Noe Valley Voice December-January 2005

Letters to the Editor

Some Depend on Plants for Pain Relief


I am writing in response to Kim Stryker's letter in the October Voice. I am a 60-year-old woman who has been struggling with a spinal injury for 15 years, and cannabis is one component of my pain management strategy. I would like to express my appreciation for the Green Cross, where I have always received courteous, knowledgeable, and friendly service. The staff members know which types work best for muscle spasms or for nerve pain, and many refined facts about side effects so I can choose a type that least affects my ability to perform my tasks. And I greatly appreciate the fact that the dispensary is within walking distance of my home. Those without chronic pain don't seem to realize how important it is to be able to get to your medicine in a timely fashion. The effort involved in traveling to the next closest one would significantly worsen the pain.

In addition, I would question Stryker's statement that the club has "driven out" another business. This is a serious allegation. Businesses rarely pull up stakes for a single reason, but if the letter writer knows that this is the case, I invite Stryker or the Voice to back it up with a statement from the owner.

As for the fact that there are middle schools near the club, it does not offend me that young people would know that the sick sometimes heal themselves with plants that grow in nature rather than with pharmaceutical products.

Noe Valley resident
(Name withheld by request)

You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Chains

Dear Dogs of Noe Valley:

I have noticed many of you left tied to parking meters, benches, trees, pickup beds, and, on one occasion, a car door handle, outside eating and shopping establishments. I've seen you fastened sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours, while the person you guard does errands or enjoys a chat with friends, a meal, or a shopping spree.

I know this distresses you. I know this from your angry, sad, and heart-wrenching barks and whines that you manage to sustain for a very, very long time. The short, small comforts of strangers who pet you, feed you, and give you water are nothing compared to the stress you are under while lashed by your leash to a pole or vehicle, sometimes in the rain or direct sun.

Consider revolution.

When they attempt to tie you up, bite them. Or, at least, grab their ankles or cuffs and refuse to let go. I know that it goes against your genetics and training to bite the hand that feeds you, but those people who ignore your pleas are doing you harm and making those of us who hear you angry at your treatment, as well as at the disruption. I suggest this revolution for our mutual benefit.

I would not ask you to harm anyone, but as your repertoire of communication is limited--whining, barking, biting, growling, and urinating are the only methods available--they are often misinterpreted as simple urges rather than signals. Even my intercession on your behalf does not lead to beneficial results. I do not think it is a case of misunderstanding, as I have the use of a range of words as well as gestures to communicate the urgency of these situations. Rather, as the following examples show, I suspect sheer selfishness.

One woman informed me that not only was leaving her corgi outside of Starbucks in a cold winter rain for an hour beginning at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday a healthy training method, but that she had a right to let her pet bark, her pet had the right to bark, and I had no right to be concerned or to complain. She finished by referring to me as a female member of your species, which I took both as a compliment and a misnomer.

On another occasion, again at an unholy hour for any but the most agrarian Australian shepherd with many a sheep to herd across a vast outback, a man protected by a particularly nervous and aggrieved terrier replied oddly to my suggestion that eating breakfast while his dog evinced distress was unkind and rude with the notation that he knew his dog was barking. He was, he pointed out, watching the dog bark. I attempted to correct his peculiar notion that watching a dog bark was an appropriate thing to do by telling him that watching is not the same as hearing or addressing the barking. The gentleman's response involved ordering another complete breakfast accompanied by a hand gesture humans find offensive.

I give you a third example of three dogs considered the property of three separate people. All the dogs were tied to the same parking meter while the people stopped for a drink or seven. A car alarm went off next to the poor animals who were already upset at being left outside for an extended period of time. The dogs began to quarrel amongst themselves, and the fight extended to a passerby who tried, unsuccessfully, to disengage the animals from each other. Eventually, the pet owners emerged from the establishment, gave a hearty and useless command to the animals--"Stop it!"--and reentered the bar. Police reprimanded the owners of the drinking establishment as well as the owners of the animals, who waited nearly a full week before repeating the episode.

So my dear dogs, the time is right for you to declare your displeasure in no uncertain terms. Bite, nip, nibble, clip, or grab those who would leave you in torment. There is no need to injure anyone, for this should be a revolution of manner, not of hierarchy. We all deserve to be treated respectfully. Sometimes those who walk upright and possess opposable thumbs must be reminded that those traits do not grant an exception for rotten behavior or allow anybody to thumb one's nose at those of us who share geography and society.

Yours in solidarity,
Mary McFadden

An Appreciative Canadian Visitor


I just have to put pen to paper to let you know about a special person working in your neighborhood.

I recently visited family in San Francisco from Canada. I have been coming to San Francisco for about 14 years and have enjoyed every visit. But this visit brought the unusual, the unexpected.

I became sick with a very bad back shortly after arriving, and it became so bad that my husband tried to track down a local chiropractor to give some relief. After several unhelpful responses from other offices, he was lucky enough to make contact with Ann Hood, whose office is on 24th Street. She fit me into her busy schedule the same day.

Not only did she give me much relief in adjusting my back but further suggested that I might be developing shingles and recommended that I attend an emergency clinic. She was correct in her diagnosis, and I was given the necessary medication and am well on the way to recovery. In the meantime, she went to great lengths to help in both practical and emotional arenas, even following up with a personal call to ensure I had found some relief.

How lucky you are to have such a caring and dedicated treasure working in your community, and how fortunate for me that I found her.

I am reassured to know that if I should have any similar problems on my further visits to San Francisco, I have a kind, friendly, and competent person to call on.

Finally, I want to make it clear that this letter is completely unsolicited.

Sylvia Leedham
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada

Don't Reward Bad Behavior


As a loyal and long-term customer of both Open Door Yoga and Real Food Company, I've witnessed two very distinct ways to close a business. When faced with needing to close Open Door Yoga, owner Lizzie Nichols chose to do so in a loving, generous way. She did that by helping the people impacted by the closing of Open Door. She provided several months' notice of the closing, she assisted her customers in finding new places to practice yoga, and she had the members of the Open Door Yoga community come together one last time to celebrate and say goodbye to a very important part of their lives. Lizzie, in effect, gave everyone a big hug and wished them well.

By contrast, when faced with needing to close its business, Nutraceutical chose to do so in a way that showed a total disregard for the impact that the store closing would have on anyone else. For instance, Nutraceutical gave no notice of the closing to its customers, and since then it has left its building looking like an eyesore. Worst of all, and notwithstanding many people's attempts to work together with Nutraceutical to get the empty-store situation resolved as soon as possible, Nutraceutical also refused to communicate with any of the people impacted by the closing, including Bevan Dufty, our supervisor.

So Nutraceutical, in effect, gave everyone in Noe Valley the finger, told them that their concerns were of no consequence, and told them to get lost.

Most children come to understand the Golden Rule. Most adults do, too. Lizzie treated her former customers as all of us would like to be treated, while Nutraceutical treated all of its former customers as zeros--as not being worth even an iota of a flickering of a thought.

I personally feel a need to say that this sort of bad behavior is not acceptable, and, after two years of ongoing bad behavior, is not even close to forgivable, no matter what amends might be offered.

So when and if Nutraceutical tries to re-enter our community, I am going to vote against Nutraceutical's bad behavior, with my feet and with my dollars, by not spending a dime there, even if it means having to drive to Rainbow and even if it means only being able to shop locally for produce once a week at the farmers' market. I hope others will do the same thing, because if they do business with Nutraceutical, then they are voting their approval of the past two years' worth of bad behavior, and supporting a bunch of people who can't even muster a seventh-grader's understanding of what it is to do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

John Friedman
Noe Valley resident

Those Mikeytom Blues


It is always amusing and sad to read the continuing saga of the space formerly occupied by Mikeytom Market on Church Street. Now, according to your newest account [Rumors, November 2005], the owner is trying to lease it again, for $5,000 a month, which is exactly the sum that Mikeytom offered in the spring of 2003, which the owner rejected because he wanted $7,500 a month.

Now, 28 months later, the empty building is a daily reminder of how much we all miss a good business and two good neighbors. Or, as Dylan said, "Sure was a good idea, until greed got in the way."

Larry Medcalf
Dolores Street

New York Times, Watch Out


I just have to write to you to tell you how great your cute little neighborhood paper is! I live in Merced Heights, but your paper makes me aspire to live in Noe Valley. Always thought "Noe" was a French name, so was pleased/surprised to learn [in the November Kids' Page, by Laura McCloskey] that the Valley is named for Jose de Jesus Noe. You even had a picture! And an article about neighborhood good guy Peter Gabel of Elizabeth Street--whose street was named for the wife of John Meirs Horner! Plus, the Voice in front of the Eiffel Tower. And store and library developments in Glen Park, and that's only the beginning.

I actually read the Voice before I get to the New York Times. (I pick up my issue at meetings I attend at the Noe Valley Ministry.) Thank you for your great and informative efforts.

Jim Musselman
Loyal reader and Noe Valley aspirant

THE VOICE welcomes your letters to the editor. Write the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Or e-mail 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.