Airbnb Hosts Stage Backyard Rally in Bernal Heights

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In addition to the counter-protest at Planned Parenthood, there was another demonstration event in Bernal Heights yesterday, but this second action was taken by neighbors who generate income by renting out space in their homes for vacation rentals. They call themselves Fair to Share San Francisco, and the Examiner tells the story:

It helped Marcia Weisbrut get on her feet after cancer. It paid for Rodolfo Cancino’s dental bills. It has allowed [Bernal resident] Greg De Meza to start paying off debts incurred during the recession.

The common thread in all their stories was the short term rental service provided by Airbnb, which is illegal in San Francisco.

The testimonials — some voiced over a P.A. system — were on display in a Bernal Heights backyard Thursday by groups launching the Fair to Share San Francisco campaign. The campaign’s aim is simple: Legalize the money-making short term rentals that Airbnb’s business model is built upon.

On hand to make their case were a collection of short-term rental hosts, representatives of Airbnb and Peers, a “sharing economy” advocate.

The push comes amidst efforts by local leaders to solve or at least ameliorate a severe housing shortage combined with steep rents, which some Airbnb opponents have linked to the company, among others.

Into that fray, the campaign aims to back legislation like Board of Supervisors President David’s Chiu’s proposal to regulate and legalize short term rentals.

The Examiner explains that Fair to Share has received substantial support from Airbnb — including the group’s basic organizational push, recruitment, brochures, and even the PA system used at the Bernal event. That’s not a bad thing — Airbnb and its hosts are a legitimate interest group with an interest in the City’s political process — but it is important to note.

In the article, Neighbor Emily, who launched the rather clever Airbnb concierge service we’ve told you about before, argued for the stabilizing effect that vacation rentals can have on San Francisco neighborhoods:

Emily Benkert, a 17-year city resident who rents out rooms in her Bernal Heights home and has started a business that helps people run their Airbnb rentals, said the service is not a detriment to The City. “This isn’t hurting anybody,” she said. “We’re not kicking people into the street.”

Instead, she argues, Airbnb’s absence would force people to leave San Francisco since the extra income they make is what allows them to stay.

PHOTO: Bernal neighbor Greg De Meza, by Mike Koozmin, SF Examiner

City May Offer Svanemyr Family $15 Million in Fatal Holly Park Hit and Run Settlement

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The Examiner has an update on the tragic case of Christy Svanemyr, the woman who was killed in Holly Park after she was run over by a San Francisco Rec and Park department truck last September. The Examiner says Svanemyr family is pursuing a lawsuit against the City:

San Francisco may be required to pay $15.13 million to the family of the mother who was fatally run over by a municipal pickup truck at Holly Park last year. A Recreation and Park Department gardener, Thomas Burnoski, remains on trial charged with vehicular manslaughter in connection with the hit and run incident.

The pending settlement comes nearly a year after 35-year-old Daly City resident Christine Svanemyr was fatally run over while lying on the grass with her 11-month-old child and small dog in the Bernal Heights park. The child and dog were not injured.

The Recreation and Park Commission on July 17 recommended approval of the proposed $15.13 million settlement of the legal claim filed last year by the victim’s husband, Vegar Svanemyr, according to a Recreation and Park Department official. It would ultimately require approval by the Board of Supervisors.

The Examiner also reports that the felony vehicular manslaughter charges filed against Thomas Burnoski, the Rec and Park employee who was driving the truck that killed Christy Svanemyr, are also underway. A pretrial conference took place earlier this week, and Burnoski is scheduled to return to court on September 4.

PHOTO: Flowers at the site where Christy Svanemyr was killed, photographed on Saturday, Sept 7, 2013 by Telstar Logistics

Saturday: Celebrate Neighbor Aaron Zube’s New Paintings at Inclusions Gallery

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Last February, Bernal Neighbor and painter extraordinaire Aaron Zube told us he was working on a new collection of Bernal Heights paintings for an upcoming show at the fabulous Inclusions Gallery on Cortland. Now he writes to say the show is live, and there’s a celebrity-soaked opening reception happening this weekend. Oh, and you’re invited!

I just wanted to invite Bernalwood readers who may be interested to my show of Bernal Heights paintings at Inclusions Gallery. The opening reception is tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and all are welcome. I’ll be showing work with Sarah Newton who does some terrific drawings & etchings. I’ve attached images of a couple of paintings that will be included in the show. The show runs until August 24th — hope you have a chance to stop by & take a look!

Here’s another super-sexy image of one of Neighbor Aaron’s dreamy painting, and the show announcement:

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IMAGES: Courtesy of Aaron Zube

Bernal Heights Home Fire Reveals Marijuana Grow Farm

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KCBS reports that an overnight fire in a Mayflower Street night revealed an unexpected surprise:

Firefighters battled a one-alarm fire in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood where they uncovered an illegal marijuana grow operation this morning, a fire dispatcher said.

A report of a fire in the 300 block of Mayflower Street came in around 3:50 a.m., the dispatcher said.

Apparently, an arrest was made after the secret was discovered:

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Bernal Neighbor’s Research Links Smarter Brain to Longer Life

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This story slipped between the cracks a few weeks ago, but fortunately it’s as timeless as life itself…

In early May, a team of UCSF researchers published published an article that identified a gene which enables both high cognitive functioning and unusual longevity. In other words, there’s a gene that that makes you smarter and live longer — and vice-versa. And science now knows this because the research was organized by none other Neighbor Dena from Banks Street!

Off-hill, she’s known as Dr. Dena Dubal MD,, Ph.D., and she leads the Dubal Lab on Aging and the Brain at UCSF. Here’s what the Chronicle had to say about her recent conclusions:

A gene variant that scientists already knew to be associated with longer life also seems to make people smarter, and may help offset the effects of normal cognitive decline in old age, according to a team of San Francisco researchers.

The findings, published [on May 8] in the journal Cell Reports, are encouraging news for the roughly 1 in 5 people who have the genetic trait, which is a variant of the klotho gene.

Beyond that, scientists hope the findings will help them develop tools for retaining, or even boosting, intelligence in people who have suffered cognitive losses, either from disease or through the normal course of aging.

“What we’ve discovered is a cognitive enhancer,” said Dr. Dena Dubal, an assistant professor of neurology at UCSF and lead author of the study, which was done with researchers from the Gladstone Institutes. “This may represent a new way to treat problems of cognition in the brain.”

You can read lots more about Neighbor Dena’s research, or, in this glamorous video, you can watch as she explains it herself:

Today: Opening Reception for Bernal Artist in City Hall Office of Supervisor Campos

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Bernal artist Todd Berman has lots of fans around the neighborhood — including D9 Supervisor David Campos. Neighbor Todd’s art is now on display in Supervisor Campos’s office in City Hall, and from 4 to 7 pm today in Room 268, the Supervisor will host a glamorous opening party:

I am excited to announce that I will be hosting an art exhibit, titled City of Awesome, by local artist, Todd Berman, in my office at City Hall. Todd’s paintings celebrate San Francisco’s creativity, community and captures San Francisco’s unique character.

Please join us for an evening of appreciation of Todd’s art where he will share his City of Awesome project and his approach to community-informed art. The art is currently on display at my office through August 8, 2014.

We hope you can join us! For more information about Todd Berman or the exhibit, check out theartdontstop.com.

Special Bonus! Neighbor Todd also shared an in-progress photo of his new piece; a commission called “View of Precitaville” that shows the stylish southwest corner of Precita Park:

View of Precitaville - in progress detail

PHOTOS: via Todd Berman

Avedano’s Team Raising Funds for Artisanal Butcher’s Guild

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Audrey Daniel tells Bernalwood that the folks behind Avedano’s Meats on Cortland are doing a fundraising campaign to support the Butcher’s Guild, a trade association for artisanal butchers:

I would like to share some local news. A Barnraiser campaign (a new food crowd funding platform) has been launched by Tia Harrison, one of Avedano’s owners as well as co-owner of Sociale, and author Marissa Guggiana, author of “Primal Cuts, Cooking with America’s Best Butchers”. Tia and Marissa founded the Butcher’s Guild and are nationally developing education and a forum for independent butchers. Part of this is to encourage butchers to use whole animals from local farmers to “rebuild an industry and have a spirit of inclusion”

The campaign ends on July 10, and at the moment it’s about $1000 shy of it’s goal. There’s plenty more detail about the Butcher’s Guild on the campaign site.

]PHOTO: Telstar Logistics