Controversial Bernal Library Mural Cloaked in New Controversy

Bernal Heights Branch Library

Bernal Heights Library

Just like Lindsay Lohan, the proposal to create a new mural for the Bernal Heights Library has a talent for attracting controversy.

Right now, the library is covered in scaffolding and repainting was supposed to have started this week. Instead, the project is on hold because the estate of Arch Williams, the artist who co-created the 1980s-era mural that will be replaced, wants to preserve the old mural — more or less forever.

Here’s the press release from the Williams estate:

Letter to Library from Bernal Muralist’s Heir Ensures Paint Out Stoppage for 90 Days

San Francisco, July 8, 2012 – The Victor Jara mural on Bernal Heights Branch Library got a surer reprieve from destruction this weekend, when Nancy York, sister of muralist Arch Williams, sent a letter to San Francisco Public Library’s head enclosing proof that she is the executor of his estate.

Peter Warfield, Executive Director of Library Users Association, said the action ensures that “the library will have no excuse whatever to remove the mural any time before expiration of the 90-day notice period, and we certainly hope that the mural’s survival can be permanently assured prior to October 1.”

City Librarian Luis Herrera requested that Ms. York send “documentation of your current role as executor or representative of the artist’s estate on or before July 10, 2012.” It continued, “if you are unable to remove or pay for the removal of the mural before October 1, 2012, the City will proceed with its Bernal Heights Branch Library renovation project as planned, including the removal of Mr. Williams’s mural.”

Ms. York asserted her rights to 90-day notice of removal — and the right to remove the mural or have it removed — under the California Art Preservation Act (CAPA), which she faxed in a letter on June 8, 2012.

Under CAPA, the artist of a work of fine art that is to be destroyed must be notified so that he or she may remove the work, or have it removed. The right passes to the heir or personal representative in case of the artist’s death, and continues for 50 years. Arch Williams died in 1996, so the rights would be valid until 2046, 34 years from the present.
Ms. York’s letter encloses a copy of her brother’s “hand written will in which he names me (Ms. York) as his executor of his estate.”

Ms. York continues, “I must say that it concerns me that you are only now complying with the California Art Preservation Act, Civil Code 987 especially as the Bernal Mural was already altered in 2008-09.” She continued, “It was only through the efforts of Peter Warfield, Executive Director of Library Users Association, that I became aware of the pending June 11 destruction of the mural, resulting in my fax June 8th asserting my rights.”

The Library had planned scaffold erection for June 8th, which went ahead, and paint out of the mural starting June 11th . That work was suspended and continues to be suspended to date.

###
The existing mural was painted by muralists Arch Williams and Carlos Alcala in 1980-1982, with participation by many adults and children. Approved by the Arts Commission and Library Commission at the time, it covers three sides of the building. The front includes the important Chilean musician Victor Jara playing his guitar, with his name, and words in Spanish and English from one of his songs. Jara was tortured and killed by the Chilean military when they seized power in 1973; the stadium in Chile’s capital where arrestees were brought after the coup is now named after Jara. The front panel also includes singer Holly Near’s name and words in Spanish and English, and the image of an African American singer modeled on Roberta Flack. The mural also honors working women, and Native Americans. The proposed mural omits Jara, Near, working women, a local history, children, the UN symbol and more.

Citizens of Bernalwood, please discuss.

PHOTOS: Bernal Library mural by Arch Williams and Carlos Alcala, by Telstar Logitics, January 2012

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77 Responses to Controversial Bernal Library Mural Cloaked in New Controversy

  1. Erik says:

    I dunno. I no longer know what to think about any of this. Maybe no mural at all. Nothing. Just a building with some shrubbery. Perhaps a collage made entirely of hard candy from the store across the street, applied by having kids suck on them for a few moments, and then seeing whatever sticks.

  2. GG says:

    That mural is one of the ugliest and most stylistically-dated in SF. So glad it’s being repainted!

  3. AJ (@AJACs3) says:

    What GG says. If it were even a decent mural, I “might” consider it. How about conserving a works project building as it was intended. Paint the sides, paint the back, I don’t care, but for goodness sake, restore the front!

  4. Andy Taylor says:

    Good grief – I am all for public art, but a living, breathing city should be able to dynamically change with the times, or even just for fun every now and then. 50 years? I’m sure that the original artist, were he alive today, would love the challenge of coming up with something vibrant and new.

  5. Jillian says:

    How is that Nancy York -just now- found out about the plans to repaint the mural? She apparently doesn’t live around here, and in not invested in our current community or understand how Bernal Heights locals had painstakingly reached a consensus for the current mural plan. She sounds like a power tripper.

  6. Eugenie Marek says:

    I guess our community library doesn’t really belong to us, despite the support it has gotten from the Bernal community.
    There have been “back room dealings” since the renovation plan without any murals was revealed. The New Bernal Journal did not inform the community that a small group, people that wanted to retain and revive the murals, was pleading their case before the Library Commission.
    Our supervisor was asked to “work with the community”. A mediator was appointed, but only a small group of people was surveyed regarding preferences.
    A plan was finally revealed to our community with a decision represented as an “opportunity” for local artists to create new murals, overseen by Precita Eyes. The Bernal community continues to be asked to fund this project.
    And now this. It’s more of the same. It’s never over for people that want to dominate a community process. They won’t give up and we will have what they want on our library.

    Why don’t the murals get re-done on the interior or exterior of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center?

  7. OL'G says:

    Que Viva Victor Jara!!

  8. postrideburrito says:

    1. The existing mural isn’t a very good mural, imo.
    2. The proposed new mural isn’t a very good mural either, imo.
    3. There should be no mural on the Library, imo. It’s a lovely building and needs no adornment.

  9. jenniferk says:

    Paint it white. It is hideous now. I don’t even want a new mural. Let the heir come and remove it!

  10. Andy Taylor says:

    How much would 250 gallons of cream / white paint cost from Lowes just down the street? It looks like the scaffold is up – meet me at 12:20am tomorrow morning with your favorite paintbrush, and let’s solve this problem!

  11. Alison Wood says:

    The library seriously needs a new paint job to go with the splendid remodeling. Something elegant and simple would be my preference. For the people who love the old mural, hang on to your pictures. It needs to go. Someone else commented on the new mural proposal as not being so great either… hmmm, I have not seen that. Perhaps a nice beige/adobe color to go with the tile work would indeed be the best thing to do.

  12. OL'G says:

    Why don’t you all go home and paint out something that is significant to your life.

  13. Chris Doyle says:

    The mural of this story is that the building should be moral-less.

  14. Tessa says:

    As I have from the beginning, I still think its sad to destroy a significant, meaningful part of our history. And I’ve really found it sad that the trite new decorations removes “Jara, Near, working women, a local history, children, the UN symbol and more.” That pretty much eliminates my entire community. I’m glad the city got caught trying to subvert the law, and that the artist’s estate will at least have an opportunity to remove and preserve this bit of history.

    • Alabama says:

      Repainting the mural won’t result in “Jara, Naer, working women…” magically disappearing from the world. As a working woman, I don’t need a mural to tell me I exist.

  15. OL'G says:

    I agree! It’s a crime. It’s apparent who or what has influence in Bernal Heights now… $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  16. R says:

    So, essentially, we are now stuck with the eyesore of a library badly in need of paint covered in scaffolding until all the impending lawsuits get sorted out sometime in 2017. Awesome.

  17. scott says:

    oh, please, can we finally restore this classical building to it’s former grace by obliterating this sophomoric cartoon? please? this amature doodling / graffitti has no place on a public edifice of such poise and balance.

  18. Agree that this delay is a shame! (Though does seem like the city skipped a required notification to the artist’s estate?) While I respect the content and intent behind the current mural, its state of decay requires a new approach in keeping with how the neighborhood has evolved since the mural was created. I agree that the building is beautiful on its own without a mural at all!

    @betterbernal

  19. AndoverSt says:

    How exactly do you “remove and preserve” a mural from a wall?

    • Eugenie Marek says:

      I don’t know what is involved with physically removing/preserving them, but perhaps there can be a decision to photograph the murals and print them for display in the Neighborhood Center and or the Library, costs covered by the artist’s estate.

  20. AshleyWolff says:

    This lovely building needs no extra adornment. I am strongly in favor of a single, cream colored coat of high quality paint.

  21. SAB says:

    Do I like the current mural? No (and I am a fan of mural art).
    Do I think, morally and legally, the heir of the artist has a right to remove/preserve the artwork? Yes.
    Do I think that heir has less rights because he/she doesn’t live in Bernal? No.
    Do I think something smells fishy in Bernal and that someone was trying to shortcut legal notification? Most likely.
    Do I think those shortcutters are people with influence? Most likely.
    Do I want to see the beautification of our library stalled for a very, very long time? No.
    Do I think the sacrifice of this inconvenience/eye sore (IMO) is resulting in a greater good? Yes.
    Do I think the only correct/just outcomes of any differences are the ones I agree with or that serve my needs/wants/aesthetic opinions? Read above.

  22. maramae says:

    “Peter Warfield, Executive Director of Library Users Association” Peter Warfield is the only member of that group, which as far as I can tell is just him and a PO Box. He has been a PITA to area libraries for years (at least SFPL and Berkeley PL has had to deal with him) and created the group to try and make himself seem legit. My guess is he would be behind this sudden action as he tries to drag down all progress and advancement the library makes. He has raised a fuss over wi-fi, bookmobiles, renovations, etc.

    • The apologists for the library establishment are always personally attacking dissenters rather than addressing the issues that they raise. What a disgrace for an alleged enthusiast of libraries and knowledge to resort to baiting rather than discourse. I am also a member of Library Users association, as are those in Berkeley who backed and settled a lawsuit against library management misbehavior, so the attack is disproved with this alone to start with. And the issue wasn’t renovations but rather unnecessary reconstructions that were substituted to meet the library lobby’s needs and not the user’s.
      Bradley

  23. Beth Roy says:

    Just to contribute a factual correction: CAPA was complied with by a published notification on Dec. 12, 2007. There was subsequently a good deal of public information, including SF Chronicle stories, about the progression of events. The delay in beginning to install new work reflects a desire on the part of the city librarian to extend a courtesy to Arch Williams’ sister, to give her time to decide her best course. Meanwhile, the citizens’ group shepherding the project is very open to participation by those interested in the library artwork — the primary purpose of the process of mediation and implementation is to promote direct and respectful means to conduct disagreement as we come together in handling community issues.

  24. Mathew Daniels says:

    This blog is a disgrace. You contort yourself to no end to save a crappy Coca Cola ad in front of a public school, but you have no problem destroying a mural that is of great significance to many Latin Americans. Bernalwoo: Working for a Bernal Heights where Coca Cola is welcome, but Latin Americans are not. You should be ashamed of yourself Mr. Lappin.

    • Todd_Lappin says:

      Bernalwood has not expressed an opinion about the old mural. However, I did post the press release from the Arch Williams estate in its entirety, here on the pages of Bernalwood, without comment or commercial interruption.

      But overall, you are correct: Bernalwood is vapid, indifferent, and shamefully bourgeois — and that’s on a good day, when it’s not being completely disgraceful.

    • scott says:

      as you should be ashamed of yourself to want to keep our beautiful library defaced with this graffitti. why not take some african american graffitti and call it art, put it in Moma? no one likes either examples of that scribbling except the classed that support their breathern.

      • SAB says:

        Scott, Thanks for the strange trip back to 1950s Alabama. And congratulations on making what is perhaps the most outright racist comment ever on Bernalwood. I am tempted to ask you what exactly is African American graffiti–Moma would be just delighted to own a few Basquiats–or how you feel about all that wretched “jungle music” but really, I shudder at the answer you are likely to give. WTF?

  25. Mathew Daniels says:

    The point is that you mounted an all-out lobbying effort to save the Coca Cola advertisement but have done nothing of the sort for this mural that matters for many of the older residents of the hill. So let me rephrase your philosophy: Coca Cola in Bernal Height? Hell yeah. Latin Americans in Bernal Heights? That’s for another blog.

    • Todd_Lappin says:

      Thank you for raising an important question: What is the difference between Bernal’s vintage Coca-Cola sign, and the vintage mural on the Bernal library?

      As you no doubt recall, the removal of the Coca-Cola sign was an arbitrary action caused entirely by a group of downtown bureaucrats operating on autopilot. The residents of Bernal Heights were not consulted on the proposed removal, nor given any opportunity to debate the matter. It was, quite literally, an act of administrative fiat.

      The fate of the library mural has been determined by a diverse group of community members, working in collaboration with a mediator to develop a mutually agreed-upon solution. That process is described in the Statement of Consensus, which you’ve no doubt already read: http://bernallibraryartproject.blogspot.com/p/statement-of-consensus.html. Independent of the outcome of that community process, the fact that it took place at all is important — and I feel their efforts are worthy of neighborly respect.

      Likewise, there is a significant distinction to be made between the process that took place in each respective case. And that is the reason why each has been treated differently here.

      That said, I still think you got it right the first time: Bernalwood is a shameful disgrace, and I should feel ashamed of myself.

  26. Mathew Daniels says:

    Of course, this your blog and you can write whatever you like. And you can poke fun at those you disagree with by suggesting they are crazy socialists who attack you and your writing as the rantings of a bougey lackey. But the truth is I have no idea what your economic standing is, what clothes you wear, what restaurants you eat in, or who you vote for. So the silly little jokes do not workl. I only pointed out the duplicitous way in which you treated commercial “art” for Coca Cola in an inappropriate residential setting (you LOVED it and went crazy in lobbying for it), and your approach to the work of Latin American artists who portray an important period inb Bernal’s history (hmm, it’s not the same and the jury is still out). Again, I have no clue about your politics, but on this matter you should be ashamed.

    • BH lovr says:

      With all due respect sir, if you don’t want to be dismissed as “crazy,” please offer a sound argument in a respectful way. Your accusations do not make sense and appear to be emotionally based.

    • Todd_Lappin says:

      I’m sorry Mathew, but I’m simply not following your argument.

      My logic is explained above, and the only name-calling that has occurred has come from exclusively from you.

      If you would like to discuss the merits of the distinction I made above, then I would be happy to do so. But as I said, that distinction has nothing to do with the artistic content of either mural, and everything to do with the processes that have determined the respective outcomes.

      • Mathew Daniels says:

        If you can’t follow the logic, I would recommend you go back and read your own writings supporting the Cocal Cola ad. Sure, SOME of it was critical of the regulation that led to the city’s bureaucratic response. But it went many steps beyond that. You very explicitly endorsed it as a piece of important art that is a part of Bernal Heights’ historical lore. You ran pictures of the ad as it appeared decades ago. You presented research into the graphic design that went into the advertisement. You belittled those who felt that a Coca Cola advertisement facing a public school yard is not appropriate. You organized political support and put public pressure on the district supervisor to defend keeping the Coca Cola ad on the side of the house facing the school.

        On this topic, however, you choose to allow the dim-witted dot-com yahoos to lead the debate, and to give them a forum to do so. Where’s YOUR research on the history of the mural. Where is YOUR reporting on why it is of value to many old-time residents of Bernal Heights, and particularly to its Latin American. Where is YOUR lobbying and political organizing.

        Do not twist the subject . . . no one accused you or anyone of name calling, just being intellectually dishonest by suggesting that I accused you and your blog of, in your words, being “vapid, indifferent, and shamefully bourgeois”.

        No, I simply pointed out the duplicitous nature of your coverage of the Cocal Cola ad and the public art on Cortland, which I consider shameful. This is not about narrow bureaucratic distinctions. As pointed out above, you went out of your way to rescue the Coca Cola ad (not just to point out the bureaucratic aspect of the decision), but have done no such thing here.

        Again, if you can’t follow the logic, read your own words.

      • Mr. Fruits 'n veggies says:

        ya gotta give the guy credit about the contradiction in fighting for a commercial mural facing a children’s hangout vs an amature graffitti on a noble public edifice. I am against both and was sad that bernaldogwood supported the coke sign. neither have a place in the public realm.

  27. BH lovr says:

    Mathew, the Coca Cola sign fiasco did not split the community the way the library mural did. There was barely any opposition to the Coca Cola sign being preserved. Most people loved it. That being the case, Todd appropriately and accurately represented the voice of our community in his explanation (what you call endorsement) of its historical significance. In my mind, because the library mural was so controversial, Todd once again made the correct decision in determining that he need not favor one argument or the other.

    • Mathew Daniels says:

      I’m just not a big fan of art criticism through consensus. In the case of the Coca Cola issue, one blogger’s “art” is another’s commercial sign inappropriately aimed at children. In the case of the library mural, some like the art, some dislike it the art, and some are indifferent to the art.

  28. jenniferk says:

    Just to clarify, I weighed in against the mural and I am not a “dot com yahoo”. I own my own business and have lived in this neighborhood for 21 years. To quote The Bad News Bears, “When you assume, you make an ass of u and me.”

    And the blog has been more than fair. You’re just miffed because so many people dislike the mural.

    • Mathew Daniels says:

      “Miffed because so many people dislike the mural”? Ummm, no. I personally don’t think the mural is some kind of artistic masterpiece and don’t particularly care for its style. But, as a father-in-law to a Chllean exile who, recently, was priced out of Bernal Heights, I do appreciate what it depicts. But that doesn’t matter. I prefer 50s/60s post-modern architecture to unimaginative WPA style, but I don’t propose tearing down the library. The issue is one of consistency: This blog saved the Coca Cola ad by proclaiming it some kind of masterpiece of commercial art, and organizing political support for the blogger’s point of view, but did no such thing for a mural that matters A LOT to my Latin American neighbors who remain in Bernal Heights.

  29. Mathew Daniels says:

    “Sir, did any of your neighbors attend any of the public meetings where the future of the mural was debated? Those meetings were promoted on this duplicitous blog:”

    I really don’t know who attended the public meetings. But did your duplicitous blog do any research about the history of the library art? Did your duplicitous blog attack those who want to bring down the library art, as it did those who opposed your Coca Cola ad? Did your duplicitous blog organize political support to keep the art? Has your duplicitous blog interviewed anyone from Latin America about the importance to them of the subject of the mural? Has your duplicitous blog done any basic reportorial work on this, other than your bold and courageous act of public service journalism by posting a note about a public hearing?

    I guess I must have missed THOSE stories.

    • Todd_Lappin says:

      Well, you get what you pay for.

      Journalism, such as it is on Bernalwood, is powered by the residents of Bernal Heights. I offer a platform, and sometimes connect the dots, but as you know I depend heavily upon the independent, volunteer efforts of Bernalwood readers.

      If you would like to tell us the history of the old mural, and why it is important, and why it should be preserved, and what your neighbors say, that would make for a very interesting post. You may email your journalism to me at the usual address, or post it here.

  30. SAB says:

    I’d like to thank Matthew Daniels for raising truly excellent points and, despite the gang up against him, he has made both pursuasive and rational arguments. You know, it is perfectly okay to say, “I see your point but I see it differently.” Too often passive aggressive humor and “How crazy are those old school liberals?” is used to belittle some of the voices on this blog. We are not (yet) living in a George Orwell novel.

    • BH lovr says:

      Let me assure you that had Mr. Daniels expressed himself differently, there would have been a very different response. In addition, there was no “gang up.” An aggressive approach often yields an aggressive response, especially when an man like Todd who does a great service to our community is publicly and erroneously accused of not welcoming or supporting Latin Americans in Bernal.

      • Mathew Daniels says:

        And let me assure you that had the blog treated Latin American art with the same respect as he does Coca Cola billboards, Mr. Daniels would have expressed himself differently.

  31. Alabama says:

    1) As a mere blog reader, IMO, I don’t see it as the responsibility of Bernalwood to take up every cause that generates interest by its readers. I think it is fair of Todd to rally behind things he wants to rally behind, and stay neutral on issues that don’t interest him.

    2) Without attempting to come across as “ganging up,” if Mathew spent as much time rallying for the mural in the first place as he has spent insulting Bernalwood, perhaps the outcome of the community decision would have been different.

    3) Without getting into an argument around the cultural or ethnic demographic break down of Bernal in comparison to other areas of the City and/or how much Latin-Americans are represented in Bernal artwork, there are a number of truly exceptional Central & South American influenced murals in the Mission. Murals with powerful messages and a level of artistic excellence unmatched in any other part of the City (in my opinion of course). The loss of the sub-par Bernal Library mural in no way detracts from the incredible and vital influence the Central and South American community has made to this awesome City.

    Just my $.02

    • Mathew Daniels says:

      Thanks for your 3rd point. Finally, somebody on this blog recognizes there are actually Latin Americans in San Francisco, and that they have contributed to this city. I was beginning to feel that Bernal had become even more myopic than Noe Valley.

      On point #1, I totally agree with you. This is Todd Lapin’s blog, and nobody else’s. He gets to decide what goes into it, and he can decide its political bent. Personally, I find it to be too dismissive of any point of view that he does not share (usually the liberal view). But it is his blog and he has every right to do with it what he pleases. I have every right to suggest that the duplicitous coverage of the Coca Cola billboard and the library mural is shameful. But he has the ultimate right to run my objections or not, and to even launch the passive-agressive personal attacks others have noted here.

      On point #2, at my age, political organizing is not possible anymore, and, were I younger, I doubt I would have much influence.

      On point #3, we agree that the Latin American artists and activists have contributed greatly to San Francsico. I just would like to see that contribution honored in Bernal Heights. At one point, there were hundreds of Chileans who escaped Pinochet’s terror living in the Mission and in Bernal Heights (several on Gates alone). I do not have any specific insight on this, but I would guess that the image of Victor Jara on the mural is in some measure reflective of that period in time. I hate to see it painted over (or defaced with paint balls, as one of this blog’s readers here suggested without a single objection) without any attempt at observing its significance.

      Even I would have to agree that Coca Cola has played a greater role in American life than Victor Jara. But I wish the formerly open-minded neighborhood I’ve lived in for more than 40 years would continue to recognize the underdog.

      • SAB says:

        Well said. Please know that there are still some folks in Bernal who treasure diversity and mourn the impact of gentrification. I do so wish that more people could show greater understanding and compassion for neighbors, and pushed out former neighbors, even if one is lucky enough to be among the “haves”. As always, thanks go out to Todd for making this forum possible.

      • Andy Taylor says:

        I know I am just throwing myself into the fray again here SAB, but I am having a hard time equating a dislike for a particular mural as a sign that Bernal doesn’t like diversity.

        Perhaps the community genuinely just wants to see something different on the library, regardless of the content, and came together in a neighborly way to help shepherd that process forward.

        The fact that folks don’t agree on the content / message? Art is fickle like that.

      • SAB says:

        I agree that disliking the current mural (I don’t like it either) and whether one respects diversity are not automatically tied together. Many (most?) of these comments go way beyond an artistic judgement or an opinion about the community decision process to replace the mural. What I read in many of these comments was this: “I don’t care that some people are attached to the mural and its content. I want my library to look pretty and I don’t want to wait for it. There was a process and that faction lost. Too bad if they now want to slow it down and figure out a way to remove/preserve it.” To me, this does not show much understanding for the different views in our neighborhood (tied somewhat to ethnicity/culture and somewhat to socio-economic class/length of residency). If anyone reviews the comments to see if the evidence supports my reading, remember that little jokes and digs (while funny) on a touchy topic like this one are a covert way of undermining the folks on the other side of this fence. Ah well, this is all just my interpretation. Thanks for the chance to voice it.

  32. Brandon says:

    I’m sad to see such acrimony among our neighbors.

    I encourage everyone to read the consensus statement which came out of the mediation and decide for themselves whether this group was a shadowy cabal, hostile to diversity and the history of our glorious little hill. Mauricio Vela was instrumental in making sure that the voices of our neighbors who wanted to preserve/restore the existing mural were heard in Bernal and in City Hall. Mauricio was also a participant in the mediation and a signatory to the consensus statement.

    The existing mural will not be recreated, but many of the images which touched the people who cherish it have been enshrined in the beautiful designs of Precita Eyes and Reuben Rude. There will—literally—be no whitewashing of the history of the neighborhood or the values reflected in Arch Williams’ mural.

    Please. Let’s speak *with* each other and not *at* each other. The members of the Bernal Library Art Project task force are more than happy to discuss the process leading up to now and answer any questions you have. Or attend one of the monthly community meetings on the first Saturday of each month, held in the conference room of the library.

    Consensus statement: http://bernallibraryartproject.blogspot.com/p/statement-of-consensus.html

    You can also contact the task force directly: bernallibraryartproject@gmail.com

  33. Eugenie Marek says:

    I am surprised and not unhappy to see that this issue is been given an airing. It is unfortunate that this sort of airing was not deemed necessary way back when the issue of saving the murals was before the Library Commission.
    I respect Ms Roy’s mediation efforts, but she stated in the New Bernal Journal that before she began the mediation, she spoke to several dozen Bernal residents to ground her efforts to reach a compromise.
    Polling several dozen people was not enough! We are more than 10,000 residents. Before the mediation, a public forum to allow any and all residents to speak their minds ought to have been organized. We would not have all agreed but perhaps the community would have reduced the issue to:
    1. restore and preserve the existing murals
    or
    2. restore the original facade to the historic building

    In this Bernalwood discussion there has been little mention of, let alone praise for, the substitute murals. Any time I have spoken to folks about this, it’s the same.
    So, I’m glad people are being given something resembling a public forum.
    Stay polite, but continue….and tell your neighbors to check this out.

  34. Zohar says:

    Ugly mural discussions aside, it would be nice to somehow put the money into opening the library more hours on weekends. So we could, you know, use it rather than just looking at it on Sundays.

  35. Eugenie Marek says:

    One mural that was a real loss for me and perhaps all of us: On the Andover St foundation wall, down from the library was a mural in two parts: back and white copy of a photo of the original founders of the BHNC ( ?about 35 years ago) , then the color images of the same people “now” (when the mural was done about a dozen years ago). The mural also represented residents now in a beautiful colorful sweep of Bernal Hill.
    This showed people that had lived here and played a significant role in our community’s development. They were activists, organizing multiple important positive changes.
    I in no way want to lessen the importance of Jara, Near, the UN, but they are more images of where we were in a general sense in a certain era. On the other hand, the Andover Street mural was our specific community.
    I was so sorry to see the Andover mural suddenly gone. The artist’s posted letter said that because there was no maintenance, and the murals were degrading, he decided to just paint over them.
    Perhaps this mural could be “preserved” via any photos that were taken. I would like to see them in our library for newer residents to see and understand.

  36. Removing the contemporaneously documented murals of one of the most culturally important and tragicly murdered victums of the 9/11/1973 U.S backed.coup in Chile would be grotesque. The mural is culturally more important than the pleasant but stylistically very late landmark building. The style employed in the building was waning ten years before its construction.

    The calls for whitewashing are culturally barbaric and out of character with the landmark architectural period.

    Three cheers for Library Users, Peter Warfield and Ms. York for keeping the memory of Victor Jara alive! Henry Kissinger should be serving jail time for what he did in Chile for Nixon. The Library Management and Commission should be ashamed at their collusion in forcing the removal of this important witness to human rights. The mural is a cry for our humanity which the Library establishment seems to have lost.

    In yet another instance the San Francisco Public Library is failing in its mission as a repository of the community archives and cultural resorces. Down with the current Library Commission and SF Public Library management and their souless betrayal.

    Bradley Wiedmaier

  37. Rocco says:

    I’m glad to see the old Bernal Heights Lefties still have some juice left- regardless of how old they are. It’s amusing that some of you think a blog should adapt and promote your point of view because, well, you’re right.

  38. The U.S. orchestrated coup in Chile on 9/11/73, is being duplicated around us today. Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Congo, Occupy Crushed mostly by Democrat Party Mayors, Citizens United, San Francisco Real Estate/Chamber of Commerce Machine theft of The City, and etc. are a replay of what Victor Jara spoke against. That is why the mural is more important than even the charming quant building. It teaches us about our past and present. Those who don’t learn from (or even notice the past) (or have the memory of the past removed) are indeed condemed to repeat it. Wake up Bernal Heights & S.F., this isn’t an old story but today’s and tomorrow’s headlines!
    Bradley

  39. Pingback: Nora Roman on Bernal Mural’s Meaning –“People’s History” « library users association

  40. Pingback: It Is Gone: Old Bernal Heights Library Mural Painted Over | Bernalwood

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