Community meeting recap: Supervisor candidates for Districts Six and Eight

By Jessie Allen-Young

On September 23rd the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association hosted a panel discussion with candidates who are running for Supervisor in Districts Six and Eight. We were fortunate to have the candidates answer neighbors’ questions. If you missed it, below is a list of candidates who answered questions.

Election Day this year is Tuesday November 2nd. Your vote matters in City Government. Get out and vote!

For District Six:

Dean Clark
Matt Drake
Glendon Hyde – “Anna Conda”
Jane Kim
Jim Meko
Debra Walker

For District Eight:

Bill Hemenger
Rafael Mandelman
Rebecca Prozan
Scott Wiener

Candidates listed in alphabetical order, grouped by district.

HVNA: Advocates for Great Urbanism [August-September 2010 print edition]

By Sarah Karlinsky

One of the first things I did when I started working at SPUR in September of 2005 was to get up to speed on the Market and Octavia Better Neighborhood Plan. I quickly learned that Market and Octavia was an exceptionally thoughtful neighborhood plan, one which balanced a desire to increase density in appropriate transit-rich locations while protecting the fragile virtues of the fine grained residential neighborhoods within the plan boundaries. In studying the Market and Octavia Plan I also learned about the heroic effort to bring down the Central Freeway and replace it with the Octavia Boulevard. Bringing down the Central Freeway was a major political battle – a battle that was lead by several members of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, including Patricia Walkup and Robin Levitt.

Proxy’s creative solution for Hayes Valley’s underutilized lots: a center for sustainable food,arts, culture and community serving uses. Image: courtesy of envelope a+d

I was impressed with what I was learning. HVNA seemed to me to be the best possible type of neighborhood association, one which was fiercely committed to creating a great urban community, a neighborhood not afraid to embrace density and cutting edge architecture in the right locations, a neighborhood incredibly excited about encouraging car-free spaces and woonerf style streets. As I began to attend the Market and Octavia adoption hearings, I was even more impressed. Members of HNVA turned out week after week to fight for the neighborhood plan that they had helped to craft. They were committed to the ideals embodied in the plan but willing to compromise when appropriate. Above all, they were impassioned advocates for the plan. I greatly enjoyed sitting in the back row of the Planning Commission chambers chatting with Paul Olsen, Robin Levitt, Jason Henderson and others waiting for another long evening hearing to begin.

Now that the Market and Octavia Plan has been adopted, HVNA is once again working to find ways to nurture great urbanism. Recently SPUR hosted a forum called “Taking (temporary) root: Pop-up storefronts and an urban farm in Hayes Valley.” SPUR members got to hear about the ways that vacant lots in the neighborhood are being activated, including the creation of the amazing Hayes Valley Farm located on a 1.5 acre lot where the Central Freeway used to touch down. A plan currently in the works called “Proxy” would allow temporary uses to be developed on two freeway parcels. I continue to be impressed with HVNA. It is a neighborhood association with great ideas and it is not afraid to work tirelessly to put those ideas into action.

Sarah Karlinsky is the Deputy Director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association.

Transit Wins and Community Development [August-September 2010 print edition]

Haight/Market Street transit and pedestrian improvements coming soon:

Transportation & Planning Committee is pleased to report that San Francisco has been awarded a Federally-funded Livable Communities Grant to reintroduce two-way bus service on Haight Street. The “straightening” of the bus route will shave-off 3 to 4 minutes of time for buses from Fillmore Street to the Market and Van Ness intersection. The $2.8 million grant funds the following improvements:

  • The conversion of Haight Street between Octavia Boulevard and Market Street to a two-way street.
  • New overhead wires for the transit lane on inbound Haight between Laguna and Market Street
  • The extension of the transit lane on Market Street from Franklin Street to Gough.
  • Pedestrian infrastructure on Haight and Market Streets including enhanced corner bulbs, additional pedestrian refuge islands, more directly aligned crosswalks, new pedestrian signals, and additional street tree plantings.

Additionally this project improves bicycling by removing transitbicycle conflicts on the Page Street bicycle route and adding safe-hit poles to the bicycle lane on Market Street.

The HVNA has a long history of supporting the reintroduction of two-way bus service on Haight Street and removing the current ‘jog’ of the Haight Street buses to Page Street. HVNA advocated for this to be part of the city’s “Transit Effectiveness Project” and it is part of the Market and Octavia Better Neighborhood Plan. The grant was a joint San Francisco Planning Department/ San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency proposal and we are grateful for their successful application. This project will now enter a design phase and will be watched closely by the T & P committee.

SF Jazz approved

The proposed SF Jazz performance and educational center at 205 Franklin Street (at Fell Street) was approved unanimously by the San Francisco Planning Commission in July. SF Jazz found an excellent location in the heart of an already established performing arts district, allowing the type of agglomeration economies that make talent and creativity thrive. It is easily accessible to the BART Station at the Civic Center, and to the Muni Metro Lines on Market Street, as well as the Hayes Street bus line. It is also in the center of a dense, walkable, mixed-use neighborhood with many dining and entertainment opportunities.

The T & P Committee is pleased that the project sponsor is not building a parking garage at this site, in keeping with the transit first policies of the Market & Octavia Plan. If a patron needs to drive to the venue, there is adequate parking in the Performing Arts Garage and in the Civic Center Garage.

At the July Planning Commission hearing, the commission directed the department to work with SF Jazz and HVNA to get the crosswalk reintroduced on the east side of the Fell and Franklin Street intersection. This intersection will have a considerable increase in pedestrian activity with a new 800-seat venue and education facility, and it is critical that the crosswalk be introduced in tandem with the project. The T & P committee will also work closely with SF Jazz and other immediate neighbors to make Linden Alley a “livable street” between Franklin and Gough Street. A critical component of the open space plan for the Market and Octavia Plan is to provide living streets. In this case, making Linden Street into a living street in conjunction with the project is a logical extension of the proposed transformation of Linden Street between Gough and Octavia Street.

2001 Market Street

The 2001 Project (aka Whole Foods on Market) is likely to go before the San Francisco Planning Commission in late September or October. In June the T & P committee met with the Prado Group to get the latest iteration of the project. We are pleased to report that Prado has dropped its pursuit of excess parking and will keep the project aligned with the hard-won parking standards outlined in the Market and Octavia Plan. Prado is now proposing 0.5 parking spaces per residential unit. We thank the staff of the San Francisco Planning Department, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association for joining HVNA on the parking issue.

While this project is just beyond our neighborhood borders, it will have a dramatic impact on our neighborhood, especially with potential traffic on Buchanan, Laguna, and Market Streets. We will continue to engage with the project as it moves through the planning process. One outstanding issue is the location of the affordable housing component. It is not clear whether the project will have on-sight affordable housing, as required by the City, or if the developer buys-out of providing on-site affordable housing by paying in-lieu fees to the city. The HVNA believes that in keeping with the spirit of the Market and Octavia Plan, affordable housing should be built on-site. We need to make sure that people of lower and middle income backgrounds can afford to live in the transitrich, walkable Market Street corridor. We will continue to monitor this project and advocate for on-site affordable housing.

Congestion Pricing

There will be a presentation at the HVNA general meeting in August.

A Letter from John Muir’s New Principal [August-September 2010 print edition]

By Chris Rosenberg

Greetings to the Hayes Valley Community, My name is Chris Rosenberg and I am the new principal of John Muir Elementary School. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help lead this wonderful school, and it is my sincere belief that through excellent teaching we will be able to significantly improve the achievement levels of the students. For the past 14 years I have worked at Starr King Elementary School in Potrero Hill, both as a teacher and principal. Prior to that work I taught middle school in West Oakland, recruited teachers across the country, and taught high school history in the Bronx. My experiences have taught me a great deal about school reform, and I feel invigorated and prepared to do the work necessary to improve academic achievement at John Muir. While I plan to make some changes at Muir, I also know there have been good things happening there already, and I am excited to continue many of them.

The work ahead at John Muir will center around the classrooms. The children are our top priority, and nobody is better able to support them in their learning than the classroom teachers. I feel fortunate that there were already many wonderful educators on staff, and I have tried to add to that list with several outstanding new hires this summer. Our focus as a staff will be the teaching of reading, as well as the other core subject areas. We are all committed to helping significantly improve achievement levels at John Muir. That work will require a great deal of effort and focus from the staff, and may mean that some traditional extra-curricular activities and partnerships be placed on hold while we get ourselves deeply into our work of teaching reading. I know the community has been extremely supportive of John Muir, and I look forward to that support, even if it may look a little different than it has in the past.

I am excited to be a part of this school and community, and look forward to learning about the many wonderful people and activities happening in the Western Addition/Hayes Valley neighborhoods. John Muir is lucky to have such an involved community that is committed to helping the students be as successful as possible. I plan to be writing a follow up article next fall celebrating the success of our first year together.

Sincerely, Chris Rosenberg

Youth Opportunity [August-September 2010 print edition]

By Barbara Wenger

CommunityGrows, an environmental education program serving high-needs youth through gardening, cooking and green-jobs training, has been very busy this summer in the Western Addition. Thanks to our great partnerships with Mo’Magic-Western Addition groups, Hayes Valley Apartments, and other summer programs, we were able to serve over 300 youth this summer.

We built gardens at Hayward Recreation Center, Opportunity Impact and Booker T. Washington Community Center. We took field trips to many places, including Green Gulch Farm and Alemany Farm. We cooked every week at Hayes Valley Apartments Community Room on Wednesday afternoons, with each week being a fun experience of hands-on learning. Our Seed-to-Mouth cooking program, in its fifth year, had youth harvesting vegetables from the Koshland Learning Garden, prepping and preparing a three-course dinner and sharing it together.

Lajaiyah Watkins enjoys a delicious and heathy meal.

This fall we will be continuing our work with the students of John Muir Elementary School and starting a gardening program at Rosa Parks Elementary School. CommunityGrows will host a workday on September 18th in Koshland Park from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., and we will have a garden fundraiser on October 16th from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. in the Koshland Garden. There will be live music and fresh local food. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased from CommunityGrows, 300 Page St, San Francisco, CA 94102. We look forward to seeing you!

NERT, Tips in a Nutshell [August-September 2010 print edition]

By Mari Hunter

The SF Fire Department recently finished up a NERT training course in Hayes Valley/Western Addition. Volunteers will discuss this training and what we can do as a neighborhood to prepare for an emergency at the August 26th HVNA meeting.

In the meantime, here are some preparedness tips:
1. In a disaster, think-don’t panic. Assess the situation— Are you okay and in a safe place?
2. Prior to an emergency, assemble a kit with basics including water, food, good shoes, radio, and flashlight.
3. Identify and reduce hazards in your environment e.g. cleaning supplies in your home, unsecured objects located above your head.
4. Locate your water, electrical and gas sources, learn how to turn them off and call a professional to turn them back on.
5. In a disaster, don’t move from the known to the unknown.
6. Locate your nearest land line and develop an outof- region call plan so friends and family can check-in and know where you are and that you are okay.

For more information go to:

Summer Safety Success [August-September 2010 print edition]

By Bob Barnwell

Monday, September 13th is the next Public Safety Committee meeting at the Korean American Center at 745 Buchanan. At the 7:00 PM meeting we will discuss our “Summer Safety Success”. We will acknowledge the reasons for the safe summer, including strong summer youth programs, community awareness and involvement, and police beat patrols. We will recognize community members, police officers and city officials who are responsible for this positive few months.

We want to build on what we have learned this year and begin planning for 2011. Come to the meeting and celebrate the people who helped make this a great summer in our neighborhoods. Our previous meetings on July 12th and August 2nd were devoted to putting together a Citizens Task Force for parts of Hayes Valley. This task force will help police with difficult neighborhood situations. Gail Baugh is leading the formation of the task force. She can be reached at ph. 626-6120 or Get involved—come to the September 13th meeting.

Scene on the Green [August-September 2010 print edition]

The Dog (Birth) Days of Summer

Both pets and Hayes Valley neighbors enjoyed Patricia’s Green during an early July doggie birthday party for Zoe (corgi, aged 4) and Louis (a rat terrier/papillon mix, aged 2). Owners Lindsay and Jamie & Susan supplied cake enough for all well-behaved invitees and party crashers.

The Queens’ Tea Party

Mrs. Vera, Mr. Tina and Jack Davis hosted a tea party on Patricia’s Green on Saturday, July 24. Those invited were Radical Faeries, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Drag Harpies and local celebutants. The invitation said “When people are asking for a theme we tell them to dress up. When they press further, we say don’t wear pants (unless of course, they are fabulous,) even further we say the theme is Faerie, Something Bright and Colorful.”

The fare was varied, as for any good high tea. There were savory sandwiches: cucumber, watercress and egg salad, The sweet end was taken up with yummy cupcakes and a St. Louis favorite, Gooey Butter Cake, all served on linen, china and silver. It was a perfect day for big hats, sundresses and sunglasses. The children in the park were most gracious to briefly share the climbing dome with the party goers so they could stage a group photo.