Starting Tonight: Vigils and March to Remember Alex Nieto


Friends and family of Alex Nieto have organized a series events, starting today and culminating tomorrow, to honor the young Bernal resident who was killed in an officer-involved shooting on March 24.

Adriana from Justice for Alex Nieto wrote to Bernalwood to extend an invitation:

The Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Committee invites Bernal Heights to come support their neighbors The Nieto Family at the following events that will take place tomorrow Thursday and Friday at the Alex Nieto Memorial, on the north slope of Bernal Hill:

  • Thursday Aug. 21st, 7PM-Midnight: Sunset Vigil on Alex’s 5th month anniversary of killing by SFPD (ceremony, poets, musicians, speakers)
  • Friday Aug. 22nd, 5AM-7AM: Sunset Ceremony (danzantes, Buddhist Mesha Irizarry, mother of Idriss Stelley, killed by SFPD in 2001, will lead us in calling the names of those killed by SFPD in past decades)
  • Friday Aug. 22nd at 12 Noon: Alex Rises! March for Civil Rights against Police Killings! (Starting from Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill)

Additional details at the Justice for Alex Nieto website, and the poster below:


PHOTO: Top, Alex Nieto memorial on Bernal Hill, this morning August 5, 2014 at 8:22 am, by Telstar Logistics

Posted in Activism | 19 Comments

Sexy Bernal Sweatshirt Hoodies For Sale to Support Final Phase of Library Art Project




The Bernal Library Art Project is entering its final phase.

After all the controversy, and the delicate mediation, and the hard-earned consensus, and the installation of new artwork on the library’s Cortland and Moultrie facades, work is now underway to complete the art on the rear, playground-facing side of the library. Scaffolding is up, and artist Johanna Poethig is working on her clever tile mosaic/mural, which incorporates vintage photographs shared by Bernal neighbors. (You can see some in-progress snaps above.)

All that remains is just a little more fundraising. And for that, the esteemed Bernalese who have spearheaded the Library Art Project invite you to purchase one of their rather fashionable sweatshirt hoodies, each of which includes a cameo by Bernal’s own celebrity icon, Sutrito Tower:


Here’s the pitch from the Library Art Project team:

Phase 2 of the Bernal Library Art Project is scheduled for completion this fall. Scaffolding is up on the back of the library to paint and prepare the wall for installation of the amazing glass and ceramic tile mural that Johanna Poethig has designed for this space.

So, even though the mural is going up, the funding is not complete. Our current, and perhaps final, fund raising effort is this terrific Bernal Heights sweatshirt hoodie. Please note:

  • The copyrighted image by Reuben Rude will not be duplicated in the future!
  • Supplies are limited!
  • They are available in sizes from XL to XS.
  • Hoodies are for purchase at Heartfelt for $45
  • All proceeds above cost support Phase 2 of the Bernal Lilbrary Art Project.

Although lightweight, it’s warm and super comfy and looks really cool. Don’t wait or you may miss the opportunity to own this Bernal Heights collectible!

PHOTOS: via the Bernal Library Art Project Facebook page.

Posted in architecture, Art, Cortland, Fashion | 15 Comments

UPDATED: One Year After Tragedy, Why Are Rec and Park Vehicles Still Driving in Holly Park?




It was a tragedy when Christy Svanemyr was killed by a hit-and-run San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department vehicle in Holly Park last September. Yet if any possible good might come from such a horror, it is the knowledge that policies were put in place to ensure that such a thing will never happen again.

That probably explains why Neighbor Roger Solin became livid when he saw a Rec and Park vehicle driving through Holly Park last weekend, apparently in violation of the department’s new guidelines for operating vehicles in City parks.

This is Neighbor Roger’s open letter to Rec and Park General Manager Philip Ginsburg, D9 Supervisor David Campos, and Mayor Ed Lee:

Dear Messrs Ginsburg, Campos, Lee:

As a result of the 2013 debacle in Holly Park where a SF Parks employee ran over and killed a person, I was pleased to recently read in several local publications that Mr. Ginsburg has implemented new policies for operation of vehicles in the public park system, including, “…installation of a toward-moving aural signal,” as well as “…drivers who are alone must exit their vehicle, walk the anticipated route through the park and inform park users about the intended passage”.

I was therefore shocked, when walking through the park with my two daughters when I observed a SF Parks truck with a single employee, who drove his truck through the park, This happened on August 16, 2014 at approximately 11:10 am, when the driver did none of the following:

  • Did not use a forward-moving aural signal
  • Did not walk the anticipated route and inform park users about the intended passage.

Attached are photos documenting this most recent incident.

As a SF and Bernal Park Resident, I request to know who is accountable and responsible for this continued mishap and negligence and what steps will be taken to rectify the situation? Do we need another death in Holly Park, or perhaps some other changes?


Roger Solin,
Resident, Bernal Heights

UPDATE: 20 August, 4:45 pm - Inspired by Neighbor Roger’s example, Neighbor Jack also wrote to our City officials regarding the incident described above. He received the following response from Dennis Kern, director of operations for Rec and Park:

From: Kern, Dennis (REC)
Date: Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 1:25 PM
Subject: FW: Continuing SF Park & Rec negligence in Holley Park
Cc: “Ginsburg, Phil (REC)”, “Campos, David (BOS)”, “Lee, Edwin (Mayor)

Dear [Jack] –

I am responding on behalf of our General Manager, Phil Ginsburg, to your e-mail supporting Mr. Roger Solin’s recent e-mail regarding vehicle operations in Holly Park. Attached below is Department’s response to Mr. Solin.

Thank you for your interest in our parks. I hope that this information is helpful.

Dennis Kern
Director of Operations
SF Recreation & Parks


From: Kern, Dennis (REC)
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2014 4:40 PM
To: Roger Solin
Cc: Ballard, Sarah (REC); Chan, Connie (REC); Ginsburg, Phil (REC); Campos, David (BOS); Lee, Edwin (Mayor) (ADM)
Subject: FW: Continuing SF Park & Rec negligence in Holley Park

Dear Mr. Solin,

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding your concern for vehicle operations within our parks. We immediately log all such communications when received, investigate what occurred, and take appropriate action. I am responding on behalf of Phil Ginsburg, our General Manager, to your recent e-mail regarding vehicle operations within our parks.

We take the issue of safe vehicle operation in parks very seriously and — as you mention — last year we instituted new policies for vehicle operations within our parks as we perform our park maintenance mission. I have looked into your description of your observation of our maintenance worker and his vehicle in Holly Park this past Saturday and can provide you the following information:

* Our Vehicle Operations Policy requires all staff to operate vehicles within parks on paved access roads to the maximum extent possible. When doing so, the driver is to maintain a maximum speed of 5mph or no faster than a person can comfortably walk. The use of a spotter or the requirement for the driver to walk the intended route of travel is only required by our policy when the vehicle must leave a paved access road and travel over unprepared surface (e.g., grass) to perform the required maintenance. In the photos that you provided with your observation, all photos show the vehicle to be on the paved access road in Holly Park. Further, a check of our GPS records for this vehicle at the time in question show that the vehicle’s speed while in Holly Park was 3mph. This being the case, our driver operated his vehicle in full compliance with our Vehicle Operations Policy.

* In your e-mail, you point out that this vehicle did not utilize a forward-moving aural signal. Your are correct. This vehicle does not yet have the new signaling device installed. Due to the size of our fleet (over 600 pieces of rolling stock), we are installing these new aural signals in vehicles in phases. This particular truck is scheduled to have its aural signal device installed within the next month.

Thank you for your interest in our parks and bringing your concern to our attention. I hope that this additional information is helpful and that you and your family continue to enjoy Holly Park and all of our beautiful San Francisco parks.

Dennis Kern
Director of Operations
SF Recreation & Parks

PHOTOS: Rec and Park vehicle in Holly Park on August 16, 2014, by Roger Solin

Posted in Calamity, Government | 23 Comments

Attention, Bernal Artists: Send Your Submissions for the 2014 “Art in Bernal Heights” Show at Inclusions Gallery


Amid all the angst, teeth-gnashing, and hair-pulling about the changes taking place in Bernal Heights, there’s one thing that about this neighborhood that has remained constant: Bernal Heights is home to a ridiculous number of incredibly talented creative people.

That’s why we’re so fortunate that Lisa Moro of the Inclusions Gallery on Cortland provides a venue for our local artists to strut their stuff. Inclusions consistently emphasizes local work, but the gallery’s annual “Art in Bernal Heights” show provides a unique opportunity for anyone and everyone in Bernal to channel their inner artiste.

Lisa just began accepting submissions for the 2014 edition of the Art in Bernal Heights show, so if you want your work to be included in it, you have until September 22 to show off your genius:

Inclusions Gallery is accepting submissions for our annual neighborhood show: Inclusions 6 – Bernal Heights Artists

This annual event is dedicated to the multi talented individuals that make up the highly creative community of Bernal Heights. Each year this successful exhibit features roughly 25 neighborhood artists and 100 diverse works of art. All residents are welcome and encouraged to participate. It’s a terrific opportunity to have your work shown while participating in an event that supports and celebrates the creativity of the local community.

Deadline for Submission: Midnight, September 22, 2014

Exhibition dates: October 18 – November 16, 2014

Artist reception: November 8, 2014 / 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Eligibility: The artist must be a resident of Bernal Heights to participate.

Mediums: Painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, artist book, ceramics, sculpture, textile, fiber art, mix media, collage, assemblage. Original art only.

Additional submission requirements and details right here.

IMAGE: Mosaic of work from the 2013 Art In Bernal Heights show

Posted in Art, Events | 3 Comments

Pinhole Coffee on Cortland Aims for Septemberish Opening


Anticipation has been building in Western Cortlandia as neighbors look forward to the grand opening of Pinhole Coffee at 231 Cortland, on the corner of Bonview. Bernalwood first told you about Pinhole last November, but opening a business in this town is famously non-easy, so things take time.

Lately, however, we’ve seen lots of construction underway in the Pinhole space, and when we poked our head in last weekend we saw lots of great stuff, including a handsome new coffee bar, a cool new mural (which features Sutro Tower for bonus cool credit), and  colorful wood strips on the walls. It’s going to be a beautiful space.

Pinhole founder JoEllen Depakakibo was onsite too, so Bernalwood posed the question everyone’s been asking: When is the opening date?!?!

Miss JoEllen smiled, laughed nervously, and said, “in a few weeks!”

So, end of August?

She scrunched up her face. “More like September,” she said.

Fair enough. Septemberish! Can’t wait. And in the meantime, you’ll find lots of construction photos on the Pinhole Coffee Facebookplatz.

PHOTO: via JoEllen Depakakibo

Posted in Coming Soon, Cortland, Food and Drink | 28 Comments

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



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

Posted in Bernal Hill, Photography | 3 Comments

Bernal Rockstar Matt Nathanson Is On Tour, Having Fun, but Feeling Homesick. So He Sent Us This Postcard.


It’s been a busy summer for our local rockstars. Neighbor Matt Nathanson, Bernal’s very own rockstar next-door, is out on the road doing a summer tour that’s already taken him from Vegas to Fargo and from Cedar Rapids to Toledo. On Wednesday he was in New York. Tonight, he’s in Philly.

All that sounds insanely glamorous (in a Waffle House sort of way), but the fundamental truth of the matter is that even though Neighbor Matt is having fun, he really misses us.

Well, to clarify… we don’t know if Neighbor Matt misses you or me specifically — although that’s certainly possible. What we know for sure is that he really misses us — as in Bernal Heights. And we know this because Neighbor Matt sent us a postcard from the road last week, which we are honored to share with you here:

Dearest Bernalwood,


I’m out here on my summer tour. We’re making our way into the northeast for a bunch of amazing shows (including a sold out Central Park summer stage!!), and all is going great… but we’re about 7 weeks into a 10 week run and i’m having myself an acute case of “missing-the-shit-out-of-our-neighborhooditis.”

Bernalwood makes the pining a little bit easier to bear, so thanks for that. These United States are pretty spectacular, but they’ve got nothing on our little 94110 (& 112). I’m super-looking forward to getting home at the end of August and digging into making my next record. Fall in San Francisco… can’t wait!!

Anyway, hope everything is awesome with you all. If you could, go hike the hill for me. Then shoot down to Precita Park and get one of those insane peanut butter cookie sandwiches they have in the glass case. Those things are magic!

Mama, i’m coming home (soon!),



Neighbor Matt, here’s a sublime photo someone took on the hill yesterday evening; Karl the Fog has been summering nearby, as you know he likes to do.

Also, even though your body is elsewhere, your music plays on here in the Dominion of Bernalwood. In fact, we heard you a few weeks ago at the Lowe’s on Bayshore; they were playing “Girl in the Kinks Shirt” over the PA system! While we were browsing in the paint department! It was pretty awesome, even though a robot voice interrupted halfway through to announce, “Assistance required in the wire-cutting section.” Then your song played a little more, and the robot voice said it again: “Assistance required in the wire-cutting section.” Frankly, we thought the robot was being sort of rude, but still… it was you! On the PA system! At the Lowes on Bayshore! Just down the hill from your crib. Dude… ROCKSTAR!

Have fun on the rest of your tour, Neighbor Matt.

But not too much fun.

PHOTO: Neighbor Matt thinking of us in glamorous St. Augustine, Florida


Posted in Celebrity, Music | 7 Comments