Things picked up when guest of honor and District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener arrived (a few minutes late). He jumped right in with a plug for the accomplishments of his office so far including balancing the budget, rescuing some money for tree maintenance, and bringing back the police academy classes to train new cops in SF. He also touched on…
AT&T Boxes – Scott spent some time recapping his position on why he voted yes on the boxes and fielding tangent questions such as: Could we get rid of the Clear Channel news boxes instead (no – it's a 1st amendment issue, they're paid for and you can't ban news boxes); could we turn the boxes into street art or benches (yes, good idea – Emeryville has turned its boxes into art); and why can't we underground them (too big and need cooling). Overall AT&T is aware that Noe doesn’t want boxes and is not likely put them here unless asked.In between of all of this, Scott also fielded some wacky (boozy?) out-of-left-field questions thrown at him by people who didn't quite get the format. Q: How do you stand on the Muni to Chinatown plan? A: I wouldn't have backed it but the horse has left the barn. Q: How come third-world countries have better cell reception and they don't have big AT&T boxes? A: The boxes are about high-speed cable and Internet, not cell service. And so on.
Town Square – "It's alive" and can happen, says Scott, but it's going to take "an enormous amount of work." It might need to be packaged up with some other projects in the Bayview and Mission and can’t be done with just open space funds. Private funds will have to fill the gap + buildout costs + income for ongoing maintenance.
Real Foods – Scott's goal is to get the owner of the building to finally "sell it and be done with it." He says he's "found new people" involved in the building and is "in a dialog" with them. He'd like to see retail on the ground floor and housing above – which means the buyer would have to be a developer.
Muni – It's going to be a "long road to progress" Scott admitted, but there are some hopeful signs including the new MTA Director Ed Reiskin (he takes Muni daily and doesn't own a car), and the fact that Muni can now hire part-time drivers to cover Muni's sky-high absenteeism (expect to see changes on that front in 12-18 months). Other interesting factoids – the J has the lowest ridership of any Muni train at just 18,000 per day (vs. the N Judah's 30,000 per day), and most J Church riders only use the line north of 30th St.
After Scott left, the meeting wrapped up with a preview of possible planned events from the FoNV this year and next including:
· Music in the Park (BBQ, music and activities near Noe Courts after Labor Day)And finally, at the end of the meeting FoNV president Todd David dropped a rumor that the Tuttimelon space on 24th Street may have a new tenant soon… First Republic Bank.
· Happy Birthday Noe Valley (history event in November)
· Noe Valley Love Fest (Valentine's Day)
· Book Week (March 4-10 with a Book Fair)
· A Group Run (See Jane Run sponsored; heats for strollers, pets, etc)
· A Pet Event (for families and furry ones; sponsored by local pet stores)
[Photo: @sdweiner on Twitter]