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Wednesday, Jan 15 1997
Government in Exile
Political moderate Barbara Kaufman, the newly sworn president of the S.F. Board of Supervisors, sounded a conciliatory tone in opening remarks of her installation speech Jan. 8.

"[We] have a duty to ensure that our political differences do not tear apart the fabric of our city and do not prevent us from reaching a common goal of doing what is best for our residents," Kaufman lectured. She added: "The most vocal and extreme constituent groups should not rule our agenda. While there are legitimate differences among us, there are far more issues that unite us."

Was an olive branch being extended to the city's left, which saw the election of Kaufman to the board presidency Nov. 5 as a political defeat? If so, it was snipped away moments later when Kaufman announced the new legislative committee assignments.

Supervisor Sue Bierman, the board's slow-growth icon who finished second to Kaufman in the race for president, was denied a seat on the one committee with jurisdiction over land-use matters, the policy area with which Bierman is most associated. She also was passed over for the committee that will hear communications-related issues, even though Bierman delved into that arena in 1996 to carry legislation to create a city telecommunications commission.

Bierman, said to be privately furious about the snubs, sounded a philosophical note in an interview. "This will not stop us from dealing with important issues. I am having trouble figuring out what my exact role will be right now, but we will be fine."

Bierman's kindred spirit on the left, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, was similarly Pollyanna-ish -- for the record. The board's lone gay male, the champion of legislation to regulate sex clubs, was exiled to the backwater Rules Committee with the board's leading social conservative, the Rev. Amos Brown.

Said Ammiano: "A committee assignment can be just a matter of convenience. There is always a different way."

-- C.F.

Have Sea Monkeys, Will Travel
Uncle Mame is looking for a new home. After 18 months at its 15th and Market streets location, the S.F. outpost of the five-store '50s kitsch cooperative (see "The Man From Uncle ... Mame's," Bay View, Dec. 13, 1995) has to make way for its landlord's condo project that was 10 years in the making. Mame and two neighboring sites will be demolished and replaced with a building that combines street-level retail space, offices, and residential units, Mame owner/manager David Sinkler reports.

"We signed a lease knowing it was a great possibility," says Sinkler, adding that the entire transaction has been amicable. "There is no evil" to blame, he says, just irresistible market forces. "We took a gamble, and so far the gamble's paid off" is how he optimistically put it. They got a good deal on a high-visibility location near the Castro in exchange for the potential for being booted out.

They've posted signs explaining the situation and have slipped notices into "every bag of every customer since Thanksgiving," Sinkler explains. "If you know any moguls, or if your next-door neighbor or uncle is a landlord, tell them there is a pleasant, amiable business that would like to be in their building."

Right now, they occupy about 1,000 square feet of sale space, designed by the same firm that laid out stores for the Nature Company. But they're willing to shrink: "We'd have to make some careful deletions." They expect to receive their 60-day notice to vacate "pretty immediately."

Sinkler wouldn't say what items would be pruned first. But count on him keeping the glow-in-the-dark praying hands pencil sharpeners, as well as the pope fans.


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Phyllis Orrick

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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

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