Noe Valley Voice April 2009

Letters to the Editor

A Survey of "Downtown Noe Valley"


In early February, I got into a little bit of a snit about what I thought was an excess of women's clothing stores on 24th Street. This led to my doing a small survey of what really is on 24th Street. To my surprise, there were not, in fact, too many shops that sell clothes to women: only seven out of 143 surveyed shops.

I counted only the shops on 24th Street from Chattanooga to Douglass streets, the block of Castro between 24th and Jersey, and the shops on the side streets that were in buildings facing 24th. So, a few businesses that may be considered local but are on upper floors are missing from the tally. Still, this list gives a good idea of what and how many stores we have.

I did not expect the numbers to be so high, nor did I expect the shops to be as balanced. Friends in small towns were amazed when they saw the list!

James Leal
Retired architect, 24th Street

24th Street Retail Catalog

Food Retail
Bagels 2
Bakery 1
Cheese 1
Coffee 3
Corner Grocery 2
Deli/Takeout 2
Donuts 1
Farmers Market 1
Restaurants, General 16
Pizza 3
Supermarket 1
Wine & Liquor 4
Subtotal 37

General Retail
Art Supply 1
Auto Repair 1
Bank 4
Bar 5
Barber 1
Bicycles 2
Books 3
Children's Clothing 2
Cookware 1
Drugstore 1
Dry Cleaner/Laundry 4
Exercise 2
Eyewear 4
Financial Planning 3
Flowers 3
Gifts 7
Hardware 1
Health 1
Home Furnishings 2
Knitting 1
Law 3
Medical 4
News/Magazines 1
Pet Food/Grooming 2
Photo/Camera 1
Post Office 1
Pottery 1
Real Estate 7
Toys 1
Used Clothing 2
Subtotal 74

Women's Retail
Beauty Salon 3
Jewelry 3
Nail Parlor 12
Women's Clothing 7
Women's Cosmetics 3
Women's Shoes (Men) 3
Women's Sports 1
Subtotal 32


In Support of Father Tony


[Re: "Obama Icon Raises the Ire of Local Pastor," February 2009 Voice]

We live in a country which gives us the right to express our opinions, either for, or against. Father Tony LaTorre of St. Philip's has the right to do the same. Also, being the pastor of his parish, it is his duty to guide his people on matters which he feels are inappropriate. And that is exactly what he did.

Many people, as well as many parishioners, do agree with Father Tony. Although items, cards, etc., featuring caricatures of religious icons (no matter what religion) may be funny, some people are offended, insulted, and angered by the representation of the figure in this way. And they have a right to voice their anger and disapproval.

There should be more people in this world, and this community, who have the guts to stand up for their beliefs even if it goes against popular, modern-day opinions. Father Tony is such a person and should be applauded.

Tom DiSerio
Danny Forchione
Jan Lenzini
Jane Aronowicz

If the Candle Were Islamic...


I have my differences with Fr. LaTorre but agree with him that anti-Catholic bigotry is the last acceptable prejudice.

Let's see what happens if the marketing geniuses at Just for Fun extend the line to include a candle depicting Obama as Mohammed. Wouldn't that be hilarious!

I guess I'll just turn the other cheek.

Rick Carell
Noe Valley

Another Role Reversal


So...the learned Fr. LaTorre writes: "I am sorry the owner of this store, who happens to be Jewish, feels the need to mock and ridicule the Catholic/Christian faith. I am urging all you Catholics, for a change, to stand up for your faith and stay out of 'Just for Fun.' But be sure to poke your head in the store and tell them why. It is time that our faith, our beliefs, and our Lord are respected."

Here's an appropriate response:

"I am sorry the caretaker of this 'church,' who happens to be anti-Semitic in accordance with his faith, feels the need to mock and ridicule people of science/non-believers. I am urging all you non-believers, for a change, to stand up for your reason and stay out of St. Philip's 'church.' But be sure to poke your head in the taxpayer-assisted building and tell them why. It is time that our honesty, our reason, and our intelligence is respected.

David Podger
24th Street

Loose Dogs Can Be Deadly


I am personally aware of two attacks by unleashed dogs on 26th Street within the past month. My 4-pound dog and I were viciously attacked by an unleashed 80-pound dog in the 4200 block of 26th Street. With the blessings of the universe my baby survived. She sustained permanent disfigurement and we both sustained post-traumatic stress disorder, but with the continued blessings of the universe we are going to be okay. The attack dog's owner has paid almost $5,000 in veterinarian bills so far, and remains liable for much more.

The second attack occurred in the 4100 block of 26th Street and was witnessed by my neighbor. Two women were walking two unleashed dogs, and one of the dogs grabbed a cat by the neck and shook it to death. The dog's owner was horrified and told my neighbor that her dog had never displayed aggressive behavior before. Her dog's lack of prior aggressive behavior did not save the cat or comfort the cat's guardian.

Every day I encounter unleashed dogs on the streets of Noe Valley. I have lived in several different neighborhoods in San Francisco, but I have not encountered so many unleashed dogs in any other part of the city. We all think we know our precious pets, and we think they are harmless. We cannot predict their behavior. We live in a high-density city with leash laws. By following the leash laws, you protect others from harm and you also protect yourself from liability.

James Deveny
26th Street

A Voice from the Past

Editor [This was addressed to Voice editor and co-publisher Sally Smith]:

I don't know if you'll remember me, but I can't resist the shout out. We were compadres at the beginning stages of the NVV in 1977. I saw Milk recently, and the girl in the movie that becomes Harvey Milk's campaign manager reminded me of you (hair), so it made me do a search for the Noe Valley Voice. What an amazing surprise to find you still in business and having grown the paper into such a beautiful success story.

I tend to think of my time in San Francisco as a lost weekend, but the memory of Harvey Milk, the column he gave us, and the fact that you kept the masthead I had a hand in brings back fond memories. Odd to find universal development issues are closing businesses that I also remember, like Bell Market and Streetlight Records. Hope you're well and continuing to rock the road.

Lorraine Forte
New York, N.Y.

Editor's Note: Of course we remember. Back in '77, Lorraine Forte, a budding artist and graphic designer, sketched the Twin Peaks silhouette for the Voice logo and chose the Caslon Antique type for our column headers. She also donated many hours and sheets of press-on letters to the cause. We miss her and wish she'd come back to rebrand us.

Of Whole Foods and Old-Timers


While I am less than sanguine about the prospect of having a chain store move into the neighborhood, and would have far preferred a locally owned business such as Bi-Rite or Mikeytom, the reality is that something had to fill the void left by the departure of both Real Food and, thankfully, Ralphs [Bell Market]. I hope that some of Whole Foods' products will be affordable to those of us who don't have mansions on the hill. [However,] I would like to publicly thank and acknowledge the efforts of Andrew Calabrese, Whole Foods' liaison to Noe Valley, who has done an excellent job of community networking and outreach.

At present, the only small businesses that might be negatively affected by Whole Foods' operations seem to be Common Scents and the 24th Street Cheese Company. It is up to all of us to continue patronizing and supporting these folks. They are two of the few remaining "old-timers" in our community.

Patrick Monk
24th Street

Research Tip


I'm volunteering with the Stanford Historical Society and appreciated finding online the March 2004 article by Rosie Ruley Atkins about Leo Holub's photographing students on campus and about his life's work. Thanks for making it available!

Judee Humburg
Menlo Park, Calif.

Our website at has Voice issues dating back to 1996. Older editions are stored in the History Room of the Main Library. --Ed.

On the Road to Cesar Chavez Redesign


Noe Valley's neighbors in the Mission and Bernal Heights have been working for over three years to civilize the traffic on Cesar Chavez Street and make that corridor safer and more welcoming for all who cross or travel along it. The community group CC Puede [Cesar Chavez Yes We Can] has organized events and publicized the process through neighborhood newspapers, meetings, and local outreach. Designs now moving through the official planning process include a landscaped median, bike lanes, bulb-outs at intersections, and pedestrian-scale lighting.

Drivers from other neighborhoods have begun to express concern about potential congestion and resentment about not being informed earlier. No one has been excluded from the process, but outreach has been concentrated in the most immediately affected blocks, mostly due to thinly stretched volunteer resources. It's also difficult to contact and inform drivers, who are separated from one another and moving too fast to read flyers posted on poles or in shop windows.

Some staunch opponents of the proposal have long been included on the CC Puede mailing list, thus receiving notice of every new development. But evidently, these individuals haven't spread the word to their fellow drivers. Proponents should hardly be held responsible for not organizing their own opposition. Still, we encourage skeptics to weigh in now if they haven't had a chance already.

As for the project itself, we don't expect it to be as hostile to drivers as they may assume. In fact, many, if not most, of the proponents drive themselves, and have no fears that the proposed changes will make this more difficult. Increased congestion is in no one's interest, as angry drivers also make life miserable for pedestrians: blocking crosswalks, making sudden turns, and speeding on smaller streets if they get frustrated on main ones.

The proposal for Cesar Chavez reconfigures the traffic lanes from three in each direction to two, but it also adds left-turn pockets in both directions at Folsom and eastbound at South Van Ness, while forbidding left turns elsewhere (existing pockets at Mission and Bryant would remain). This change will smooth traffic flow by avoiding the impatient lines that now form behind turning cars.

Anyone wishing to stay informed of future meetings and discussions can go to planning/City_Design_Group/CDG_mission_cesarchavez.htm and sign up.

You can also join the CC Puede mailing list by writing to frances.taylor@ or 2982 26th Street, SF, 94110. I'm happy to answer any specific questions, and more information is provided on the CC Puede website at Please speak up if you're worried about this project.

Fran Taylor
Co-chair, CC Puede

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.