Letters to the Editor
I feel the short serpentine road in Golden Gate Park connecting Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and 25th Avenue in the Sunset District is one of the most dangerous streets in the City. One side of the street has a sidewalk and the other side none. When cars park on the street, particularly on weekends, people drive toward you on the narrow street.
I have witnessed many cars sideswiping other cars while trying to avoid oncoming
traffic. I saw one lady on a Moped hit the sidewalk while trying to avoid oncoming
traffic. The City should install double yellow stripes or reflectors the entire
length of the street. I have sent many letters and made many telephone calls
to the city's traffic engineer, supervisors and police captains to get the situation
fixed, but no one seems to care. They just pass the buck. How can we do something
before a tragedy happens?
Joe Kwai Lee
Editor, Richmond Residents:
What is the Balboa Theatre's future? We like to bring Balboa audiences not only the best movies but a real mixture that allows us to be your true neighborhood theater. But, to be honest, we are not sure where our neighbors have gone. Certainly the beautiful weather has an effect on attendance, but we are concerned that we are missing something. Our newsletter has become our main way of communicating with you.
Most of the film distributors have stopped listing theater names in their display ads and the SF Chronicle Movie Guide, which costs us a large sum of money to advertise in, is becoming less dependable as theaters drop out. The big theater circuit Regal has stopped all print ads and paid listings nationally. If the Movie Guide, free in most city newspapers, loses any more listings, readers will stop using it and more cinemas will drop it. The problem with online listings is they don't allow us to do anything special, like tell you about filmmaker appearances, giveaways or our low prices. The SFGate.com has changed its theater listing format so it is hard to get to the info. you need.
Our general manager, Roger, urges me to get newsletters out sooner so you can plan for the weekend. It is a good point though few reviews of new movies have appeared before opening day. But we can gather feature stories, interviews and some early reviews.
All of San Francisco's neighborhood theaters are suffering from these issues while the megaplexes do huge business. Our survival is a big question mark. We cannot go on losing money. Here is where you come in. Obviously we hope you will convince your friends and family to attend the Balboa more often.
But maybe you have ideas that can help us reach out and find new audiences.
Send your thoughts about what we can do better and how we can build our audiences
so the Balboa will still be around this summer and, hopefully, long after.
Proprietor, Balboa Theatre
On Friday, April 10, at 8:50 p.m., I was robbed. I had hopped on the N Judah train at 34th Avenue and Judah Street and was sitting a few seats away from the driver texting my boyfriend on my iPhone. As the doors opened around 27th Avenue, I suddenly saw a hand flash in front of me and snatch my phone. I stood up and screamed. Shocked, I was momentarily paralyzed. Then I realized people were running. Three men had gotten off the train to run after the suspect. I followed them.
The Good Samaritans tailed the thief to 21st and Lawton at breakneck speed, but lost him. I called 911 from one of their phones and the police quickly arrived. I hurriedly thanked the three men and got into the back of a police car to try to find the suspect. I saw him sprinting down Kirkham, but ultimately the police were unable to locate him. I recently moved back to San Francisco, my hometown, from Los Angeles. In L.A., I worked in some of the most notoriously gang-infested, crime-ridden neighborhoods - East L.A., South Central, Lincoln Heights, Hollywood - making home visits to students at risk of dropping out of school. I never once had a problem in my three years at that job, so I suppose when I moved back to the Sunset District I let my guard down a bit, despite being an avid reader of this paper's police blotter. If I was going to have any problems, I thought, it certainly wouldn't be here. Maybe downtown, but not in the sleepy Sunset where I grew up.
I was disturbed, though, to hear from the police that these robberies are not uncommon. Many times the suspect will push or threaten the victim as they go for their purse or phone. In fact, only an hour earlier that night, a girl had been pushed and robbed of her iPhone as she walked to the streetcar. The suspect in that case was caught and the phone recovered. At first, I felt scared and depressed to know that I wasn't safe in the Sunset anymore. Then, I remembered the horrified faces of the passengers on the bus and those three men who ran after the suspect for me. They did not have to do that. They risked their own safety for me, someone they didn't even know. I felt awful knowing that they could have been hurt over a stupid phone. But when you think about it, these guys didn't really care what was stolen or who I was. They saw a crime being committed and they reacted instinctively to try to bring the person to justice.
I am not recommending that everyone run after a robber and put themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation. However, I am beyond grateful and wholly inspired by the men who did that for me. It made me realize that for every jerk who thinks they can get away with something like that there are three stand-up guys or gals who will do their best not to let him. That for every person who thinks it's OK to steal, there is a bus-load of people who think it's wrong. It's important that somehow, in our own ways, we stand up for our communities' safety.
I have learned my lessons: Always be aware of your surroundings (if you see someone staring hard at everyone on the streetcar, it's likely me), never use your iPhone on public transit (I replaced my phone with a $20 Nokia - no more expensive phones for me!), and don't let the criminals of the world get you down ... let them make you stronger and smarter (I'm now taking self-defense classes).
We are still looking for the three Good Samaritans; to thank and to see if
they have any information about the suspect that might be helpful. No one was
able to get their names or contact information, so I can only hope they read
this. If you know them or if you are one of them, please contact Sgt. Shaughn
Ryan at (415) 553-1285. To me, you guys are heroes and I want to thank you from
the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank Taraval Station officers for their
prompt response to the scene and their overall kindness. All of you, police
and helpful civilians, make me proud to live in San Francisco!
Editor's note: This open letter was sent to Ranger George Durgerian at the Golden Gate National Recreational Area.
Dear Ranger Durgerian:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposal to institute valet parking at the recently completed parking lot up from the Cliff House that provides access to the beautiful new path at Lands End. My family strongly opposes this proposal. We very often are not able to get to Lands End until after 5 p.m.
Because the new Lands End path is gently sloping, with a smooth surface, and because it feels safe, has fresh air and breathtaking views, my elderly mother, our elderly dog, and myself (physically disabled) walk at the Land End path at every opportunity. It is now the only place we go to walk. (We were almost mugged at North Lake in Golden Gate Park, our previous favorite place). The parking lot is a key reason we feel safe there. Not only is it smooth to walk on (a key factor for the elderly and those with disabilities), it is also open for all to view, so the chance of having one's car broken into are greatly lessened there.
To institute valet parking at the lot that was created for the public to access Lands End would block all the working class families who come to Lands End after work (and they are many). We have been struck by how many families of diverse ethnicities we see using the parking lot after 5 p.m., bringing their children and elders to walk up the beautiful new path. The new walking path is clean and safe and comfortable and accessible for persons with disabilities. Instituting valet parking at the lot would deprive elders and those with disabilities of a wonderful new easily accessible place, uniquely safe and pleasant.
If you must institute valet parking at the Cliff House, have the valets use
the lot across the Great Highway from the restaurant just up from the Cliff
House. Also, a few more blue accessible spaces in front of the Cliff House would
be much appreciated. That way, those who really need close access to the Cliff
House would have it without having to pay $10. Thank you for considering these
Park Access For All