Noe Valley Voice April 2011



The Voice welcomes your letters to the editor. Write the Noe Valley Voice, P.O. Box 460249, San Francisco, CA 94146. Or e­mail Please in­clude your 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.


Olivier Avendano: A Hero to Iguanas, Pups, And Old Victorians

Longtime Noe Valley handyman Olivier “Frenchy” Avendano passed away unexpectedly in Pacifica. Although he had been a naval officer during the Vietnam era, spoke several languages, and could recite Rimbaud as artfully as he could hang a door, he preferred hanging doors.

Choosing to be a handyman, he made life a lot easier for a lot of us. Like Columbo, in paint-splattered shoes and shambled cap, he always solved the problem in the end.

This metaphysical raconteur, word magician, and former college wrestling champ (all 123 pounds of him) sailed from Le Havre, France, to the shores of New York in 1954.

One of his friends and clients, Jack W., described him on Yelp as a master “craftsman.”

Olivier completed his life’s mission—to rescue and restore old buildings, little dogs, damsels in distress, even an abused iguana—on Feb. 10, 2011, at the still young age of 66.

Pre-deceased by his beloved mother, Annie Fran¨oise née Mondragon, he leaves behind many friends, who will miss his funniness and loyalty; a loving brother, noted inventor and hang glider Noel J. Avendano; and his best buddie Freddie, the little rat terrier he saved.

In Olivier Luc Avendano’s name, we can only try to be as brave, as big-hearted, and as tenacious, now that we must carry on without the one who taught us how. A celebration of his life is to be held at a later date.

Virginia Elliott
24th Street, 415-401-7653


Support Your Local Bookstore


I see by their announcement that Cover to Cover has gone out of business.

Oh well, who needs a bookstore in the neighborhood when the empty space might be taken by another bagel shop, overpriced coffee spot, or most important, yet another nail salon.

For those who can still read something beyond the instructions to their cell phone, please support Phoenix Books.

Jack Shane
27th Street


Needed: Morning Rides on the 35


My wife and I live on 27th Street between Castro and Diamond streets. The only way to easily get to us is via the 35-Eureka bus. The 24 is two and a half blocks away, down some very steep hills. In the past, Muni tried to stop the route at 24th Street. I posted every stop above 24th Street with fliers and rode the bus a number of times handing out fliers about the Muni meeting. We beat back that proposal.

When the service cuts came, Muni cut the early-morning and late-evening service. Now they have put back the late-evening service, but have done nothing about the early-morning. I walk down steep hills to catch the 24 around 7 a.m. It is tough, especially during the rainy season, and slippery. I don’t know what people do who live much farther away from the 24. When I asked Muni when they would reinstate the service, the response was, not at this time.

I am not the only one affected. There was always a good crowd at the 7 a.m. bus before. People who share my concern should write to the SFMTA at and choose “Service Change Feedback” to lodge a complaint. Also write to our District 8 supervisor, Scott Wiener, at

Let’s get Muni to change its mind.

Mark Rand
27th Street


Dog Owners Fetching Stares


I have been noticing more and more people bringing their dogs into stores instead of leaving them outside.

What is going on? Is this just some kind of arrogant “I do whatever I want to” attitude? Some dog owners seem to think that their dog has the same rights as a child. Not everyone wants a strange dog sniffing at them.

I sympathize with the store owner who probably doesn’t want to alienate the customer by “reminding” them of the law.

And while I’m at it, can’t dog owners curb their dogs? Do they have to be allowed to pollute/stain every tree, corner, shrub, building in sight? It really doesn’t matter if “it’s in their nature.” The dog owner should be in control.

Jane Ramos
Sanchez Street


Crime by the Numbers


I have a suggestion for the Police Beat section. First, please pass along my thanks to Officer Lorraine Lombardo and Captain Louis Cassanego. This sort of information is really invaluable in knowing what is happening in our community, and I appreciate the extra time they spend getting us that information

My suggestion is for the contributors from the Police Department to include a case number with each story. As you may know, the SFPD collects this information and presents it on a website ( More importantly, there are some serious crimes in my neighborhood that I’d like to follow through the DA’s office (such as the guy who pulled a gun on a person on 24th Street near Chattanooga). Hopefully, this would be an easy thing for the contributors to include, and doesn’t eat up too many column inches for you.

And thanks for putting out a great publication. We look forward to the new issues.

Peter Connor
Chattanooga Street


Editor’s Reply: Our police correspondents will include the numbers next month, and we’ll give it a go. Thanks for the suggestion.


Stolen Planters, Lost Faith


Hi. My name is Jennifer Slepin and I live at 1110 Sanchez (at 24th Street). A few months back, I put two beautiful matching 12-by-12-inch cement planters (with hummingbird and flower relief) on my front stoop and very much enjoyed the color and beauty they added. Many people commented on them as they passed by.

On Sunday, Feb. 27, I stepped outside to find that both planters were gone. I loved those planters and was very disappointed to see them go. I was even more disappointed to think that someone must have seen the planters, liked them, and decided to calculatedly come back to smuggle them away. It’s counterintuitive to what the flowers represented, and to what is so lovely about Noe Valley.

I’ve filed a report with the S.F. Police Department. However, if any of my neighbors witnessed the event or have seen the planters, I’d appreciate their contacting me and/or the police.


Jennifer Slepin



This essay by Alvarado School fifth-grader Matthew Virzi was a prize winner in a recent writing contest sponsored by the nonprofit Tuolumne River Trust. Matthew’s message comes to us just in time for Earth Day, April 22.


Save Water and You’ll Save the Tuolumne River

By Matthew Virzi

The Tuolumne River is an amazing place with beautiful cascading waterfalls such as LeConte Falls and ­Waterwheel Falls. It’s a great place to take pictures and see the large amounts of plant and animal life. This river is very important to California, is beautiful, and should be preserved.

Everyone should conserve water, considering that only 3 percent of the earth’s water is fresh water. If people don’t start trying to save their water, the only thing left to drink will be salt­water, and nobody wants to drink that! The low sodium count in water is the only thing keeping us alive. While conserving fresh water keeps enough for you to drink, it also keeps water in the reservoir for later usage so we don’t have to drain lakes and rivers, killing the aquatic and amphibious life, so let’s save some water!

There are many simple ways to save water that are very effective and helpful to the environment. Some of them are: fixing a leaky faucet, taking shorter showers, and not flushing very often. Think about it, those five extra minutes in the shower could take away an innocent animal’s life. Cutting down on small things such as taking shorter showers, or turning off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, could make a big impact. So turn off the sink, please.

I wasn’t originally motivated to conserve water, but then I learned about the Tuolumne River and how it sustains so much life, and that made me think about other experiences in nature I’ve had. For example, I grew up in the city of San Francisco and didn’t see a lot of wilderness until I went to Packer Lake with my cousins. My favorite memories from the trips there are driving up to where the road ended and hiking farther up to the snow. We had a snowball fight with my uncle and he creamed everyone. I also remember going fishing and having my leg get caught in a net. When I pulled it up, I saw three fish squirming around. Swimming to the dock in the middle of the lake was also exciting because we would play Giant Swimming Chicken and shake the dock.

Once I had so many awesome experiences related to nature and especially H20 (snow, rivers, and lakes) and learned about the Tuolumne, I decided that wilderness is important in my life and I want it to stay there. It’s important to conserve water and other natural resources so that others like me can have those same experiences for a long time. Please consider using water sparingly so that we can save the Tuolumne and places like it. We all need a Giant Swimming Chicken living under the dock.





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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Display Advertising Deadline for the May Issue: April 20, 2011

Editorial/Class Ad Deadline:April 15, 2011


Sally Smith, Jack Tipple


Olivia Boler, Other Voices Editor

Corrie M. Anders, Associate Editor

Heidi Anderson, Associate Editor

Karol Barske, Helen Colgan, Chrissy Elgersma, Jan Goben, Liz Highleyman, Laura McHale Holland, Florence Holub, Tim Innes, Jeff Kaliss, Doug Konecky, Erica Reder, Pat Rose, Roger Rubin, Shayna Rubin, Lorraine Sanders, Karen Topakian, Heather World, Nicole Wong, Alaish Wren CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Pamela Gerard, Photo Editor

Beverly Tharp, Senior Photographer

Jan Brittenson, Najib Joe Hakim


Karol Barske


Jon Elkin, Sally Smith, Jack Tipple


Clare Sullivan, Jack Tipple, Misha Yagudin


Jon Elkin, Elliot Poger


Steve Steinberg, Advertising Manager

Jack Tipple


Contents ©2011 The Noe Valley Voice


The Voice welcomes your letters to the editor. Write the Noe Valley Voice, P.O. Box 460249, San Francisco, CA 94146. Or e­mail Please in­clude your 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.