Noe Valley Voice July-August 2009

Letters to the Editor

Memories of Magnolia


It was nice to read about my late friend Magnolia (Patsy Mora, née Mallon) in the Rumors column of the June issue. But Magnolia Thunderpussy's cafe was not an ice cream store!

Magnolia's offered entrees and desserts, and the name of every menu item was a double entendre. I can't recall the entire menu, but one of the standouts was the Ménage à Trois, a delicious stew. Magnolia's had two desserts--the Montana Banana you mentioned and its "female counterpart," the Pineapple Pussy. (They certainly received the most press!)

The business outgrew the small Castro Street space next to Little Bell Market (at least according to Chronicle columnist Herb Caen it did) and moved into the old Drogstore Cafe at Haight and Masonic, where the likes of Johnny Winter would wander in for a bite to eat after a concert at the Fillmore.

Thanks for the fond memories!

June Rose

The Garage Sale Index


For all the caterwauling, the current economic situation is not as bad as it was during the Carter malaise of the late 1970s, as judged by the current dearth of garage sales in Noe Valley. Then, people would try to sell excess goods to make vacating their apartments less burdensome, and there were good sales every week. Yet we lived through it, and so shall we live through Obama's malaise, too.

James Keefer
Guerrero Street


A Word from Citizens United for Safer Streets (CUSS)
By John McFadden

Hello. I'm the temporary chairman of CUSS, Citizens United for Safer Streets. Our first project is to encourage all dog companions and owners to keep their dogs on leash at a safe distance from other beings, except while in designated dog parks.

What a drag, I hear you big dog owners say. But CUSS is not as demanding as you think. We want to rely only on empathy, and our empathy is unconditional. All we ask at first is that you read the following:

The Doubt of the Dog Owner

Take for example our empathic view of dog owners who don't want to leash their dogs. These owners are routinely put down by people who are afraid of their dogs. But in most cases, these dog owners are oblivious to the anxiety they are generating. This is understandable, because:

* Most dogs that people fear--sometimes just because the dogs are big--have never bitten or intimidated any animal or person.

* Most dogs that charge people and small dogs only want to play.

* Most dog owners sincerely believe that violence against other dogs and people is too infrequent to warrant restrictive measures. They see the Whipple case as almost unique.

* Most dog owners believe that off-leash play is very important for them and their dogs.

Therefore, they consider other people's fear unwarranted. And they expect people to learn how to relate to their dogs.

The Plight of the Victim

Now consider the plight of the victims of dogs' aggression. Many small dog owners and parents of small children walk 24th Street in fear of being threatened or injured on the sidewalk. Why are they so afraid?

* The most important and controversial reason is: People believe there is no way to know whether a dog will threaten. That's because sometimes even a large, obviously friendly dog, wagging his tail and appearing playful, starts sniffing a small dog, the small dog gets angry, and the big dog bites the small dog or barks repeatedly. Although a threatening dog may never bite, his or her barks, charges, and, occasionally, bared teeth are frightening.

* Emotional and sometimes physical damage is done as soon as a charging dog approaches. For example, a man backing away from a charging dog fell in the street and was missed by a few inches by a passing car. He injured his ankle.

* Every small dog owner of 34 Noe Valley owners we polled knows of or has experienced a threat or injury to a pet caused by a dog. The Noe Valley Voice (February 2009) reported a disfiguring injury that cost the attacking dog's owner $5,000.

* The police and Animal Control cannot help, because the attackers leave too quickly.

* It's not reasonable to expect potential victims to learn how to handle threatening dogs. Some instructions people give them are like instructions on how to deal with a bear in the wild--stand still, make no sudden movements, etc.

* There is too little sense of safety on the streets and in some parks, because dogs can and sometimes do suddenly appear out of someone's front door.

At CUSS, the most common reaction I've gotten from small (and large) dog owners is that the attacks happen because of a few irresponsible owners "who are unreachable." We'll see. The trick is to keep gathering information, so I invite you to share at

John McFadden is a psychotherapist with training and experience in pet-owner relationship therapy. He and his wife have three small dogs, two of which are Xolos--the ancient breed from Mexico--and his wife is on the board of the Xolo Club of America.