Supervisor Campos Announces Support for Permanent Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill

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On Tuesday Supervisor David Campos announced his support for an effort to install a permanent, City-funded memorial to Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill. However, Bernal Heights neighborhood groups say they have not been informed about the proposal.

Alex Nieto was a 28 year-old Bernal neighbor who died in an officer-involved shooting in March 2014. The San Francisco District Attorney’s investigation of the incident determined Nieto had a history of clinical psychosis and behavioral problems, alleging that he pointed a pistol-shaped taser at police officers who approached him after receiving reports of an armed man acting erratically on Bernal Hill. During a subsequent wrongful death suit initated by the Nieto family, a jury ruled that the SFPD officers involved in the incident had not used excessive force.  Friends of Alex Nieto maintain his death was a byproduct of gentrification.

Alex’s parents,  Cortland Avenue residents Elvira and Refugio Nieto, appeared before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to request that the City establish a memorial to Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill. An event announcement posted on Facebook described the effort:

A resolution to establish a permanent memorial in honor of Alex Nieto, unlawfully killed by the San Francisco Police Department.

Supervisors John Avalos and David Campos will be sponsoring this noble resolution.

Press conference at the front steps of San Francisco City Hall at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Board of Supervisors meeting to follow immediately. Bring your friends and family and arrive early for the lowrider caravan of justice and the danzante blessing.

WHY AN ALEX NIETO MEMORIAL?

In order to honor Alex Nieto, a permanent memorial will be established at Bernal Hill Park, the place where he was unlawfully killed by the SFPD.

Through no fault of his own, Alex Nieto, a 28 year old full-time student and security guard who had never been arrested in his life, was shot at fifty nine times and killed by SFPD officers. Even though there were many witnesses that claimed Alex had done nothing wrong and was just peacefully eating his burrito, the San Francisco District Attorney did not pursue criminal charges against officers. Then in a sham of a civil trial, the killers were released of liability by a mostly white jury that was comprised of no Latinos or African-Americans.

After Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Campos confirmed his intention to establish a City-sponsored memorial to Alex Nieto:

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Bernalwood is unaware of any public meetings that have been or will be held in Bernal Heights to consider the idea of a permanent memorial on Bernal Hill. Bernalwood also reached out to leaders of several Bernal Heights neighborhood groups, and none were familiar with the proposal. One Bernal Heights community organizer said, “No, we weren’t consulted about this, but this is the kind of thing we normally expect to be notified about.”

According to the Justice For Alex’s group’s summary of Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting:

About a dozen supporters supported the Nietos by asking the Supervisors to recognize that harm had been done to the Nieto Family and the Latino community; that altars carried cultural significance to the Latino community; that the request for a permanent and protected altar and memorial was a most basic act of restoration; that Alex’s death was tied to gentrification policies of the City that allow newcomers to arrive in droves to the Mission without understanding the cultural differences and their privileges in the communities of color they come to displace and inhabit.

Justice For Alex says Supervisor Campos committed to support an ordinance that would mandate the installation of a permanent memorial to Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill. The group says the ordinance will be introduced by D11 Supervisor John Avalos at an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting, within the next two weeks.

See all of Bernalwood’s previous coverage of Alex Nieto.

PHOTO: Top, ad hoc Alex Nieto memorial on Bernal Hill, September 14, 2016, by Telstar Logistics

74 thoughts on “Supervisor Campos Announces Support for Permanent Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill

  1. As long as tax payers don’t have to fund this, I don’t mind. It’s unfortunate he passed away but I wouldn’t call the police officers “killers”. They were doing their jobs. It would have been the same outcome if he were white or Asian and the jury would have come to the same conclusion regardless. He shouldn’t have had access to a taser anyway. Some blame lies on the family and whoever sold/gave him the taser.

  2. Bad,bad idea. It is a park for all. Not a place for some memorial for every Tom, Dick and Harry that feels the need to advertise this unfortunate occurance or any in the future. Mourn outside of the park we use every day. That is not what our park is for.

    • Alex was my neighbor my whole life until I left SF. I saw him be extremely active in the community both with youth programs and campaigns for ppl and causes he believed in. I saw that he cared for his parents, he was the main bread winner in his family and dedicated to school. He was no Tom dick or Harry. He was Alex and we all still miss him terribly.
      Regardless of what you believe happened, you would deny his family a place to grieve? I know it can be hard to understand, but some latino cultures use alters to commemorate those that have passed, especially Mexicans. I’m not sure if you are aware that this the culture that is dominant not only in Bernal/mission/excelsior area but cali in general. Perhaps you do not have any Mexican friends. Idk.

      I spent countless hours of my life on the hill wandering, in my free time and I would often see Alex sitting somewhere, thinking.

      It pains me to see the memorial destroyed regularly. A permanent one is very little to ask for.

      • Regarding an altar:

        His death was a tragedy. But an altar does not belong in a public park. That principle is more important than any of us.

        Regarding a memorial:

        It would be one discussion if the proposal were simply to memorialize a tragic death. But we must have a different discussion because severely misguided individuals wish to force their politics into a situation where they do not belong.

        This nasty, divisive proposal isn’t even worth considering.

  3. Bernalwood’s account of this tragedy and the contrasting account in the FB post supporting the Nieto family are a prime example of the culture clash in the Mission / Bernal. Why is Bernalwood stirring up controversy about a memorial bench? Your hatred of David Campos has gone too far!

    • I agree. I thought Todd had done an ok job on respecting our neighbors the Nieto family on prior posts, but unfortunately he couldn’t hold back his contempt for them, their cause, Campos, the anti-gentrification movement, etc… this time.

      • Where on earth are you all seeing this “contempt” for the Nieto family? Campos himself went on Twitter this morning to grumble about Todd’s post as well – though, tellingly, he didn’t link to the article to point out where this “contempt” for them was shown, and I certainly can’t find any here.

        Are you just annoyed at Todd suggesting that neighborhood organizations hadn’t heard about the plan and weren’t on board with it? That’s not inherently “contemptuous” of Alex’s parents; if community leaders told him this, it’s basic reporting.

  4. “Alex’s death was tied to gentrification policies of the City that allow newcomers to arrive in droves to the Mission without understanding the cultural differences and their privileges in the communities of color they come to displace and inhabit.”

    I’m sorry, are you f*cking kidding me? This is the City’s responsibility? Should we expect cultural sensitivity workshops to be conducted for everyone moving into the neighborhood?

    • “I’m sorry, are you f*cking kidding me? This is the City’s responsibility? Should we expect cultural sensitivity workshops to be conducted for everyone moving into the neighborhood?”

      Well, if they’re the kind of racist assholes who see a brown-faced kid and conclude that he “doesn’t belong here” (the wording of one of the complainers’ 911 calls) then maybe they should have to take a damned workshop or two before they set in motion a chain of events that lead to someone else’s death.

      Empathy is not difficult, Jennifer. It only requires not being a d**k.

      • Of course! It’s a good thing that racism in SF was only invented in 2012, and there are no longtime residents or natives who harbor any sort of ill feelings towards nonwhite people.

        Just put new residents through obligatory re-conditioning camps – struggle sessions and all – and this should be an easy problem to fix, right?

    • Depends on the neighborhood and the movers-in, I would say. I wouldn’t rule it out.

      Trivial example: driving on the narrow 2-way streets here. It requires some courtesy when 2 cars meet. Often, someone has to back up a bit. A smile and a wave go a long way toward being neighborly with this.

      Am I the only one who’s seen a bit of degradation in regards to this Bernal-courtesy lately? If the newcomer sensitivity training includes this topic, I’m all for it!

  5. There are many benches in parks throughout the city, even one at the top of Bernal Hill, that commemorate the memory of someone who has died. I think it’s appropriate. Alex was a member of the community.

  6. Listen to yourselves. The trial was wrong; the jury was wrong; the District Attorney was wrong; the investigation was wrong; the police are wrong; the City is wrong; “newcomers” are wrong; everybody who disagrees with you is wrong. You are the sole arbiters of truth. Your concerns are all that matter. Donald Trump would be so proud.

      • I am talking to the individual cited in Mr. Lappin’s initial report who, while professing to represent the entire “Latino community,” declaimed a long list of ignorant, self-absorbed and insulting comments such as, “unlawfully killed,” “sham of a civil trial,” “mostly white jury,” “gentrification policies of the City,” “newcomers arrive in droves,” “they come to displace,” etc. I should have made that clear, and I apologize for the impression that I was referring to anyone else.

  7. Bad Idea. We don’t need or want a memorial in a public park for someone with a history of mental illness and legal troubles who pulled a weapon on police officers and was subsequently shot.

    “unlawfully killed by the SFPD”? “Through no fault of his own”? Absolutely ridiculous.

    It’s bizarre how delusional the Nieto supporters have been throughout this whole process.

  8. If Nieto’s supporters simply wanted to pay for a memorial plaque on a bench, I wouldn’t object.

    But there is so much inflammatory rhetoric in the resolution, and so many assertions that are not borne out by a preponderance of evidence, that I can’t support it.

    It’s another step designed to heighten conflict between groups, not to heal wounds or bring closure to an unfortunate event.

  9. I look upon the existing memorial to Alex Nieto as a beautiful and loving tribute to his life and memory and though I never knew Alex or his family I was saddened by the circumstances of his death. Each time I pass the site I think of Alex and pray that he’s resting in peace. I support a permanent Alex Nieto memorial on Bernal Hill.

  10. According to the article, this will be a “City sponsored memorial” = the city is paying for this = tax payers’ dollars, correct?

    I do not endorse. Who do I contact to express this?

  11. Alex’s final resting place is where his family and followers should pay their respects. Though I’m sympathetic with the family’s initial need to memorialize and cast light on his tragic death I think the time has come to move on and allow the neighborhood to heal and not have a permanent memorial.

  12. We have a memorial in precita park for children who were killed through no fault of their own. This was a very different situation. Anyone carrying a taser in public and pointing it at the public & the police is responsible for choosing to do that. Alex could have left the taser at home or in backpack, there’s absolutely no reason to carry it in a public park.

    • Live by the hill: he was on his way to his job as a security officer, which required him to use the Taser.

      And something makes me wonder if you’d be similarly dismissive if you knew and loved someone who had mental health issues and learned that they’d been shot dead by the police.

      • I actually have several friends & family with mental health issues – and I’d go out of my way to make sure none of them were wandering a public park with a taser or any other weapon in their waistband. If you read my comment you’ll see I specified in a backpack or at home. If you’re going to stop by a park filled with kids & dogs on your way to work, keeping your work supplies & tools stored safely is pretty reasonable. Would you think it’s fine for a chef on his way to work to be swinging around his super sharp knife ? A builder firing his nail gun as people walked by? Needing the taser for work doesn’t mean pointing it at dogs or waving it around makes sense or should be ignored. It should have been carried in a safe, out of sight manner, or left locked at work, especially since it looked like a gun.

  13. I’m amazed at the anger expressed by the persons wishing to prevent a memorial to Alex Nieto. As a long-time resident of the neighborhood I see this anger as an expression of the careless disregard for the lives and welfare of persons who do not fit the new paradigm. A memorial for the Nieto’s son is an extremely small gesture to assuage the family’s grief. And yes he was unnecessarily killed by the police who were summoned by persons who feared Alex Nieto because he was not like them in appearance or manner.

    • This is exactly right — his death is related to gentrification. The folks who called the police on him carried their biases when they did, and the police carried their biases, and none of them knew Alex or thought they might know him because of what he looked like.

      The other place gentrification plays into this is the vitriol and mean-spiritedness of the commenters on here, who no doubt can’t imagine that Alex’s family or his friends read this blog, are in line with them in the Good Life, play on Bernal Hill, go to Enzo on Saturday mornings, eat ice-cream from the Little B or Progressive Grounds or the truck, and generally do a lot of the same things that they do, with them, alongside them. No, this guy was crazy, he was an “other,” he deserved it, and any protest, complaint, sorrow, movement, or whatever is automatically discounted and denigrated. Go ahead folks, and continue to believe that police never shoot anybody without cause; that police never lie (like they never claim that a taser was on and aimed at them when it wasn’t), that if the D.A. says a shooting was justified, it was, and that if a family loses a wrongful death lawsuit than they were obviously delusional and wrong. You know the truth, after all!

      I’ll never forget that the first thing the police did after shooting Alex was to impound and search his vehicle (which was nowhere near the scene and had nothing to do with it), research his mental health history, and try to search his home (by trying to convince his parents to allow them access) BEFORE informing his extremely-worried parents that he had died, let alone that he had died at the hands of the police just up the street from their home. Yeah, of course they had nothing to hide! Yeah, no need to think about those facts, because they don’t fit in with the narrative that Todd has spun here that Alex had a history of clinical psychosis and behavioral problem and pointed a taser at the cops. Yeah, what an idiot! Yeah, he got what he deserved! yeah, shut up, you angry people — you don’t know anything (you’re poor, you’re brown, you don’t speak English well, you didn’t go to a good university, the color of your house is so 1970’s…)

      For some reason, a whole lot of people throughout the rest of the country, including a whole bunch of athletes (including our own Kap) seem to realize that there are problems with the way we are policing ourselves and the way certain people, primarily with black or brown skin, are unfairly bearing the brunt of it. But apparently it doesn’t affect the folks here at Bernalwood — we know the truth, after all! No point in questioning of this, even for one second! What really matters is that THIS BENCH IS AN OUTRAGE! WHO DO I CONTACT TO REGISTER MY ABSOLUTE FURY ABOUT IT???????

      • Oh give me a break. Who has the crappy rhetoric? Who’s the one talking about sham trials? Who’s the one contending that Asians are not a minority (hence the Latino and African American reference)? Who’s the one claiming against the evidence that he was peacefully eating a burrito, that he didn’t discharge his taser, that he wasn’t on his meds?

        There’s enough injustice in this country that we don’t need progressives attacking the judicial system like the conservatives do. It’s one thing if the police weren’t put on trial, but there was a civil trial. The fact that you don’t like the verdict does not negate it nor the evidence produced.

        Don’t start with the straw argument that people are claiming “he deserved it”. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances but no one is happy that Nieto was killed. It’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

    • It’s not that they shouldn’t be able to have a memorial of some type. It’s that they should have to go through the same process to have one in a park, not get a supervisor to campaign for it & have taxpayers pay for it. And many of you are talking about a bench- but “memorial ” isn’t explained or defined.
      I’ve lived here since the. 90s and i wouldn’t have hesitated to call the cops for what looked like a gun in a park filled with dogs & kids. It’s an issue of public safety not gentrification, especially when mugging a with guns are happening in our neighbourhood.

  14. A memorial bench is a perfect idea. They are in parks all over the city. Alex’s family and friends should raise the cash and apply to Park + Rec, the way everyone else does.

  15. We’re gonna build an ALTER and the gentrifiers are gonna pay for it, believe me, ok. The mission and bernal need “extreme vetting” to make sure new comers understand their privilege. Funny how the Latino community is so anti trump but share his values 100% 🤔

  16. If Campos and Avalos want a memorial bench, let them pay for it out of their pockets. Or raise money on Go Fund Me. NOT taxpayer money. Personally I wonder if the memorial would have been suggested by Mr. Campos if the victim had been anything BUT Hispanic? Oh shut my mouth…..that is so bad, blaming Mr. Campos for racial bias…..The district is multi cultural but David Campos seems to have his own biased agenda. And that stinks

  17. The Justice4AlexNieto quote is so wrong: “Alex’s death was tied to gentrification policies of the City that allow newcomers to arrive in droves to the Mission without understanding the cultural differences and their privileges in the communities of color they come to displace and inhabit.”
    What a false narrative! The shooting took place in Bernal Heights, not the Mission. Bernal has always been a diverse community. It is only gentrifiers that might call the police if they thought they saw someone with a gun? And should one expect that calling the police will result in death? Some are using Nieto’s death for their own agenda– in this case to stop the building of housing in the Mission– that has nothing to do with Nieto’s death.
    The tragedy here is that the SFPD was not able to resolve this situation in a way that protected Alex’s life. There is clear evidence that Alex was mentally ill– he had been 5150’d, was not allowed to own a firearm due to mental illness, and he had shot someone repeatedly with his taser. Mentally ill people should not be in such danger from police. The SFPD should be better trained in non-lethal approaches to mentally ill people.

  18. So tired of the holier–than–thou attitude of folks who are either long time residents or born here. Look, people can’t control where they were born or where their parents decided to raise them. If someone came to SF when they were 18, 21, 25, what’s the big deal if they’ve only lived here a few years? What’s the big deal if someone moved from Wisconsin for a job last year? Do you somehow have more rights than them? You are somehow more entitled to tell everyone how it’s supposed to be?
    How does it matter if the person who called the police moved to San Francisco the day before or lived here for 25 years? If you see something, say something. Let the police sort it out. It wasn’t the callers job to try to analyze the situation. The caller is 0% at fault.
    We don’t live in Kansas. People in California and especially anyone who lives in a city are used to a multi cultural environment. You really think when a caucasian person in San Francisco walks past a hispanic person alarm bells in their head go off? You wouldn’t even be able to function here if you felt like that. All this gentrification and transplant talk just seems like code speak for all white people are bad.
    You folks do realize that if you asked an old timer in 1989 how they felt about San Francisco, they would have many of the same complaints? It’s too expensive. It’s not what it used to be. There is no life left. How do I know? I asked people then.

    • I totally agree. I’ve been here (mostly) since ’89. I’m still not sure where I sit in the hierarchy–is my opinion more or less valid than that of someone born here after 89? 😉

      BTW, I’m with Judge Crater. I’d be happy to have a privately funded memorial to Alex on the hill–I’d even contribute to that. Even though I don’t believe his death was an injustice, I would love to show his family sympathy and support.

      I’m not OK with the politicization of the issue (thanks to Campos et al).

  19. I made a joke upthread about Bernalwood commenters, but I am pretty disgusted by the response here. Do you guys feel better now that you have an anonymous platform to reveal your internalized racism?

    I think a memorial is an excellent idea and I don’t mind my precious tax dollars going to it. It can serve as a way to remember Alex and the tragic way cops deal with minorities and mental illness. And hopefully it will prevent something like this ever happening again.

    • Clear to me that his family and friends loved and valued him regardless of whatever difficulties he may have had. A bench memorializing his life seems totally reasonable however I’m not in favor of memorializing his violent death at the hands of the police.

    • What’s so unfortunate about your approach, Esme, is that if only you could avoid being accusatory and sanctimonious, you might actually achieve your goal of helping people to reflect on their viewpoint.

      • And tone policing makes you look like a dingus. I don’t think it’s sanctimonious to point out the blatant racism in this thread.

      • Nothing like being sanctimonious prig. Calling other people racists because they’re not running around claiming it was a sham trial or using a straw argument that people are saying “Nieto deserved it” is OK, but tone policing is bad. Kudos to you.

  20. To:

    Mr. Lappin, editor of Bernalwood
    bernalwood@gmail.com

    Dear Mr. Lappin,

    My name is Maria Villalta, I was a friend of Alex Nieto and I am a member of the Justice and Love for Alex Nieto Coalition. I am responding to your post titled “Supervisor Campos Announces Support for Permanent Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill.” I am surprised at the tone of your article about the Nieto Family’s request for a permanent memorial for their son Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights. The request for a permanent memorial has been a long standing request of the family since the very early moments after his death, and I would assume that having a permanent memorial would be a proposal supported by the Bernal Heights neighbors who for two years and a half have kindly and generously supported the existing community memorial.

    Soon after Alex’s death, his family, neighbors and community began keeping a memorial and altar for him at the site of his killing. Refugio Nieto maintains the altar daily on Bernal Heights along with anonymous community members who leave offerings of love and respect towards Alex. On the 21st of every month the community joins Elvira and Refugio at the altar, in prayer and celebration of Alex’s life. You are all invited to this upcoming month celebration of Alex’s life on Wednesday September 21st, 2016 at 6pm.

    Establishing a memorial altar at sites of tragedy is a sacred tradition of Latino communities with deep ancestral and spiritual roots. An altar is a sacred place for sacrifices and gifts offered up to God, Our Creator. An altar is a place to show love towards our deceased. Memorials are official forms of altars; an important part of everyday American culture as well. Memorials allow people to remember a deceased loved one or an important public figure or event. The killing of Alex Nieto is now a historic event of the City that sparked a historic Latino social justice movement for love and justice over the senseless, avoidable and brutal killing of a young community member by the San Francisco Police Department.

    As a San Francisco native I can tell you that many other native residents feel that Alex Nieto, a young, joyful, working class, student, and community organizer represents the spirit of the Latino Mission and Bernal Heights; a representation of the beautiful brown and black people that used to walk through these neighborhoods without questioning their safety or belonging to that land. The altar on the hill represents the ultimate sacrifice; a good life was lost at the hands of police. Alex was well known in the community, because of his dedicated community service since he was a youth. The brutal killing of Alex caused a lot of pain in our communities in Bernal and the Mission District and we should be allowed to mourn and uplift our beloved dead one.

    In memory of Alex Nieto and in support of his parent’s demand posed to the Board of Supervisors this past September 13th, I am asking their Bernal Heights neighbors to join us in demanding the Board of Supervisors to issue a resolution for a permanent altar and memorial in his honor. To begin mending broken trust with the Nieto Family and their community, the very minimum the Mayor and Board of Supervisors could do is to provide the permits and resources to establish a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto on the hill. Have it be an act of restoration of all the trauma SFPD has caused the brown and black communities decade after decade. Let it be a protected space were we can safely grieve and be assured that any vandalism to the site will be prosecuted. We have asked that the City and County of San Francisco also pay for this memorial as it paid for the bullets that killed Alex. Whichever reading of the facts you wish to have and whichever stance you may have on a justice system that systematically sides with police, Alex Nieto’s killing by SFPD caused great harm in our Latino community and that harm needs to be mended by an act of restoration by the City. A memorial could mark a new beginning in which deathly use of force by SFPD is the last resort and sanctity of life the first principle of its police force.

    On September 13th, your neighbors Elvira and Refugio Nieto petitioned the Supervisors of San Francisco to support a permanent memorial for their son Alex Nieto. We were accompanied in our request by Justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez, Justice for Luis Góngora Pat, Justice for Mario Woods Coalition, Compañeros del Barrio, the Church of St. John Coltrane, La Raza Students Organization in Hastings Law School, District Candidate Isawari España, Our Mission No Eviction, the Cultural Action Network, San Franciscans for Police Accountability, Poor Magazine, and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, alongside many individual supporters who showed up for the Nieto Family at the press conference prior to our public comment petition.
    We invite you to support our demand to the Board of Supervisors to restore harm caused by this City to Alex Nieto, his family and our Latino community with a permanent memorial at the site of the ongoing community memorial. The Nietos are considering a commemorative bench would be nice and plaque, but with our request approved we will welcome community input around a proposed memorial.
    A permanent altar and memorial gives old school San Franciscans hope: Hope that the City we love and hold dearly to our hearts will attempt to restore our broken relationships with authorities and allow family, friends and the community to know about their past and design a better future together. According to Tyron Edwards, “Quiet and sincere sympathy is often the most welcome and efficient consolation to the afflicted.”

    Thank you,
    María Villalta
    A friend of Alex Nieto, San Franciscan native, and member of the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Coalition

    • Earlier this morning, I sent the following note to Maria Villalta via email:

      Maria,

      I have been very moved by the temporary memorial the Nietos have maintained on Bernal Hill.

      Yet as I’ve been reading the comments and reactions to the current memorial proposal, it occurred to me that there is perhaps another way to create a permanent memorial to Alex while also uniting the many communities that live in Bernal Heights.

      It’s apparent that not everyone shares a common narrative about the circumstances surrounding Alex’s death. Yet it’s also quite clear there is broad agreement that his death was a horrible tragedy which never should have happened. There’s also tremendous empathy for the Nieto family, and compassion for the unimaginable loss they have suffered. From that common understanding, I believe there is an opportunity to establish a lasting memorial to Alex and his family.

      Pursuing a memorial through the Board of Supervisors will not heal our communities, and it will not heal the land, because this action would take place at City Hall, rather than sprouting from the community where Alex lived. If the ordinance passes, division and pain will increase, because it will have come from City Hall, not the Bernal Heights community.

      But it doesn’t have to be this way.

      As I read the discussion about the memorial last night, it occurred to me that there is another way both to honor Alex and expand the community of compassion for the Nieto family.

      Instead of pursuing an ordinance at City Hall, would Alex’s friends and family consider joining with other Bernal neighbors to launch a campaign to establish a community fund that will create and install a memorial bench for Alex on Bernal Hill? The funding for the bench would come from a private crowdfunding effort, with permits for the bench issued via Rec and Park.

      I would personally be willing to volunteer to serve as a co-sponsor of such a campaign, and it would be an honor to help raise funds to build a lasting memorial to Alex’s memory.

      The Bernal community has done this before. The memorial bench that still exists in Precita Park, for example, serves as a hallowed tribute to lives senselessly lost and a community’s commitment to remember. It endures because it represents a consensual community effort to honor and respect the memory of lives lost prematurely.

      Similarly, a crowdfunded approach to creating a memorial of Alex would be a true community effort, and by involving a broad spectrum of people throughout Bernal Heights and the Mission in a participatory spirit of remembrance and tribute, I believe we can create a lasting memorial to Alex while also uniting and strengthening our neighborhood.

      Could you please pass this idea along to your colleagues in the coalition? I would be glad to discuss it further if desired.

      Sincerely,

      Todd

    • No matter what “tradition” you speak of, an altar can not be placed in a public park. Why make a request that must be rejected because of a foundational principle of this country?

      Likewise, angry self-righteous blame shifting has no place in a memorial.

      Please don’t set your organization up to fail.

  21. Idriss Stelley Foundation wholeheartedly endorse this initiative !
    The memorial will be primarily comforting the Nieto family,
    but also will be validation for the exemplary team of grassroots community members at the core of Amor 4 Alex,
    in terms of effective organizational behaviors and building up momentum,

    Regardless of court outcome,
    Alex Nieto lives on ad set a vital precedent in terms of a movement that puts the families of Loved Ones killed by law enforcement first,
    set a tone of dignity and respect, and culturally appropriate modalities.

    If the BOS unanimously approved Mario Woods Day,
    A memorial to Alex is the very least that comes next.

  22. 100% support a permanent memorial. maybe todd has a good point that city hall isn’t the place to do this. but i’m not sure. it is the city’s police force that killed alex, and that is part of a much broader conversation about police use of force that is ongoing and desperately needs some resolution. so, maybe having this addressed very publicly by the city IS the way to go. i’m really not sure, and i think that’s a very reasonable discussion to have. it’s hard for me to understand opposing a memorial at all, but sure, that’s also a discussion we should have. what i really love is that so many of my neighbors see people trying to address the issue of police violence, and read that as an attempt to “heighten conflict” when we should be “healing wounds”. let me propose a different perspective: the conflict is already there, and wounds won’t be healed until the actual problems are addressed. for those of us who believe that something needs to be done to tame the violence coming from police forces across the country, keeping a light on it is not “designed to heighten conflict”. it’s designed to make sure that conflict gets resolved, and not ignored once a specific instance of police violence stops getting news coverage.

    side note: this comment thread is depressing af.

      • yeah, kinda. relatively calm but liberally sprinkled with adjectives like “ignorant” and “self absorbed” – i realize this is the internet and we’re not expected to be civil, but it’s also my neighbors and it’s too bad we feel so comfortable being assholes to each other. anyway what’s more depressing to me is just that the prevailing sentiment seems to be one of opposition. i’m not trying to insult anyone who doesn’t agree with me that alex’s death was an injustice, or that a permanent memorial is totally reasonable. but it does make me sad that people are in opposition to this. that’s all.

  23. Todd,

    Perhaps I have been mistaking you all along. The manner in which you cleverly manipulate information -gossip- in this blog discredits it as anything else but a neighborhood’s gossip. You claimed to me that your blog serves sort of like a “disc jockey’s mic” being “neutral” or “”open.” And -I believed you. Yet, the “stories” that you have posted in the past -like in the present and continuing well into the future- for the most part tell or infer the side that your beliefs support through omitting specific truths not advantageous to your side of the tale.

    I have been disgusted with the way you have been presenting and cleverly manipulating “facts” about occurrences in this neighborhood as you voice only “a” side. I do not wish to get into this here right now out of respect for Nieto’s father who regularly stops here at our home to collect whatever he needs to keep this memorial respectable as it continues to be vandalized by the very same folks who support you and your blog. Did you know that? Were you aware of this regular low level act of destruction and cruelty sustained by you AND your blog’s devotees’ biased opinions that continue to sound off false alarms? Distorted alarms that today has converted this memorial into A direct personification of hate and division. The very same element that took the life away from a civilian with full civil rights, a son, a brother, a neighbor, a scholarship student of San Francisco City College who never ever was arrested. His only crime? Didn’t look right. Whatever “right” is to you and your bloggers.

    Thus, rather than helping to bring peace and unity to our neighborhood after a cold blooded execution of a life long native neighbor and brother, you insist on spitefully manipulating specific details with the overall objective of sabotaging the truth. As if we don’t have enough of that with a racist SFPD who, for ages have mastered the skill of deception through its continuation of denying justice to the same targeted ethnic group whose lived here for generations. The message this incident has forever transmitted by those faithful to you and your blog is “move out OR ……..” You fill in the blank.

    I am all too aware that your followers strongly support your side continuing to applaud the failure of bringing justice to Nieto, his family and an entire population. Thus, I am here to announce that we and the community -one you and your defenders take little or no notice of- who “together” have diligently and religiously spent countless long hours and days at city hall on behalf of the Nieto’s have no intentions to pay obedience to you or your henchmens calls. In this case, some of our very own neighbors.

    In sum, this memorial is here to stay so long as we and the Nieto’s continue to breath. When Mexico’s southwest was lost to the Europeans’ commitment to “settle,” they systematically burned the people’s corn fields, shot their chickens, dogs, horses, and cattle because the villagers refused to surrender their homes -“Everything old is new. Everything new is old”- that is, those who fought to hold their grounds. The Mexican farmers and their families began complaining to Emiliano Zapata that the gringos were burning their homes, stealing their cattle and horses, killing their old, and raping their wives and children. Zapata then turned to them and calmly answered, “seed ‘more’ corn, have ‘more,’ children and build ‘more’ homes. Settle, live to grow old here on these soils.”

    Well Todd, I hate to fail you and your apostles hopes and expectations, but this is exactly what we are on a mission to accomplish here on “our soils.” We will continue to “plant more corn, have more children, and demand that the affluent developers build ‘more’ homes so La Gente will grow old” right here in

    “our” Mission.

    Again, whether it’s changing the name of this hill to Alex Nieto,
    installing a permanent bench,
    maintaining the current memorial,
    with city hall or without,
    in one manner or another,
    one thing is certain;

    unlike the two affluent Caucasian male “newbies” -conveniently, now anchored into the abysses’ depths of forgetfulness- whose prejudices falsely alarmed a village costing Nieto his life;

    this memorial is eternal and everlasting.

    You and your believers can destroy it but “we” will bring it back to life every time it is leveled, wrecked, or disfigured just as Zapata once instructed a village.

    I don’t know how you or your supporters sleep in your skin Todd. But I am completely shocked, horrified and offended by the lack of your professionalism as a journalist. If you dare call it such. One more group that is certain to take offense if you should.

    Todd, your blog has disappointed not only me and family, but an entire immigrant community that has been here long, long before you settled amongst us. One that is here to stay. I can no longer stand to read this column of scandalmongering, rumors, and hearsay.

    You need show up at the gatherings at City Hall. Report the truth supported with the events facts absent your one-sidedness. If you accomplish this, then is “earns” the respected term “journalism.”

    Anything short of that is nothing more than;

    “tittle-tattle.”

    • “it continues to be vandalized by the very same folks who support you and your blog. Did you know that?”

      I suspect he did know about the vandalism, Orlando, because he’s reported on it here previously, and condemned it, which you presumably should know if you’ve been paying as much attention to Bernalwood as you claim.
      https://bernalwood.com/2014/08/05/shameful-alex-nieto-memorial-on-bernal-hill-vandalized-repeatedly/

      You’re speaking out of similar ignorance when you claim it is being vandalized by “the very same folks” who read this blog, and frankly I think you know that – much as you know that, even if some disagree on the memorial, your claim people are “applauding” the tragedy is nonsense as well.

      Maybe you might argue more in favor of a memorial, and spend a little less energy on overwrought, sanctimonious finger-waggling at whomever may be in your immediate vicinity at the moment.

  24. Interesting how Bernal neighbors are okay with a rock painted like a poop emoji, but not a memorial for Alex Nieto. Get your priorities straight.

    • I’m sure this really is obvious to you, but this blog supported the rock painting and the memorial in the exact same way — supporting the actions of neighbors to bring our community to the hill with personalized action and without public money or City Hall action. I appreciate the effort of the Nietos to memorialize their son. I don’t agree that City should start setting aside public land for memorials, and it hasn’t been done as a practice. We have 50 homicides a year – some involve the police, many don’t ,but they are equally tragic to their families (ask the family of Rashawn Williams how they feel about no arrest being made these 3 yrs later, and no media attention). However, I would (and I wish Supervisor Campos did more of this) fully support reforms that would help to change the police force faster and that would bring body cams and dash cams to all officers and vehicles so that we never have another situation where nobody knows for sure what happened. It is disgraceful that all these years after, many (most?) officers *still* do not have body cams. Shouldn’t this be also about how to ensure we don’t end up here again, where the police have one story and nobody has proof of another?

      • I think everyone is loosing perspective. Mission & Bernal were Italian & Irish before there were any Spanish signs. Change happens in every community over time. Some good, some bad, but always change.

        Bad things happen to good people, sometimes city employees are involved. Have you all forgotten the lady playing with her baby who was killed by a SF parks truck in Holly Park? Did anyone ask City Hall
        To build her a memorial ?

        As to the vandalism of the memorial – my street, my neighbours houses & fences, our car have all been broken into & vandalized regularl, more so in the last year. Despite your allegations, are you really suggesting it’s community members ? . Are you really suggesting people are targeting the memorial? When you know it’s actually just the same people who vandalize the whole community, rob us & dump garbage in the park.

      • Body cameras will help, but they most definitely will not give a comprehensive and infallible record of police/civilian encounters. The New York Times’ website has an interactive demonstration of the reasons that video, like photography, only captures one limited perspective.

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