Air Passenger Snaps Sweeping Aerial Photo of Bernal Heights

We’ve told you about the Highways in the Sky, and how they traverse Bernal Heights from high above. And we’ve told you how to identify the airliners you might see passing overhead.

So it was fun to find this photo recently over on the Twitter. It’s a very clear view of San Francisco, looking north with Bernal Heights in the foreground. While we look up at them, they gaze down upon us. Here’s the annotated version:

PHOTO: @mrmeschi

An Inventory of Services Offered on the Good Life Bulletin Board

For the benefit of potential clients, prospective homeowners, cultural anthropologists, and future archaeologists, Bernalwood presents this comprehensive inventory of services offered via the Good Life Grocery bulletin board, as it appeared on January 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm:

  • Academic Editing (2x)
  • Acupuncture
  • Construction
  • Drawing Lessons
  • Hypnotherapy
  • K-12 Tutoring
  • Pregnancy Counseling
  • Marijuana Addition Counseling
  • Moving and Delivery
  • Prenatal Yoga
  • Salsa Dancing
  • Spanish Tutoring
  • Website Development
  • Writing and Editing

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Your January 2012 SFPD Crime Report for Bernal Heights

Car 040

Neighbor Sarah, our saintly correspondent who attends the monthly meetings at the San Francisco Police Department’s Ingleside Station, has delivered the goods yet again. Here’s your crime report for January 2012. Over to you, Neighbor Sarah…

Notes from Ingleside Meeting, 1/17/12

This was a bit of an unusual meeting for a few reasons, so my notes are fairly brief.

Lt. Jennifer Dorantes was filling in for Capt. Mahoney, who was away for training. She didn’t hand out the crime statistics, but she directed me to the Ingleside website, which contains some of them in the captain’s message.

First, Jana Clark from the City Attorney’s office spoke. She works on the code enforcement team and is assigned to the Ingleside. The codes they enforce include fire, building, health, planning, police, and public works. They also deal with blight, which is written into one of the codes. They are focused on civil matters (vs. the DA, which focuses on criminal matters). They deal with code violations that rise to the level of being a public nuisance — affecting a block, neighborhood, etc. (not disputes between individuals, for example). They receive referrals from different city department and also get complaints from the general public. The police also alert them to issues where the threat of a lawsuit might help solve a particular situation.

She suggested that people call/email her with any problems, as well as to call 311 and get a tracking number. This has come up before — 311 is a great resource because (a) you get a tracking number and (b) 311 sends the problem to the relevant city departments. This all gets recorded and can be followed up on.

At this point, the meeting focused for some time on the problems that several members of the Ingleside community (not from Bernal) had been experiencing with drug houses on their block. I won’t go into details for confidentiality reasons, but a few interesting things came out of the discussion:

One, the city attorney’s office deals with exactly these sorts of things — in this case, there were some absentee landlords who were renting to drug dealers, and Ms. Clark thought that this was the sort of situation where the threat of a lawsuit often works the best. There is a law called the drug abatement act, which lays out penalties for anyone allowing their house to be used for drug dealing, including that the house must be left vacant for a full year following the clearing out of the drug dealers.

The second interesting point that came up on the discussion was that you CAN take videos on your property and its surroundings (one person thought you were not allowed to), and the police like getting these videos and will send them out to other stations. Videos have allowed them to solve several crimes. Someone in the community said she’d gotten a security video camera at Costco for $150.

Lt. Dorantes said that crime in aggregate was down 15% in 2011 vs 2010. There was a spike in assault/domestic violence in the Ingleside in November/December. There have also been many stolen vehicles, especially in Bernal Heights. They tend to be recovered in the Outer Mission or in Bernal Heights (this explains the cars recovered on Folsom).

Theft from vehicles continues to be a problem, and she mentioned that thieves are taking registration papers (possible identity theft, etc). She said you can black out your address on the registration (who knew?). Residential burglaries, especially bicycles stolen from open garages, continue to be a problem.

iPhones, especially the 4S, are still popular in robberies. They can be sold for $100 at 7th/Market, where these goods turn up. Get Find My iPhone — this continues to help the police locate stolen iPhones and solve crimes cross-district. Often, if they track down one stolen phone, they will find a trove of other stolen items.

The captain is running a Distracted Driving campaign, in which officers will ticket people for texting, etc. If you know of any areas where SFPD should run a pedestrian sting, email the captain.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

The Mysterious New Store at 420 Cortland, REVEALED!

For weeks, mystery has surrounded the newly renovated storefront at 420 Cortland Street. Word on the street was that a tenant had been found. But who?! And what?!

Then, a clue appeared… in the form of a question mark:

Then, weeks later, came… another question mark!

Two question marks! One, containing a bicycle wheel. The other, in the form of an electrical cord. So many questions.

Well, we have answers. Or, at least a partial answer. Or, most of an answer, with a few questions still outstanding. Allow us to explain…

Through the patient hard work of the Bernalwood Signals Intelligence Group, we have learned that 420 Cortland will soon become the storefront for a merchant specializing in the sale of electric bicycles.

Specifically, 420 Cortland will become the new home of the business now known as The New Wheel, which today operates from 782 Columbus Avenue in North Beach. On The New Wheel blog, there is an announcement:

We are in the process of completely re-imagining The New Wheel. Three big changes are afoot:

1. New Location: We are moving to a beautiful 1100 sq. ft. space at 420 Cortland Avenue in sunny Bernal Heights. Mark your calendars for our opening party March 2 and stay tuned for more news and updates!

2. New People:  For the past year, The New Wheel has been run day to day by founder Brett Thurber. Joining Brett for this new expansion is his partner Karen Wiener, along with a full time mechanic.

3. New Products: We will be carrying a growing roster of the best electric bikes available, along with a selection of urban transportation products from the likes of Brooks, Ortlieb, Fjällräven, Rickshaw, Abus, and Burley. Stay tuned for more news!

But wait: What’s an electric bike?

Our research turned up these product photographs, which illustrate the concept:


Basically, an electric bicycle is a pedal-driven bike that uses a battery-powered electric motor to provide supplemental propulsion when desired — say, when climbing big-ass San Francisco hills. Conveniently, this also explains the riddle posed by the new shop’s teaser website, which asks:

Get it? You put a bike shop on a hill to underscore the fact that you sell a different kind of bicycle.

To flesh out the details of our story, Bernalwood decided to commit some journalism. We telephoned Brett Thurber, the founder of The New Wheel, to learn more of his plans.

Mr. Thurber proved to be friendly fellow, and he took it well when informed that Bernalwood had pierced the mystery of his shop’s main product. But he assures us that he still has some surprises up his sleeve.

For example, he hinted that the shop may get a new name. And that he has some interesting promotional events planned between now and the store’s March opening date. So we’ll have to wait and see. Which is fine.

Then Bernalwood gave Mr. Thurber the lay of the land. We told him that given the nature of his product, there is only one mystery that the residents of Bernal Heights truly want to know:

Do his electric bicycles have sufficient mojo to ascend the fearsome Folsom Street hill??

Can they climb the hill with style and grace?? And, in a matchup against a typical fixie-riding Mission hipster, would Mr. Thurber’s electrically-assisted bicycles defeat said hipster in a head-to-head race to the summit??

Mr. Thurber expressed confidence that his product can both master Folsom Street and vanquish the hipster. We shall see…

Oops! Tow Truck Drops BMW on Steep Bernal Heights Hill

That Beetle on the right? It got hit. The car jumped on the sidewalk and took out it's passenger side.

The tow truck driver removed those little wheel things that were under the rear wheels which apparently allowed the car to roll down the hill.

Ouch! Reader Rusty captured the chaos last night on Treat Street:

Some guy was getting his BMW 335i towed back to his house near the top of Treat, above Precita Park. Unclear why it was being towed back. As the tow truck operator was unhitching it, it broke loose and rolled down the hill. It jumped on the sidewalk at some point, damaged the passenger side of a Beetle parked on the street, and then came to rest sideways in the driveways seen in the pics.

The sound was crazy: it was like a truck full of metal beams had dropped them and they were rolling down the street and then a big crash/thud.

I think the problem was that the tow truck operator hadn’t removed those mini wheels that they place under tires to tow cars when you can’t move the rear wheels. It’s actually amazing that more damage wasn’t done; the stairway of the house wasn’t wrecked, only the garage door and maybe some of the concrete retaining wall between the two houses.

The fire department didn’t arrive for a while, I had to leave and run an errand and when I came back an hour later the fire trucks were there. I suspect the police called the fire truck, they came out, looked at things, didn’t seem to do anything and left. After the (original) tow truck driver removed the car from the driveway, the SFFD came back and boarded up the smashed garage door.

PHOTOS: Rustymerin