Cash Drawers Stolen During Early Morning Break-In at Healthy Spirits

Security camera footage shows the intruder entering Healthy Spirits at 5:30 am.

It’s tough to be a merchant in San Francisco — as Heathy Spirits discovered yet again today.

In the early morning hours today, thieves broke in to the Healty Spirits store at 249 Cortland to steal the cash register.

This is the second time this has happened to Healthy Spirits; a similar incident took place in July 2016.

Rami from Healthy Spirits tells Bernalwood:

This morning approximately at 5:30 I received a call from police notifying me of a break in at my business located at 249 Cortland Ave.

The video footage shows that one of the thieves opened the front door using a crowbar and the second thief enters and proceeds to yank the cash register and runs away with two cash drawers. The cash drawers had a small amount of money but the robbery leaves me with a broken front door and a very expensive POS system to replace.
This same scenario almost exactly happened back in July 2016 where the thieves were only interested in the cash register as well.

It is days like today that I choose to count my blessings and I spend my time thinking about how lucky I am to be a part of this wonderful Bernal family. I shall restore whatever was damaged as soon as possible and I can’t wait to be back serving our clients and our Bernalese family at large.

Here are additional security-camera photos of the intruder inside Healthy Spirits this morning:

Anyone with further information about this incident is encouraged to contact SFPD Ingleside Station at (415) 404-4000.

Seasonal Transition Alert! Bernal Hill Engreening Now In Progress

After all the rain during the last week, Bernal Hill has started its annual transition from Brown Mode to Green Mode.

Early this morning, Neighbor Sarah shared this glorious photo taken from the top of Bernal Hill.  Astute observers will note the presence of a verdant peachfuzz lining the surface of the hill.

All Bernalese are advised to expect continued engreening in the weeks and months ahead, as the grasses grow taller and Bernal Hill takes on a more lush and full-bodied demeanor.

Hail the rains! Hail the green!

Friday: Public Hearing on Northwest Bernal Permit Parking Plan

At 10 am in Room 416 at City Hall this Friday, Nov. 17, the SFMTA will hold a public hearing to discuss yet another revised version of the revised plan regarding the controversial proposal to establish a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) zone in northwest Bernal Heights.

In an email to Bernalwood, SFMTA parking policy manager Hank Wilson explained the details of the latest RPP proposal:

At the public hearing in July 2017, attendees included both supporters and those not in support of creating a new RPP Area. For the most part, supporters live on blocks that voted to be included in the RPP Area, and those not in support live on blocks that did not vote to be included in the RPP Area. A large number of those who spoke against creating a new RPP Area live on Elsie Street, which had voted against joining the RPP Area and was not included as one of the proposed RPP blocks. Most of the folks from Elsie Street opposed the inclusion of the 200 block of Esmeralda, saying that they often used that block to park their cars.

Since the July 2017 public hearing, the votes on the 200 block of Esmeralda have shifted and that block is no longer in support of joining an RPP Area. In addition, the residents of the 0-99 block of Prospect have voted to be included in the RPP area. Here is an updated map of the proposed RPP Area.

As you may remember from community meetings on this subject, the SFMTA is also pursuing some more general RPP reforms. A proposal before the SFMTA Board of Directors was heard on October 3, 2017, but was continued indefinitely by the Board.

Rather than delaying a decision on the NW Bernal Heights proposal further by waiting for the RPP Reform proposal to return to the SFMTA Board, we are moving forward with bringing a NW Bernal Heights proposal to the SFMTA Board.

The NW Bernal Heights RPP proposal will have the following policies for the number of permits that may be issued per address:

  • One permit per driver; two permits per address
  • Permits for medical care and child care providers do not count towards the two per address limit
  • Additional permits may be issued to an address if there is parking available in the immediate area and the permit is for additional licensed drivers in the household

The next step is another public hearing at City Hall on Friday, November 17, at 10am. After that, the proposal will move to the SFMTA Board of Directors. We hope for the proposal to be heard at the January 16, 2018 board meeting, but that date has not been confirmed.

SFMTA also sent an email about the Nov. 17 meeting, which contains some additional context:

The SFMTA has scheduled a 10 A.M. public hearing for November 17, 2017, at San Francisco City Hall, Room 416, to consider modifications to the proposed northwest Bernal Heights Residential Permit Parking Area (RPP).

The purpose of the public hearing is to solicit comment on the proposed new RPP Area. No decisions will be made at this meeting. If you are not able to attend the public hearing, you may submit your comment in writing or by email to Kathryn Studwell, Policy Manager, Residential Parking, 1 S. Van Ness, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103 or email her at

The RPP Area proposal has been modified to:

  • Remove the 200-299 block of Esmeralda Avenue
  • Add the 00-99 block of Prospect Avenue

The proposed RPP Area will have the following policies for the number of permits that may be issued per address:

  • One permit per driver; two permits per address
  • Permits for medical care and child care providers do not count towards the two per address limit
  • Additional permits may be issued to an address if there is parking available in the immediate area and the permit is for additional licensed drivers in the household

How We Got Here

  • Residents of northwest Bernal Heights requested the SFMTA consider establishing a new Residential Permit Parking (RPP) Area, which led to a community outreach process that started in spring 2015.
  • The proposed RPP Area is comprised of those blocks where 50% or more of the addresses voted to create a new area; this voting process was completed in May 2017.
  • Since July 2017, a majority of residents on the 200 block of Esmeralda decided that they no longer support RPP on their block, while a majority of residents of the unit block of Prospect decided to support RPP.

Additional information about the Bernal Heights RPP plan is available on the SFMTA website.

Wednesday: Bernal History Project Presents “History of the Bernal Cut” (Plus Potluck)

Bernal Cut looking north, circa 1912. Southern Pacific train passing under the Richland Street bridge. (Image courtesy OpenSFHistory, from the Emiliano Echeverria/Randolph Brandt Collection)

At the Bernal Library on Wednesday evening, Nov. 15, starting at 7 pm, The Bernal Heights History Project will host John Blackburn and Bill Cassidy as they present a slideshow about the history of the Bernal Cut.

The origins of the Bernal Cut lie in the early San Francisco and San Jose Railroad, which later became the Southern Pacific Railroad. Dug out of the hills between Mission and Randall streets and San Jose and St. Mary’s avenues, the “cut” established a shorter rail travel route into and out of the City.

Southern Pacific Railroad entering Bernal Cut as seen from Richland-Miguel overpass, April 5, 1922. (Photo: SFDPW, courtesy C.R. collection)

This single-track route remained a passenger route until 1932, continued to operate for freight trains through the 1940s. It was essential to transporting coffins and visitors to the cemeteries in Colma.

These days, The Cut is known as San Jose Avenue, and it carries the J-Church streetcar and I-280 automotive traffic.

John and Virginia Kibre will bring their fully working scale model of the train and the Cut, which they built for the Bernal History Project for San Francisco History Days 2017.

This is the last meeting of the year and will be a pot-luck event. Bring goodies of any kind: chips and dips, sodas and water, noshes, sushi, sweets, or anything to share. BHP will provide home-baked cookies and coffee.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. sharp in the downstairs meeting room at the Bernal branch library (500 Cortland at Anderson); turn left at the bottom of the stairs. As always, it is free, kid-friendly, and open to all. Street parking: can be tricky because this is St. Kevin’s bingo night.

Eucalyptus Trees Removed From Bernal Hill

Neighbor Fiid graciously shared photos of several eucalyptus trees being removed from the western side of Bernal Hill yesterday, near the area where the Esmeralda stairway connects with the pedestrian segment of Bernal Heights Boulevard.

Observers in the La Lengua flatlands also noticed the tree removal taking place, but from their vantage point, the process appeared to be the work of either an angry Tiki god or an avant-garde landscape artist — or both:

Suffice to say, it was no such thing.

In recent years, the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks has removed several trees on Bernal Hill that were deemed to pose a potential hazard. Back in 2015, Rec and Park told Bernalwood to expect that some trees on the western slope of Bernal Hill would eventually be removed as part that effort.

Citywide, there are several initiatives underway to remove old Eucalyptus trees, as they are a non-native species that may pose a fire hazard.

Sunday: Join a Fabulous, Fascinating Bernal-La Lengua Walking Tour

Valencia Street at Cesar Chavez (Army) Street looking south, June 9, 1920. (Source: SFMTA)

The fertile flatlands of Bernal Heights along Mission Street are home to many tasty restaurants, rollicking nightlife, and proud inhabitants who are famous for their hyperlocal pride and rebellious attitudes. Yet even if no one can quite agree what to call it — La Lengua? Mssion-Bernal? Bernal-Mission? South of Army? — Bernal’s stretch of Mission Street is one of the most vibrant micro-hoods in all of San Francisco, and tastemakers around town are just starting to realize that.

Underpinning all this, La Lengua also has a rich history that extends all the way back to our primordial ancestor, Jose Cornelio Bernal, whose ranch gave our neighborhood its name and whose homestead was located on the site of today’s St. Luke’s Hospital.

This weekend, on Sunday Nov. 12 starting at 10 am, Bernal Neighbor Michael Nolan will join forces with neighborhood enthusiasts to lead a walking tour of Mission-Bernal La Lengua Bernal-Mission South of Army:

District Nine Neighbors for Housing presents a Mission-Bernal Walking Tour ~ Past, Present & Future, Part One, Led by Gillian Gillett

$5 covers tour guide materials for participants. We convene at Tierra Mia Coffee, Valencia & Mission at 10am and conclude at El Buen Comer, Mission & Kingston, at Noon for Brunch.

Our guide and neighbor, Gillian Gillett, will describe the street widenings (and sidewalk narrowings) of Cesar Chavez (once Army), Guerrero and San Jose Avenue, the aborted Mission Freeway and Southern Crossing, and troubles at St. Luke’s Hospital: 1940-2017.  We look at housing development opportunities along the route.

Gillian Gillett is a neighborhood activist (San Jose/Guerrero Coalition to Save Our Streets), public space advocate (Greening Guerrero and Guerrero Park), and mom of two. During her day job, she is Director of Transportation Policy in Mayor Lee’s office, focusing on Caltrain, bike share, California High Speed Rail, BART and the coming of the Autonomous Vehicle.

Part Two will take place in January, originate at Tierra Mia Coffee and head south past the Royal Cuckoo, 3300 Club/Graywood Hotel-Cole Hardware-Safeway sites and finish at Randall Street.  More details will follow as the date approaches.

To join, use this link to get an invitation from Neighbor Michael.

Saturday: Families Invited to Frolic at the Paul Revere Elementary Schoolyard

There’s a gorgeous schoolyard at Paul Revere Elementary School in South Bernal, and this Saturday morning, Bernalese of all ages are invited to come celebrate and enjoy it.

Sharon Chung from the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project tells Bernalwood:

We’re hosting a large community event at Paul Revere Elementary on Saturday, Nov. 4 and welcoming families and kids to come have a great time with us under the sun.

The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project is a non profit organization that works to open schoolyards across the City for public use on weekends. Our mission is to provide every child and family in San Francisco an accessible space to gather and play within walking distance.

We hope everyone in the Bernal Heights community will be able to utilize Paul Revere’s schoolyard more readily with this opening.

WHAT: Schoolyard Opening at Paul Revere Elementary School
WHEN: Saturday, November 4, 11 am – 1 pm
WHERE: Paul Revere Elementary, 555 Tompkins Ave.
RSVP: Via this website