Ballot Proposition Would Shift Street Tree Maintenance Back to City

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Bernalwood has previously shared stories about Bernal neighbors who have struggled to pay big bills levied by the City to cover the cost of street tree maintenance. Now, after some unpleasant wrangling on the Board of Supervisors, a proposition sponsored by D8 Supervisor Scott Wiener to get the City to once again assume responsibility for street tree maintenance is on track to appear on the November ballot.

Joshua Sabatini from The Examiner reports:

The agreement was announced Tuesday amid a turnout of about 300 people organized by the Friends of the Urban Forest, a nonprofit group that supports growing San Francisco’s tree canopy. San Francisco has approximately 105,000 street trees on sidewalks and medians.

For years, The City has controversially shifted the care of trees to property owners, after failing to fund tree care in its annual budget. But voters this November will have a chance to approve a charter amendment to require The City to take back oversight of all street trees, the liability that comes with them and any sidewalk damage the trees might cause.

The measure was introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener, but a compromise was reached to shore up support from other supervisors, including Supervisor John Avalos, who had previously introduced a competing proposal.

“This is a grassroots movement that has been brewing for a long time of people in this city that understand that trees matter,” Wiener said. He called The City’s decision of “dumping responsibility” of street trees on property owners a “terrible and unfair system.”

The Examiner adds that a final vote to put the tree measure on the November ballot should happen in the Board of Supervisors today.

PHOTO: Expensive tree on public land, assigned to Neighbor Laura in 2015, by Neighbor Laura

Your Bernal Heights Crime Update for July 2016

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And now, a quick update on crime patterns in Ingleside Precinct, courtesy of Neighbor Sarah, Bernal’s intrepid liaison with the San Francisco Police Department:

Notes from the Ingleside Station Community Meeting
July 19, 2016
Venue: St. Mary’s Rec Center
Capt. McFadden presided

Ingleside Station has 100 officers; a fairly decent staffing level, though it recently lost new recruits who trained there but were then reassigned to other, permanent ‘home’ stations.

CRIME UPDATE

Auto and house burglaries continue, but Ingleside’s crimes have dropped in the past 2 months. Undercover team is working overtime ; they’ve caught a repeat robber, a drug dealer, and others.

Crime usually up in summer, but Capt. McFadden thinks various youth programs are helping.

Each station now has a dedicated statistics officer. Members of the public can request data. Provide an area (like street boundaries), type of crime, and dates. Email McFadden at joseph.mcfadden@sfgov.org, and he’ll pass along requests to stats officer. Please allow 7 days of lead time.

Videos of crimes are sent out to all officers and their iPhones. SFPD likes video. Recent video shares helped captured bike thieves, package thieves, etc. If you have a camera, consider registering it with DA’s office so police know what areas have video coverage and can request it after an incident.

Trend in garage thefts: Recommend residents use garage latch so a would-be burglar with opener can’t get in. Also, make sure garage is closed before you go to sleep at night; sometimes people accidentally open garage door because the opener is in their pants or purse or whatever.

Stolen credit cards often used to buy Clipper cards, which are then resold for less than face value.

McFadden recommends marking your valuable stuff with an engraver – that way, if it turns up in a flea market or on Craigslist, you’ll know it’s yours.

Pokemon Go – You’ve heard the stories. Players aren’t paying attention, and some get robbed, especially late at night. Be aware!

OTHER SFPD BUSINESS

McFadden really likes SFPD Acting Chief Toney Chaplin, and hopes he is made permanent. Chaplin is doing lots of community outreach.

One initiative is Coffee with the Cops.There will be more events over the coming months.

There’s a medical cannabis dispensary (MCD) application for 100 Sickles. The area already has a cluster of MCDs, neighbors not psyched.

Email is the best way to reach Capt. McFadden is by email: joseph.mcfadden@sfgov.org

Also use 311 to report things like problem/nuisance/drug houses. Those reports will get to the City Attorney. The City Attorney needs electronic paper trail. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Body cameras – Ingleside and Bayview are in the body camera pilot program. Six Ingleside officers trained on them this week. Rollout in coming months. McFadden thinks they will be beneficial.

Recent incidents ended peacefully – Tenderloin gun incident, man on Campbell in psychological distress (24-hour negotiation with him). Acting Chief Chaplin wants SFPD to become model for resolving incidents peacefully.

Use of Force Policy. The draft has been adopted, and is now in a vetting process. Emphasis on time and distance, negotiation. Should be done and in place in about 2 months.

July Fourth Mayhem – It’s hard to deal with. McFadden sent out roving squad cars taking reports of major fireworks in real time. Meeting attendees thought it was even worse than usual this year, with lots of major illegal fireworks.

National Night Out – Ingleside will be holdings its NNO event in September instead of August this year. Date is Sept 13, 5pm, Crocker-Amazon Park. Climbing wall, BBQ, etc. Lots of parking. More info to come.

Next community meeting – August 16, 7pm, Ingleside Station.

Q&A

D9 Supervisor Candidate Joshua Arce attended and asked some follow-up questions on car burglaries.

Resident of Miraloma shared a frustrating encounter with police – super-drunk people throwing trash, passing out in back yard; police sent one guy away in ambulance, left the rest of them there. They stayed, sitting in car with big open containers. Resident called police again, police did nothing. McFadden said that if you have an experience like this, call Ingleside Station at 404-4000 and ask to speak to Platoon Commander and explain situation. If you need follow-up from police, request a 909 (meeting with the cops). Get name and badge # of officers who are not responding appropriately.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Planning Commission Unanimously Approves Housing at Powhattan Triangle

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Last Thursday, July 21, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal by a Bernal-based developer to build four new homes on an undeveloped lot between Powhattan Ave. and Bernal Heights Blvd.  by rejecting a request for discretionary review filed by neighbors opposed the development.

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The proposal calls for the construction of three new family-sized homes at 965, 985,  and 1025 Powhattan, and one new home behind them, at 40 Bernal Heights Boulevard. The project will also include a new public stairway that will follow the path of the undeveloped Carver Street, which runs just east of the site.

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The official summary of the project, and the request for discretionary review, was as follows:

40 BERNAL HEIGHTS BOULEVARD/965, 985, 1025 POWHATTAN AVENUE- the triangular-shaped project site is bounded to the south by Powhattan Avenue, to the north by Bernal Heights Boulevard, to the west by an undeveloped portion of Rosenkranz Street, and to the east by an undeveloped portion of Carver Street; Lot 010 in Assessor’s Block 5640 (District 11)- Request for Discretionary Review (DR) of building permit application Nos 2014.0521.6382; 2014.0521.6394-6396, proposing subdivision of Block 5640 Lot 010 to create four new separate lots and construction of one three-level single-family dwelling on each new lot within a RH-1 (Residential House, One-Family) Zoning District, Bernal Heights Special Use District and 40-X Height and Bulk District. This action constitutes the Approval Action for the project for the purposes of CEQA, pursuant to San Francisco Administrative Code Section 31.04(h).

The Bernal neighbors who opposed the new housing framed their concerns mostly in terms of preserving “neighborhood character”:

A group of more than 150 neighbors has filed for a Discretionary Review with the SF Planning Commission on the 4 large luxury homes to be developed along Bernal Heights Boulevard and Powhattan Avenue. The hearing before the SF Planning Commission on this development is scheduled for Thursday, July 21, 2016 at approximately 1 pm in Room 400 at City Hall. Join us at the hearing to let your voice be heard.

We are greatly concerned about this development in part because:

  • The proposed development, in its totality, is out of context and scale with the established character of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood and sets a precedent for denser development.
  • The proposed homes are not consistent with Planning Code, Residential Design Guidelines, Bernal Heights East Slope Building Guidelines, and General Plans (e.g. there are no Front Yard Setbacks).
  • Safety Issues: Because there are no front yard Setbacks, a driver pulling out will be unable to check for pedestrians and traffic before crossing the sidewalk and entering the street.

Prior to the meeting, an analysis by Planning Commision staff determined that the proposed housing “meets all aspects of the Planning Code,” and that it’s “consistent with the scale and character of the immediate neighborhood,” and that it “meets the [Bernal Heights East Slope Building Guidelines].”

After much discussion and debate, all six of the the Planning Commissioners agreed, and the request for discretionary review was denied. A few minor revisions to the project were requested. That means construction on four new homes in Bernal Heights may begin soon. But this is San Francisco, of course, so who really knows?

SITE PLANS: Planning Department analysis for 965 Powhattan

Tuesday: Celebrate 17 Years of Heartfelt with Neighbor Darcy

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Some things change, some things stay the same, and some things stay the same because they change a lot. The fabulous Heartfelt store on Cortland has been able to stick around for a long time because its proprietor, Neighbor Darcy Lee, is obsessively focused on making sure her “contemporary five-and-dime” store always feels fresh and new.

This week, Neighbor Darcy is celebrating 17 years of Hearffelt, with an in-store party on Tuesday, July 26:

I recently looked up to see when I bought the store, and discovered it was 1999. I was a retail newbie at that time, and I jumped in with both feet.

We would like to thank the neighborhood that made 17 years possible on Tuesday, July 26th from 6-8 pm. We hope to party like its 1999, and thus are asking folks to wear purple in honor of my favorite rock star of all time. First 50 folks that wear purple get a door prize.

We’l have cookies champagne, and Mariachi Jalisco will be playing!

Congratulations, Darcy!

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PHOTO: Darcy Lee during a rainstorm, 2015, by Telstar Logistics. Poster, artwork by Reuben Rude

El Buen Comer Is Now Open for Dinner (and It’s Amazing)

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Last week, your Bernalwood editor visited El Buen Comer, the much-acclaimed new restaurant at 3435 Mission Street (@Kingston) in the La Lengua Autonomous Zone. El Buen Comer is now open for dinner, and our meal there sent us into a state of guisado-induced rapture.

What’s a guisado? Well, think of it sort of like a Mexican version of a Thai or Indian curry. Anna Roth from the San Francisco Chronicle had a similar moment of guisado rapture at El Buen Comer recently, and she explains:

The plate arrived with six pieces of stewed pork in a sea of green sauce. I’ve never been one to forgo pork products, but the mole verde, not the meat, wholly captivated my attention. It was richly layered and bright-tasting from fresh cilantro and epazote, with just a whisper of heat from green chiles. As I sopped up the last of the sauce with a house-made tortilla, I realized that I’d be doing the same thing with naan at an Indian restaurant; mole, like curry, is just a complicated stew.

Puerco en mole verde is just one of several remarkable dishes being turned out by Isabel Caudillo at her 6-week-old Bernal Heights restaurant, El Buen Comer. The daily changing menu centers on guisados — stews from Caudillo’s native Mexico City, where they can be served at home for weekday dinner or spooned into tacos for workers on the go.

Guisados have recently become trendy in food circles north of the border, but Caudillo has been serving them in San Francisco for more than a decade. She began selling comida corrida, simple fixed-price lunches of soup, tortillas, rice, beans and guisados, out of her Tenderloin apartment in 2001.

Bernalwood ate at El Buen Comer a few days after Anna Roth’s article was published, and the resulting crush of customers who flocked to the restaurant threatened to overwhelm the staff, which is largely comprised of chef Isabel Caudillo’s family. But we hardly cared, because teething pains are to be expected, and everyone was friendly, charming, and attentive.

Most of all, the food was revelatory and delicious.

Welcome to Bernal, El Buen Comer! We’re very lucky to have you here.

PHOTO: Puerco en mole verde at El Buen Comer, by Bernalwood

RIP Bernal Neighbor Thea Anderson, 24

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Neighbor Leigh brings Bernalwood heartbreaking news about Neighbor Thea Anderson, age 24, who died last month after a collision in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Neighbor Thea had been working as volunteer at a New Zealand school for children with intellectual disabilities.

Neighbor Leigh says:

I’m emailing on behalf of dear friends of mine, Consuelo and Thor Anderson, who are fellow Bernalites. They wanted to share the news of their daughter death a few weeks ago. Thea Faust Anderson died the day after her 24th birthday in a car crash in New Zealand, where she had been living and working.

Thea and her older sister Madeleine were born and raised in Bernal Heights, spending countless hours at the Bernal branch library, exploring the hill, and gaining newfound independence walking to Holly Park on their own. Consuelo remembers trick or treating with them back when there was only one cafe on Cortland.

As a fellow parent raising kids here in Bernal, I can imagine all the memories, milestones, and experiences Consuelo and Thor shared with Thea as she blossomed from her Bernal roots into an adventurous, vibrant and deeply caring young woman.

Here is a link to a beautiful obituary for her in last Sunday’s Chronicle.

There will be a celebration of Thea’s life at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco, on Saturday, July 23rd at noon. Gifts in memory of Thea may be sent to the Thea Faust Anderson Fund for Dance, Mills College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, California, 94613, or online.

Please join Bernalwood in extending  our deepest condolences to Neighbors Consuelo, Thor, and Madeleine, on behalf of our Bernal community.

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PHOTO: Top, Thea Faust Anderson. Below, Thea Anderson at Phia Beach, NZ, via The Dominion Post.