Tag Archives: Paul Kozakiewicz

Paul Kozakiewicz: Happy Birthday Beacon

Wow, has it already been 20 years?

When Chris Rivers and I started the Sunset Beacon in July 1991, we hoped the newspaper would continue to serve the Sunset for many years to come. Our dreams came true.

When we first hit the streets, Chris was out hustling ads and pulling in good stories. The newspaper was regularly 28 to 32 pages at that time and we were working hard just to keep the quality up. After an ill-fated attempt to publish a citywide newspaper from 1995 to 1997, Chris and I decided to part ways so I purchased Chris’ half of the paper.

Since then, a loyal group of talented writers and photographers have been plugging away, working to create the best newspaper possible to serve the needs of the Sunset and to create a sense of community among its diverse residents. We cover the Zoo, Sunset and Golden Gate parks, community organizations, land use decisions, politics, Ocean Beach, mass transit issues, law enforcement and much more.

The current crop of reporters, columnists and photographers are listed in the staff box of every issue, and I thank them profusely for the hard work they do.

Other writers over the years who have made outstanding contributions to the newspaper are Alan Saracevic, Carol Dimmick, Eric Louie, Dana Perrigan, Tom Prete, Eric Tyson, Laura Jacoby-Chatham, Meg Dixit, and Woody LaBounty.

A special thanks, too, to Greg Gaar, the historian who supplies us with vintage photographs of our neighborhood; Peter Tangermann, who takes care of the door-to-door distribution; Philip Liborio Gangi, our photo editor since day one; and Glenn Gulmes, publisher of the West Portal Monthly for his help editing.

Concerning columnists, we are fortunate to get monthly reports from our local police captain, district supervisor and other elected officials, like state Sen. Leland Yee and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma. We also get guest columns from many sources, including the SF Department of the Environment.

Another big “thank you” has to go out to the merchants who support the newspaper. Without them, there would be no newspaper.

Some, like Dr. Thomas Thickett, real estate agents Pat Sun, John M. Lee, Diana Matson Smith and Billie Soward, Peg Wallace at Elevation Pilates, Dan Hountalas at the Cliff House and the proprietors at Oceanview Dental and Kiki Japanese Restaurant, deserve a special thanks because they have supported us for most of the 20 years we’ve been in business. Many others have come and gone during that time, but their continual support contributes to the ongoing success of the paper. One such example is the University of California, San Francisco, whose departments use us to communicate with Sunset residents about numerous topics and concerns.

Please tell our advertisers how much you value their support for the local scribes.

On a final note, I would like to thank all of the community leaders and residents of the Sunset who continually tell me about important stories and events and noteworthy people living amongst us. Without your help, it would be impossible to write the first draft of the Sunset District’s history.

Thank you.

Paul Kozakiewicz is the publisher of the Sunset Beacon. Back issues of the newspaper, back to 2001, are available on the website at http://www.sunsetbeacon.com.

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Spat Over Outer Sunset Autumn Moon Festival

By Paul Kozakiewicz

An event that was intended to bring the Sunset community together is now entangled in a major rift between the Sunset Residents Association (SRA) and a new non-profit organization.

The Autumn Moon Festival, which takes place on Irving Street between 23rd and 25th avenues, features cultural entertainment, booths for non-profits and other neighborhood groups and a play “jumpie” for the children. It was started two years ago by the Sunset Residents Association to promote a sense of community in the neighborhood.

According to Jane Kwong, a member of SRA, the conflict occurred because the association wanted to donate the profits and excess money from the festival to local schools and community groups.

A new committee, Sunset Autumn Moon Festival Committee (SAMFC) was created because the Sunset Residents Association was not forthcoming with financial records, including how much money was made and what the balances for the previous two events were, according to state Sen. Leland Yee, a member of SAMFC.

Yee said the donating of money to outside organizations was unacceptable to members of SAMFC, which wanted all of the money raised to be used exclusively for the festival. He also said the SRA did not adequately report financial information from the first two festivals.

The festival has a large number of corporate sponsors, including Safeway, Bank of the Orient, Chevron, PG&E, and a large number of Chinese media sponsors, including Sing Tao Daily, SF Chinese Radio and several television stations.

“When you ask people for money, you need to be accountable,” Yee said.

He said the budget for the festival is in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, a relatively low amount because volunteers cover a lot of the work, including cleanup.

The SRA filed an application with ISSCOT, an umbrella group composed of various city departments, including the SF Department of Parking and Traffic, for a permit for Saturday, Sept. 22.

The newly-formed Sunset Autumn Moon Festival Committee submitted another permit application for a week earlier, for Saturday, Sept. 15.

A mediation attempt to bring the two sides together, brokered by Taraval Police Station Capt. Keith Sanford, failed.

At the July 26 ISSCOT hearing, a permit was granted to SAMFC. Part of the reason for the decision is the fact that the main Autumn Moon Festival is occurring in Chinatown Sept. 22. The city bureaucrats felt it would be less of a strain on city resources by having the two events on different days.

But Kwong says the permit was swung in Yee’s favor, despite the support of District 4 Supervisor Ed Jew, because of Yee’s influence at the state level.

Yee was present at the ISSCOT hearing, but did not testify.

The Autumn Moon Festival has been celebrated in China for more than 1,000 years. It is a tribute to the summer harvest and the immortal moon goddess Chang O, who lives in the moon. The “Chinese Thanksgiving” brings family together and is symbolized by the moon cake, pastries often filled with bean or lotus-seed paste and topped with a duck egg.