April 27, 2013

This Week in Noe Valley: Mystery Blackout, La Nebbia Love, And Honor For Victims Of Violent Crime

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: Campoy83]

April 26, 2013

Real Foods: I Wish This Was...

It's been almost 10 years of lawsuits and blight since Real Foods abruptly shut its doors, and aside from the mural behind the glass this is one of the best things we've seen on site. From a frustrated neighbor:
Well, I've had these 10 stickers in my desk for probably 3 years now, always intending to go put them up at Real Food, and today I finally did! It wasn't more than a minute before people walked up and asked for my Sharpie so they could write on the stickers. The project is by Candy Chang and the stickers remove without any damage to the window, so it isn't vandalism. And really, after what will be TEN YEARS this September, when the heck are they going to make that space into something usable? What a waste!

Anyway, the responses that the first few people had were awesome. I'm sure the stickers will be gone by tomorrow, but for today I hope the 24th street walkers enjoy the statement.
As of 4:30 this afternoon there will still two blank stickers. What would you add? Some examples below.

[Candy Chang: I wish This Was]

Update: Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvements

Work on Phase II of the Cesar Chavez sewer upgrade streetscape improvement project began last month and like the sewer work will move east to west. Crews are currently rerouting curbs and catch basins between Hampshire and Bryant. CC Puede's Fran Taylor attended last night's neighborhood meeting and sent this update:
The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year and will be done in phases:
  1. Drainage and bulbouts: 20 bulbouts on the corners with planters to catch rainwater will be done first.
  2. Median: Next, the median curbs will be laid out.
  3. Repaving: The repaving will be done in sections: Hampshire to Florida in Sept/Oct, Florida to Folsom in late October, Folsom to Mission in November, and Mission to Guerrero at the end.
  4. Sidewalks: Next, the new street lamps and other sidewalk improvements will be done.
  5. Plantings: The last step will be sticking all those new plants In the ground on both the sidewalks and the median.
Lanes were reconfigured after sewer work was completed to approximate traffic flow when finished. The pavement has been rough, but traffic seems to flow smoothly. When this project was first announced plenty of our readers expressed dismay over the loss of traffic lanes despite the addition of dedicated turn lanes and bus pullouts. Now that the changes are more evident, we're curious - how have the changes affected your commute?

[SFDWP: Cesar Chavez Sewer & Streetscape Project]
[NVSF: Cesar Chavez: Work Starts In June (2011)]
[Photo: SFDPW (PDF)]

Letter: Privacy Issues With Walgreens' Balance Rewards Program

Walgreens has added a membership club and at least one neighbor is not pleased. Marianne has concerns:
I am upset at Walgreens.

They have a new “membership rewards” program. Not sure what it gets you, but I don’t want to be a “member” of Walgreens.

Today I went in to get a bunch of things, and because I am not a member, they disallowed all the price discounts on my items.

I spoke to the manager and he said he’d “make an exception” for my purchases. That is not the point. The information gathering is too pervasive especially since they already have all my prescription info. The advertising pricing is deceptive – it’s a neighborhood store - and only members get discounts? There’s something creepy about that. And that the manager could “make an exception”? What’s that all about? I don’t want to be an exception. I just don’t want to be a member.
Member clubs aren't new and it's no suprise that Walgreens would institute one. But Marianne has a good point - Walgreens is the only pharmacy in the neighborhood and already has a huge amount of protected health information on Noe Valley residents. Do you want them to also track your shopping habits?

It's bad enough that they make you push a button that announces "assistance needed in the hemorrhoids aisle."

For what it's worth, Walgreens states that it adheres to its privacy policy, and that HIPAA-protected information can only be linked to the Balance Rewards program with explicit consent.

April 22, 2013

La Ciccia Plans To Open La Nebbia On Outer Church St

La Ciccia's Tuna Heart Pasta
Great news from Inside Scoop today - La Ciccia, one of the best Italian restaurants in the US, is opening a second location at 1781 Church St:
“Our idea is to do an enoteca,” says Conti. “An enoteca, but also a prosciutteria and fresh cheese bar.”

The plan is to offer a selection of 10 or so cured hams from Italy and beyond, giving guests a way to compare the various Italian versions with their counterparts from Spain, America, Germany, France and Portugal. The fresh cheese options will be similar, featuring mozzarella, burrata and ricotta — both local and Italian.

At 36 seats, La Nebbia will also feature a double-deck pizza oven, with one level for pizzas and another for roasted vegetables and a daily meat special. The oven will also churn out one more component of the restaurant: lasagna. According to Conti, he’s liked lasagna since he was a kid, but for some reason, never orders it in restaurants; he wants to offer four to five different types, be it vegetarian, sausage, meat and so on.

“We’d like to have fun with it,” he says, calling it more of a San Francisco restaurant than an “Italian” restaurant, given the local ingredients they’ll use on the pizzas and such. “We want it to be a fun place where you can go have a great glass of wine and some prosciutto — a neighborhood place, but also something different and unique.”
Cece's Closet and Napra's Back and Muscle Treatment vacated adjacent storefronts last June while the building owner made changes required by ADA laws. Permits filed 4/2/13 specify change of use for both 1781-1785 Church St. If the building and change of use permits sail through planning La Nebbia plans to open this fall.

[Inside Scoop: La Ciccia working on a new project nearby: La Nebbia]
[NVSF: More Changes on Outer Church Street]

April 20, 2013

This Week In Noe Valley: A Beautiful End To A Crazy Week

Whether because of the great weather, the grind after returning from spring break or the focus on all the other crazy news this week, there's not much to add for the weekly roundup. Enjoy the weekend.

[Photo: @humphryslocombe] ]

April 18, 2013

Noe Valley Town Square Clears Major Hurdle

The San Francisco Rec and Park Commission met today to consider (among other things) whether to endorse the purchase of the parking lot from the Noe Valley Ministry. Via Todd David:
I'm happy to report that the Rec and Park Commission unanimously voted today to recommend the purchase of the Noe Valley Town Square to the Board of Supervisors!!--(A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO THE APPROXIMATELY 20 NOE VALLEY RESIDENTS WHO SPOKE IN SUPPORT OF THE TOWN SQUARE.)

The recommendation from the Rec and Park Commission is for the Board of Supervisors to approve $4,242,500 from the Open Space Fund for the purchase and remediation of the Noe Valley Ministry Parking lot (Noe Valley Ministry would receive $3.9 million and the additional $342,500 would be used for remediation of the lot that used to be a gas station.)

Earlier in the week, Supervisor Wiener introduced legislation that will allow the Board of Supervisors to act upon the Rec and Park Commission's recommendation--namely purchase the Noe Valley Town Square!

Next on the calendar for the Town Square is the Board of Supervisor's Budget and Finance Subcommittee on Wed May 22nd. And then a final vote by the full Board of Supes on June 4th.

In other news, RNVTS submitted its concept proposal for a Prop 84 Urban Greening Grant from the State of California. The concept proposal requests $722,916.00 for development of the Town Square. Rec and Park staff took the lead on this concept proposal and did an amazing job!

That's all the news for now. If you or your friends have not donated to the Town Square, now is great time to do so: http://noevalleytownsquare.com/pledge/.
The SF Examiner caught up with the story just prior to the hearing and added a few more details:
“The site has already clearly demonstrated its positive benefits,” said Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg. David’s group has raised nearly $500,000 in donations to pay for amenity improvements at the location, and the residents’ organization and Rec and Park have applied for an additional $720,000 state grant.

The residents hope to add two play areas, a stage for musical performances, additional trees and a more permeable surface to replace the asphalt, David said. The farmers market will remain a centerpiece of the space.

Rec and Park hopes to acquire the lot by July 1, and until the funding arrives, it will act as an unimproved public open space, Ginsburg said.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose district includes the site, introduced legislation Tuesday that would enable the purchase.

“This has been a truly bottom-up, grass-roots effort led by community members in Noe Valley,” Wiener said. “Their ongoing commitment proves how much this neighborhood needs this park.”
[NVSF: Town Square: A Giant Leap Forward]
[NVSF: Noe Valley Town Square: Concepts]

April 16, 2013

Blight Watch: What's Up With 1220 Church St?

A letter to the Editor in the April 2013 Noe Valley Voice asked about the vacant 2-unit Edwardian at 1220-1222 Church St. We were able to report that the City considers it abandoned and an investigation is ongoing. Today we noticed scaffolding on the facade and demolition crews on site and dug a little deeper.

According to records on the Department of Building Inspection's website, an October 2005 complaint was filed by a tenant stated there was no heat and that water leaks were throughout apartment, and it snowballed from there. A Notice of Violation as issued for various issues with the code, but most significantly for an illegal unit in the garage.

Some of the minor violations were corrected and heat was provided by Feb 2006; the heat stopped working a month later. No permits were pulled to remove the illegal unit in the garage until Nov 2007. It appears the unit was removed, but the permit was never finalized and other structural problems remained.

A new complaint filed by the tenant in October 2008 stated the landlord had turned off the water. More inspections confirmed there was no water, and that other violations were still outstanding. There's no indication that the water was ever turned on, and there's no further communication from the tenant.

The latest complaint was filed in June 2012: "This building is vacant, Broken glass on the front area - Peeling paint, 2nd floor ceiling about to cave in; there is a lot of debris in the front area of the property behind their gate. Dry rot in the structure. Overgrown yard ... lots of weeds." Attempts to reach the owner have failed, and no one representing the property showed up to a hearing on April 2, 2013. It appears that the City may be trying to take control of the property and likely put it up for auction, but we can't confirm.

At this point, what we know for sure is that the building is owned by The Perez Family Trust and that they filed two Ellis Act Petitions in 2006 (PDF). We know that the complaints are outstanding, and we know there are no new construction or demolition permits. It would be interesting to know the history of how the family has fared and if this is a byproduct of a long foreclosure process.

At any rate, the scaffold hints at fresh paint and the noise from inside suggests this building could be inhabited sometime in the near future. Maybe - they better figure out the permit problems and make nice with the DBI.

[Photo: Google Street View]

April 15, 2013

It's Windy! Mother Nature and MUNI Mix It Up On Church St

If your wait for the J Church seems longer than usual today, it's not your imagination. The wind downed a tree on Church St. just north of 24th St and the carnage has disrupted trains for hours. As of this writing, trains were still not running and buses had to detour around that stretch of Church.
Incidentally, it's the same set of trees that caused this MUNI backup and power outage last May.

If you're headed outside, hang on to your hat and watch for falling branches. The winds are expected to die down tonight.

April 11, 2013

Revealed: Griddlefresh (Or Something Like That)

With work ongoing behind the paper at 4007 24th St, we've been trying to get more info about what to expect when it opens. Neighbor businesses report variations on "some kind of food," and workers on site are limited to "I'm just the plumber/drywall guy." But we did find a clue on their beer/wine license: DBA GRIDDLEFRESH. Could it be GriddleFresh? Griddle-Fresh? Dunno. But we're guessing bacon is in the mix.

Update (4/12): A new sign in the window settles it: Griddle Fresh.

Update (5/18): Open as of this morning. 

[NVSF: What's Next For Noe Valley Deli?]

Fundraiser: Pasta Pomodoro For Alvarado Elementary School

Pasta Pomodoro has announced April and May days when it will donate 20% of all sales to Alvarado Elementary. The benefit applies to anyone with a flyer - you do not have to attend the school to qualify. The flyer? Print the image from this post. No printer? No problem - just mention the benefit when placing your order.

This month's dates are April 24-25, and the benefit will be repeated May 22-23.

April 2, 2013

UNN Meeting: Update On St. Luke's Hospital

The battle to keep a privately-run full-service hospital in the south part of the City has waged for years between Sutter Health (which operates CPMC) and local activists and officials. Early plans called for the closing of St. Luke's, as CPMC wanted to focus their energy (read: profits) in other neighborhoods. The most recent proposal from CPMC was to build a 555 bed hospital on Van Ness Avenue and to rebuild St. Luke's as a 60 bed hospital. Suffice it to say no one was happy.

In March, the SF Board of Supervisors unanimously supported a compromise that shrinks the Van Ness hospital to 274 beds and grows St. Luke's to 120 beds. Planning is set to take up the project in May.

Meanwhile, Upper Noe Neighbors is hosting a meeting next week to get feedback and update locals:
As many of you may be aware, the City recently came to an agreement on the future of St. Luke's Hospital on Cesar Chavez near Valencia...how it will be rebuilt/redesigned and the services it will offer. This was part of a larger plan for California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and their other campuses and new building on Van Ness. Since St. Luke's is very close to our neighborhood and a critical resource for our neighbors in Noe Valley and nearby neighborhoods, its future is important.

Supervisor Campus (District 9) will attend the meeting and explain what he pushed for in a hospital in his district and what he thinks about what's been decided. A representative from the Mayor's office and CPMC (Sutter Health) will also be on hand to explain what will happen and when.
What: Upper Noe Neighbors Meeting
Where: Upper Noe Rec Center, Day at Sanchez
When: April 10, 7:30PM

[Mission Local: Mayor Unveils Pact to Save St. Luke’s Hospital]
[SF Biz Times: S.F. supes OK CPMC's Cathedral Hill deal]

April 1, 2013

Town Square: A Giant Leap Forward

Some good news for supporters of the Noe Valley Town Square via email today:
Residents for Noe Valley Town Square (RNVTS) is pleased to announce that it is looking extremely likely that the Noe Valley Town Square is going to become a reality!

Representatives from Rec and Parks recently informed RNVTS that it is recommending to the Rec and Park Commission as well as the Board of Supervisors that the complete purchase of the Ministry's Parking Lot be financed by the Rec and Park Open Space Fund. This is fantastic news, but just the beginning of a long journey. After the parking lot is purchased by Rec and Parks, we still need to “build” a Town Square. This means we will need to continue to raise money from the community as well as work towards a positive outcome for our Prop 84 Urban Greening Grant from the State.

Please consider making a pledge today at http://noevalleytownsquare.com/pledge/

Here are the key dates and events to follow:
  1. Wed, April 3rd an "acquisition overview" will be presented to the Rec and Park Capital Committee Meeting.
  2. Thurs, April 18th the whole Rec and Park Commission will vote on whether to recommend the Noe Valley Town Square acquisition to the Board of Supervisors.
  3. Wed, May 22nd the Board of Supervisors Budget Finance Subcommittee will vote on whether to recommend the acquisition of the Town Square to the full BOS.
  4. Tues, June 4th the whole Board of Supervisors votes on whether to acquire the Town Square.
  5. If approved by the BOS, RNVTS will start collecting pledges on June 5th!
  6. If approved by the BOS, the City will own the parking lot free and clear by July 1, 2013 (which allows the RNVTS to apply for Prop 84 development funds from the State of CA.
This is all incredibly exciting and something that the greater Noe Valley Community should be very proud of accomplishing.

If you have not had a chance to make a pledge to the Town Square yet, please do so at http://noevalleytownsquare.com/pledge/

Todd David
[Noe Valley Town Square]