What Happened to “Breakfast With Enzo?”

Enzo

Breakfast with Enzo is a weekly show of children’s music and storytelling created and performed by Enzo Garcia. Held at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center for the last 11 years, Breakfast with Enzo was much-loved by local children… and their parents.

Last week, however, Breakast at Enzo’s long run at BHNC came to an end. In a note to his mailing list, Enzo Garcia alleges that the closure stemmed from a significant increase in the rental fees BHNC charges to use the space:

This year a new housing director was hired by BHNC. The housing director is my contact for the rental of BHNC’s dining room. In February I received notice from the housing director that the rent I pay to use the space would go up 50%. Since I had never been subject to a rent increase in my tenure at BHNC, I made no waves and agreed to pay the increased rent and continue to use the dining room.

On December 2nd, I received an email from the housing director that my rent would increase an additional 66%, up from the 50% increase beginning January, 2014. I can not sustain the increase without passing the cost along to you, the patrons of the show. I am terribly concerned that attendance will be negatively affected.

Breakfast with Enzo is a live music performance for families in the San Francisco bay area. Although I consider the show to be a performance it is routinely referred to as a class by parents who attend. Most organizations offering music classes for infants and toddlers here in the bay area require pre-registration, cost over $20 per class and are taught by underpaid teachers (I speak from experience). At $6 per person and no pre-registration, Breakfast with Enzo is a more affordable service for the community.

Having been at the BHNC for many years now I have seen personnel there come and go. Breakfast with Enzo has remained. I would like to continue serving families with live music at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center.

In a note to Bernalwood, Neighbor Christina vented:

A weekly tradition, Breakfast with Enzo has been an incredible resource to the neighborhood, not just because young kids are getting a social outlet and musical education at the incredibly reasonable rate of $6 for 2 hours of super, jump-around, mind-enriching, fun. But Bernal businesses are benefitting by having families from other neighborhoods come in to see Enzo, and then spend the afternoon having lunch, going to the library, and shopping in Bernal.

The BHNC is a City subsided space, which is supposed to be supporting the surrounding community. Their main focus is at-risk teens, and low-income elderly, so apparently they don’t value what has been happening there on Saturday mornings for the last 11 years. Egos, miscommunication, and who knows what is at work here, resulting in Bernal kids are no longer getting to have their music time. And guess who’s moving into Enzo time slot — no one. They’re booting Enzo out for no one.

It’s really sad.

Bernalwood reached out to BHNC to get their perspective on the closure of Breakfast with Enzo. BHNC housing director Amy Beinart writes:

Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center is a neighborhood-based nonprofit organization that provides services for low-income seniors and youth, organizes members of the community to advocate for their needs, and develops and operates affordable housing for low income people. We support this work through extremely constrained funding sources, including fee-for-service contracts, foundation grants that are restricted for use to serve our programs, and membership and donations. We stretch these dollars as far as we can to support the programs that address our core mission. We are able to supplement our budget in a very small way by renting our space for community uses and private events. This is one of very few options we have to secure the money we need for upkeep and repairs to sustain this valuable community resource.

Many evenings and mornings, the downstairs multipurpose space and the upstairs conference room are used by 12-step recovery groups. Periodically, private individuals reserve the space for birthday parties and baby showers. Additionally, we have been happy to have Enzo rent the room on Saturday mornings.

As Enzo has described to you, for many years the rent rate was flat; he paid $30 per Saturday, or $10 per hour. Last year, he agreed to an increase to $45 per Saturday morning, or $15 per hour. This year, in considering our budget for the year ahead, our ever-increasing overhead costs, and need for repairs to the building, we recognized that we had to look carefully at all possible sources of income to support BHNC. Earlier this month, I sent Enzo an email proposing a new rate of $75 per Saturday, $25 per hour. The proposed rate is lower than our standard private event/business rate; and well below the $70 per hour charged by SF Rec and Park to rent the center behind the library.

In my email, I asked him to contact me to discuss if he had concerns about the amount. He emailed me back that this rate would be too high, and I responded that it was not our intent to price him out and invited him to suggest an increase that he could support. It is clear, however, that we cannot keep rates for private events flat while our expenses continue to rise. While we agree that Breakfast with Enzo is a fun event, it is not a program of BHNC, and we are not able to raise funds to subsidize his use of the space.

This is an evolving situation. We’ve been in conversation with Enzo about a workable compromise, and continue to be open to finding a solution.

Bernalwood hopes that a way will be found to keep Breakfast with Enzo on Cortland, and we will update this story accordingly.

PHOTO: via Yelp

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66 thoughts on “What Happened to “Breakfast With Enzo?”

  1. The hidden story here is that our neighborhood community center is struggling with funding. As soon as I heard about this I wrote a check to BHNC. Please neighbors, support our center and its programs!

  2. Wow! This is very sad. Shame on BHNC; they’re supposed to encourage/support programs like this. Sounds more like for-profit place. Maybe Enzo can check out the St Mary’s Park rec center to see if he can perform there. Best of luck to you Enzo!

    • Yeah Pamela – at their $70 per hour rate. Did you even read BHNC’s response? Our rate is one-third the cost of the Library and the Bernal Gym! What a rip off! If he can’t afford that very low rent, maybe he should raise his rates a dollar an hour.

  3. St. Mary’s Rec Center is $65/hour to rent; if he cannot afford an increase to $25/hour then I don’t think he would consider that. Maybe he should consider negotiating as BHNC offered in their response. Although I agree Enzo’s performance is incredible for kids, I do have to say I was so glad when it was no longer at Progressive Grounds.

  4. Seems odd that part of the BHNC is to serve children and families. We all agree that Enzo is great with children, and according to another comment here, Enzo’s slot is being replaced by nobody. I’ve been suspicious of the BHNC for a lot of years because back when I was involved with the Northwest Bernal Alliance, I learned a lot about their split from the BHNC, the ill-will, and the egos involved with the BHNC. It seems from what I remember that the BHNC management was professional well-paid bureaucrats, not at all the community members they purport to be. Now, I may be totally wrong on this, so I ask the question: Who ARE the management of BHNC and do they have the needs of the Bernal Heights community in mind or are they empire-building?

    • Empire building!? This is an organization that provides meals to seniors. They are desperate for funding and in the process of selling off assets so that they can stay afloat, and you accuse them of empire-building? In a comment thread of preposterous assertions, that has to take the cake.

      • Yes, empire building. I am a co-founder of the Pacific Center in Berkeley, a GBLT community center and counseling agency, and I’ve founded or co-founded several other non-profits, so I’ve seen things from the inside.

        Non-profits are notorious for professional social workers taking over and empire-building. An excellent example is Catholic Charities, the largest recipient of SF city funds. Remember, Catholic Charities, the place where the CEO spent about $40,000 of CC’s money over a year for lunches at the Zuni Cafe?

        I know nothing about the BHNC’s finances, but I do know that they were not liked at the time when the NWBA split off from them, and from what I surmised it was because of high-handedness and empire-building. Just because an organization is a non-profit does not automatically make them benign.

      • “I know nothing about the BHNC’s finances”

        So, you’re willing to disparage the BHNC without any evidence, just hearsay?

      • Yes. Given the huge amount of animosity between longtime members of the NWBA and the BHNC, and knowing that the NWBA members and leadership were all working on their own dime and the BHNC folks were doing this for a living, yes, I’m quite content to cast aspersions upon the BHNC.

      • So, the only ethical way to work for a non-profit is to volunteer? That’s horribly disrespectful to the professional staff who keep many of these organizations going day to day.

    • BHNC has over 600 Bernal resident dues paying members, and they elect its Board of Directors. The Board hires an ED, who hires staff. The Board approves the annual budget and all pay rates. It is completely community controlled, and has the largest membership in Bernal Heights, by a long shot. Go to the website and see who “the management” of BHNC is – it’s member-elected Board, and it’s ethnically diverse staff, many if not most of whom live in Bernal. If BHNC is building an empire of youth and senior services, and affordable housing, I say build away! BHNC has also spearheaded the community policing effort in Bernal, which SFPD CHief Greg Suhr called the best in the City. Oh, and the staff IS very professional, as it should be – and that term means good and hard working, not highly paid or even necessarily highly educated. I wish BHNC could pay them more – they are far from highly paid.

      • PS David, you have no idea about what you speak when you disparage the relationship between BHNC and NWBA. BNHC has a long and productive relationship with NWBA. Hell, when I was in the NW Bernal Block Club, which grew into NWBA, we wrote the Elsie St Plan which created BHNC! No organizations get along all of the time, but you’re way off base on this point, as well as the point made above that you know nothing about BHNC finances but feel fine trashing them anyway. Wow. Arrogant AND misinformed.

      • PPS BHNC and NWBA recently worked together to save the Bernal Post Office. Your misinformed blather is starting to piss me off.

      • I was involved with the NWBA at the time the BHNC or the Bernal Heights Housing Corporation or whatever it was officially called, bought up the 4 lots that today comprise the housing on the SE corner of Chavez and Mission. We at the NWBA insisted that the housing fit into the neighborhood, and that among the amenities there should be storefronts facing both streets. This is in keeping with SF’s historic mixed-used zoning and is the main reason why SF is a vibrant city and not a bedroom community. So, what did the BHNC do? Sure, they put in storefronts, but used them for their own purposes, not for shops and neighborhood businesses. Thus, today the walls along Chavez and Mission are basically a BARRIER to community interplay. Note the difference between that housing and the two built on Mission near Powers and across the street at Mission and Valencia. The owner of those properties stood by the spirit of the plan and leased the storefronts to community businesses, thus making them INVITING to the community, not BARRIER as the BHNC housing development has become.

        I will give kudos to their housing development atop the Big Lots store. This is a healthy combination of quality living space with a good retail space that helps fund the whole project.

  5. It never occurred to me that Enzo had to pay to rent that space out. I just assumed that, because it is a neighborhood center supposedly there for the benefit of the neighborhood, that he just “reserved” the space for free. If the cafe down the street can do a kickstarter to fund their personal mini park, I think we can gather ourselves to do a kickstarter for a years rent for Enzo. Maybe we could negotiate a flat $2k for the year. It’d also be a nice way to thank Enzo for his work over the past 11 years… maybe he’d throw in a cd or two for big gifters.

  6. If BHNC is booting Enzo because he can’t afford to do his show for our kids/community without jacking his fee’s beyond what most families might be able to bear, and they have no takers to rent the same space on Saturday mornings, they are actually reducing the money that comes in (duh). Right now, Enzo is money in the bank every week, so BHNC should work on their fundraising AND keep Enzo’s Saturday gig in place. It is a great resource for the families of BHeights and provides guaranteed $$’s to BHNC.

  7. Hopefully someone with some business experience can sit down with Enzo and help him sort this out. (Unless he wants out of the gig and is using this to rationalize his decision.)

    $25 / hour to rent a heated room with access to a toilet is beyond a bargain. The only way he (or a parent who wants him back) won’t find 50 businesses and/or people to donate $75 each to pay his rent for a year is if he doesn’t bother to try. $6 for 2 hours of entertainment / education is less than the price of a movie ticket. Over 90% of the people who will pay $6 will pay $8-$10. Let the other 10% in for free if they ask and he’ll still make more.

    Unless this is all about egos and hurt feelings, it seems very easy to resolve.

  8. Breakfast With Enzo is outside the mission of the BHNC. Their suggested rate increase (which they are willing to negotiate…) puts the break-even for the room rental at 12.5 people per Saturday, and a further dozen attendees generates the equivalent of $25/hour for him. In my own experience of Breakfast With Enzo, his draw exceeds that 25-person threshold. Should the BHNC take less so that he can make more?

    His approach to this situation is not cool at all.

    • It is ONLY Enzo Garcia’s charm and skill as a performer that he’s able to bring in an audience. As someone who has put on over 400 shows since 1999 around the Bay Area, I know how hard it is to bring in an audience. Currently I put on the free Friday night shows at the Atlas Cafe. The Atlas offers the show for free because they couldn’t get people to come when they charged even a modest door fee. They tried. I had a 2-year residency at the now-defunct Climate Theater and had a hard time making nut, let alone paying performers. I remember one show where Jinx Jones, a platinum award winner guitarist featured in Guitar Player magazine, brought in ONE person.

      I remember when Enzo was starting his Breakfast series. He was all over the place promoting it, sending out emails, putting up flyers, talking with people, nurturing it. Yet he did it against all odds; I say all odds because his performances were at an odd time and place, which is even harder to promote than the usual Friday or Saturday night bar gig.

      I have a huge amount of respect for Enzo Garcia; he has succeeded where most musicians haven’t been able to crack it. He deserves people’s respect for doing a series month in and month out that isn’t especially lucrative for him. He’s a TREASURE.

      • Nothing of what you say above is relevant to the matter at hand. He’s conducting business at the BHNC, not running a charity. Good for him! It’s wonderful that he’s able to do so. What’s less than wonderful is throwing this community organization under the bus to protect his margins.

      • It sounds like he has succeeded partially because he hasn’t had to pay market rates for a venue. When was the last time you tried to host an event and found a huge space for $10 an hour?

      • Uh, Jen, don’t look now, but I run SF Games, the twice weekly board and card games group. Our Friday night group meets at Taqueria San Jose on Mission and 24th. We use it for FREE. I also run the Sunday Afternoon SF Games in the back room of the Zephyr Cafe across from the Balboa Theater. That’s also free. By the way, folks are welcome to join us if you wish to play games: http://www.sfgames.org

        Off and on over the years I also ran a group called Gay Geeks. We met at various times over the years at Ron Lanza’s Josie’s Cabaret & Juice Joint, Janice’s Cafe on Church, and more recently at Wicked Grounds Cafe on 8th & Folsom. All have been free.

        Agreed, all of these venues are cafes, but I’ve also held social events at the meeting room of Chase bank at Polk and California, and at other bank and credit union meeting rooms over the years. I’ve also held social events under the auspices of other organizations who had regular agreements with meeting spaces.

        I’m sure Enzo will find a place to accommodate him, but it’s likely not going to be in Bernal Heights, and there’s the rub.

      • All I am saying is that it’s very rare to find a venue that charges such a low hourly rate. I agree that Enzo is a treasure, and wouldn’t have a problem paying another 5 bucks for the kids to enjoy his songs. We are the ones benefitting from his entertainment, along with Enzo. The neighborhood center doesn’t get any of the revenue from his shows.

      • Oh David! We’re sooooo impressed with your great accomplishments! Why not post your resume? Or manage Enzo’s business too?

      • I only talk about my accomplishments when they’re germane to the discussion, otherwise people think I’m talking out of my ass because my opinions are often very different from the “accepted wisdom”.

        Thus, for every point I make I want to back it up with verifiable evidence that I do know what I’m talking about, so that people can check if they wish in order to know that I’m not talking in a vacuum. That’s the only reason I post this stuff.

  9. Is this what San Francisco has come to? Musicians haggling with community center managers over a measly rent increase? Surely there is enough money in this town to pay both Enzo and his venue. The sums in question are on the order of beer money for our wealthy citizens. What we need is a private donor who values Enzo’s work to step in and pay the difference between the old and new rent.

  10. As someone who is a longtime member of a group that rents meeting space from BHNC, I just wanted to chime in. Yes, they have raised rents, but they are still a great bargain for the area. My group is a community support group that raises our rent through member donations, and we’ve been able to keep going — we just have to urge people to chip in a bit more generously. It’s only fair that BHNC charges enough to offset its own expenses, and operating costs increase over time. Bernal Heights should be grateful to have BHNC when other neighborhoods lack any meeting spaces at all.

    • While it looks like, “Sure, housing prices and commercial rent have gone through the roof in Bernal”, I remind people that the BHNC built and owns their own building. As a non-profit they don’t pay property taxes, either. So, any increase in operating expenses comes from staff salaries, for the most part.

  11. How much does the ED of the BHNC get paid? What is the annual BHNC budget? If the ED’s salary is “normal” for the budget I’m ok with the ED playing hardball on the rent price. If the ED is getting paid big bucks relative to what they should then I’ve got a problem. Does anyone have these numbers?

    Why doesn’t this musician just perform in the Sandbox parklet and put a bucket out in front of him. He’ll probably make more bucks that way.

    • Their 990 tax forms are publicly available. For what it’s worth, their deputy ED was paid approximately $76k in 2011. Ms.Beinart was paid $22k for around 5 hours work per week that year. I have no ideas what the appropriate range is for this sort of thing, but as a nonprofit they are obligated to share this sort of financial information with the public so that we can come to our own judgments about it.

  12. Enzo….raise your price and we will come and we even promise to rid David Kaye from OUR community issues. We love you Enzo!

    • As a 9 year resident of Bernal Heights and someone who continues to service computer customers in Bernal, AND someone who patronizes numerous businesses from the bookstore to Heartfelt, Wild Side West to the taqueria, this issue is as much MY issue as it is yours. And I first met Enzo, what, 10-15 years ago? I’m as deeply ingrained in Bernal as any of you who live in Bernal.

      People are so quick to marginalize and dismiss and BERATE people they disagree with. Notice that I have NEVER done this to any of you, but you continue to do it to me. That is BULLY attitude, and in any other scenario would be considered rude. But here it passes as “social commentary”.

      I know many folks who stopped reading Bernalwood ages ago because of all the hate being posted here. For instance, the muralist who did the Bernal Library doesn’t visit this site anymore. She told me this the other day.

      As for me, I really don’t care what you folks think of me because I know that I add an important perspective to the discussion, which would otherwise pretty much be a lock-step reaction. Before I began contributing here I was a lurking reader, so I know how much you folks like to follow lock-step with the basic leftie (aka privileged left-leaning only when it benefits you) perspective.

      So, as long as the operator of this website feels that my contributions are valuable and as long as I have an interest in Bernal, I’ll continue to post here.

      • You always post negative remarks to get everyone upset. Here is my suggestion to all of us who live here and deal with the issues and pay real estate taxes. Do not respond tp Kaye posts. He is angry and sad. Free Enzo! Free Kaye from Bernalwood. Please stop trolling

      • No, I post comments that sometimes disagree with the “common wisdom”. On the other hand you ignore the positive things I say. I’ve said positive things about Enzo, about Heartfelt, about the little Filipino deli that once existed on Cortland. I’m not trying to be contrary at all, but just give my opinion based on my experience.

      • As a member of the community, I respect your post. It’s always good to see different perspectives v.s everybody in agreement. Keep it up!

  13. This is Enzo’s for profit business and he has been getting essentially a free-ride all the years from BHCC. The points made by the housing director are not only spot-on but are generous to say the very, very least. I know some of the parents that attend these mornings. They are very wealthy and can well afford to pay more than the $5-6$ fees. Enzo could simply increase his fee rather than this nasty, passive aggressive attempt to defame the BHCC staff.

    For those of us who have served in the non-profit CBO sector, Enzo’s behavior after years of what was essentially free use is not only deje-vu all over again but poses that difficult lesson that we need to learn over and over again: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED.

    • I’m not speaking for Enzo, but I do know that he feels it’s extremely important to reach children with music and folk culture. Not everybody in Bernal is “very wealthy” — go south of Jarboe and the picture is very different. Bernal has poverty. Bernal has lower-middle class for whom paying even $5 can be a struggle. So what if he makes a few dollars on the Saturday concert? He’s not making a killing. He’s making, what, $30 to $75, less than most of you would pay for dinner at the Liberty. But he’s not there for you; he’s there for the children and families who otherwise don’t get exposed to culture other than hip-hop and videogame violence.

      I’m not sure whether Enzo books himself out for corporate events and rich people’s parties, since that’s where the REAL money is for musicians, not little Saturday morning folk sings in a neighborhood center.

      Use your HEAD, folks!

    • Isn’t the community center’s purpose to serve the community? I don’t think Enzo is making a fortune doing this. There’s nothing wrong with “very wealthy” people receiving good value programs at their local neighborhood community center. I don’t know Enzo, haven’t heard his performance and have no vested interest in him. I just think that a community center shouldn’t have to make a profit renting out its space if the program serves the community well.

      Did the community center charge San Francisco Village money for using the space to talk about their program where their ED makes six figures and they charge members nearly a grand a year for lame services? That was a free sales call for them.

  14. Disclaimer: I am a long-time friend of Enzo, and Enzo’s show.

    My 2 children and I go regularly to his show, and I am very upset this is happening. We have a Saturday Sandbox-Enzo ritual. I have managed to convince many people over the years to come to Bernal to see his show, from other neighborhoods & towns- they are always impressed. I think it would leave a hole in this community on the hill, if he was missing. I know from talking to him, Enzo tries to keep the price low to serve lower-income families. He lives very modestly so he can make a living doing what he loves. I hope he doesn’t mind me saying that publicly.

    I think we all agree it would be nice if the BHNC had more funding, it is a jewel of potential on Cortland St. However, I am really baffled as to no one taking Enzo’s place in the space. From what I understand, currently, if BHNC does book the space at the regular rate, Enzo does not get the booking.

    Enzo is a musician, not a marketing-guy. He is just trying to sort out his rent, so he makes a profit, to live. If someone can maybe help mediate the situation on behalf of the Bernal Parents- I am sure that would be appreciated, by everyone. I am sure we can solve this without getting unkind.

      • Exactly what I was thinking as I read the post from the parent who first visits the Sandbox cafe before the Enzo performances. Surely these parents could pay more. Try it Enzo!! And please, everyone, revisit the Housing Director’s explanation of the work the Neighborhood Center is charged with doing.

      • I think that could be an option, if people actually scaled themselves up. I would, as I am the before mentioned Sandbox mother, but to assume my economics on that one point is a little bit of a leap- And it could mean no Sandbox before Enzo. My overall point was that money comes into the neighborhood, that may not come in otherwise, because of Enzo. I’d hope people would scale themselves up appropriately, but I’m not sure Enzo could know for sure until performing for a few months with that sliding-scale, if it works. That is a risk on his part. But overall- I think it is a good suggestion. In this quickly gentrifying neighborhood we must keep in mind those who cannot afford it. For those of you who may not know his talent check out this video he did (for trade- before we get comments on that vein): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ls8hdMUXz48
        He plays live: banjo, saw, accordion, guitar, mouth harp (think snoopy) & various percussion instruments looping & his own Enzotar (in this video). Enjoy.

  15. So, BHNC offered him a rate of $25 per hour for three hours, which is below the standard rate they charge (not sure what that amount is) and well below the rate of competitors like the Library ($70 per hour). And they offered to discuss/negotiate further with him. That sounds incredibly reasonable to me.

    BHNC is a non-profit and part of their responsibility is to ensure that they cover their costs and stay “in business” to sustain ALL the programs they offer to our community. Earned revenues are a piece of that financial puzzle and the need to balance money with mission.

    Frankly the way Enzo has handled this puts a very poor taste in my mouth as to how “community minded” he really is.

  16. David Kaye, I run events for a living and also have social activities that I host in cafes and bars. Those venues benefit when I host a party or book group. We buy food and beverages. The only financial benefit to BHNC is the rent paid. And it is a very modest rent! Ask those bars and restaurants what it would cost to host a PRIVATE event for 3 hours with no other food or beverage sales. It is a lot more than what BHNC charges, I promise you.

  17. Todd, I am just curious… why does Enzo get such a low rate for the room rental? Is this a perk of being a long time member of the neighborhood center?

  18. I don’t see the BHNC replacing Enzo’s slot anytime soon.
    The BHNC could have done a much better job of taking advantage of the fact that Enzo was bringing in a pretty large group of long term residents and families every week. We would go see Enzo all the time when my kids were younger and never saw anyone from the BHNC explain their needs and how the community could join / help / contribute to them.

  19. How about having all of the families who go to enjoy Enzo’s show every Saturday become paying members of the BHNC. Maybe some already are but I’d be willing to bet not all of them are active members. Seems this would be a nice way for Enzo to continue his gig at a reasonable rate and the families not only get ot enjoy the show but also have a hand in keeping up the good works of BHNC.

  20. Like many here, I am sure, I was astounded to read more than 50 comments on a Bernalwood post that was not about the “community’s” housing market, which oscillates between “Oh, it’s quite reasonable–look at Pac Heights, okaaayyyy?!” and “Completely ridiculous–look at very recent history and the displacement of [put in name of disadvantaged/overwrought group here]!” while it’s somewhere in the middle of these.

    But the Enzo-centric post is virtually all about money–the obsession of our time–and the desperation and frustrations of surviving in our current economic climate–for both individuals and organizations–so it makes sense that the minions have gathered here. Welcome. Stay a while.

    Am I the first person to comment on this post: “Get ef-ing used to it!”? C’mon, folks, we’re slipping. I am dearly disappointed that we can’t reach into our intellectual satchels and retrieve that most cocksure of phrases whenever the economic plates shift underneath us.

    Actually, can we just re-name this blog “Bernalwood: Get Used to It!”? (Expletive optional, but deleted there.) Todd, I will start a Kickstarter campaign for this–even as it’s completely superfluous–but you’ll have to pay me (small pittance only) for my future comments on blog posts. Whatever the going rate is in Bernal these days. Taker…?

    I really hope that this all will get resolved, perhaps with the implementation of several very reasonable suggestions made above:

    For one, build in an increase in attending the events, or have a sliding scale or suggested donation of $15 or something, which not everyone would pay. Plenty of Bernal families can afford far more than $6 for three hours, based simply on the value of their homes; I know: this is sacrilegious to utter, I am greatly ashamed to bring this into the conversation, and so forth, etc. I was not raised proper.

    If someone goes every week for a year to such a performance (very few would) and pays $5 dollars more for a child, that’s $250 more per year to spend on your child’s enrichment and for a musician’s talent and labor and a community-focused place that hosts him. That’s the price of an “affordable” but nice hotel room for one night in San Francisco. Which investment is really worth it to you?

    Or negotiate the hourly rent, or try to pry this out of the jaws of apparently very bad feelings and promote a dialogue between the main parties.

    We can hope this will get smoothed over, to the benefit of all. Otherwise, well, we will be trumpeting the rallying cry of Bernalwood: Get used to it!

    It’s been a pleasure serving you. Now I have to move my car.

  21. I was born and raised working class in SF and have lived in Bernal for 7+ years. Having worked in non-profits for almost a decade, I know first-hand how non-profits *never* get funded to adequately provide all the services they offer. It’s a real shame because the community always needs and wants more than the current resources can provide. If this discussion were about a BHNC program that was being cut, I’d have more empathy, but this isn’t their program, folks. BHNC provides employment to employ living wage jobs that keep folks in SF. I’m a 3rd generation San Franciscan struggling with a middle class job to stay in this city. Economics are at the heart of community, class, and sustainability issues in this city and BHNC is in the full right to need to raise the rent on Enzo. Don’t target BHNC because you miss your performer. Take action: if you love him, work with him to launch a Kickstarter and fundraise to help him cover the costs. Or agree to pay more for the class that you love so much. If you value it, help him out. But don’t target BHNC. That’s not a fair or even accurate fight.

  22. This conflict is a real bummer. My first and to this date only direct interaction with the BHNC was through Breakfast with Enzo, which my 2 year old has been going to for over a year now. I thought it was great that the Center was hosting an event like this, that wonderfully brings folks into the neighborhood, enriches kids’ lives, and gets families to meet and get to know each other (whether during the performance or at the playground across the street or anywhere else on Cortland on Saturdays). In general I think the price has been worth it, but folks should know that it’s not that much cheaper than other music “classes”: while the classes charge just per kid and let parents, grandparents, etc. in for free, Enzo charges $6 per person. That means at minimum it’s $12 per visit per family. If a couple of parents/grandparents join the kid, the price can get about even with classes. The real advantage Enzo has in price is that it’s a drop-in model and you don’t pay for sessions you don’t go to. The point of all of this is that I’m not so sure that it would be that easy for Enzo to raise his prices to $8 or $10 per person; I think that attendance would likely suffer if that happened. Enzo might net less money and less kids/families would enjoy his talents and the experience.

    So, back to BHNC — after visiting the place for Enzo a few times, I started to see that they were involved in lots of things that I cared about in the neighborhood. Then in the fall I read the excellent history in the New Bernal Journal of all the group has done over the past 20 or 30 years. Incredible stuff! What a group! I vowed to join as a member this year and support BHNC as much as I could, even if my only “direct” interaction was through Enzo, who I pay directly.

    I guess what this comes down to is that I really like BHNC, and I really like Enzo. Both do wonderful things and both make Bernal a much more wonderful place. I wish BHNC could subsidize Enzo, even just a little bit, but I recognize that the elderly and at-risk youth should probably be first in line for BHNC’s resources. And I wish that Enzo could figure out how to earn as much as he needs but still pay BHNC what it needs to rent the space. The fact is that Enzo has needs, and BHNC has needs, and it’s not my place to judge those needs. I just wish and hope that they can figure out a way to both get what they need while still providing all the wonderful services that they both provide to the community.

    • We started going to Enzo at Progressive Grounds with a toddler who is now ten. When he started charging it made sense, but I’ve always thought a better model would be something like $8 for the first kid — -and $4each for everyone else in the group. That way I can still afford to go when the grandparents are here, or whatever. Given the rent changes maybe $10/$5 is a better model. Also though, he used to do, and probably still does, two shows, about 45/50 min each — and at least when we last went you were pretty actively encouraged to leave in between or repay… So there’s actually more participants then you think

  23. Pingback: “Breakfast with Enzo” Returns to the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center | Bernalwood

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