RIP Bernard Mayes, Bernal Neighbor and Suicide-Prevention Pioneer


Via an obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, we learn that we have lost one of Bernal’s finest. Neighbor Bernard Mayes of Winfield Street, the creator of America’s first suicide prevention hotline, has died. The Chronicle writes:

The first suicide hotline in the United States consisted of one man with one phone in one room in San Francisco. The man was Bernard Mayes, and he has died at 85.

Mr. Mayes, a longtime San Francisco radio correspondent for the BBC, was also the founding station manager of KQED FM. His death Thursday was confirmed by Matthew Chayt, executor of his estate. Mr. Mayes suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had been hospitalized.

In a 2012 interview with The Chronicle at his home in Bernal Heights, Mr. Mayes recounted how he got the idea for the hotline.

“I did feel that what was really needed was a compassionate ear, someone to talk to,” he said in the smooth radio voice of his native London. “It occurred to me that we had to have some kind of service which would offer unconditional listening, and that I would be this anonymous ear.”

The year was 1962, and Mr. Mayes acted on his hunch by placing cardboard ads on Muni buses: “Thinking of ending it all? Call Bruce, PR1-0450, San Francisco Suicide Prevention.”

PHOTO: Bernard Mayes at his home in Bernal Heights, 2012. Photo by the San Francisco Chronicle

Where Bernal Celebrity Chef Tim Archuleta Dines When He Dines in Bernal Heights


Chef Tim Archuleta is now famous throughout the galaxy for the amazing food he serves at ICHI Sushi+Ni Bar on Mission Street in the Dominion of Bernalwood. But did you know that along with his glamorous wife Erin, the Archuletas also live right here Bernal  Heights? They do!

So when Chef Tim and Neighbor Erin want to stay close to home, they often dine at one of Bernal’s other fine eateries — just like us! The Tasting Table website interviewed Chef Tim recently to find out where he likes to eat in Bernal Heights:

Call it what you will, but the South Mission/La Lengua/Bernal Heights is all kinds of hot right now.

And there’s no better neighborhood guide than Tim Archuleta of ICHI Sushi + NI Bar, one of our favorite spots in town. He’s lived there since 2005, but lately, Archuleta has been keeping busy with a packed house, transforming the original ICHI space into an oyster bar and frequenting neighborhood favorites—when his wife and business partner Erin isn’t cooking, that is.

“She’s an amazing cook!” Archuleta tells us. “On one of our first dates she made me bacon-wrapped meatloaf with hard-boiled eggs running through it. I knew it was love at first bite.”

Here are some of his other local loves.

We don’t want to ruin the surprise, so read the whole article to compare Chef Tim’s list of go-to places on Mission Street with your own.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Globetrotting French Family Gets Proper Bernal Welcome Near Yosemite


Remember that globetrotting French family that was parked on Bernal Hill last weekend?

Neighbor Dawn, the patron saint of El Rio, hoped to give them a proper Bernal welcome… but she arrived on the Hill after they’d already departed. Nevertheless, she did eventually succeed in her quest. Neighbor Dawn tells the tale:

I read your recent post on the French family in bernal and was thrilled, as I love those vehicles and folks making travels like this wonderful group. I immediately went up to the hill to say hello and offer them my house to park and rest, but they were already gone. I got the best surprise though…

I live part time in a small town near Yosemite, and as i came up this week, guess who i discovered along the road? I invited them to stay with me, and we just had the most wonderful couple of days visiting with them. They are on their way thru Yosemite now.

Thank you for saying hello to them to begin with, and the blog post. It was such a pleasure for me to meet them!

PHOTO: The Cébron Family, by Neighbor Dawn

Bernal Watercolor Geeks Unite! Meeting on Friday and Upcoming Group Show at Cafe 78


Neighbor Jesse Schlenker wants to tell you about the Watercolor Community of San Francisco,  a new group of local watercolor enthusiasts who will meet at the Bernal Heights Library tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 17 (and every other Friday thereafter). There’s also a group show going up on Nov. 2 at Cafe 78 in La Lengua.

Neighbor Jesse writes:

I’d like to introduce the Watercolor Community of San Francisco (formerly known as the Russellers).

We meet at the Bernal library every other Friday from 1-5pm to paint together, share techniques and enjoy each other’s company. We welcome any fellow watercolorist who would like to paint with us. No instructor is provided but we do learn from each other. Our next meeting is this Friday, Oct. 17th.

Check us out on our blog.

Our original group met each other while taking the watercolor classes of Kay Russell, who taught at City College. When she retired a few years ago, we decided to create our group to continue to enjoy the community and camaraderie her classes had fostered.

Every year we have a group show which is coming up on Nov. 1st. Come, check us out and enjoy our artwork!

Here are the details:

Watercolor Community of San Francisco 4th Annual Group Show
Cafe 78 at 78 29th St./ Tiffany / between Mission and Guerrero St.
Starting Sun. Nov. 2nd, running through Sat. Nov. 29th

Our reception will be on Fri. Nov. 7th from 5-7pm

Artists participating in the show are: Avelina Leanos, Laurie Wigham, Gail Block, Janie Dubuque, Shirley Edwards, Heather Solway, John Webster, Jesse Schlenker, Juliet DiGiovanni, Joanie Helgeson, Colleen Sundquist, Jo Hunter, Carmel Adams, and Peg Robinson.

IMAGE: Watercolor by Neighbor Jesse Schlenker

Tonight: There’s a New Variety Show at the Moonlight Cafe


A “happy pirate team” of Cortland merchants have conspired to create a new, monthly variety show at the Moonlight Cafe, and there’s one happening tonight.

Ms. Monique from Heartfelt shared the news:

Monique from Heartfelt and Aziz from Moonlight have teamed up with local funny gal morgansfunny to host a monthly Variety Show in Bernal at the Moonlight Cafe (634 Cortland).

It happens every 3rd Wednesday of the month (there’s a show tonight, October 15!!!) and the show consists of comedy, spoken word, and music.

There are four acts, and the show begins at 7:30 and runs about 90 minutes with an intermission. Cost is $10, and there is food and drink (modified from Moonlight’s regular menu) available for purchase. 21+ as we hope to make this a regular grown up night in Bernal.

We just started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds in an attempt to make this show and other entertainment more available more often. Please check it out and spread the word!


Hard Hat Chic: Groundbreaking Begins New St. Luke’s Hospital Construction Effort




There was a fashionable groundbreaking ceremony last Friday to mark the (long-debated) start of construction of the new California Pacific Medical Center facility on the grounds of  St. Luke’s Hospital at Cesar Chavez near Valencia — Bernal’s home-team hospital.

The San Francisco Appeal covered the event:

The new state-of-the-art hospital will be constructed adjacent to the old hospital on San Jose Avenue just south of Cesar Chavez Street, CPMC spokesman Dean Frye said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee attended [Friday’s] groundbreaking ceremony and dug out a symbolic shovel full of dirt. He said via Twitter that the project will provide a “new seismically safe hospital and year-round jobs for #SF residents.”

CPMC chief executive officer Warren Browner joined the mayor and members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to celebrate construction of the new St. Luke’s campus, which will begin in October, Frye said.

The new hospital comes after years of negotiations, including a 2012 development agreement that was shelved by members of the city’s Board of Supervisors, in part because of concerns over an escape clause that could have let CPMC close St. Luke’s hospital if its operating margin stayed negative for two straight years.

The new deal hashed out in 2013 omitted the escape clause, required that at least 30 percent of construction jobs go to San Francisco residents, and included higher contributions by the hospital group to the city for charity care.

The new St. Luke’s facility is scheduled to open in 2019, at which point the existing hospital building will be demolished. No major disruption in hospital services is anticipated along the way.

History buffs will note that St. Luke’s was also the site of the original Jose Cornelio Bernal homestead (which sat on the north side of present-day Duncan),  so it’s good to see a new chapter beginning, at last, on this hallowed patch of Bernal Heights ground.

IMAGES: Top: Mayor Ed Lee at St. Luke’s groundbreaking, via @mayoredlee. Rendering of new St. Luke’s Hospital, via CPMC. Jose Bernal house map via Burrito Justice.