Monthly Archives: November 2004

SF Dept. of Environment: Great Hwy. Project Moves Forward

Over the past decade, winter storms have battered the bluffs along Ocean Beach, causing serious erosion along a 3,000-foot section that stretches from Sloat Boulevard to Fort Funston. Since 1997, the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW), in coordination and consultation with regulatory agencies and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), a unit of the National Park System, has implemented a number of temporary emergency measures to protect the Great Highway and city-owned wastewater facilities while long-term solutions to the erosion problems are sought.

Many different agencies are involved in studying and managing resources in the area, making the decision process complex. In addition, there is controversy over whether hard structures (such as seawalls or banks of large rocks) are better or worse than “softer” approaches (such as periodic replacement of sand barriers) or letting nature retake some man-made structures, including parking or roadway surfaces.

The California Department of Boating and Waterways and the California Resources Agency recently granted more than $1 million to DPW to continue the evaluation of alternative long-term solutions, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Alternatives to be considered include approaches such as “no action” or “managed retreat,” as well as other approaches, including the construction of an off-shore reef or breakwater and both hard and soft structures on-shore. DPW, in cooperation with the Department of the Environment, USACE and GGNRA, encourages public involvement in the Ocean Beach alternatives identification and evaluation process.

For more information or to obtain project fact sheets, go to: or call Frank Filice, DPW’s manager of capital planning, at (415) 558-4011.

Assemblyman Leland Yee: Future of Medicine Conference

Odds are that if you live in San Francisco, you have had the opportunity to experience some form of holistic or alternative healthcare. This could include practicing yoga or relaxation exercises, or taking herbal supplements for colds or other ailments. Many San Franciscans regularly visit acupuncturists, chiropractors or naturopathic physicians for relief from a variety of conditions. Whether or not you incorporate these forms of treatment into your own life, one thing is certain: alternative healthcare is on the rise in California.

I am delighted to announce that on Nov. 13, I will be joining with The Institute for Holistic Healing Studies at San Francisco State University to co-host The Future of Medicine – Conference 2004. The conference will bring together leaders in the fields of complementary and alternative medicine, health care experts, community partners and citizens wishing to learn more about the value and benefits of integrating alternative and conventional medicine. It is my hope that a holistic health forum will educate the public and demonstrate that there is no single, inflexible approach to health care.

Thanks to Senate Bill 907, authored by Sen. John Burton in 2003, Naturopathic Physicians are now eligible for licensure in California, allowing our state to join the ranks of others which offer natural medicine as a recognized health care option. Treatments typically referred to as alternative or complementary medicine, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care and massage, are being integrated more and more into conventional medical practices.  In fact, medical institutes such as the California Pacific Medical Center, University of California San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente offer alternative medicine.  Additionally, valuable educational programs are making a career in alternative healthcare an available option for more and more individuals.

The Future of Medicine Conference will feature keynote speakers who are at the forefront of the complementary and alternative medicine movement. Sylver Quevedo is a Harvard educated M.D. and M.P.H. who directs the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF. A public health expert, he is known for his holistic approach to healthcare – bringing together body, mind and spirit in a culturally sensitive context.

In addition to hearing from our dynamic speakers and panelists, conference-goers will be invited to participate in interactive workshops to learn about and experience first-hand a variety of alternative medicine disciplines. Workshops will range from chiropractic care and massage to the healing power of music, Qigong and nutritional medicine.

We are lucky to live in a socially and culturally diverse community that is, for the most part, very open to holistic thinking and practices as well as new approaches to health and healing. By expanding our healthcare options we will be better prepared to meet the health care needs of the 21st century.  By taking advantage of untapped resources, we can better provide for those in need in our community.

The conference will take place on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., at San Francisco State University’s student center, Jack Adams Hall, 1600 Holloway Ave.

Speaker pro Tempore Leland Yee represents the 12th Assembly District, which includes San Francisco and San Mateo counties.


Supervisor Fiona Ma: Sunset Improvement Projects

You may have noticed increased activity around our district water facilities and reservoirs. As I reported in a previous column, the SF Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is starting work on a Capital Improvement Plan to upgrade our aging water-delivery system and protect and preserve it for future generations. What does this mean for the Sunset? It means we will directly benefit from several projects.

In mid-November will see preparation for a new water main from the Sunset Reservoir along 29th Avenue and Lincoln Way. The trenching and piping from 29th Avenue to Lincoln Way will last through April 2005. The remaining 2.5 miles of pipe will be installed along Lincoln Way, to Fifth Avenue, through the spring of 2006. If you would like more information about this project, contact Robert Lopez at or 554-3286

At the Sunset Reservoir, plans are being finalized to stabilize and reinforce the hillside of the north basin at 28th Avenue and Ortega Street. The project will require cutting into the hillside and installing columns to protect the embankment from liquefaction in case of an earthquake.

Built in 1938, the Sunset Reservoir supplies drinking water to nearly 60 percent of our homes and businesses. This project will help protect this resource. Work will start in early spring of 2005 and when construction is complete, the hillside will be restored, as will its stone wall and benches. Contact Maureen Barry at or 554-3297 if you would like greater details on this project.

The Central Pump Station on Sloat Boulevard and 23rd Avenue will see structural and seismic improvements as well. Demolition work, framing and seismic reinforcement work is beginning this fall. Most of the work will be done inside the pump station so noise in the neighborhood should be minimal. The PUC anticipates completion in early 2006.

For more information on this project, contact Amy Sinclair at or 551-4659.

Finally, in late November, a seismic retrofit of the Merced Manor Reservoir will get underway. This $5.4 million project will repair the inside of the reservoir, strengthen the roof and reinforce the overall structure.

There will be a community briefing about the project on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 6:30 p.m., at an on-site trailer. I encourage residents to attend for a more detailed briefing. Contact Maureen Barry at or 554-3297 for information on the project or on the upcoming meeting.

Throughout this process, my office has been assisting the PUC in their commitment to make these improvement projects part of an open community process, which involves residents and businesses in its planning and refinement. By working together, we can assure the reliability and safety of our water for future generations while making sure that these projects preserve the quality of life in our neighborhood.

Fiona Ma is a San Francisco supervisor representing District 4.

Capt. Keith Sanford: Keeping Safe for the Holidays

The holiday season is rapidly coming upon us and, as a result, we in the community must prepare ourselves.

Halloween will dictate our awareness of children being outside in the evening hours, trick or treating in costumes while walking around the Sunset District. We must make certain our kids are safe while they are out at night by having a guardian or parent accompany the kids to and from events and while being safety conscious while walking in and out of traffic.

If you’re operating motor vehicles, maintain a keen eye on the streets for kids running into traffic. It would be wise to drive a bit slower during the holidays! If you have any questions about the safety of candy, call the police department’s Halloween Candy Hotline at (800) 433-1200.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, it is essential to maintain our sobriety and avoid opportunities for crime by being alert. Keep personal possessions in pockets (cash, credit and identification cards, etc), not in purses or where they are visible to others.

Gifts and packages should be placed in areas of your vehicle that are not visible to public view. Shopping or attending events with one or two additional people would be wise, for the purpose of designated drivers and being safe in numbers.

The current total of traffic citations issued year-to-date is 4,800-plus. In October, through Oct. 26, there were 87 arrests made (58 felonies and 29 misdemeanors).

The SF Department of Parking and Traffic says it will begin using “speed display trailers” at the intersections of Ninth Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard and Irving Street and 19th Avenue in early November. The trailers will display the speeds of passing vehicles as well as giving the posted speed limit. The trailers will be used as a traffic-calming measure. It is part of a traffic education program being sponsored by supervisors Fiona Ma and Sean Elsbernd, working with Assemblyman Leland Yee.

A string of armed robberies in the district have had similar patterns. The suspect, who wears dark clothes and brandishes a handgun in the crimes, is a black male between 20 and 30 years old, weighing from 140 pounds to 165 pounds, and standing between five-foot-six-inches and five-foot-nine-inches tall.

The suspect approaches the victim from behind, usually when the victim is exiting his or her vehicle, and demands the victim’s property. The suspect then flees on foot.

A second individual committing armed robberies in the district has been described as a black male, between 30 and 40 years old, weighing from 180 pounds to 230 pounds, and standing between six-foot and six-foot-two-inches tall. He also wears dark clothing and carries a dark-colored handgun. All of the victims have been alone when the crimes occurred.

Our patrol unit, plainclothes team and the robbery unit are actively searching for these criminals. Attempt to travel with friends or family when you’re outside your homes. If you have any information, please notify the SF Police Department.

The concerns of trash and homeless issues throughout the district have brought city departments together to attempt to resolve the problems. Specifically, the area around Lake Merced was brought to our attention because there has been the illegal dumping of trash and construction materials all around the lake, as well as safety concerns. Various city departments are working with Taraval Police Station personnel to clean up the lake and make it more secure.

The current situation at at the fraternity house located at 1226 36th Ave. is still a focal point for the city attorney’s office and the police department. We’re working with the landlord for a long-term resolution.

Working with the members of the OMI Merchants Association and the OMI-Neighbors in Action organizations, we have been fortunate to get the Ocean Avenue beat officer back as of late October. Officer J. Drilon is the new beat officer, who will be on foot and bicycle patrol in the area working with the merchants and the community to resolve concerns. Drilon has been actively involved in graffiti abatement. He’ll be a vital resource for the community.

At the Taraval Police Community Relations Forum on Oct. 19, we were honored to have both Assemblyman Yee and Supervisor Ma in attendance.  Yee and Ma presented awards of recognition to L. Walden and J. Reilly for their commitment to the City by helping to keep our Sunset District crime free, safe and clean. Walden and Reilly also received commendations from Chief of Police Heather Fong for their excellent work.

The recent first annual LaPlaya Block Party held Oct. 23 was a success, with some 150 – 200 attendees. Free BBQ, drinks, candy, balloons, music, a kid’s jumping castle and a pumpkin patch were frequented by all. The rain did not halt the festivities as Ma dedicated the LaPlaya Mini Park to Pat and Buffy MaGuire and Sev Sarkissian, from Yee’s office, presented a certificate of recognition.

We look forward to the second annual LaPlaya Festival next October, in celebration of the community’s ability to change the district to a safe, clean and family-oriented neighborhood.

The Police Community Relations Forum Meeting will be held at the Taraval Police Station, located at 2345 24th Ave., on Nov. 16, at 7 p.m.

Capt. Keith Sanford is the commanding officer at the Taraval Police Station.

Japanese Students Visit BridgePoint

courtesy photo

Japanese students made a visit to BridgePoint in October.

Japanese students from the Yamano School of Aesthetics visited the residents of BridgePoint on Oct. 5. For more than three hours, the residents enjoyed a variety of activities, including a tea ceremony, manicures, make-up, Origami (art of paper folding), kimono fitting, and calligraphy.

The Japanese students were traveling to different senior groups and communities while traveling in California with Jane Aiko Yamano, who operates the beauty school that was started by her grandmother, Aiko Yamano, in 1925.

Aiko opened the first beauty school in Tokyo, and for the past 70 years has been at the forefront of the beauty industry, creating hair styles that were ahead of her time and promoting Japan’s traditional arts around the globe.

Granddaughter Jane believes strongly in cultural exchanges, especially those that involve inter-generation exchanges between seniors and youth.

The residents at BridgePoint, which is located in the old Shriners’ Hospital at 1601 19th Ave., loved learning about Japanese cultural traditions. Many of the seniors had their make-up done, got manicures and dressed up in kimonos.

Resident Martha Crawford participated in the make-up session. She said she had a great time with the students.

“They were full of vigor and vitality – what an intelligent group,” said resident Grace Wong, who participated in the tea ceremony. “They were great, and we all had a good time.”

BridgePoint Executive Director Susan Edwards believes strongly in cultural exchanges for the residents.

“We felt honored to be chosen for this one-of-a kind cultural event,” she said.

St. Anne’s Celebrates 100 Years Serving the Sunset District

photos: Philip Liborio Gangi

St. Anne’s is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Father Frank Bagadiong (top right),
a native of the Philippines, has been with the parish for three years.

By Peter Sciacca

St. Anne’s Catholic Church is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a month of special activities and masses.

“We are very happy about this milestone,” said Father Ed Dura, St. Anne’s pastor. “It is great to share this milestone with not only our parishioners, but members from other religious communities.”

In October, St. Anne’s invited members from various Sunset religious communities to join its parishioners and staff for a week of events to celebrate the church’s centennial.

“We also had a Pentecostal Mass, which celebrates the ascent of the Holy Spirit,” Dura said. “There was an alumni reunion for everyone who attended our school over the years.

“There was even a former student who attended St. Anne’s in the ’20s,” he said.

St. Anne’s even held celebrations specifically for parishioners from the Filipino and Chinese communities. The month of activities will conclude with a dinner for parishioners on Nov. 6, followed by a 10 a.m. Mass the next day.

“We have had a great presence in the Sunset,” Dura said. “Our school has educated a lot of students.”

He also mentioned the charitable work St. Anne’s chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society has done to aid San Francisco’s poor residents.

“We’ve done everything from passing out sandwiches to helping these people get their lives back together,” Dura said. “In addition to monetary assistance, we also offer counseling.”

St. Anne’s has also been a welcome place for many immigrants who had a tough time adjusting to a new life.

“We’re glad to fulfill their religious needs and bring them into our family,” Dura said.

He considers the founding of St. Anne’s to be one of the major components in the development of the western part of San Francisco.

“We have not only been here longer than any other church, but St. Anne’s was one of the Sunset’s first large construction projects,” he said. “People associated with it as a place to gain spiritual and social nourishment long before there were malls, grocery stores or coffee houses.”

Dura was chosen to be the pastor of the 1,300-family parish by San Francisco’s archbishop six years ago. Before taking the position at St. Anne’s, Dura was the assistant pastor of South San Francisco’s Mader Dolorosa Church.

“St. Anne’s is a very diverse and supportive parish,” he said. “I am very proud to be part of this church.”

While St. Anne’s has much to celebrate, Dura conceded that the number of parishioners has dropped in recent years. He pointed out the cost of living in San Francisco as being one of the greatest factors in the decline.

“Families are being forced to move elsewhere because they can’t afford to live here,” he said. “I’m sure in the future that we’ll have to adjust to this decline.

“It may just be a matter of holding fewer masses or as drastic as only holding one on Sunday. No matter what, we will make sure that this community continues to be served like it has for the past 100 years.”

City’s German Community Stays Linked to Roots

By Judith Kahn

The German School of San Francisco successfully links the city’s German community to its language and culture, through its creative way of teaching German and the programs it sponsors.

Its approach to teaching and furthering the study and use of the German language is unique. The school offers a great many programs, which teach children and adults the customs, history and culture of the German-speaking countries. It is the only school in San Francisco where instruction of children begins at two years of age and continues through age 14.

Lowell High School and Newcomer High School are the only other San Francisco schools that offer German as part of its curriculum. Fifty percent of the parents with students volunteer at the school.

Two major festivals sponsored by the school are the Lanternfest and the Oktoberfest.

The Oktoberfest was organized by the United German American Societies of San Francisco (UGAS-SF) in 1991. Some 15,000 to 20,000 people attend the event. At this year’s festival, the school’s choir performed and the school hosted booths with games, crafts and activities for youth.

The Lanternfest, held in early November, is a century-old tradition of songs and brightly-colored lanterns, celebrating the memory and legend of Saint Martin. This year’s event will be held at Midtown Terrace on Sunday, Nov. 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Throughout the year, the school hosts camping trips at Russian River, Angel Island and a “snow weekend” at Donner Pass. At Donner, the group partners with Naturfreunde (Friends of Nature), which is from Oakland and operates a ski lodge.

One of the favorite activities held during the year is “movie night,” where youth and their families meet at someone’s home to watch German movies and enjoy German food.

During its 69 years in existence, the German School has been located at several locations. From 1935 to the mid-’60s, when the German population was at its height in San Francisco, it was located on Polk Street, where the Culinary Institute in now located. As the German population declined in San Francisco, the school rented facilities from the SF Unified School District. Currently, the school holds classes on Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at Mercy High School at 3250 19th Ave.

The average class size at the German School is 10, with a maximum class size of 15. All classes are primarily conducted in German and textbooks are imported from Germany. Teaching techniques include a variety of games, songs and role-playing. Upper level students participate in an annual essay-writing contest.

Students also have the opportunity to take the nationally administered Advanced Placement exam for extra credit.

Adult classes are offered and include lectures on political, cultural and business issues.

Teachers at the school are native speakers and hold teaching credentials. Fifty percent of the students attending the school have at least one parent who is German and 25 percent have two parents of German descent.

The parents of children at the school like the accelerated pace of German instruction because after attending, the youth can speak to family members in German and take trips to Germany. The school connects the youth with their German heritage and allows them a sense of community with their ancestors.

Funding for the non-profit German School can sometimes be problematic. Currently, 60 percent of the funding for the school comes from tuition, 30 percent from fund-raising events and 10 percent from the German government.

According to Peter Buettner, the president of the school, funding is always a challenge.

The school also relies heavily on volunteers, who assist in the classroom, organize and run events and do marketing and public relations chores.

For more information about the German School, call (415) 586-9060, e-mail or go to the website at