Bernal Hill Stars in the Most Epic Display of Giants Pride the World Has Ever Seen

leubernalsunset

Holy schmokes!  While things were going badly for the Giants last night, Daniel Leu, our favorite Bernal-watcher on Potrero Hill, noticed that we looked rather stunning during the sunset.

Daniel writes:

While the San Francisco Giants were battling the Kansas City Royals, the sky over Bernal Heights had its own spectacular show.

We may have lost the game, but it can now be said Bernal Hill put on the most epic display of orange-and-black Giants Pride the world has ever seen.

PHOTO: Daniel Leu

Sunset Timelapse from Bernal Hill Is a Preview of Tonight’s Coming Attractions

It’s going to be beautiful in Bernal Heights today — a warm and clear allocation from our limited annual ration of summer-like days.

During a similar day earlier in the week, Jamie Fausto created a gorgeous time-lapse video of the sunset, as seen from the north-facing vantage point that looks straight up South Van Ness Avenue. It’s awesome.

Enjoy Jamie’s video in full-screen mode, and if you want to experience the real thing for yourself, be advised that sunset will happen tonight at 6:49 pm.

PRO TIP: Bring a cocktail.

Here’s the View of Bernal Hill from the Other End of South Van Ness

bernalfrommarket

Yesterday I went to a meeting at 1455 Market Street, a big high-rise right at the corner of Market and 11th Street. The office was in one of the building’s upper stories, and it had incredible views of Our Faire City.

As I gazed south, I realized I was staring straight down South Van Ness to Bernal Hill, which looked particularly rakish and handsome.

In other words, I was basically eye-to-eye with Bernal Hill from a vantage point directly opposite those stone benches at the curve in the closed section of Bernal Heights Boulevard. You know… the ones that look straight up South Van Ness. Because when you sit on one of those benches, here’s what you see:

southvannorth.edit

That’s South Van Ness slicing through the center, and the photo at the top of this post was taken from the building highlighted by the arrow.

To see both vantage points, let’s take in the view from the Bernalwood SkyCam:

SouthVanAerial.edit2

Bonus Fun Fact! As the crow flies, the distance between the benches on Bernal Hill and 1455 Market is about 11,427 feet, or 2.16 miles.

And now you know how we look from that distance when workers inside 1455 Market look back (enviously) at us.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics. Aerial image courtesy of Google Earth

Medical Examiner’s Report in Alex Nieto Case Details 10+ Gunshot Wounds, Mental Health History, Taser Discharge

nietomemreport

After a long and disgraceful delay, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office finally released its report on the March 21 officer-involved shooting death of Bernal resident Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill.  Yet in the style of a politician or corporate bigwig who seeks to disclose information while blunting its impact, the medical examiner’s report in the Nieto case was released on Friday — just as San Francisco headed into the low-attention weekend.

So now, on a paying-attention Tuesday, let’s consider what the report says, and what it might tell us about the case of Neighbor Alex Nieto.

If you’re a primary-source kind of person who wants to read the medical examiner’s report in unfiltered form, you can find the full text of the report right here (courtesy of KQED).

If you want the digest, we’ll share the SF Appeal’s version, which highlights both Nieto’s injuries and the section of the report detailing his mental-health history:

The San Francisco medical examiner’s office released a full autopsy report Friday for 28-year-old Alejandro “Alex” Nieto that confirmed he was struck by at least ten bullets when he was fatally shot by police at Bernal Heights Park in March.

Nieto, a San Francisco native who lived on Cortland Avenue in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, was a security guard who attended City College of San Francisco. He had aspirations of being a probation officer.

Nieto was killed on March 21 by San Francisco police officers and the autopsy report indicates that Nieto suffered as many as 15 gunshot wounds from as few as ten bullets.

The Nieto family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney John Burris, said Friday that he has never seen an autopsy report that released so much information about the deceased’s alleged history regarding mental health problems and police contact.

The medical examiner’s office notes numerous details in the autopsy report, such as an incident in 2011 in which Nieto was not taking his medication and received 72-hours of involuntary psychiatric treatment after allegedly “attempting to burn his parents’ house down.”

Burris said he was surprised to see that the medical examiner’s office included medical records from San Francisco General Hospital that, according to the autopsy, “revealed a history of aggressive and bizarre behavior, auditory hallucinations,” as well as Nieto’s noncompliance to prescriptions for two atypical anti-psychotic drugs.

The medical examiner’s office reported traces of cannabinoids in Nieto’s system at his time of death and no trace of anti-psychotic medications.

The other item of note in the report is the assertion that Nieto’s pistol-shaped Taser had been discharged at some point during his confrontation with the SFPD. Here’s how that section reads in the report’s case history:

taserdischarged

Justice for Alex Nieto, the committee formed by Alex’s family and friends in response to his death, has published a lengthy response to the medical examiner’s report that seeks to refute many of its key assertions. Here’s an excerpt:

There is no reason or authority for the Medical Examiner to act as a police detective investigating any possible rationale for anything that happened on Bernal Heights on Friday, March 21. Their job is simply to conduct an examination of the body and notify the public of the medical examination concerning the cause of death. The San Francisco Medical Examiner is not a detective agency; if they were, then they should also be investigating the background and disciplinary records of the police officers who killed Alex Nieto, yet we still do not even have those officers’ names. The San Francisco Medical Examiner is supposed to be unbiased and transparent in safeguarding the public good, yet here they are obviously attempting to besmirch the character of Alex Nieto, even though that is not their job.

The report also claims that Alex brandished his taser, yet it is not the medical examiner’s job to make any determinations on possible brandishing of tasers. In an unbiased manner, they are simply supposed to determine cause of death. Their statement about brandishing obviously shows that they are using the police account as fact, which is not part of the medical examiner’s job.

The long-awaited release of the medical examiner’s report is an important milestone in the Nieto case, because it’s first time in almost six months that new information about the shooting has been officially released. Moreover, the medical examiner’s report plays an important role in the parallel (but opaque) investigations underway to ascertain if officers acted legally when Nieto was shot on March 21.

The investigation process as a whole is slow, cumbersome, secretive, and far from ideal. Unfortunately, it’s also the only process we currently have.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

“Gatsby Complex” Yields Beautiful Photos of Bernal Hill from Noe Valley

bernal.lukespray1.jpg

Bernalmorning.stevea

It’s a well-documented fact that many people in Noe Valley experience  a “Gatsby Complex” when they gaze at Bernal Hill — our proud-but-distant profile seems to trigger deep-seated feelings of admiration and longing among our neighbors to the west. That’s perfectly understandable, of course, given Bernal’s famous glamtasticness. But it must be hard to live that way.

Fortunately, Noe’s Gatsby Complex tends to generate some wonderful photography, and these two images prove the point. The photo at top was captured at dusk last weekend by Luke Spray, and the one below was taken at dawn on Sunday by Steve A.

Frankly, we don’t envy them — the whole Gatsby Complex thing must be a difficult burden to bear. Yet at least these shutterbugs have found a productive way to transform their psychological torment into beautiful art. Lucky for them — and even more lucky for us.

Hat Tip: MissionMission

Sad and Shameful: Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill Plagued by Vandalism

anieto-vandalized-e-1

For those who knew Alex Nieto, the young Bernal resident killed during an officer-involved shooting on Bernal Hill last spring, the last few months have been unrelentingly sad — and at times, deeply alienating.

Bernalwood recently described how the official investigation into Neighbor Alex’s death seems unlikely to provide much factual insight or emotional closure — ever. Which is horrible. Yet more immediately, the family and friends of Alex Nieto have been infuriated by multiple instances of vandalism targeted at the ad hoc memorial to Alex constructed at the site where he died on the north side of Bernal Hill, just west of the Folsom gate.

(Preemptive Sidebar: In the recent Bernalwood update on the Nieto investigation, some readers were unhappy about the presence of this private memorial on the public land of Bernal Heights Park.  Bernalwood reader Adam K. very graciously and compassionately addressed this by placing the memorial within the Latino tradition of creating temporary memorials to honor those for whom death has come suddenly and unexpectedly. Adam’s comments are consistent with Bernal values in the best possible way, and are highly recommended.)

The first report about vandalism of the Nieto memorial appeared on the Justice for Alex Nieto website on July 13:

We are sad to report that in the past two days the memorial altar to Alex Nieto has been vandalized. Someone first took the banner that said “No Más Violencia de la Policia” (No More Police Violence) and last night, the cross (with his portrait) set close to the site of his death was removed. Alex’s parents —Elvira and Refugio Nieto— tirelessly refresh flowers and maintain the banner and altar. Yesterday, knowing about the mysterious loss of the banner, we gathered with Windsong (a City College student, a Bernal Hill dweller since childhood, and the original designer of the banner) to design another one that we intended to place again today. We suspended any judgement about why the banner disappeared, but with the loss of the cross, it is a clear malicious act.

The damage was quickly repaired, but the memorial was vandalized again on July 22, and yet again on the 23rd. A vigil was started to keep watch over the site, but during a lapse in coverage during the early morning hours of July 26th, the memorial was vandalized a fourth time. The vigils resumed, and with them came a stronger sense of solidarity — and community:

In the wee hours of Friday July 27th, Maria and Adriana [from the Justice and Amor for Alex Nieto Committee] watched the sunrise over the Bay. By 6:30am Refugio Nieto arrived with La Gorda (the 3 year old family blue pitbull.) They drank coffee made by Adriana and chatted and chatted. Harried dogwalkers of all sorts began to roam the hill. La Gorda whined for the other dogs to come visit her, and they often obliged. We began laughing about how everyone, even little old ladies, looked suspicious to us. We have our favorite suspect (one who seemed to be holding a can of spray paint).

There comes a moment during the morning on Bernal, when the stream of dog walkers and joggers becomes continuous and the Memorial is kept by the same life on the hill.

The last weeks on Bernal have been illuminating. We have learned that we have countless of anonymous supporters among the daily walkers on the hill. Even before the vigils began, while we were on the hill repairing the site, pedestrians often stopped to thank us for keeping the Memorial alive: Russell expressed how much he loved the Hill for its diversity and neighborliness, and expressed his sorrow at Alex’s shooting. Homeboy Reynaldo stopped to stay he’d be happy to cover Alex’s Story in cholo magazine. Adriana and Maria even met one of the last people to have seen Alex alive on the hill. (Don’t worry, he already gave his witness statement.) All in all, the more time we spend on the hill, the more people who come around respectfully and curiously to ask us questions and learn about Alex’s Story.

Yet once again, on July 29th, the site was vandalized, as someone removed the photo of Neighbor Alex that hung on the memorial cross.

Last weekend, Justice and Amor for Alex Nieto Committee posted photos and a video of a man whom they believe may be responsible for the vandalism. They seek community input to help identify the alleged vandal.

Yet to anyone who may have defaced the Alex Nieto memorial on Bernal Hill, we would simply say this:

Stop.

Please.

Just stop.

The death of Neighbor Alex Nieto brought immense pain to his family, his friends, and our community. Let the grieving run its course. Let the healing commence. Let it be peaceful, and let it remain undisturbed. Please. Just stop.

windsong.nieto

ALL PHOTOS: Justice and Amor for Alex Nieto Committee