September 29, 2010

Noe Valley Town Square: A Few Notes From Second Meeting

We weren't able to attend. The following is from Murphstahoe:
Not much new other than the "3 to 4 million" and "turns out there can be some negotiation on price."

A guy from the architect did a slide show that was mostly a summary of the data from the last meeting.

One woman spoke up to say that she had a client who wanted that property before it became the parking lot but there was a disagreement with the Friends of Noe Valley and her client lost.

50ish people. Rafi, Rebecca, email from Wiener. 15 people on the ballot for board. Erin (I forget her last name) came up to me and said she was a big supporter of the plaza, she was running for board and excited about it but nervous. I said "Jill counted there are 15 on the ballot and there are 15 spots, so..."

"Mary McFadden is running as a write in candidate"

We left before the results.
If you went, please add your perspective in the comments.


Heather said...

All the officers ran unopposed and were elected. All board members save one (Scott Maddux) were elected.

Chris Keene said the Town Square folks would need to raise $500k in pledges from the neighborhood by a Nov meeting they have with open space committee members. The pledges would show that NV is an enthusiastic and reliable private partner for this public purchase. I didn't catch the date of the meeting or if it is in front of the entire open space committee.

Finally, at least two people heard Chris Guillard of CMG Landscape Architecture say there would not be parking in the space, but later he said his firm would create at least one option that had some kind of parking.

I, too, am confused about the $3m to $4m thing, but someone told me the range has to do zoning, potential zoning changes and that sort of thing. (Obviously I'm still confused.)

murphstahoe said...

I will buy a beer at the Valley Tavern for the first person to guess which one of the 11+4 candidates listed in this blog post signed the petition supporting the Noe Valley Plaza. Should not be hard to guess.

Anonymous said...

This is not a game of "who did what" or "who said what" or "who supported the plaza or not"..

Why not drop that immature little game and focus on the good parts of the great project?

Some of us are getting tired of the sniping and useless comments.

cr said...

Some of the Friends of Noe Valley don't seem so friendly.

Anonymous said...

I would agree. And some of the same commentators we have seen here over the past months are still ranting and offering negative opinions.

They really need to get over the "old" plaza issue and move forward with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

You won't get any of my money. The problem is that the anti-Noe plaza folk made such a disgusting display of themselves that I can't imagine sharing space with them -- town square, bar, meeting, whatever. Bunch of jackasses.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and some of the pro-plaza people also made a disgusting display of themselves as well.

Let's be clear on that.

cr said...

I understand a lot of folks would like to stop talking about the cancelled Noe Valley plaza trial. Believe me, I'm one of them. But it's impossible to discuss the Friends of Noe Valley or the town square proposal without acknowledging the recent history.

I wasn't at this meeting, and I don't know most of the characters personally, but if what we hear above is true, it looks like the anti-plaza forces have effectively organized a coup. Not only did they fill the vacant seats on the board; they also organized a write-in campaign and ousted one of the more progressive members. Correct me if I'm wrong. But that's what it looks like from the outside.

I sympathize with Anon @4:05, who says this is not a game of "who did what" or "who supported the plaza." However, it's naive to pretend that this new development has nothing to do with the plaza trial. Some of the incoming board members met each other for the first time during the plaza sabotage and made a coordinated effort to gain power by running for FoNV board seats. I applaud anyone who decides to get involved in community activism, and I don't begrudge them their new status as "Friends." But because I know where they stood during the plaza debate, and because I watched how they conducted themselves during that debate -- in some cases with extreme prejudice and total disregard for any norms of good citizenship -- it reflects badly on the Friends of Noe Valley and affects how I perceive the new board.

The backers of the town square proposal are not the same as the Friends of Noe Valley. However, the proposal has been incubated by FoNV, and town square organizer Todd David has just been elected president of FoNV (by all accounts, a decent fellow). And obviously the two organizations made a decision in this instance to bundle their meetings. So for better or worse, the town square proposal is tied to the Friends of Noe Valley.

There are many unanswered questions about the town square. Regardless of whether it would be better than the current use for the ministry parking lot (I think it is), regardless of whether the city should spend millions to acquire it (I'm less certain of that but open-minded), there are questions about how it will look and how it will be used. For me, the biggest question is whether there will be parking. (I find it wholly unacceptable that city "open space" funds would be used to put cars in a pedestrianized space.)

And that's why the context is relevant:

If the town square proposal is tied to the Friends of Noe Valley, and if the Friends of Noe Valley organization is now tied to individuals who have shown themselves to be hostile to the idea of pedestrianized space, then that makes me very skeptical about the town square proposal.

I know Todd David and the backers of the town square are seeking neighborhood consensus. They need it in order to take their proposal to the city. With that in mind, I hope they consider disassociating the project from the Friends of Noe Valley. And I hope they will resolve the question about parking before asking me for a pledge. Because looking at the new FoNV board, I don't trust them to represent the best interest of the neighborhood.

I was at the first town square meeting, and I will gladly come to the next one, but I hope it doesn't take place at the same time and place as a FoNV meeting.

SFbooster said...


Does it really matter AT ALL who are the supporters of the new proposed town square or not?

Does it really matter that some of the new supporters may have been against the original plaza idea on Noe St?

No, I don't think it matters one bit.

The bottom line is that there are supporters, yes organized. who are backing the new plaza idea. Whether they are members of local groups or not seems completely irrelevant to me. They are people willing to invest their time and energy into helping make this plaza dream come true.

You're making way too much out of personalities that you may not like. I would suggest we all focus on the positive aspects of this project.

murphstahoe said...

"They are people willing to invest their time and energy into helping make this plaza dream come true."

If I read Heather's comment correctly, it's not their time and energy we need...

Anonymous said...

AS usual more negative comments from you.

Do you have anything good to say?

murphstahoe said...

"The Giants are going to the playoffs!"


nails doverspike said...


Carrie said...

If this comment from @Heather is in fact correct:

"Chris Keene said the Town Square folks would need to raise $500k in pledges from the neighborhood by a Nov meeting they have with open space committee members."

I would like to know...where exactly does that figure come from? Is it a $ per square foot figure that is required of ALL applicants for these funds? If so, how are neighborhoods like the Bayview or the Tenderloin ever going to compete for these city dollars against Noe Valley or Pac Heights? Is there a written policy we can read about how exactly sites are selected for these funds? Does said policy require $500K from a neighborhood? How did Chris Keene come up with this figure, and who told him that raising that specific sum of money would make Noe Valley more likely to secure the city dollars?

I am curious, and honestly a bit wary, about this process. Currently, this seems like "pay to play", and less affluent neighborhoods don't have that option.

I am ALL in favor of the Town Square, just as long as this is a fair and equitable process for ALL neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

$500k in a month?! Yeah, right.

Time to start discussing Plan C: The church donating the lot to the community in a rare act of piety. (They still do that kind of thing, right?!)

Oh, and refusing to consider people's past actions when contemplating their future actions is plain dumb, or at least insane according to one Ben Franklin.

Anonymous said...

Google will donate the money to Noe Valley if we quit bitching about the shuttles. Put it to a vote of the FoNV board.

Anonymous said...

Why should google give money to empower NIMBYs?

Anonymous said...

Because nimby's are the ones sitting in front of their computers googling all day and all night, and Google wants a town square, preferably with wifi, where their Noe Valley nimbys can get some fresh air, and the opportunity to meet other Nimby neighbors. They will then be able to get together in their backyards for a BBQ.

Anonymous said...


Heather said...

In response to Carrie's comment at 8:47 p.m. last night, here is a link to the city's general plan segment that deals with acquiring open space.

If you look at the minutes of the March 2010 PROSAC meeting you'll see another open space acquisition in the making at 17th and Folsom.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

For the feint of mind, allow one reader to distill the sarcasm of another a bit further yet...

NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard

"They will then be able to get together in their backyards for a BBQ"

Hahahahahahaha! Brilliant calling out of self-defeating behavior.

If only these so called Friends were friendlier, so much could be accomplished with so little...

Anonymous said...

Anyone else seeing two sets of Comments here:

And then again here:


Carrie said...

Thanks Heather. There is no fundraising requirement mentioned in the City's plan, so it is encouraging to know that neighborhoods will not be judged by how much money they raise. That leads me to believe that all neighborhoods will get a fair shot at these Open Fund dollars.