your Miraloma Life … online – February 2005

    • Neighborhood Wide Garage Sale
    • Mollie Stone’s Acquires Tower Market
    • Get a Good Nights Sleep Without Drugs
    • Teresita Traffic Update
    • A Rolling Stone Through Miraloma Park
    • ALERT
    • Check Your Drains and Gutters
    • Big Doings in the Bird World
    • Izabella’s on Evelyn
    • Home Security
    • House Maintenance Quick Tip
    • Design Matters
    • Mind the Tree
    • Welcome, Mollie Stone’s Market
    • Hokusai’s Great Wave – A News Poem
    • Handling the Ant
    • Taoist Tomb Tile

    Neighborhood Wide Garage Sale
    Saturday, May 14, 10am to 3pm

    by Sue Kirkham

    Start cleaning out your closets and garage in preparation for the neighborhood wide garage sale in Miraloma Park on May 14.

    We encourage each of our over 2,000 households in Miraloma Park to participate in offering their treasures to one another and to other San Franciscans and to people who will travel to our community from all over the world for this event.

    In an ongoing effort to serve the residents of Miraloma Park, the Miraloma Park Improvement Club will bear the expense of advertising this singular event in the San Francisco Chronicle. There will be no charge for participating and there will be a party at the Clubhouse at the end of the event.

    Music, food and good company will be provided.

    Given the expected number of participants we would expect to have good attendance. Thus, you should be able to move out your treasurers, and fatten your wallet.

    A list of participating addresses will be posted on our website during the week prior to the sale. Hard copies of addresses will be posted at other locations that will be announced in the coming months.

    Updates concerning this exciting event will be posted in the March and April edition of Miraloma Life.

    If you would like to sign up to participate please e-mail me at or leave a message at 415-229-1297.

    Please provide your name, address, e-mail address, phone number and a very brief description of goods to be sold (e.g. childrens toys and clothing, household goods, etc). Let’s make this a memorable and profitable for you community event.



    by Steven Solomon

    Q: What are some of the new laws on the books for 2005?

    A: One new law prohibits anyone from installing computer software (“spyware”) that could take control of the computer, modify its security settings, collect the user’s personal information, or interfere with its removal.

    Another law prohibits anyone younger than 14 from using a tanning device.

    In 2005, anyone who safely surrenders a newborn, 3 days old or younger, cannot be sued for harming the child.

    The district attorney and courts in each county are to protect disclosure of personal information about crime victims and witnesses.

    A new misdemeanor crime of disorderly conduct was created for secretly filming or photographing an undressed roommate.

    Anyone convicted of engaging in a car speed contest must perform 40 hours of community service before getting his or her driver’s license back.

    Have a safe & sane 2005 .


    Mollie Stone’s Acquires Tower Market 

    Editor’s Note: The following is a press release from the management of Mollie Stone’s. See other articles regarding the acquisition on this page

    Mollie Stone’s Markets, the Bay Area’s trusted provider of necessity and specialty foods, has announced the opening of its eighth San Francisco Bay Area store at the site of the former Tower Market, at 635 Portola Drive in San Francisco. Labeled the “Best of Both Worlds,” Mollie Stone’s provides essential grocery items along with a wide array of specialty foods.

    “Tower Market will be our second store in San Francisco and we are extremely excited to expand in the city,” said David Bennett, Co-Owner. “Tower Market is one of the finest independent grocery stores in Northern California; we feel it will be a great blend with our Mollie Stone’s culture. We plan on learning what the customer’s needs and wants are as we continue with the current remodeling plans that are underway. We understand the passion and commitment in the neighborhood for one of San Francisco’s oldest grocery stores, and we want to keep up the pride and excitement of the family owned business.”

    Mollie Stone’s began in the natural foods and organic food market in 1985 and has cross-merchandised these products into regular grocery choices to maximize customer convenience. Along with organic and natural food, Mollie’s carries a complete selection, from national brand groceries, dairy, deli and frozen food to natural beef and organic produce. Mollie Stone’s is known for a great reputation in all their perishable departments. The Tower Market location joins seven other bay area Mollie Stone’s Markets in Sausalito, Greenbrae, San Francisco (Pacific Heights), Palo Alto, San Mateo, Burlingame, and San Bruno.

    “In this day and age when large chains and warehouse stores are all vying for the cheapest prices and the least amount of service, Mollie Stone’s is filling the void for old style hometown quality, selection, and service,” Bennett added. “We specialize in catering to customers who need extra attention, hard to find products, or those who simply need help or assistance. Mollie Stone’s still treats customers one at a time.”

    In 2004, Mollie Stone’s was awarded the “Golden Spire Outstanding Business of the Year” award from the Marin County Board of Supervisors. This award honors the Marin County business that makes a significant contribution to the county’s economic vitality while at the same time demonstrates corporate responsibility in terms of sustainability, generosity, and a progressive work environment. Mollie Stone’s is looking forward to integrating into the Twin Peaks community by supporting community programs and events, as Mollie’s considers community involvement to be a key ingredient in ultimately satisfying valued customers. For more information contact David Bennett at (415) 289-5720 ext 225


    The Miraloma Park Improvement Club website discussion page is back on line thanks to webmaster Ron Proctor. You can now post messages of importance or interest to the community or reply to messages or announcements others have posted.

    Has your opinion changed or remained the same about Tower Market becoming Mollie Stone’s? How do you feel about Teresita Traffic? How do you feel about the terrific mess installing the new water pipes on Teresita is causing ? What do you think about people leaving their garbage cans out in front of their house all week? Or storing broken down cars for months? Have you seen dog owners who pick up their dog’s feces, place them in a plastic bag and then throw the bag on your lawn or under your car? Has anyone seen the Miraloma Park coyote lately?

    Let your neighbors know your thoughts by accessing www.miraloma

    For those of you who attended the holiday party, there are many more pictures on the website than could be printed in the January Miraloma Life.

    Log on and see yourself.


    Get a Good Nights Sleep Without Drugs

    by Joanne Whitney

    · Sleep in a quiet, dark, cool and comfortable environment

    · Go to bed at the same time each night

    · Get up at the same time each morning

    · Avoid napping

    · Follow a routine such as showering or reading before going to bed

    · Don’t lie in bed if you can’t sleep. Get up and do something relaxing such as reading or watching TV

    · Don’t use caffeine, nicotine or alcohol late at night

    · Get regular exercise


    Teresita Traffic Update

    by Gary Noguera

    The MPIC Board of Directors and its Safety Committee continue to focus on the traffic problems on Teresita Boulevard. We have met several times with SFPD Capt. Chignell, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, and the DPT.. All involved consider that the problem of drivers speeding along the street seems to be escalating.

    In one recent meeting, the MPIC Safety Committee made good progress. The DPT is now assessing potential engineering changes, which are intended to disrupt the easy and fast ride from one end of Teresita to the other, thereby discouraging commuters from using the street. Additional stop signs, new speed bumps, and even “traffic circles” are under consideration. All potential solutions are intended to slow down those who consider Teresita an expressway, not the residential street that it is. Residents will be consulted by the City agencies when final proposals are made. Be aware that Capt. Chignell and his officers will be enforcing the traffic laws in Miraloma Park with increased vigor. As residents, we must observe the speed limit and stop signs.

    Editor’s note: If you have strong feelings about any of the potential solutions to these problems, please access the website at and give us you opinion.


    A Rolling Stone Through Miraloma Park

    Mollie Stone’s Buys Tower Market

    by Jim O’Donnell

    The upscale market chain Mollie Stone’s took over Tower Market on January 7, 2005. John Viglizzo of Viglizzo Meats and the former owner of Tower had been in negotiations with Dave Bennett and Mike Stone, the owners of Mollie Stone’s Markets, since last June. Known as an upscale market chain, Mollie Stone had originally been in the running to buy Tower when John Viglizzo exercised his first right of refusal to buy it from the Pommons several years ago.

    “I have been at Tower since 1982,” says Viglizzo, “and being the hands-on kind of owner that I have been, I am ready for a break.” Of concern to local residents, of course, is what changes are in store for the market under the new ownership. “Dave Bennett and I see eye-to-eye, and all of the employees currently at Tower will be staying on under the new management,” he explained. Viglizzo had been planning a major remodel for over a year and his permits had all been approved by the City. “I had to bring things up to American Disability Act standards anyway, and Dave and Mike can use these permits for what I was planning. However, they will be doing a lot more cosmetic improvements as well, since they have the deeper pockets,” John elaborated. “These guys know what they are doing, so everyone can rest assured that the level of service will be as good or better under the Mollie Stone banner,” he contends.

    When asked if he would like to say anything to the local residents, he replied “It really has been fabulous to be of service over the years, you are just a wonderful community.” When asked what he would be doing in the next year, he only could say that those plans are still being formulated with his family. We wish him all the best for a great 2005…no matter where it takes him.



    There is a man ringing doorbells in Miraloma Park from around 6 to 9:30 pm with strange requests. He tells homeowners he is on guard.

    He asks for ladders and bottle openers. He sometimes asks to use the phone. He often demands entry into the residency or asks the resident to come outside to talk.

    The Ingleside police advise residents to phone them if he appears at their home. They will respond immediately and find out who he is and why is there.

    This man has been seen around Miraloma Park for years, but is now frightening people with this strange and unwelcome behavior.


    Check Your Drains and Gutters

    by Cassandra Mettling-Davis, Architect

    As of this writing, the last week or two have offered us homeowners a reprieve from the incessant rains. Now is a good time to check your drains and gutters, even if you did so before the winter. The wind storms have blown a lot of debris onto our roofs which may cause problems in our gutters and downspouts if not cleaned out regularly. Here’s an example:

    A neighbor had a mysterious problem and asked for my help. There were signs of water damage in the middle of his wall. This was a property line wall with a zero lot line, meaning that the houses butt up right next to each other. If the water was coming from above, there should have been evidence of water damage further up the wall. The mystery was solved when I realized that my neighbor had a light well on the opposite side of his house, outside his kitchen window. I knew that the adjacent home had a lightwell in the same location because they share the same floor plan. The adjacent neighbor, whose home is higher, had insufficient drainage in his lightwell, due to debris build-up and an undersized pipe, causing the water to back up. His lightwell turned into a bathtub and water started rising up underneath the siding of my friend’s house. The problem is being corrected, but let this be a lesson to all of us to make sure our drains and downspouts are working properly.

    Another good reason to check our drains is to make sure that there are no opportunities for mosquito breeding in areas of standing water. The next sunny day, take a look around your yard and make sure that there are no pots or barbeque covers accumulating rainwater. If you have a birdbath, make sure that the water gets changed frequently. And finally, trim any dense foliage that retains water and harbors mosquitos, such as ivy, and your clean-up work in the spring will get a head start.


    Big Doings in the Bird World

    by Jake Sigg

    On December 10 I witnessed a fascinating scene in front of Tower Market at Portola & O’Shaughnessy. An overflowing garbage can was topped with some discarded bread or cake, on which a large starling was busy eating. A slightly smaller starling sat on the can, six inches away and enviously looking at the other starling, who would not share. Much closer to the consuming starling was a male Brewer’s blackbird, directly face-to-face with it. I have difficulty describing the goings-on. It will sound like anthropomorphizing, but I know I understood that blackbird, and it was outraged that this starling took over his find, and was determined to get it back. This was clearly impossible, as the starling was not only much bigger, but had a longer and stouter beak, plus total indifference to the blackbird’s outrage at having been dispossessed. The two birds’ beaks couldn’t have been more than two inches apart—easy striking distance, but the blackbird was fearless and defiant and was absolutely DETERMINED to get that morsel back, is green eyes purging amber, sometimes pulsating rapidly like a light-emitting diode. I lost myself in that scene, which lasted at least five minutes or more. Such bravery, determination, defiance, and outrage I have never witnessed before. That look still haunts me.


    Izabella’s on Evelyn

    by Jim O’Donnell

    As we talked about in last month’s issue of Miraloma Life, the Ukrainians have definitely arrived in Miraloma Park. While Irina of the Skin Care Salon next door is from Kharkov, Izabella Ivankovitser is from a small town six hours south of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, which has been making the news lately from the hotly contested presidential election in that former province of the Soviet Union. However, Izabella arrived in the U. S. in 1980 during the liberalization of immigration from the Soviet Union, most of these coming from the Odessa and Kiev areas. She moved from the Ukraine with her husband and young son, but now has a daughter as well. They are now 31and 21 respectively.

    Arriving without knowing a word of English, she could cut and style hair however, and got a job working at the Presidio PX when it was the headquarters of the U. S. Sixth Army. Showing that America knows how to welcome immigrants, many of the people at the Presidio helped her learn English as she worked on their hair. Some of her clients, most of whom were wives of the army personnel at the base, are still coming to see her at her relatively new shop at 21 Evelyn Way, which speaks to her expertise as a beautician.

    Located in what used to be Marianna’s Salon, Izabella moved in February of 2004 after a stint on Lombard Street in the Marina. She explained that Maria, the previous proprietor, had to move quickly to southern California to be with her husband who was finishing his internship as a medical doctor. “Maria was nice, but I think that I am just as nice or even nicer,” says Izabella, “and this is my first shop where I am the sole owner, so I am here to make a real go of it!” To find out what you think, you may want to try out her services, which include cut, color and perm, and the all the hair care services you would expect from a full-service hair salon. She still has her new client “get-acquainted” special of 20% off all services. The Army has gone from the Presidio, but it looks like Izabella is here to stay as part of the personal services available here in Miraloma Park. You may need a new look for 2005, so give her a call at 415-564-8100 to schedule an appointment and see if she is as good or as nice as she claims!

    Home Security

    by Mike Naughton

    We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood that has a relatively low incidence of home burglaries. We should however, be vigilant on behalf of ourselves and our neighbors to help keep our homes as safe from unlawful entries as possible. There are also some basic rules of thumb to follow to make your home secure and an unattractive target for an intruder.

    Teach your neighbors to recognize suspicious activity or strange noises around your home. Give your trusted neighbors your home and work phone numbers and let them know to call you and the police should something suspicious occur.

    Visibility is a deterrent to burglars, as they hate to be seen. Sufficient lighting, trimmed shrubbery and properly designed fencing will allow few options for intruders to act out of sight. This is an inexpensive yet effective way to help secure your home.

    Time is of the essence for most burglars. The better the locks on doors and windows, the longer it takes a criminal to break in. Sound construction and properly locked doors and windows will cause an intruder to enter via a noisy break-in. Breaking glass or wood, or the sound of an alarm should alert a neighbor.

    Never leave a garage door unlocked, or open and unattended. Do not leave ladders accessible around your home. Also, do not leave a spare key around the perimeter of your home. Put it in the custody of a trusted neighbor.

    Burglaries are seldom committed at random. Intruders case neighborhoods in search of easy targets, so please be watchful. Call the police at 553-0123 if you have observed any individuals who appear suspicious. Call 911 if there is any criminal activity in progress.

    The San Francisco Police Department distributes a thorough guide to home security covering external structure and grounds precautions, garages, doors, windows, effective locks, alarm systems and basic safe habits of security.

    Please call the Miraloma Park Improvement Club at 281-0892 and we will forward you a copy of the guide. Adopted in 1999 by the City Planning Commission to promote preservation of neighborhood character by encouraging residential design compatible with neighborhood setting.

    Residential Design Guidelines can facilitate the complex and often frustrating process of permit application and design review and can prevent costly and time-consuming Discretionary Review proceedings. The Guidelines are available at


    House Maintenance Quick Tip

    by Sue Kirkham

    Winter rains have germinated lots of weed seeds in your garden, side-walk, driveways and street gutters. A quick, non-toxic, low effort way to deal with those small weeds and grasses beginning to sprout in your sidewalk is to pour boiling water on them.

    Take a kettle of boiling water out and run the water along the cracks to kill the weeds when they are young.   Repeat in a few weeks if necessary.

    Weeds sprouting in sidewalks and street gutters catch trash and have a negative effect on property values.


    Design Matters

    Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architect

    This is a monthly column addressing basic residential design and home improvement topics of interest to Miraloma Park residents. If you have a question or topic you’d like considered for a future article please send an email to:

    Q: When does it make sense to dig out your basement or garageto create space for an addition?

    A: When it meets your personal needs and budget.

    This is a question I was asked by a home owner whose home is on an up sloping lot. That means the farther you go back into the garage the less headroom you have. As I explained in the December 2004 article, the building code requires a minimum of seven feet six inches clear ceiling height for habitable spaces and seven feet for bathrooms. Another condition where this applies is in a partially excavated basement.

    This is such a broad question that I will just start with some basics to consider. My first step would be to see if there was another simpler way to meet a clients needs. Once that is ruled out then the next question would be what is your budget. It is critical for your architect or designer to have a budget to work within. Be honest and realistic, and to begin with allow yourself a 20 percent contingency. The contingency will lower as the scope of the project is defined in greater detail. Using round numbers, if you can afford a max of $120,000 your budget should be $100,000 with a $20,000 cushion or contingency. Do not confuse a budget with a bid. The budget is the target number your architect uses to base design decisions upon.

    The bid is what the contractor tells you it will cost you to have them build your design. How far down do you need to go? A couple of inches or a few feet? The difficulty with digging deep is that you start to undermine the foundations which are required to have a certain amount of embedment in undisturbed soil. When you excavate below the existing footings you’ll need to shore up the structure, increase the size of the foundations, and deal with waterproofing. There are various ways of accomplishing this depending on the specific condition, but it is obviously more work than simply infilling existing space. We are back to when does it make sense?

    To help you make that decision consider your reasons for needing the space. How long do you anticipate living in your home? Is your family going to be growing? Will the net cost of moving be more than a remodel? Is building up an option? How long will you live there? : If you have no intention of moving, you like your neighbors and neighborhood, you like your yard, you like your view, you like your commute, you like the schools and you have built-in equity then you are likely a good candidate to dig out. If all you need is a ‘little more space’ this is one way to get it. For home owners that plan on staying put, I recommend that they master plan their home and then break the work up into phases. This costs more than doing it all at once, but at least you have not wasted money building yourself into a corner, literally.

    Why do you need the space? : I will often have clients that are looking towards the future decide they would like to consolidate their living spaces on a single level and not go up and down stairs. Others have set up offices at home, or are having a child, or more children, or are caring for an elderly relative who has moved in.

    What is the net cost? Adding space can seem like a lot of money versus just moving. But when you consider all of the associated costs and issues with moving sometimes it’s actually less expensive to remodel. Some expenses you need to factor into your decision to remodel or move: higher taxes, real estate commissions, the loan costs, moving expenses, preparing your home for sale, new furniture and appliances, repairs to make the NEW home just right, and time off of work.

    Can you build up? Sometimes. This is a subject for another column. There are many issues to address when adding on. A good place to start is with the Miraloma Park Design Guidelines at When you build up you have the expense of building the floor, walls, and the roof.

    With basements and garages you can usually utilize much of the existing walls and ceiling.


    Master Plan: A plan that shows how the final completed project will be. It allows work to be completed in phases by planning ahead for future work to avoid conflicts.

    USEFUL RESOURCES: Digging down? Check out this product. They claim you can add bathroom facilities, kitchens, and laundry rooms “almost anywhere”.

    I have not specified it yet, but it looks like a problem solver. S.F. Codes

    This column and its content are intended to be a source of general information. Applicability to your specific project should be verified.


    Mind the Tree

    by Phil Laird

    Recent storms bringing heavy rain and wind should remind us to be mindful of trees in Miraloma Park, or more precisely, the potential hazards posed by trees. We are fortunate to live in one of the most arboreal areas of the city. But with the beauty comes both risk and responsibility.

    Rain-saturated soil and gusty winds can topple trees that otherwise would be quite stable. A number of underground streams flow unseen through our yards. Swollen by the rains, they can undercut and topple trees without any ground-level signs of instability.

    Environmental factors also put trees at risk. Excavation near a large tree can damage its root system and cause it to fail. Saplings with extensive root systems planted too close to a house can eventually argue with the foundation of the house—causing the loss of both. Pruning or topping trees by non-expert landscapers or gardeners can alter the shape, balance, and health of a tree. Utility companies are required by the PUC to prune trees growing near poles and wires. Naturally their priorities are to protect their property, not the health of the tree.

    In our area, the Monterey Pine, Monterey Cyprus, and Blue Gum Eucalyptus are the species most likely to cause problems. They establish easily and grow quickly, providing the owner with rapid gratification. But their shallow roots and susceptibility to infestation make them increasingly hazardous as they mature. These and all trees become more susceptible to attack by fungus and insects as they age. Pitch Canker and the Pine Bark Beetle are devastating the Ponderosa and other western pine species throughout the southwest. A trip through the southern Sierras and northern Arizona will shock the traveler seeing entire acres of dead trees for the first time.

    In most cases homeowners are responsible for damage caused by falling or breaking trees on their property, including “street trees” on the sidewalks. Residents should inspect large trees on or near their property regularly and ask themselves where the tree or its largest branches would fall. Signs to look for include cavities or large splits in the trunk, dead branches, and extensive growth of moss or fungus on the trunk. Uplifted soil or walkways may just be roots reaching the surface, or they may be the first sign of lean. An experienced arborist is the person to call to assess the condition of a tree. Plans to prune a tree or plant a new one near a house should also involve a tree expert. And most importantly, an expert should be called to inspect periodically all large trees near residential structures.


    Welcome, Mollie Stone’s Market

    by Gary Noguera

    After 22 years of selling to our community, John Viglizzo has decided to move on and has sold Tower Market to Mollie Stone’s Market. While painful to lose a good friend, we have been encouraged by the contacts we have had with the new owners. Their mission statement as displayed on their website is: To surpass customer expectations with superior customer service, exciting variety and quality of products in a fun and positive environment for our customers and employees.

    I spoke to David Bennett who is one of the partners. He assured me that few outward changes will occur. The name will stay Tower Market, and the majority of the employees will be retained. A remodeling project, which has been in the planning stages for a year, will move forward. The project will make the store compliant with updated building codes and American Disability Act laws. It will occur in stages, with the store remaining open during the entire process. Lighting in the store is also scheduled to be improved.

    The biggest changes will be in enhanced Deli and Produce departments. The hours of operation will not change. Mr. Bennett told Miraloma Life that “we are looking forward to continuing to serve the community and the loyal customers of Tower.”

    By the way, there was a Mollie Stone. The store was named in memory of the mother of one of the partners.

    Hokusai’s Great Wave – A News Poem

    by Stan Andersen

    The masterful
    Cut a mammoth wave
    Off Kanagawa
    Curling so high
    It threatened sacred
    Mt. Fujii.

    Hokusai showed,
    A century and a half ago,
    How beautiful can be
    A wave that overcomes
    Humans presuming
    To live common
    Lives before it.

    Handling the Ant

    Roll it into a ball.
    Can you feel
    the black abdominal sac
    pulse minutely
    against your thumb?
    Nothing will stop the antennae
    waving and crinkling,
    barely tingling your skin,
    save pulling them off.

    You can think, now,
    it’s just an ant
    and squeeze
    your thumb and index finger
    until you feel the tiny pop.
    Or you can think, now
    between my fingers
    I hold a life,
    see through insect eyes
    the vast and alien vise,
    struggle in your own grip,
    there might be I,
    let the creature down
    and watch as it finds
    its old path.

    If you do just this,
    you save us all.

    Copyright©Dan Liberthson, 2004

    Taoist Tomb Tile

    Radiant Queen Mother Goddess of the West
    sails her dragon-tiger boat with gracious retinue:
    Sir Nine-Tailed Fox assists her with all cares,
    whisks them far away on ninefold winds,
    Pharmacist Hare, with great intelligent ears
    holds his three-tiered curving retort high,
    and ushers to her lips whichever potions ease,
    while grand Milord Frog, Ambassador to the Moon
    strides potbellied forth, brandishing his scroll–
    with jaunty knees and smile stretched over cheeks
    to ensure the Moon is fully pleased.
    Four-legged Raven and bearded Guard with pike
    stand ready to defend, but no threat comes.
    The Tao is come: yin and yang are one.
    Such harmony, such balance in the world–
    how can anyone be worried or disturbed?

    Copyright©Dan Liberthson, 2004