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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 17    <> MONDAY, APRIL30, 2001
            in all things wet
            still better
            than internet


            paul kantner





      dirty knees


      gurutycoon, and the bitter rising
      sea of faceless cars that keeps
      chewing up the tulips . .


      im going to replace yor soul
      with a safer , more profitable ,
      silicon virtual soul


      yes! yes!! yes!!!


      im also going to squeeze,
      twist, and melt the rebel right out
      of you . yeh! yeah !! im going to
      bleed the spirit completely from your
      mind and body . but dont worry .
      dont you worry at all o no no . im
      going to reform your rebel spirit ,
      oh yeah . repackage your soul to be safer, more
      profitable . hell im even going to sell
      the more docile , harder working you back to
      yourself !!oh boy!! im going to put you on the back
      of a chick's ass , run the commercial on gameday ,
      and you'll even feel cool about buying the new
      slave you back from me !! high five !! go team!!


      why would i do this ?


      why would i do this !?!




      because you're a moron
      and i am money , god , and t.v


      because you're a fool


      and i am the man , and history


      because you're a slave
      and i have you all by
      the tits and balls


      now get back to work !!!!


      get back to work nowww!!!!!





My home is your home

The current energy debate has brought latent issues of seemliness to the surface, at present in the form of the Great Laundry Debate. Writing from Berkeley last week Alice Meyers struck a blow for open-air clotheslines in a letter to the Chronicle, “The objection to them is one of snobbery dating back to Victorian times, when the well-to-do sent their wash to the Chinese laundry or to a laundress who lived on the wrong side of the tracks.” Mary Lambert, responding from Mill Valley, spoke up for decorum: “I live by choice in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association, and I don’t wish to view anyone’s laundry in the back yard, including my own.”

How much of the quotidian should be visible has been a burning topic ever since the position of social arbiter arrived on American shores. In San Francisco, proponents of propriety have fought valiantly against traditions of muddy boots and fast bucks, sometimes winning, sometimes not. After World War II, the debate ventured out of the drawing room, as clean-up crews formed diabolical alliances with developers to bring respectability to downtown areas. They did their damnedest, but those pesky clothes kept popping right back up.

In the mid-1960s, the produce market near the Ferry Building was deemed unsightly and banished beyond the Bayshore, opening up space for the Golden Gateway Apartment complex. The rundown Victorians of the Western Addition were replaced by nondescript housing projects, and their mainly black residents were redeveloped all the way to Hunters Point, well out of sight of the burgeoning white business community. The old buildings south of Market, home to migrant industrial workers and other low-income people, somehow escaped repair until their blighted aspects qualified them for redevelopment into Yerba Buena Center.

And now there’s concern over the shabby state of mid-Market.

It’s true: even Starbucks, which occupies nearly every corner above Fifth Street, does not venture here. It seems to be a wasteland of empty buildings, shabby nonprofits, and unpredictable street people. And whether by design or destiny, its unsavory qualities are growing, like suspicious-looking toadstools.

Sharon Kizziah has noticed the change: “I’ve been walking up Market Street from work (One Market Plaza) to home for therapy (had a motorcycle accident three weeks ago and bashed up my knee) and I have to say it is a strip of misery. I’m not one for gentrification but it really is miserable out there. I see the same old faces, some days with more bruises and cuts than others, and hear the same old pitches as I hustle on by. Is it getting more crazy on Market between Powell and Van Ness? Are there just way more people on the street now that the weather is getting warmer?”

Other, more official types have also noticed the change. A downtown equivalent of the Great Laundry Debate is raging: what should we do about the unsightly lines of people on mid-Market? Suggestions range widely — you’ve heard them: Transform the area into a Times Square clone. Invite nonprofits to fill the vacancies so they can serve their clients in a central location near City Hall. Recapture some of the history of the area, Susan Stryker says, with an impressive gay and lesbian museum. Fill in the spaces with residential units, proposes Market Street Association’s Carolyn Diamond: “When you get someone living there, and you have eyes and ears there 24 hours a day, that cleans things up.” The South of Market Anti-Displacement Coalition makes a similar suggestion, but envisions a different set of eyes and ears.

Whatever fills the area will have to contend with some rather noisy ghosts: from the beginning, San Franciscans played out their lives on these streets.

Take the southeast corner of Eighth and Market, which now boasts the soviet-style architecture of Trinity Plaza. In the late nineteenth century this was the site of Central Park, one of the city’s three ballparks. Here kranks (fans to you modern baseball aficionados) cheered on the home teams — including the Athletics and the San Franciscos — in rough-and-tumble games where gloveless outfielders chased balls made of sheepskin-covered rubber and yarn. The enterprise came to an abrupt end in 1906, when the earthquake literally knocked out the park’s underpinnings.

Return to the corner a few years later, and you’d find it occupied by a giant complex of markets, on the order of Baltimore’s now-trendy Lexington Market. When the Crystal Palace Market (see page 4) closed in August 1959, one of the first casualties to the postwar anti-laundry campaign, its last day made the front page of the Chronicle. The story began, “More tears were shed yesterday over lettuce and bologna than over the death-bed scene in ‘Camille.’” Loyal customers objected to the demise. A poultry dealer named Tony Zanca recalled that a little old lady stormed up to him: “That man who takes over here, he’ll be sorry.” Zanca told her that “that man” was going to build a hotel in its place. “I know,” she replied. “But how many people who come here to shop can afford to pay $5 for a hotel room?”

The fact is that if you take down laundry in one place, it will pop up in another. The downtown ballpark at Eighth and Market has moved a few blocks away, to Third and King. The downtown market is about to find a new incarnation at the Ferry Terminal at the end of Market. Instead of banishing the figurative clotheslines from this particular community, let’s string them high where everyone can see the bright garments they hold. Let the breezes of daily life blow through mid-Market. I don’t know about cleanliness, but humanness is certainly next to godliness.

Betsey Culp



Bill Roddy, Growing up in San Francisco: The Crystal Palace Market

Port of San Francisco selects developer for renovation of Ferry Building