicles in zip codes 94114 and 94131, warning you to remove all items of personal property from plain view before leaving your vehicle. According to the SFPD police reports, cars are being "boosted" with greater frequency these days in our neighborhood. If you leave a briefcase, computer case, camera case, or anything else of apparent value on your car seat, the thieves will break your door window, reach in, take it, and run.

Captain David Lazar of Ingleside Police Station--Ingleside Station covers Noe Valley south of Cesar Chavez-- commended two Ingleside officers in his "Captain's Message" last month for their "outstanding auto burglary arrest" on May 24 at 4:06 a.m.: "Officers McNamara and Lozano responded to a call regarding a vehicle theft in progress [at Dolores and 27th streets]. The subject was exiting the vehicle through a shattered window, when the officers arrived. The subject ran away from the officers but was later located in the back yard of a nearby residence," and placed under arrest.

Says Captain Lazar, "It is always best when you park your car anywhere on the street to make sure you lock your doors, have no valuables in plain view, and keep your glove box empty of anything of value."

As many of you already know, Captain Lazar took over the Ingleside command on April 18, having come from heading up the SFPD's Investigations Unit at the Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street. At 38 years old, he is the youngest police captain, and very proactive in the community. He is writing station crime reports and station activities every weekday, which he will provide to you, so you can keep up with the daily police blotter. To get on the captain's e-mail list, call Ingleside Station at 404-4000.

And for all you police blotter fans, the NVBI receives Noe Valley police reports daily by subscribing (for free) online to, where an average of 15 to 30 reports appear, describing all kinds of police action, from robbery and burglary to traffic stops and car tows. Everyblock has neighborhood-specific reports that also include real estate listings, Department of Public Health inspections, and business reviews. Check it out.

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EMPTY STOREFRONTS: Vacant stores in Downtown Noe Valley are certainly not in short supply these days. The remodeled space recently vacated by AAA at 4045A 24th Street, next to Wells Fargo Bank, is being offered for $12,000 per month. It's got 2,800 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 1,200 square feet of office space in a mezzanine. According to the realtor for the owner, Sara Sanders of SRS Real Estate Partners, the space is a sublease, with four more years left in the term.

Says Sanders, "We've had it on the market for about three weeks now, but we have not received any offers yet." She says there has been interest from retailers of men's and women's clothing, a child development center, and a title company.

Next door to AAA is the vacant store once occupied by the women's fashion boutique Riki. The work being done on the interior does not necessarily mean the place has been rented. BPM realty agent Tom Redmond says the contractors are doing needed foundation work and have built a new bathroom, but there are not yet any offers for the "approximately 1,200 square feet of space." The rent? Redmond would only say: "All terms are negotiable, but we are looking for a clean retail [tenant]" for the space. "No food," says Redmond.

Farther down 24th Street, there have been no takers for the Streetlight Records store. The rent that was being asked at the beginning of the year has been reduced from $12,000 to $8,000 per month, according to the owner's realty agent Mark Kaplan.

"We have received several offers," says Kaplan, "but have not leased the premises yet." He says there have been people interested in opening up a training gym, a lighting store, a picture-framing shop, a yoga studio, and a "by-the-hour daycare center." That might work.

There are no renters yet for the 700-square-foot space formerly occupied by Simply Chic (next to and in front of) Elisa's Spa. "We are asking for $4,000 a month," says Pedro Ining (Elisa's son), "but make an offer." Ining says, "We have had interest in the store for everything from a yoga studio to a yogurt business."

Across 24th from Simply Chic, at the old Wells Fargo Bank space (they moved up the street), the owner has advertised the 700-square-foot store on Craigslist for $4,000 per month, but there are apparently no takers. The owner did not want to make any comments to the Voice.

You can put the lock on a rumor that Locksmith Central is moving its shop across the street to the smaller store just vacated by Ritz Camera. Says locksmith Mike Young, "We were contemplating making the move, but decided against it because I have a very fair landlord now. Things became too complicated, from signing a 20-page lease to moving all our equipment and over a thousand keys to the new location." But, Young adds, "the rent was very fair and five hundred dollars a month is less than I pay now."

The space that was formerly occupied by Rose Quartz and currently by the Jewelry Box (opened by the owners of the building) will soon be filled by Successories, a jewelry business owned by designer Pamela Wiston-Charbonneau. Wiston-Charbonneau, who is famous for designing rings and pendants made from the buttons she collects from all over the world--she has over 70 works on display at the de Young Museum--has recently been sharing space at Lisa Violetto Designs.

"The 200 square feet of [Jewelry Box] space will have my office, retail showroom, and storage, and I plan on opening the store in the middle of June," says an excited Wiston-Charbonneau.

At press time, the NVBI got a tip that Noe Knit across the street from Bell/Whole Foods would "close next Tuesday [June 9]."

However, the Noe Knit storefront won't be vacant long. Kate Rosenberger has announced she is moving Phoenix Books to the 1,400-square-foot space June 15.

Rosenberger sounds ecstatic. "The space is twice as big as what we have now, and the rent is very reasonable. We will sublet from Noe Knit and then have another ten years on the lease."

She goes on to say, "I have been on a month-to-month lease for a long time now, and I've been looking to relocate on 24th Street, after being in business in Noe Valley for 24 years. This new store will celebrate our 25th anniversary in the neighborhood," says Rosenberger.

That means, of course, that the storefront on the corner of 24th and Vicksburg will be available on July 1. Or will it?

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MORE STORED-UP NEWS: For those of you who read last month's "Store Trek," about the designer workshop and clothing boutique at 665 San Jose Avenue (at Valley Street) called Arara, and have attempted to visit the shop, you probably were surprised to find it closed.

"I found this great spot on Church Street, so I am moving to the larger space, including a lovely back yard," says Arara's founder, Larissa Verdussen, who sent a note of apology. "I will be teaming up with two other artists/designers, Jessica Miller and Andrea Lamadora, to offer a wider range of clothing lines and accessories, as well as a display of local artists' works."

The name of the new shop, located at 1513 Church (across from Comerford Alley), has yet to be determined, but should open mid-June. Lamadora says they plan to have fashion shows at the shop and host "tea parties in our lovely garden" to showcase the works of the various artists and clothing designers.

Up the street, Kati Kim is turning over the keys to her 1767 Church Street store, formerly called Church Street Apothecary, to Deirdre Nagayama and Stacy Rodgers. They are the designer/manufacturers of the "She-bible" clothing line, which they sell wholesale worldwide to almost 100 stores, and also maintain as an online store.

"We both were born and raised in Noe Valley, and although we don't live there anymore, we think it is one of the greatest neighborhoods in the Bay Area," says Nagayama. "So when we heard that Katie (one of our customers) was closing her Church Street space to focus on her Haight Street store, we decided it was time to move our design offices, which we can really have anywhere, from Townsend Street (right across from the ballpark) into a perfect space in our old neighborhood. For us there is a bonus, because we will be able to sell our line retail as well."

The name of their new store will be Curator, and it will be open to the public "sometime in July." Kim will focus her energy on her remaining store in the city, called Doe, located on Haight Street near Pierce.

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FORE! Over 200 people showed up at the Leslie Crawford/Steve Fox 24th Street home on Sunday, May 17, for a celebrity miniature golf event. The party featured a wacky indoor (and out) miniature golf course that the couple, with the help of their two children, Sam and Molly, set up in their house and back yard. This year's "Crawfox Minigolf" tournament was a benefit for the East Bay Children's Book Project. Crawfox provided not only the course but also the putters (they have 40 of them), golf balls, and lots of refreshments.

"We've been doing this almost annually for the past 15 years," says Crawford, "but this is our last one."

Sadly, there will be no fourth annual Noe Valley Garden Tour, which was originally set for June 13. For the last three years, the event was sponsored by Friends of Noe Valley. Says the FNV's Richard May, "This year, many people backed out of the tour, and only two gardens were eventually volunteered."

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BOOMING BABIES: Noe Valley 94114 is reportedly in the middle of a baby boom. San Jose Mercury News reporter Mike Swift wrote in a May 25 story that "along 24th Street in Noe Valley, the Baby Bjorn carriers are out in force."

According to Swift, the U.S. Census reports "births in the 94114 zip code, which includes Noe Valley and the Castro, the historical center for San Francisco gay life, were about 50 percent higher in 2007 than in the mid-1990s." While "urban enclaves like Noe Valley and the Castro may sound like unlikely places for a baby boom...they are at the vanguard of a national urban trend that, according to U.S. Census estimates, has given San Francisco its biggest brood of young children since the early 1970s." Of course, Bevan Dufty, who is raising a daughter with a lesbian partner, was quoted as saying, "There has been a demographic boom in the gay community having kids."

In fact, census figures show a 24 percent jump in San Francisco's under-age-5 population, Swift reports.

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ERRATA-TAT-TAT: The misquote you read in this column last month, attributed to Examiner Executive Editor Jim Pimentel, caused a small ripple in the newspaper world. It was a Mazookamistake. We quoted Pimentel as saying, "We have 50 reporters now, and are looking to hire more...." In fact, Pimentel said, "We have 50 in editorial staff, and are looking to hire more...." Apologies to all you readers, and to Mr. Pimentel and the Examiner. From here on, more care will be taken with the scribbles and doodles in this reporter's notebook.

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THAT'S ALL YOU ALL. But before I go, here are the answers to last month's pop quiz. In 1897, J.A. Meyer built the first automobile in California, the Pioneer, at 4175 24th Street. His grandson lives there now (and so does the S.F. Mystery Bookstore). The Pioneer is currently on display at the Oakland Museum.

And back in the 1960s, the spot now occupied by Cooks Boulevard was a unique ice cream store named after its owner, Magnolia Thunderpussy. Magnolia would make home deliveries in Noe Valley, and promised that if the ice cream was melted when it was delivered, there would be no charge. Her outrageous erotic ice cream specialties included one called "Montana Banana"--two balls of ice cream, a whole banana, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.

Ciao for now.