Graffiti Removed, For Now, as Sutrito Tower Facility Gets a Coat of Paint

Sutrito Tower post-graffiti removal

Sutrito Tower has long been plagued by graffiti — not street art, not murals, just ugly, boring tags.

American Tower, which owns the facility, occasionally paints over it, but the company recently allowed some of the tags to linger for a long time. There’s one that says “TRUST NO HOE!” (charming) in this picture from January 2014 that was still there until very recently: IMG_0806

Now, it’s all gone. There’s new fencing, upgraded security lighting, and even barbed wire around most of the perimeter, which isn’t very attractive. Yet it might be worth it, if it actually keeps the taggers out.

If it doesn’t (which seems likely, given this site’s history), why not get rid of the fencing entirely? Like it was when Sutrito Tower was first built, in 1963.

Removing the fence would take the “adventure” out of tagging this building, and make it convenient for neighbors to paint over it without waiting years for American Tower to get around to cleaning up the mess.

Sutrito Tower post-graffiti removal

PHOTOS: Joe Thomas

New Pedestrian Crossing, Stop Signs Proposed for Eastern End of Bernal Heights Park


Tomorrow morning, March 6, at 10 am, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will solicit input on proposed changes to the intersection of Bernal Heights Boulevard and Bernal Heights Boulevard at the eastern side of the park.

Wait, what? No, that’s not a typo:


This is the spot.

The hearing happens at 10 am on Friday in Room 416 at City Hall. Here’s the announcement in situ:

Public Hearing

Three years ago, your Eastern Bureau correspondent attended a Rec and Parks meeting about trail restoration on Bernal Hill, where neighbors discussed the safety of the ‘undefined’ eastern entrances to the park. At the time, someone from the City mentioned that there was “lots you can do with paint.”

Now, the moment is at hand to perhaps do something with some paint. And a few stop signs.

PHOTOS: Joe Thomas

In New “Murder in the First” TV Show, Hollywood Cops Live in Real Bernal Heights

Alabama at Ripley MitF

Last year around this time, Hollywood came to Bernalwood to shoot a new TV show. It finally premiered Monday night on TNT, and it’s called Murder in the First. It’s produced by Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, Murder One, Brooklyn South, City of Angels, LA Law, Philly, and of course, Cop Rock), so of course it’s about cops.

The pilot opens in Bernal Heights, where SFPD inspector Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson) lives in a cute little house near the top of Alabama St. with her adorable moppet of a daughter. Robertson has been in a ton of things, going back to the original Beverly Hills 90210 and earlier as a child star in Canada. Bonus Canadian content for Burrito Justice: she played Mrs. Hockey (Colleen Howe) in 2013’s “Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story.”

Murder in the First Pilot

Neighbor Hildy, the hot blonde cop/mom (try saying it; it’s fun), is partnered with Terry (Taye Diggs), whose wife is dying from cancer. It’s pretty heavy. They’re called to a crime scene that’s meant to be a Tenderloin SRO hotel, but if you zoom and enhance, the place turns out to be regularly and frequently patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department. Watch:

LAPD patrols

The pair do visit some real San Francisco locations as they run down leads on who killed the unsavory character in the hotel. Erich Blunt, a cartoonishly evil tech zillionaire played by Draco Malfoy with an American accent, quickly emerges as a person of interest. He is the CEO of “<APPLSN>,” which has a big campus right next to AT&T Park, and he says things like “Our apps are more than games. They are destinations where users go to get lost in alternate utopian realities.”

Hildy Terry and Erich

He also has enough money to hire one of the pilots from Wings to fly his entourage around on his private jet. But he’s probably too young to get that reference.


Meanwhile, the SFPD office where Hildy and Terry work looks like it hasn’t been painted since Harry Callahan worked there. Damn those tech company tax-break giveaways!

Paint Me

I won’t spoil the plot; it’s a police procedural at heart, though apparently they’re going to be spending the whole season solving one murder. (Or two, I guess. Another body does turn up by the end of the first show.) I wasn’t blown away by Murder In the First, but I’ll give it another chance next week.  The ratings were pretty good, no doubt because of all the Bernal Heights cameos.

The pilot airs a few more times this week if you want to catch it on the DVR, and it’s free on iTunes. I’ll leave you with one more glimpse of the lovely view from Alabama at Ripley. Enjoy.

Of course, real Bernal Heights moms are more savvy about their footwear:

New Housing Proposed For Hidden Lot in Northeast Bernal Heights



Neighbor Margo writes on about a plan to build some new houses on a secret lot in the interior of a block in northeast Bernal Heights, alongside Cesar Chavez Blvd.:

The owner of the interior lots bordered by Hampshire, Peralta, York and Cesar Chavez is planning to build on that land soon. He will bring preliminary plans to an open meeting of the East Slope Design Review Board on Wed., May 14, at 7 p.m. at the Precita Community Center, on Precita near the park.

The owner, Patrik Quinlan, came by our house last night and showed us plans for four single family homes of about 2,200 square feet, placed on an angle on the lots, so they would face northeast.

He also plans two small units in a building on top of a driveway through the lot on York Street that would serve as the access to the interior lots. So those would be an odd new sort of home – above a driveway.

On the interior-lot land, the buildings and their driveways would be situated on the property line nearest Cesar Chavez Street. So the people on Cesar Chavez would have a driveway, possibly on the ground and possibly on a ramp (Quinlan wasn’t sure), right on their property lines. Because of the slope of the hill, that driveway or ramp would be way above their heads. So… I think this means that long-term, their lives would be most affected by this.

In the past, Quinlan has presented plans for four or five duplexes, that is 8 or 10 units. So this is much less dense than he’s proposed in the past.

Issues that have come up in the past over development on this land are: fire truck access; where to place garbage containers; parking, of course; views and light; the geologic stability of the hill; potential displacement of underground streams.

Anyway, anyone interested should come to the meeting.

Armed Man Killed by SFPD in Bernal Heights Park

Bernal shooting

A man wearing a gun in a holster was shot and killed by San Francisco police in Bernal Heights Park on Friday night. The Chronicle has the story:

Officers responding to calls about a man with a gun approached him on a paved pedestrian path on the north slope of the park about 7:10 p.m., said police Deputy Chief Lyn Tomioka.

The man appeared to draw his gun as the officers approached, Tomioka said. The officers, fearing for their lives, opened fire.

The man was declared dead at the scene.

Tomioka said she did not know if the man had exchanged fire with the officers, but she said his gun was discovered close to his body. She also could not say how many officers discharged their weapons, but that it was more than one.

Neighbor Isaac’s wife was jogging up the hill shortly before it happened. He reported via Twitter:

Your Eastern Bureau didn’t hear the shots over on Peralta, but we wanted to post a link to the coverage and provide a place for neighbors to discuss the unfortunate events.

UPDATE: Local CBS, NBC and ABC affiliates have their reports up now.

UPDATE: Neighbor Regina sends this picture of police tape at her house:


PHOTO: Andria Borba, KPIX 5

New, High-Tech Solar Streetlight May Deter Illegal Dumpers. Maybe.


The north entrance to Bernal Heights Park has been the site of many illegal dumping attacks, over the years, all done under the cover of darkness. But a new high-tech solar-powered streetlight should make the parking area a bit less attractive to debris-dumping hooligans.


It’s “Off-Grid,” and it’s self-contained, complete with internal batteries. I only noticed it this week, but I almost walked by it without seeing it, so I wonder when it was actually installed. Neighbors?

But here’s the most important thing. It works! It really lights up!


The extra photons will come in handy since the anti-dumping Eye of Sautrito has been largely repurposed for Burrito Railgun defense.

What You Missed When You Missed Glenn Lym’s Talk About the Lost Geology of Bernal Heights

Glenn Lym addressed a full house at the Bernal Heights branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Wednesday night. His presentation focused on how San Francisco transformed the hilly native landscape into flat land suitable for development.

Much of the first half hour recapped Glenn’s HERE5 documentary, which was brilliant. But having first seen that the day before, a second pass helped me understand the process better. Here’s the story:

In 1849, very little of San Francisco was flat. Sand dunes over 100 feet high made land passage impractical between “downtown” and the Mission. Millions of cubic yards of material was moved to create the flat center of San Francisco we see today.

One remarkable photo in the slideshow showed picnickers on a peak of Potrero Hill that Glenn said no longer exists; a spot that is now either Franklin Square or the Safeway shopping center (previously the site of Seals Stadium). I think this may have been called Irish Hill, but I’m not sure. (John Blackburn corrects me in the comments; Irish Hill was on the East side of Potrero.)

In the second half, Glenn showed Coast Survey-based CAD reconstructions of the lost peaks of Bernal Heights, though he wasn’t sure when they had been removed.

Harrison Ryker’s 1938 photos showed a peak at the top of Ripley Street, above the intersection with Peralta, which was missing on a later photo:

An older gentleman in the back, attested by others to have lived on Ripley, said the hilltop removal began in 1939, stopped during the war, and resumed afterwards — leaving the block between Peralta, Esmeralda, Franconia and Samoset flat by around 1950. The debris was probably used to fill Isais Creek, with some of it possibly used as ship ballast.

The fourth peak, where the Franconia/Brewster public gardens are today, south of Rutledge, was removed prior to 1938. Some industry, possibly hilltop-removal, was visible in an aerial photo that showed the Maxwell advertisement atop Bernal Hill, which suggests it happened in the mid 1920s.

Glenn referred to historical posts by Burrito Justice and Bernalwood several times in his presentation, with special attention paid to Burrito Justice’s posts on the Valencia Hotel collapse and Serpentinia, and Bernalwood’s epic post on the history of Army Street/Cesar Chavez’s awfulness.

Bernal’s superior seismic safety was discussed in the Q&A after the talk, though I don’t think our chert was specifically credited.