Noe Valley Voice March 2009

Letters to the Editor

THE VOICE welcomes your letters to the editor. E-mail or write the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. 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.

A Few Words About the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library


When I was a little girl, going to the library was like going through the looking glass. Like Alice, I was entering a wonderful world of unknown possibilities. It always smelled good, and it provided a quiet haven from the noise of New York City streets. I would stand at the A's and dream about reading every book, one by one, right through the alphabet. And the librarian had this most marvelous pencil. It had on its end a stamp with a date on it, which the librarian would deftly use by turning the pencil over and stamping the due date on the inside cover of the book. I wanted to be a librarian and have a pencil like that.

No date stamps anymore, but the library is still full of wonder, and it fills me with the same joyous anticipation that it did so long ago.

We have a beautiful library in Noe Valley, one of 27 neighborhood libraries in San Francisco. Ours has a garden space in the back; you can get involved in the planting. Call the library to find out how. On Sunday, March 8, there will be a celebration to mark the one year our library has been open since renovation. Please come; there will be entertainment and food.

The head librarian at our Noe Valley branch is Alice McCloud. She would love to see the community room used by more groups, especially those in our neighborhood. Would you like to conduct a workshop, teach a class, lead a discussion group, or start a book club? The meeting room is available at no cost for these activities.

If you have suggestions about books, magazines, DVDs, or music CDs to add to the collection at our library, please make your wishes known to Alice. Keep in mind that our branch is small, and there is a limited amount of space, but the San Francisco Library has everything--the whole world--and it is always available to everyone with a library card.

Nina Youkelson
24th Street

Thank You, Bell Market Gang


I just wanted to extend my thanks to all of the great employees at Bell Market. I've shopped at Bell all of my adult life and thought of many employees as friends. It is also the place where my son had his first job. Again, I want to send out a huge THANK YOU. We will miss you all.

Erin Boylan

Don't Can the Recycling Center


In reading the December issue of the Noe Valley Voice, I was saddened to read about the closing of Bell Market but excited to read about the opening of Whole Foods Market in its place. As a longtime resident of Noe Valley, I look forward to shopping at the store.

I would like to suggest that Whole Foods keep the recycling center that is in front of Bell, as I believe it is a valuable service. The recycling center provides neighborhood residents the opportunity to have their children learn about recycling as well as earn some cash at the same time. It also gives others who gather bags and shopping carts of recyclable bottles and aluminum cans a place to drop off their materials. In a small way, they help keep 24th Street a bit cleaner as they pick up the bottles and cans and bring them to the recycling facility.

While there will be those who might prefer not to have the facility, I believe it is important for both Whole Foods and the neighborhood to demonstrate compassion for those who are struggling. Being able to see the need firsthand is important. They are people first and deserve to be treated as such, not shunned or diverted to other neighborhoods.

Greg Marutani
22nd Street

Priest's Divisive Message


We were shocked to read about Father Tony La Torre's suggested boycott of Just for Fun for selling Obama "devotional" candles ["Obama Icon Raises the Ire of Local Pastor," February 2009 Voice]. It's sad that so unifying a figure as President Obama should be the occasion for so divisive a message. Father La Torre's insistence that Just for Fun is a Jewish business (despite the evidence to the contrary) suggests that he has a more sinister agenda than simply urging Catholics to "stand up for their faith." Father La Torre would do well to examine his own conduct before accusing others of being "bigoted" and "hateful."

Jane Kenner
Neil Morse
Noe Valley residents for 32 years

Would Candles Offend Jesus?


As a practicing Catholic (not at St. Philip's) and a Noe Valleyan, I am disgusted by Father Tony's directive to his parishioners to boycott Just for Fun. Does he seriously think Jesus would be offended by the Obama icons?

He says the store's owners are "bigoted and hateful," but he might examine his own conscience in that regard. He counsels us to take action that hurts our neighbors who are struggling to survive. How Christian is that?

Furthermore, how can he think he speaks for anyone other than himself? We "latte liberals" do not take too kindly to being told what to think and where to shop. We like to think we make those decisions for ourselves, based on our own values. Being told who to disrespect just galls me!

Finally, if attendance at mass is off, maybe Father Tony could try out a more positive message!

Lee Bender

Beyond the Pale


While supporting the ability to criticize the actions of others, I was truly disturbed with the tactics Father La Torre chose to use to condemn Just for Fun. There simply is no place to incite people by scapegoating members of any group. The fact that Father La Torre (mistakenly) claimed the alleged heretics were Jews, during a period when the Church reconciled with a bishop who claimed the Holocaust never happened, is beyond the pale. His teflon explanation lacks leadership and wholly fails to build any bridge to understanding or empathy.

Jake Schwarz
Clipper Street

Engulfed in David Sedaris


[In response to "What's It Like to Be Best Friends with David Sedaris?" in the December 2008 Voice]

What an honor for Veronica Ruedrich -- to know she can make David Sedaris laugh. I so love his writings. They have brought me such joy and release from the world so many times in my life. I first picked up his book Barrel Fever in Washington, D.C., in 1994. Fell madly in love. Laughed at the DMV while reading it and was questioned for my sobriety. I have bought his books as gifts for everyone I loved and adored because it was the easiest way in the world to show them love and offer them laughter.

I bought his latest book [When You Are Engulfed in Flames]. Then I listened to an MP3 of it with my 79-year-old parents. During the "Hugh's mother had a worm in her leg" episode, I had to pull over to the side of the road because my mom was wetting her pants from laughter. Later, we softly teared up with Sedaris' story about Hugh and his "dream world" about leaving him until he realized just how much he needed him and loved him. My husband and I have done the same thing on a weekly basis for 14 years and will hopefully never leave for the same reasons. We need each other too much.

Thank you for this story. It made me so happy. To Veronica: I am so glad you have him as a friend.

Noel Wilkerson Holmes

Hate Speech


You should do a story on Noe Valley resident Stephen Fowler's appearance on ABC's Wife Swap and how he's helped to reaffirm the stereotypical San Francisco elitist, hate America, hate the military, and hate the Midwest or flyover country. Perhaps this nation would be better off if the entire Bay Area just went away.

David Bordelon
Eight-year veteran of the U.S. Navy