UPDATED: Arsonist Arrested in Last Night’s Fire on Anderson Street May Have Been Facing Eviction

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There was a fire on the 600 block of Anderson Street last night. Details are sparse, but a tweet from a SFFD firefighters union indicated that there was an arrest associated with the incident:

KRON-TV outlined the story:

San Francisco police have detained one person connected with a fire in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood Tuesday night, firefighters said.

Firefighters tweeted at around 7:41 p.m. that they were called to the 600 block of Anderson Street.

No other details have been made available about the incident or why the person was detained.

Initial reports said a mother stated that her son “had a knife,” firefighters tweeted.

SFist reports that according to the SFPD, the arsonist arrested in connection with the incident was  a 35-year-old man who lived in the residence who had been ‘”notified that he was being evicted” by his 60-year-old landlady.”

UPDATE: SFAppeal provides more detail:

Police today said the fire sparked shortly after the resident, 35-year-old Edwin Monzon, was informed by his 60-year-old landlady that he was being evicted.

Monzon was arrested on suspicion of arson and other offenses, according to police.

[SFFD spokesman Jonathan] Baxter said one person, a neighbor, was transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure but described it as a “minor episode.” He could not immediately provide more information on the nature of the medical issue.

PHOTO: Fire on Anderson, Jan 27, 2016, courtesy of Steve Rhodes

Free Meditation Classes at The New Wheel Bike Shop

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What is the sound of a silent motor turning? That’s the kind of koan you may want to ponder at the new series of meditation classes hosted at the fabulous and futuristic New Wheel Bike Shop at 420 Cortland (near Wool). The classes are free, the first one happens tomorrow, Thursday January 28.  

The New Wheel’s blog provides more detail:

Many of our customers have enlightened us on the sense of calm that a daily bike commute has brought to their lives. It is in this spirit that the New Wheel, in partnership with Brahma Kumaris of San Francisco, bring you meditation classes every other week at The New Wheel.

First class: Thursday, January 28th, 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Thursday, February 4th, 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Thursday, February 25th, 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Thursday, March 3rd, 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Thursday, March 31st, 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Thursday, April 7th, 7:15pm – 8:15pm

Thursday, April 28th, 7:15pm – 8:15pm

We look forward to seeing you here!

meditation-flyer

PHOTO: Courtesy of The New Wheel

Spirit Animal Alert!! Coyote Sighting on Bernal Hill

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Yesterday, the Bernalwood Office of Wildlife Affairs received several confirmed reports of a coyote sighting from multiple locations on Bernal Hill. The photo above was taken on Bernal Hill yesterday by @nataliacosa, and it’s so amazing.

Neighbor Jim captured a photo of the coyote  on the hill at 10:15 am, “just above the art rock,”  he says. (Specifically, it looks like the slope on the northeast face that riders at Ski Bernalwood call “Buckeye.”)

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And here’s what Neighbor Chris saw at about 9 am, near the quarry on the southwest side:

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Coyote.chris

Now, if we can set aside spirit animals and natural wonder for a moment… it’s time for a Public Safety Announcement. The coyote on Bernal Hill is awe-inspiring, but it also means humans with dogs — and especially, small dogs — should be vigilant.  We encourage you to re-read these important tips from a local coyote whisperer on how to navigate coyote-canine encounters.

UPDATE: Neighbor Jengis documented another coyote sighting today, Jan. 26, at about 10:20 am around “the wilds near Waltham and Alabama”:

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Thursday Eve: Community Crime and Public Safety Meeting at BHNC

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As you might have heard, we’ve been addressing property crime and robberies in Bernal Heights lately, as burglaries, auto thefts, and thefts-from-autos have been taking a wearisome toll on Bernal neighbors. And sometimes, things get violent.

Following up on last week’s meeting with the Northeast Bernal Neighbor’s Alliance, and as part of an ongoing series of efforts to address crime and public safety concerns in Bernal Heights, Supervisor David Campos and the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center are hosting a community meeting on Thursday, January 28 at 6 pm.

Neighbor Ryan from the Northeast Bernal Neighbor’s Alliance says:

Supervisor Campos and Hillary Ronen are holding a separate meeting this week to address broader Bernal safety. If you didn’t make it to last week’s meeting, would like to continue the discussion with the other city agencies noted there, or don’t live in NE Bernal, I think it’s worth showing up!

Here’s their description of the event:

Supervisor David Campos is hosting a meeting to discuss the rampant car break-ins in Bernal Heights. Captain McFadden will present on how the community can work together to guard against and effectively report these crimes. Representatives from the Department of Public Works and the Public Utilities Commission will be there to discuss areas where additional street light is needed in the neighborhood. A representative from the District Attorney’s Office will be there to explain the office’s work to address this problem. Supervisor Campos would like to hear resident ideas to address the problem and will propose a plan to start addressing the issue.

Details
What: Crime & Safety Meeting
When: Thursday, January 28th at 6:00pm
Where: Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave

Feel free to contact Hillary Ronen, from Supervisor Campos’ Office, with any questions or comments prior to the meeting. Hillary.ronen@sfgov.org; 415-554-7739.

01-28 Community PS Mtg Flyer

PHOTO: Capt. Joseph McFadden at BHNC, Oct. 20, 2015 by Telstar Logistics

That Awkward Time Supervisor Campos Crashed a Community Crime Safety Meeting to Give a Campaign Speech

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Opinion Disclosure Warning: The post that follows describes a recent unpleasant encounter with our District 9 Supervisor. It is strongly opinionated. If that’s a turn-off, I apologize, and I recommend you skip this post. Thanks for your understanding. — Todd Lappin

 

Now that the notes from last week’s Northeast Bernal Community Meeting have been posted, I also wanted to describe an incident that happened during the meeting, involving David Campos, our D9 Supervisor.

Supervisor Campos was not involved in the planning and organization of last Thursday’s community meeting. (More on that below.) Refreshingly, however, he showed up at the meeting along with his aide (and D9 Supervisor candidate), Hilary Ronen. That was a good thing, because the crime problem in northeast Bernal is such that residents there need all the official attention they can get. But halfway through the meeting, Supervisor Campos kind of went off the rails.

During a Q&A period, Campos raised his hand. The moderator called on him to speak, and Campos stood up. He started in with a pronouncement that there was “an elephant in the room.” He repeated this a few times. It left people scratching their heads, because until that moment the meeting had generally been constructive and elephant-free.

After a pause, Supervisor Campos pivoted to a speech about how the reason a representative from the Mayor’s office (Jason Elliott) was standing in the front of the room was because of his friendship with Joshua Arce (the 2016 D9 Supervisor candidate who had helped facilitate the meeting). Campos began building up a head of steam around the idea that the Mayor sent his deputy chief of staff to the meeting only because the mayor something something something something something and then…

Then I stood up, and told Supervisor Campos he was way out of line.

Actually, I said a bit more than that, and in a much more emphatic way. Basically I urged Supervisor Campos to discontinue the theatrics, in no small part because the very community meeting he was attending had been necessitated by the fact that Supervisor Campos’s office has done a poor job of responding to Bernal constituents concerns about crime problems in Bernal Heights.

Here’s some backstory: The Northeast Bernal Neighbors Alliance was formed in no small part because many Bernal neighbors in that section of our neighborhood have been unable to get a response from Supervisor Campos’s office about their crime problems. Many emails to his office have gone unanswered. Many many. I know this because when Campos’s office ignores emails about crime problems from Bernal neighbors, many of those neighbors write to me instead. I receive a lot of these emails. Many many.  Bottom line: Last week’s community meeting happened because  a neighborhood that had been neglected by David Campos’s office organized a new neighborhood group to get some help without having to rely on David Campos.

Hilary Ronen was sitting next to her boss as things got heated, and she looked stricken. I felt bad for her, because it was mortifying.

It was mortifying because Campos showed everyone in the room that he was looking at the meeting through the cheap lens of political gamesmanship, instead of listening to what Bernal residents were telling him about the crime problem in their community.

Fortunately, just before things got too hot, Buck Bagot intervened to redirect the conversation. (Note to History: Buck is a Bernal treasure.) Then the meeting resumed. There was no further speechifying from Supervisor Campos, although he did often try to politicize the issues discussed in the room by blaming others for this or that.

Look, it’s great that Campos’s office has finally decided to engage with his northeast Bernal constituents. But his effort to turn a grassroots community meeting into political spectacle was inappropriate. The most important take-away from last week’s meeting was that our Bernal neighbors need all the help they can get. It’ll take a lot of on-the-ground organization, and a lot of interagency coordination, and a lot of hard work to make northeast Bernal a safer community.

Last week, David Campos signaled that he’s more interested in scoring political points than he is in doing the real work required to be part of the solution. Yet hope springs eternal: There’s another community meeting about crime and public safety this Thursday, Jan. 28, 6 pm, at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, and David Campos helped organize this one. Bernalwood will provide full details about that meeting tomorrow.

GRAPHIC: Northeast Bernal  Crime Incident Map, May 2015 to January 2016, via SFOpenData. David Campos photo via Wikipedia.

Bernal’s Coco Ramen Leads List of “15 Best Ramen Spots in the Bay Area”

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This is a tasty surprise: Coco’s Ramen, the cozy new ramen joint on Mission near 30th Street in Bernal’s NanoTokyo District, made the cut for SFist’s roundup of the 15 Best Ramen Spots in the Bay Area.

They say:

Coco’s Ramen
To get to Coco’s on the Mission strip in Bernal Heights, a spot indicated loosely with a paper sign for “Ramen,” duck inside the more clearly designated Crazy Sushi and hang a left. The two are separate but symbiotically related businesses. In a warm red room, made warmer with a little sake and some steaming broth, snag one of a few tables or a seat at the bar and ask for your old friend tonkotsu [sic] — though the shoyu and curry based options are reason to stray.

Cheaty Bonus Glory: SFist’s list is alphabetically sorted, so Coco’s Ramen appears in the lead position. Yesssssss!

Sounds like Coco’s is finding its groove. Since Bernalwood’s original Coco Ramen taste-test, the restaurant now enjoys four stars and even more gushing reviews on the Yelp.

PHOTO: Tonkatsu ramen from Coco’s Ramen, by Kaitlyn D. on Yelp

Notes from Last Night’s Northeast Bernal Community Meeting

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Here are my notes from last night’s full-house community meeting about crime problems in northeast Bernal, held at the Precita Center:

Community Meeting on Crime and Public Safety
Organized by the Northeast Bernal Neighbors Association (NBNA)
January 21, 2016

Speakers:

  • Terry Milne – Northeast Bernal Neigbors Alliance
  • Capt. Joseph McFadden, Captain, SFPD Ingleside Station
  • Jason Elliott, deputy chief of staff to Mayor Ed Lee

Bernal Neighbor Terry Milne kicked off the meeting by explaining that NBNA was formed to solve some of the crime problems that aren’t being addressed by city officials. The goal of NBNA is to increase political representation in this part of Bernal, to provide a cohesive message in City Hall, and to make sure neighbors in northeast Bernal get their issues addressed. Want to get involved? Join the network.

NBNA thanked Joshua Arce for helping to organize the meeting.

D9 Supervisor David Campos was present, along with his aide, Hilary Ronen.

Comments from Capt. McFadden

Ingleside 2d biggest geographical district in SF

Why does crime happen in NE Bernal?

  • Lots of criminals come here from out of town
  • Gang activity
  • Easy freeway access

Northeast Bernal has coverage from a radio car, as well as some coverage from undercover units.

McFadden showed a map of burglaries (homes robbed) that illustrated a strong cluster of crime in the far northwest corner of Bernal, right around the Peralta/Holladay corner.

McFadden noted that it is hard to secure a felony conviction for a car break in. To do that, prosecutors in San Francisco require a witness who saw

  1. someone break a window
  2. the person take something
  3. the person left the scene.

Missing any one of those and the crime is likely just a misdemeanor. The San Francisco district attorney (who is independently elected) does not make it easy to secure prosecutions.

Recent example: Ingleside recently arrested 3 recidivists who are responsible for at least a dozen car break-ins. They will likely get misdemeanors or probation.

Obvious reminder that nevertheless bears repeating: Don’t leave anything in your car. “Not leaving anything in your car” means don’t leave anything at all in your car. Period. Remove your phone charger and charging cable when you park, because they signal to a criminal that they should break into the car to see if there’s a phone is there. Smartphones can fetch $100 or more, and are easily fenced.

Video evidence is a godsend: Video recordings are hugely helpful, both for catching criminals and facilitating prosecution. “Gigantic,” McFadden says. Security cameras are a great investment, and the SFPD has very good systems for managing and distributing video footage to officers on the beat. (NOTE: If you have an exterior-facing camera, you can register it with the SF district attorney’s office here so they can collect more evidence after crimes take place.)

McFadden showed a recent home security camera video of an auto break-in on Coleridge Bocana in Bernal Heights. The perp began by casing a few cars on the street. Then he began shining a flashlight into a few car windows. (NOTE: That demonstrates clear intent to commit a crime, and thus would warrant a 911/urgent call to SFPD) Then he called his friend in a getaway car, who showed up in moments. Then he smashed a window, grabbed something from the car, and drove off with his friend. Total elapsed time: About 2 minutes.

Reminder: Don’t call 911 from you cell phone, because mobile 911 calls go to CHP dispatch, far, far away. Add these numbers to your mobile phone address book:

  • SFPD emergency landline (for crimes in progress): (415) 553-8090
  • SFPD non-emergency: (415) 553-0123
  • SFPD Ingleside station number: (415) 404-4000

SFPD dispatch pro tips Part 1: If you’re not getting the help you need from an SFPD dispatcher, call back and try a different dispatcher. If you’re still not getting enough help, demand to speak to a supervisor. Or the supervisor’s supervisor. Still not getting a response? Call Ingleside station, and ask to speak to the platoon commander. Don’t cry wolf, but do act VERY persistent.

SFPD dispatch pro tips Part 2: When you report suspicious activity or a crime in progress, try to provide some specific details that make it easier to identify the subject. Don’t say “4 door white car,” say “4 door white car with a spoiler on the rear deck and small round taillights.” Or, “he was wearing a shirt with a Nike swoosh.” Ignore jackets and hoodies; those are easily shed. Look for details about pieces of clothing that are hard to remove: Pants, shoes, base-layer shirts, etc.

In response to a question about SFPD jurisdictional issues, McFadden said that Mission Station and Ingleside will soon (do already?) share a radio channel. Previously, Mission and Ingleside used separate frequencies. Being on the same channel will help improve coordination.

Jason Elliot – Mayor’s deputy chief of staff

Big Picture: Violent crime is down, property crime is up

Thanks to Prop 47, big policy questions are being asked.

More police officers will help with quality lot life crimes. Plan in place and funded to get SFPD up to 2000 officers, or the full complement as determined by a study that was conducted in 1970 (That’s not a typo. There was much eye-rolling over this.) SFPD should hit 2000 officers next year, and that will mean more officers in radio cars to focus on property crime.

The Mayor’s office hopes to pilot some new approaches, perhaps in Bernal Heights:

  • Received for a grant to assist with vehicle crime abatement
  • Gang task force grant
  • One potential program might make it possible to increase police presence at times when data shows peak crime activity

Hopefully there will be more detail on this, TBD.

Also:

Ailed Quijano Paningbatan-Swan from the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center added some helpful comments.

Good lighting reduces crime. BHNC helped instal lighting around Holly Park, and it helped.

She encouraged NE Bernal neighbors to organize Hotspot walks, in which neighbors go for neighborhood walks with SFPD and city officials to highlight areas of concern. That helps build community while also making city departments and leaders accountable for making improvements. Contact Ailed at BHNC for details.

Other Ideas:
Neighbors expressed interest in closing the steep stairway from the 101 interchange up to Peralta and Holladay. Also want to close the overpass across Bayshore. The City officials present did not provide clear guidance if this was even possible.

Many neighbors (and Ailed from BHNC) emphasized this key idea:

GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!! Communities are stronger when people have face to face relationships. Say hello. Exchange phone numbers. There is a common perception that some new Bernal neighbors keep to themselves. (Editorial Note :This may be true, or it may be bullshit, and/or the demonization of new residents by the Old Guard certainly doesn’t do much to encourage community participation, but nevertheless: If you’re new here, take the time to say hello. It’s a gesture that matters.)

One final comments came from a Bernal neighbor who grew up in Bernal. A former gang member, he settled down once he started a family. He said: “If you don’t know your neighbors, they won’t look out for you.”

Reminder: If you want to participate in the Northeast Bernal Neighbors Alliance, sign up here.

There will be another community meeting about public safety next Thursday, Jan 28 at 6 pm at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center.  Look for additional details on that soon.

PHOTO: Northeast Bernal Community Meeting, photo by @ywxwy