Our Exclusive Interview with the New Mayor of Bernal Heights Park

You may not have voted for him, but Ben Calvin recently became the new mayor of Bernal Heights Park. That is, he’s the new mayor of Bernal Heights Park on Foursquare, the location-based social media thingy. Since it seemed unlikely that our *other* new mayor would entertain our probing questions — come to think of it, we didn’t vote for him either! — Bernalwood asked Ben to tell us about his new title, his political agenda, and his four-legged aide-de-camp.

Congratulations! You’re now the Foursquare mayor of Bernal Hill. How does it feel?

I treasure both my Foursquare mayoralities — in addition to Bernal Hill I am also the mayor of Pastores,  the tiny Mexican restaurant on Mission Street at Cortland. Both are special to me.

How hard did you campaign to win the title? Did you get any help along the way?

I owe it all to my dog Tennyson. Without him there is no way I would be out there everyday at 7:00 AM. I may be the mayor, but Tennyson is the King of Bernal Hill. (Editor’s note: Tennyson may have to fight for the throne.)

What’s your favorite thing about Bernal Hill?
There is a real community of dogs (and their owners) who are a pleasure to know. We have a 10 year-old son, so I already knew the kid side of Bernal, but thanks to Tennyson I’ve met a lot of other great people and their dogs.

We got Tennyson through Wonderdog Rescue. They are a (mostly) small dog rescue organization, so if you’re thinking of getting a dog I recommend them highly.

What’s your least favorite thing about Bernal Hill?

The periodic midnight trash dump, and the occasional police activity. However in the early morning that’s fairly rare.

Now that you’re mayor, what’s your political agenda?

I’d like to see the Illegal Soap Box Derby return to the hill. There was one in November 2009, which the police curtailed. I don’t think we’ve had one since.

If you could change anything about the park, what would it be?

There is a certain amount of nefarious nighttime activity which comes and goes. Keeping that in check needs to be a priority.

How do you plan to stay on top?

Constant vigilance.

Photo: Ben Calvin and Tennyson

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