| June 2012
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Another Miracle on 24th Street?
Most of the 1,500 people who come every Saturday morning to the Noe Valley Farmers Market probably don’t know that the market’s very existence is a small miracle. Eight years ago, a handful of neighbors launched a protest against Nutraceutical, the Utah-based corporation that had shut down the now blighted Real Food Company space at 3939 24th St., and fired the employees who were on the brink of unionizing.
The group of neighbors, which had never run a farmers market, decided to “take back the food,” and—as energized as we were na•ve—start a market of our own. The experts we consulted told us it would take at least a year to get one off the ground. We opened the farmers market in three months.
People may not also know that ours isn’t just any farmers market. It’s the only independent, community-run market in San Francisco. “Community” is the operative word. What the market’s founders didn’t entirely realize is that in making the space for a market, we also made a space for community. Noe Valleyans come every Saturday not just to shop, but to hang out, let their children play and dance to the music, eat brunch, and be together.
Now, it’s eight years later and it’s time for another miracle. As the Noe Valley Voice reported in its February issue, the parking lot is being sold (the Noe Valley Ministry needs the money for a much-needed renovation); the market value is $4.5 million. Our goal is to purchase this property and transform it into a town square that will be the neighborhood’s to use for perpetuity, like a mountain that is protected from development. It’s only because I’ve seen it before—neighbors stepping up to make something wonderful and out-of-the-ordinary happens—that I believe we can pull this off, raising the necessary funds to preserve a unique urban open space that can be used throughout the week to host everything from, of course, the farmers market to children’s festivals and early morning tai chi classes to four-square dances and music events.
But the fact is that this project will not succeed unless a few civic-minded investors from Noe Valley step forward and make substantial donations to make this town square a reality. Our group has been able to help by gaining the support of the city administrators who pledged money from San Francisco’s Open Space fund for a significant portion of the costs, but ultimately the success of our efforts will depend on us, Noe Valley neighbors, with the wherewithal and the commitment to say “Yes” to what could be a magnificent public space for our community. If you are someone, or if you know someone, who might fall into this category, we would be eternally grateful if you would step forward to help at this critical moment.
Every Saturday, when our group stands outside the market to raise awareness and money, we’re seeing a groundswell of support. We’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars in pledges. But we need much more help. If you love the Noe Valley Farmers Market, if you want to preserve this rare space on the commercial strip of 24th Street, we invite you to step up and make a pledge.
To get more information about creating a permanent Noe Valley town square and making a donation towards this effort, go to www.noevalleytownsquare.com or stop by the market. We have a table set up in front and would love to have you be a part in making this brand-new miracle on 24th Street happen.
Co-Founder, Noe Valley Farmers Market
Board Member, Residents for Noe Valley Town Square
Wanted: Police on the Beat
Here’s an issue I’d like addressed by the Police Department: Why does Noe Valley not have a beat officer every day? As we all know, our beloved Officer Lorraine Lombardo has been off for a couple of months between her surgery and vacation. In the meantime, major shoplifting has returned to 24th Street, new street people/shopping-cart people have arrived, and some are sleeping in the parklets and on the Chase Bank building’s brick benches at the corner of Noe Street.
At one time we had two beat officers, which meant there was always coverage. Now, if Lorraine is off we have no coverage. With Lorraine talking retirement in the not too distant future, I am afraid what this ultimately would mean for the neighborhood’s safety and security.
We merchants try to increase the number and scope of events to energize the community (SummerFEST, 24 HoliDAYS, Harvest Festival, etc.), but it costs money to produce them. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the money for events had to be re-allocated to security efforts because the city no longer provided the community policing we’ve always had.
Owner, Just For Fun
Piling on the Examiner
In the May 2012 edition of the Noe Valley Voice,Leslie Wellbaum wrote a letter to the editor asking if anyone else was frustrated with the San Francisco Examiner’s unsolicited delivery of its newspaper in our neighborhood. I am and I agree with Ms. Wellbaum that unsolicited delivery of newspapers after repeated requests to stop delivery, following theExaminer’s own procedure to request a stop, is tantamount to public littering.
Like Ms. Wellbaum, several years ago, I called theExaminer to ask that the paper not be delivered to our home several times. When that did not work, I emailed all of the contacts in the paper to stop delivery. When that did not work, I emailed all of the contacts in the newspaper and Bevan Dufty, who at that time was our supervisor. Imagine this: it took an email from Bevan Dufty to get the Examiner to stop delivery. While I was sorry my little issue distracted Supervisor Dufty from more important tasks, I was delighted that it worked.
To my disappointment, the next year, the unsolicited deliveries of the Examiner started again. Again, I called several times, I emailed, and I finally involved our new supervisor, Scott Wiener. It took an email from Scott Wiener to the Examiner’s office to finally get the deliveries to stop.
I asked Supervisor Wiener how the Examiner could possibly be allowed to continue to deliver unsolicited newspapers. The reply was: the right to free speech. I believe in the right to free speech. I also believe that when reasonable measures are taken to ask to be excluded from delivery, they should be respected. We should not have to go all the way to the supervisor’s office to ask the Examiner to stop delivery.
It makes me sad to see the streets lined with papers that have not been picked up for days. Clearly, there are not just two Noe Valleyans who are not interested in reading the Examiner. Maybe the Examiner should come by the next day and pick up all of the papers they have dropped off.
That Amendment Again
Ms. Wellbaum’s complaint about S.F. Examiners all over the place in their slippery plastic bags (Noe Valley Voice, May 2012) is well founded, and her deliveries should be discontinued. There is, however, a complication called the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A number of years ago, a complaint was voiced about the proliferation of newspaper racks in Noe Valley, and San Francisco in general.Chronicle columnist Herb Caen researched this and found out that the racks were protected under the freedom of the press clause in the amendment.
I think that distributing the Examiner in the way the publisher is doing, while very annoying, is protected in the same way. I am afraid that we would not be able to muster the requisite number of votes, even here in Noe Valley, to amend the U.S. Constitution.
Embrace the Litter
Litter?!? Did someone say litter!?! I walk dogs three times a day and the litter problem in Noe Valley is horrid! But I do not include the Examiner under that heading; it doesn’t blow around. Pick it up and toss it! The S.F. Chron now costs over $400 a year. The Examiner is a nice source of info and publishes AMC movie schedules, not just Century, and it’s free. I only had to call once when I needed something. Don’t give up.
However, complaining is not going to solve the problem. We need to actively clean up the papers and coffee shop/food containers that float about our lovely neighborhood. I do so every day, three times a day. One generally has soiled, dirty hands when walking dogs, so picking up a few papers is not a problem. If each of us did that, it would go a long way toward creating a cleaner, nicer area. And bending down and picking up is good exercise! Shop owners take care of the spaces in front of their establishments. We need to take care of the space in front of our homes. One usually washes one’s hands when returning home, so a little litter soil shouldn’t inconvenience anyone too much. Please pitch in!!
The Phantom Dog Walker
Name withheld by request
Brokers Not Always Good Parkers
Tuesdays are the days that Noe Valley real estate brokers hold open houses for new listings that come on the market. With the current tech boom and Noe Valley being “hot,” Realtors flock to those open houses in a feeding frenzy. They park on the sidewalk, block driveways, and double-park. They seem to think that because they are Realtors they are important and that rules about pedestrian safety, blocking traffic, and disrupting the peace of the neighborhood do not apply to them.
On May 15, there was a brokers open house at 1430 Diamond St. I walked my dog past the home at 12:30 and there were two cars blocking the sidewalk (one in a neighbor’s driveway) and two Realtors double-parked (one in each direction). I stopped and said to three of them something to the effect that blocking sidewalks was inconsiderate, unnecessary, and illegal, especially when there are open parking spaces within one half block. The replies went something like, “You can walk around me,” “I will only be a few minutes,” and “Why? Does it bother you?”
Realtors appear to have rationalized their bad behavior; they certainly are not being good citizens of Noe Valley or responsible business people. Following the law, respect for the neighbors, and consideration for pedestrians should be at the top of their business values.
I think it is time for Noe Valley Realtors to re-set their parking practices. Personally, I would not do business with any Realtor whose ethics allow them to break the law and behave as inconsiderate adults.
Larry D. Trask
LETTERS to the EDITOR
THE VOICE welcomes your letters to the editor. Write theNoe Valley Voice, P.O. Box 460249, S.F., CA 94146. Or email email@example.com. Please include your full name and contact information. (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.
THE NOE VALLEY VOICE
P.O. Box 460249
San Francisco, CA 94146
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 ($25 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 letters will not be considered for publication.) Unsolicited contributions will be returned only if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AND EDITORS
Olivia Boler, Other Voices Editor
Corrie M. Anders, Associate Editor
Heather World, Associate Editor
Heidi Anderson, Karol Barske, Helen Colgan, Chrissy Elgersma, Jan Goben, Liz Highleyman, Rebecca Huval, Laura McHale Holland, Florence Holub, Tim Innes, Jeff Kaliss, Doug Konecky, Roger Rubin, Shayna Rubin, Karen Topakian, Nicole Wong
Pamela Gerard, Photo Editor
Beverly Tharp, Senior Photographer
Najib Joe Hakim, Senior Photographer
Jennifer O. Viereck
Jack Tipple, André Thélémaque
Jack Tipple, Misha Yagudin
Jon Elkin, Elliot Poger
Pat Rose, Jack Tipple
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