Threat or Menace? Bernalwood Mounts New Defense to Counter La Lengua’s Burrito Rail Gun

Those uppity La Lenguans have become uppity again, as the militarization of the La Lengua Autonomous Zone continues. Earlier this week, the La Lengua rebel propagandist known as Burrito Justice claimed to have developed a new superweapon, in the form of a super-sized Burrito Railgun.

Burrito Justice claims the weaponized burrito is based in the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, high atop the massive overhead crane that serves as a local landmark. The La Lenguans demonstrated their achievement with this chilling propaganda display:

The Bernalwood Intelligence Agency takes such threats very seriously. Our operatives quickly located the Burrito Railgun and confirmed its location via photo-analysis and 3-D modeling.  What they found was both shocking… and rather confusing:

In short, since burritos lack inertial self-guidance capability, the BIA’s trajectory analysis revealed that the true target of this weapon is not Bernalwood, but Oakland. The mega-burrito projectile is visible in this overview map:

While it is clear that La Lengua has transferred significant railgun technology to the Hunters Point Security Collective, the nature of their alliance — and why they have joined forces against Oakland and the East Bay powers —remains unknown. Nevertheless, this reckless act of Burrito-Based Arms (BBA) proliferation is a direct threat to District 9 security, and it must be met with a strong response from the Dominion of Bernalwood.

In collaboration with the Bernalwood Air Force, the BIA immediately deployed Phase II of the EYE OF SAUTRITO project. Originally developed to prevent illegal dumping on Bernal Hill, the Eye of Sautrito has now been upgraded to include a sensitive antenna array that can detect the electromagnetic emissions from a railgun preparing to fire. The array is linked via radar to a rapid-action, megajoule-burst microwave emitter that is capable of destroying foil-wrapped tortillas at distances up to ten miles. Watch this simple demonstration:

Sleep well, Citizens of Bernalwood, because you may rest easy in the knowledge that your vigilant defense forces will spare no expense to keep you safe, stylish, and secure.

All Are Invited to the Elsie Street Block Party on Saturday

Neighbor Michael invites all Citizens of Bernalwood to attend the fashionable Elsie Street Block Party that will take place tomorrow afternoon:

Bernal Neighbors – You are cordially invited to the 6th Annual Elsie Street Block Party, between Cortland & Eugenia, this Saturday, Sept. 29 from Noon to 3pm.

Bhangra Dancers at 1pm. Ten of them! Be a judge in the Bake-Off Contest, Jump in the Bouncy House, Swat a Pinata (if you’re young enough), enjoy food, drink and great company. Be carefree and carfree on the Best Block of Bernal.

Colossal 20-Family Benefit Garage Sale, Saturday

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Ye Hunters of Bargains!

Neighbor Noah brings news of a group garage sale happening in North bernal on Saturday to benefit the Rocky Mountain Co-Op Preschool:


All profits go to benefit our school: Rocky Mountain co-op preschool.

We are cleaning our our closets/homes and selling loads of stuff that we have outgrown or no longer need. Come and be a part of the recycle & reuse! Grab something “new” for you while also helping our our preschool.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
in front of Grace Korean Presbyterian Church
30 Norwich Street between Harrison St. and Alabama St.
A block away from PRECITA PLAYGROUND.

– Furniture
– Clothes
– Baby stuff
– Toys
– Books
– Electronics

Over twenty families are donating for our BIG Garage Sale. If that weren’t enough, we are also having a bake sale at the same location!

Lots of homemade bake goods for sale too!
– cookies
– cupcakes
– breads

Your Bernal Heights Crime Report for September 2012: Robbery Busts, iPhone Thefts, and Beware the Blue Tape

Neighbor Edie heroically attended the last community meeting at the SFPD’s Ingleside Station, and even more heroically… she typed up these notes just for you. Please read them carefully to learn about current crime trends, and how to avoid becoming a statistic:

Captain’s Report by Captain Tim Falvey (

Our new captain, Captain Timothy Falvey, has been in the SFPD 17+ years, last two at the airport. As an officer, he worked in Northern Hayes Valley, and as a Sgt worked swing watch in the Mission. As a Lieutenant, he worked in the Southern district, then went to the Police Academy for three years, then was the Police Commission Secretary. Promoted to Captain, and assigned here.

Falvey highly enjoys his job, especially in San Francisco. Almost his entire family was in the department, and he joined because he noticed they were the only people he knew who enjoyed going to work every day. Falvey was an accountant for seven years first, but he didn’t like to sit doing paperwork every day, now that he’s a Captain, he sits behind a desk doing paperwork…

The Captain’s had a busy first few days since he started here. The first day he was on the job, a big cluster of thieves were going around robbing people of their cell phones. Three precincts detained numerous people involved, and there was an officer-involved shooting. The second day, there was a pipe burst and major flooding in the Sunnydale, and the house on the corner was redlined, and the police spent time evacuating the children at the school there.

Welcome to the Ingleside!

Crime Stats are tracked every 4 weeks, and compare the crime for 4-week period for 3 months.

Part 1 crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, violent assault) are down 21%. There was a spike in July, but now getting back to the norm.

Part 2 crimes (arson, burglary, auto theft, theft from vehicles) are down 25%.

Shootings: Total 19 victims in our district, compared to 23 last year at same time.

Reports of shots fired: down 43% (from 7 to 4). Again consistent with June.

Increased traffic enforcement helps to curtail violent crimes, because people often come from other areas (in cars) to commit those crimes.

So when crimes increase, police do more traffic checks to find people who shouldn’t be there and slow it down.

Arrests: This month there was a 200% increase in the number of robbery arrests (3 arrests instead of 1).

Recently there was a takeover robbery in the Ingleside: two robbers put people in the freezer and took their wallets & phones. Report went out and police spotted them on 7th & Market, a known place for fencing stolen goods. Police stopped them, asked Ingleside police to call the victims’ cell phone numbers, and phones rang from the robbers’ pockets. Police have charged them with ELEVEN robberies! Great job!

Robberies down 21%. Crime trend: robberies on the bus, especially iPhones. Perps wait outside the bus, spot someone using iPhone and, just as the bus doors are about to close, reach in and grab it. Passengers – pay attention. Don’t stand next to the open door with a $300 iPhone and wait for it to be stolen. Sit near the cameras, near the driver, far from the door.

Education, enforcement, environment… all are very important when preventing crime. When buying an iPhone, take it out of the bag and put it in your pocket, so the thieves will steal the bag, not the phone.


Increase in burglaries in Miraloma Park. Common for perps to force open doors in broad daylight.

Alemany and Laura: Man spotted a month ago swinging a large chain and damaging property was arrested and is in jail on aggravated assault.

Blue Tape on doors: Bernal residents around Elsie St. have found blue painter’s tape at the bottoms of front doors, a strategy burglars apparently use to see when people are away from home. Now there have been several burglaries in the same area, and Taraval’s Captain reports finding tape near St. Brendon’s. Apparently, gangs will focus on a neighborhood for a while until moving to the next.

If you see tape on your door, DON’T touch it; instead, call the police non-emergency number (415) 553-0123 or email and ask them to check for fingerprints.

Let’s keep our doors locked and our eyes and ears open: report any suspicious vehicles or persons via the non-emergency number (415) 553-0123. Get a license number and kind of vehicle, description of the people you see, pictures if you can, but don’t put yourself in danger. In one neighborhood where they’ve been taking license plate numbers, police have gotten two guns and four thieves off the street.

Traffic Control: Captain has asked his officers to concentrate on writing tickets for things that cause accidents, which create damage, and increase workload and paperwork. Also focusing on major transit corridors so that buses can move effectively.

New skatepark in Balboa Park, at the corner of Ocean and San Jose Ave. Kids have been sneaking in to skate even before the equipment was finished, but it should be open now.

The Ingleside station website has a new page on for local community-based organizations to post info on upcoming local events.

An SF ordinance prevents people from parking cars for sale in places they don’t live, so you can call on those cars with for sale signs that take up parking spaces in your neighborhood.

Beware of fraudulent calls using your personal information, such as children’s names, your address, etc.: A caller from Jamaica told someone they’d earned a large amount of money, but must pay in order to receive it. The caller knew the names of three of the victim’s children. Others identify themselves as children or grandchildren who are in another country and sick or in desperate need of cash. Callers often focus on seniors, and much of this fraud is international in origin, so it’s hard to catch the thieves.

NOTE: is a known source for personal information, and it’s linked to You might want to see just how much of your personal information is out there and available to anyone who pays for an account.

Suggestions to avoid being defrauded: If you don’t recognize the caller, don’t answer. They may also be able to piggyback on your line to make other long-distance calls on your bill. Talk to your family members (of all generations) about this kind of fraud, and set a way of identifying true family from fraudulent callers. For instance – establish a key word or phrase that doesn’t have anything to do with your known personal information. Tell everyone they should listen for that from callers, and always have others check with the supposed caller and other family members before they send money anywhere.


Ingleside Community Meetings are held on 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7 – 8 pm in the Community Room of the Ingleside station, 1 Sgt. John V. Young Lane at San Jose Ave. All are welcome to hear about issues affecting the district and ask questions. Next meeting will be Oct 16th.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Eji’s Ethiopian Joining the 331 Cortland Marketplace

That available space in the glamorous 331 Cortland marketplace is no longer available. Eji’s Ethiopan will be moving in soon:

We are proud to announce a new vendor at 331 Cortland who will be joining the marketplace in early October, just a few short weeks away. Her food is vegan, full of spicy goodness and totally yummy. Eji has been working with La Cocina to make her business a reality and we are happy she chose 331 as her next step. Please stop by, try her food and welcome her to the neighborhood!

La Cocina provides a little more background:

Growing up in the bustling, Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Eji Atlaw spent much of her childhood in the kitchen with her four sisters and mother, learning to make homemade Ethiopian dishes. Food has always been a passion for Eji, and one that stuck with her as she built a new life in the United States. Eji decided to pursue what she loves, and join La Cocina to begin working on plans to start her own vegan Ethiopian business. Eji’s launched at the 2011 San Francisco Street Food Festival, and since then Eji has been working as a caterer and developing a line of sauces that showcase Ethiopian flavors, spices and local ingredients.

PHOTO: Ejigayehu Atlaw, via Eji’s Ethiopian

Sadness: Four Star Video Announces Immediate Closure

This should not come as a surprise, but it is very sad nevertheless: The much-loved Four Star Video on Cortland has announced plans to close-up shop. In an email today headlined “The end of the movie,” owners Ken and Amy Shelf write:

Dear Neighbors,

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Four Star Video is closed, effective September 26, 2012.  We are no longer renting movies.

Succulence continues to operate, and will be moving into the whole store over the next bunch of weeks.  See the bottom of this letter for more details.

When we bought Four Star, in March of 2007, we projected that the business probably had 3-5 years of life left in it.  We also optimistically committed ourselves to keeping it open for as long as we could.  Dashing our hopes but exceeding our expectations, we made it 5 ½ years.  But now, we must move on.

For quite a while Four Star has existed to pay its employees and serve the neighborhood, but it has not been a profitable enterprise.  We’ve hit other dips in the road and have made (sometimes difficult) adjustments that have kept Four Star open.  We shortened our hours, we changed our staffing schedules, we offered a membership plan for customers, and we stopped paying for health insurance for our employees.  That one really felt terrible.  Of course, we also opened Succulence.  That has added growth and new dimensions to the store and to our lives.  The two businesses together have worked in amazing cooperation.  But it does take a lot to run them both – one is growing while the other is shrinking, and the combination has often made us feel as though we are simultaneously running our hardest and staying in place.  That has been exhausting and discouraging.

It recently became clear that a change at Four Star was required, and we just don’t feel as though hiking the prices or reducing our ordering of new films or any other approach to keep Four Star afloat is likely to serve any long term goal, and maybe not any short term goal either.  There is a quality of experience that we’ve offered at Four Star that we don’t want to compromise, and we can’t maintain that quality and continue to reduce expenses.

We love Four Star Video and we know many, many of you do, too – you tell us all the time!  That makes us so proud, and makes this decision so scary.

Like so many others, we have been thinking about technology, the economy, our changing society and what it all means.  The opportunity to put on your shoes and jacket, walk to Cortland, and rent a DVD was a rare privilege and a wonderful feature to our neighborhood.  We are saddened and disappointed to see that go, but we are not surprised.  Certain ways we live our lives are changed forever, making some wonderful things obsolete.  That is not happening but has already happened.  It is indeed full of a lot of loss.

Change is a must, that much is clear.  The goodness or badness of change is sometimes just not the point.  The inevitability of change, however, carries the lessons to us: we cannot hold onto what is simply because we know it and love it; we cannot remain bitter about the inevitable, because then we are just left with bitterness; we cannot know what good will come!

Let us also heed this reminder not to take the things we love and value for granted.  Enjoy them while you can!  Take responsibility for their survival!  We do have some ability to decide what we will support, where we will compromise, and how we spend our money.  More here than most places – that is a privilege we haven’t yet lost.  Each of us plays a part in determining where value lies in our world.

Thank you, thank you, wonderful Bernal Heights, for supporting Four Star for so long.  Thank you to all of the previous owners of Four Star Video, who gave us such a gem.  Thank you to the probably hundreds of people who have worked at the store over the years.  And continuing thanks to you, dear customers, for coming in, hanging out, talking film, talking life, and changing and growing with us and the times.

We love bringing you art and plants and things that add to your quality of life, and we are grateful for the opportunity to keep doing it.  We will be selling movies in the store for a least two – and probably more like four – more weeks.  Our transition plan is a work in progress, but we have a lot of movies and need to get them to loving homes.  Maybe you want to own a piece of Bernal History or want to get some stocking-stuffers in advance.  Stock up on some TV series you haven’t watched yet?   Prepare for the collapse of the internet and global infrastructure by making sure you have entertainment stashed away in your survival bunker?

Kids’ movies are $4, library DVDs are $5, Library BluRays are $8, Criterion, foreign and documentary films are $10.  New Releases are $12 and Series are sold by the season for $10 – $15.  10% discount if you buy 10 or more movies, and a 20% discount if you buy 20 or more movies.  If you want more, let’s talk.  If you want VHS tapes you are a super hero.  Also, effective immediately, store hours are 10am to 8pm.  We’d love to give you store credit (at Succulence or to purchase films) for any unused blocks or KenFlix days if you are interested in that.  Your continued support means a lot to us.

We are sorry we couldn’t keep Four Star Video open forever.

With love, Amy and Ken Shelf

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics