Noe Valley Voice March 2007

Letters to the Editor

Help Girls Sail Ships


I am a 52-year-old Noe Valley native and mother of Christina Marquez, 18. At age 17, Christina embarked upon a life-changing education. For her last semester at Gateway High School she enrolled in a program called Tall Ship Semester for Girls. Twelve high school girls (from different high schools in the city) trained at the YMCA for four weeks, studied navigation at San Francisco State University, and learned how to sail a 125-foot, gaft-rigged topsail schooner named the Spirit of Massachusetts. They flew to Puerto Rico, where they boarded the ship and sailed across the Caribbean, ending up in South Carolina.

While on the ship, my daughter learned teamwork, responsibility, and leadership, and gained tremendous confidence. She received the 2006 Tall Ship Education Academy Founders Award for the student who best demonstrated the characteristics of the program. When she returned, she convinced me to participate in a three-day women's challenge--three days aboard a 40-foot schooner with 12 strange women who would be crew members and learn how to sail. I was terrified, because I did not know how to swim. Still, I decided to participate based on the strength of my daughter's experience. It was the most thrilling thing I've ever done. Our trip was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 14, 2006, and there was also a slideshow documentary on I am eternally grateful to this program. My daughter Christina is an avid sailor now, attending U.C. Davis. I am looking forward to her being the first woman (or man) in her family to attend and graduate from college.

Currently, I am holding a fundraiser to raise money for girls who would like to participate in the Tall Ship program who might not otherwise be able to afford it. It will be held at the Bay View Boat Club, located at 489 Terry Francois Blvd. (in China Basin), from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will take place on Saturday, March 31, 2007. Tickets are $30, which will include dinner, raffle prizes, and a silent auction. Many Noe Valley businesses have made donations to help raise funds for the Tall Ship Education Academy fundraiser, and I would like to acknowledge them here. They are as follows:

Alice's Restaurant
Casa Mexicana
Common Scents
Cotton Basics
Gallery of Jewels
Hamano Sushi
Joe's 24th Street Cafe
Noe's Bar as well as Basso's of Noe Valley
One Stop Party Shop
Sanchez Street Studios
Small Frys
Sophia Rodriguez (Mylene's Hair Salon)
Swatdee Thai Cuisine
Regent Thai
30th Street Safeway

I hope that there will be more to come. For more information about Tall Ship Education Academy's program for girls, go to

Mary Ferretti-Breidinger
Day Street

Rash of Muggings


I live at the corner of 23rd and Dolores streets. Over the past several months, there has been a rash of muggings on our corner. In January, someone was even beaten and stabbed while being mugged. It's happening so often now that my wife and I are almost used to hearing screaming outside our door. It even happened again last night [Feb. 20]. There are some dense bushes in front of one of the houses on the corner, and we believe a group of two or three men are hiding in them and jumping out whenever someone (mostly solitary men) passes by. Armed with knives, they take off their victims' jacket and push them to the ground. Then they often proceed to kick or beat them as they steal whatever they have. And this hasn't been happening in the middle of the night either. All of the muggings took place around 8 p.m.

We feel helpless about this. We have called the police many times without any results. What does it take for them to do something about this? At this point, my wife and I are thinking of leaving the neighborhood. Please be very aware when walking around this corner at night.


St. James' Dream Team


I wanted to share a story about the St. James eighth-grade boys basketball team and their awesome journey to this year's CYO championship game. The team consisted of only five players. These five players beat the odds and won both playoff games and made it to the championship game on Friday, Feb. 16. They unfortunately came in second place, but they overcame so many obstacles and played with so much "heart and soul" that I wanted them to know their hard work and determination has left their school, parents, and friends with an enormous amount of pride and respect for each individual player.

The five players began playing together as a team in the fourth grade. There have been other members on the team for the fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade years, but when it came to this year, it ended up being the original five players of the fourth-grade team. The team almost did not exist, due to some doubt that there would be enough boys to make a team and also to the fact that there was no coach to coach them.

The seventh-grade teacher, Mrs. Ibula, stepped up to the plate and volunteered to coach. Although the boys were a bit hesitant to have a female coach, they quickly overcame their stereotype and developed a great deal of respect, trust, and admiration for their coach.

Their loss on Feb. 16 was one of honor. They were holding their ground until the third quarter, when one of the players was injured. He received a deep cut on the upper eyelid and was unable to play the fourth quarter, leaving the remaining four players to try as hard as they could to take first place. Although the player's injury did require five stitches, he refused to leave the game and instead asked his coach to let him play the last minute of the fourth quarter.

The St. James Vikings lost by a few points that evening, but in the eyes of all their fans and families they are true champions!

To the coach, Mrs. Ibula, and to her assistant coach and husband, Mr. Ibula, a big thank you from all of us for believing in our boys and for teaching them to always believe in themselves.

To the team, Anthony, Peter, Luis, Hugo, and Cody, a big thank you for a thrilling and amazing season. Go Vikings!

Connie Murphy
St. James School
Fair Oaks Street

Noe Kin May Be Living in Australia


Hello from sunny Queensland, Australia. I stumbled across your journal while searching the net for some family history research. I am hoping one of your readers might shed some light on one of our ancestors, Catalina Portener.

She was the sister of Theophilus Portener, daughter of Frederick Portener and Florence Riordan, born in San Francisco on Dec. 23, 1852. Theophilus is my mother's grandfather. My mother is now 91, and we are trying to fill in a few gaps in her ancestral file.

Catalina was married to a Jesus Noe before marrying Augustus D. Splivalo on 25 May 1875. Might this Jesus Noe be a son of the legendary Jose de Jesus Noe, the first Mexican governor? Can anyone tell me if there were any children from this union? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Carol Campbell
28 Palm Avenue
Shorncliffe Qld 4017

Editor's Reply: A quick search online turned up two pieces of evidence that seem to support your theory. According to a source located at, an 1846 list of the residents of Yerba Buena, Mission Dolores, and the Presidio--the three small villages that later became San Francisco--included "José Jesús Noé, last alcalde under the Mexican regime; Doña Guadalupe, wife of José Jesús Noé, four sons and two daughters (who were all small children), and four servants; and Miguel Noé, son of ex-Alcalde Noé." Also, in the September 2001 issue of the Noe Valley Voice (see, we reported that "an old photograph widely purported to be a portrait of our neighborhood's founder...may in fact be his son, Jose de Jesus Noe Jr. (1843-1872), says local historian Mae Silver."

Good luck in your research.

Birdwatching Gets Interesting


Has anyone else seen a peregrine falcon in Glen Park or Noe Valley? I've seen one twice--once on a phone pole across from my house at Farnum and Moffitt in late December, and then again on Jan. 20 in a tree by the playground at Walter Haas Park, at Diamond Street and Diamond Heights Boulevard. It's thrilling to see such a magnificent bird! I understand that a pair has been nesting downtown, and so it's not beyond reason to think one would find us and possibly nest here.

I've also noticed a flock of parrots swooping around Glen Park in the past few months, about 12 to 15 of them, all bright green. Maybe they're an offshoot of the flock on Dolores Street, but in any case, they're quite lively!

I haven't been an avid birdwatcher previously, but it's gotten a lot more worthwhile to do so lately!

Linda Wojciechowski
Glen Park

Don't Stop Sorting Recyclables


Part of your sentence on the corner litter receptacles in the February issue was incorrect. Here is what your Rumors columnist wrote:

...[T]hose very popular permeable recycling racks on the top of street garbage cans that were creatively turned into planters by the NVA after they became obsolete (when the city started sorting the recyclables from all the trash at the processing plant) are now being inexplicably removed by the Department of Public Works.

The garbage in the city's litter containers, as well as the black carts at residents' homes and businesses, are collected in the garbage side of the split-body recycling trucks and then dumped at the transfer station located across from the Bayshore Caltrain Station on Tunnel Avenue. From there it is transferred to semi-trucks and taken to the Altamont landfill in the East Bay. None of that material is sorted.

The material in the blue carts is taken to Pier 96 here in the city and sorted for bottles, cans, and paper. These materials are then baled and shipped to the appropriate recycling facility. The material in the green cart is also brought to the Tunnel Avenue site, and from there it goes to one of several composting facilities, as well as to East Bay MUD for digestion and electrical generation.

We cannot at this time sort the contents of the city's litter cans because of the amount and types of contamination that might create. The cans at any time can contain everything from liquids like coffee and soda, to animal feces deposited by people walking their dogs.

By having information such as that in your article out there, we are worried that people may stop using the three bins at their home or work, thinking that everything gets sorted now!

Paul Giusti
Business Manager
Sunset Scavenger Company

The Voice is sorry we created the wrong impression. Thanks for setting us straight.


1021 Sanchez Street

San Francisco, CA 94114

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