Meet Jack Hart, the New Captain at SFPD Ingleside Station

Capt. Jack Hart at an Oct. 2017 community meeting in Bernal Heights.

This interview was originally published at Hoodline by reporter Will Carruthers and was created in partnership with the Ingleside-Excelsior Light. The interview has been edited and condensed.

On October 21, Captain Jack Hart, an 18-year member of the San Francisco Police Department, took the top post at Ingleside Station, which covers the city’s second-largest policing district.

We spoke with Hart about his background, his first month in charge and the challenges he expects to face.

Hoodline: What’s your background with the SFPD?

Jack Hart: My great-grandfather, Charles W. King, was a streetcar driver going up and down Market Street. He and his wife, Georgia King, had their first son right around April 1906. When the great quake hit on April 18, the hospital they were in collapsed, and Charles joined the Police Department immediately.

His star number was 596, the same star number I wear. He served for 25 years [before being] hit and killed by a drunk driver while acting as a crossing guard for school kids on Alemany Boulevard in 1931.

I grew up in Diamond Heights and I currently live in Sunnyside, both in the Ingleside District. Generations of my family have lived in Ingleside District, yet I have never policed the area because I have worked at four of the other stations: Southern, Tenderloin, Mission and Bayview-Hunters Point.

I’m also an attorney, so I spent several years in our legal office acting as an attorney on behalf of the Police Department in civil, criminal, state and federal courts.

I joined the department in June 1999, so I’m relatively new in the department but I have a lot of family experience. I was a police cadet with the Police Activities League when I was 14.

With all of those connections, it’s not just a professional accomplishment to be the captain of Ingleside Station, it’s also a personal mission because I’m so connected to this district. I want this place to be great too.

How have you spent your first month on the job?

I’ve spent the entire month trying to figure out the cops, the community and the crime, and not necessarily in that order.

I’ve probably been to about 30 community meetings so far. It’s been great because everyone is so motivated to fix these neighborhood issues. I’d be really concerned if there were only three or four people showing up to these meetings, but most of them have 30 or 40, which is great.

Even if they’re yelling at me, it shows me they care.

What are some of the unique features of Ingleside Station and what do you think will be some of the biggest challenges?

One of the challenges of the Ingleside is that it’s a big district. I think we’re about 25 percent of the city, about the size of Daly City with the population of Daly City, basically shoved into one police district. It’s a lot of real estate to cover.

All of that creates this challenge that we are really reliant on our police cars to cover the distance, which kind of sucks, to be frank.

Our challenge is that our cops are all in their cars. They put an average of 50 to 60 miles a day in the car.

One of the challenges is getting officers out of their cars to engage on a block-by-block basis, so that they can understand the unique challenges and strengths of each neighborhood—especially in areas that have violence issues like Visitacion Valley in the Sunnydale neighborhoods.

We’re spending a lot of time down there, and other neighborhoods are not necessarily getting the same investment on a day-to-day basis.

The biggest challenge is that we need more cops. We’re probably a good 25 to 30 cops short of where we should be in terms of all our responsibilities and all the things we need.

24 Muni Bus Collides With Truck on Cortland

A 24 Muni bus headed west on Cortland Avenue collided with a truck yesterday afternoon. No injuries were reported.

Neighbor Judy was on the scene to share this dispatch:

Your Bernalwood Prentiss Street correspondant is reporting big excitement on Cortland between Nevada/Prentiss/Banks St.

SF Muni #24 had a run-in with a small hauling truck on Cortland.

Ambulance/Fire arrived on the scene between 4:30/4:45. No one injured.

SFPD, SFMuni, and DPT were also on-site.

It was hard to get details, as police really didn’t want to be interrupted by my reporter questions. But neighbors indicated that the bus ran into the hauling truck. The front, right-hand side of the bus had significant damage. No injuries.

SF Muni teams were on location to turn around Muni buses headed up the hill from Bayshore. Cortland was impassable while the incident was being cleared.

PHOTOS: Top, courtesy of Neighbor Judy. Below, courtesy of @Mop_Head.

Cortland’s “Flower Lady” to Offer Thanksgiving Flowers For Sale

After a long hiatus, Denhi the Flower Lady tells Bernalwood that she’ll be out today and tomorrow to sell Thanksgiving flowers on the northeast corner of Cortland at Wool:

My name is Denhi, the flower lady. Thanksgiving is here! I will be selling on Wednesday Nov. 22 from 5 to 9 pm, and on Thanksgiving day, Thursday Nov. 23, from 11 am to 6 or 7 pm.

PHOTO: Denhi Donis on Cortland, courtesy of Beth Stephens

Cash Drawers Stolen During Early Morning Break-In at Healthy Spirits

Security camera footage shows the intruder entering Healthy Spirits at 5:30 am.

It’s tough to be a merchant in San Francisco — as Heathy Spirits discovered yet again today.

In the early morning hours today, thieves broke in to the Healty Spirits store at 249 Cortland to steal the cash register.

This is the second time this has happened to Healthy Spirits; a similar incident took place in July 2016.

Rami from Healthy Spirits tells Bernalwood:

This morning approximately at 5:30 I received a call from police notifying me of a break in at my business located at 249 Cortland Ave.

The video footage shows that one of the thieves opened the front door using a crowbar and the second thief enters and proceeds to yank the cash register and runs away with two cash drawers. The cash drawers had a small amount of money but the robbery leaves me with a broken front door and a very expensive POS system to replace.
This same scenario almost exactly happened back in July 2016 where the thieves were only interested in the cash register as well.

It is days like today that I choose to count my blessings and I spend my time thinking about how lucky I am to be a part of this wonderful Bernal family. I shall restore whatever was damaged as soon as possible and I can’t wait to be back serving our clients and our Bernalese family at large.

Here are additional security-camera photos of the intruder inside Healthy Spirits this morning:


Anyone with further information about this incident is encouraged to contact SFPD Ingleside Station at (415) 404-4000.

Seasonal Transition Alert! Bernal Hill Engreening Now In Progress

After all the rain during the last week, Bernal Hill has started its annual transition from Brown Mode to Green Mode.

Early this morning, Neighbor Sarah shared this glorious photo taken from the top of Bernal Hill.  Astute observers will note the presence of a verdant peachfuzz lining the surface of the hill.

All Bernalese are advised to expect continued engreening in the weeks and months ahead, as the grasses grow taller and Bernal Hill takes on a more lush and full-bodied demeanor.

Hail the rains! Hail the green!

Friday: Public Hearing on Northwest Bernal Permit Parking Plan

At 10 am in Room 416 at City Hall this Friday, Nov. 17, the SFMTA will hold a public hearing to discuss yet another revised version of the revised plan regarding the controversial proposal to establish a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) zone in northwest Bernal Heights.

In an email to Bernalwood, SFMTA parking policy manager Hank Wilson explained the details of the latest RPP proposal:

At the public hearing in July 2017, attendees included both supporters and those not in support of creating a new RPP Area. For the most part, supporters live on blocks that voted to be included in the RPP Area, and those not in support live on blocks that did not vote to be included in the RPP Area. A large number of those who spoke against creating a new RPP Area live on Elsie Street, which had voted against joining the RPP Area and was not included as one of the proposed RPP blocks. Most of the folks from Elsie Street opposed the inclusion of the 200 block of Esmeralda, saying that they often used that block to park their cars.

Since the July 2017 public hearing, the votes on the 200 block of Esmeralda have shifted and that block is no longer in support of joining an RPP Area. In addition, the residents of the 0-99 block of Prospect have voted to be included in the RPP area. Here is an updated map of the proposed RPP Area.

As you may remember from community meetings on this subject, the SFMTA is also pursuing some more general RPP reforms. A proposal before the SFMTA Board of Directors was heard on October 3, 2017, but was continued indefinitely by the Board.

Rather than delaying a decision on the NW Bernal Heights proposal further by waiting for the RPP Reform proposal to return to the SFMTA Board, we are moving forward with bringing a NW Bernal Heights proposal to the SFMTA Board.

The NW Bernal Heights RPP proposal will have the following policies for the number of permits that may be issued per address:

  • One permit per driver; two permits per address
  • Permits for medical care and child care providers do not count towards the two per address limit
  • Additional permits may be issued to an address if there is parking available in the immediate area and the permit is for additional licensed drivers in the household

The next step is another public hearing at City Hall on Friday, November 17, at 10am. After that, the proposal will move to the SFMTA Board of Directors. We hope for the proposal to be heard at the January 16, 2018 board meeting, but that date has not been confirmed.

SFMTA also sent an email about the Nov. 17 meeting, which contains some additional context:

The SFMTA has scheduled a 10 A.M. public hearing for November 17, 2017, at San Francisco City Hall, Room 416, to consider modifications to the proposed northwest Bernal Heights Residential Permit Parking Area (RPP).

The purpose of the public hearing is to solicit comment on the proposed new RPP Area. No decisions will be made at this meeting. If you are not able to attend the public hearing, you may submit your comment in writing or by email to Kathryn Studwell, Policy Manager, Residential Parking, 1 S. Van Ness, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103 or email her at Kathryn.Studwell@sfmta.com.

The RPP Area proposal has been modified to:

  • Remove the 200-299 block of Esmeralda Avenue
  • Add the 00-99 block of Prospect Avenue

The proposed RPP Area will have the following policies for the number of permits that may be issued per address:

  • One permit per driver; two permits per address
  • Permits for medical care and child care providers do not count towards the two per address limit
  • Additional permits may be issued to an address if there is parking available in the immediate area and the permit is for additional licensed drivers in the household

How We Got Here

  • Residents of northwest Bernal Heights requested the SFMTA consider establishing a new Residential Permit Parking (RPP) Area, which led to a community outreach process that started in spring 2015.
  • The proposed RPP Area is comprised of those blocks where 50% or more of the addresses voted to create a new area; this voting process was completed in May 2017.
  • Since July 2017, a majority of residents on the 200 block of Esmeralda decided that they no longer support RPP on their block, while a majority of residents of the unit block of Prospect decided to support RPP.

Additional information about the Bernal Heights RPP plan is available on the SFMTA website.

Eucalyptus Trees Removed From Bernal Hill

Neighbor Fiid graciously shared photos of several eucalyptus trees being removed from the western side of Bernal Hill yesterday, near the area where the Esmeralda stairway connects with the pedestrian segment of Bernal Heights Boulevard.

Observers in the La Lengua flatlands also noticed the tree removal taking place, but from their vantage point, the process appeared to be the work of either an angry Tiki god or an avant-garde landscape artist — or both:

Suffice to say, it was no such thing.

In recent years, the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks has removed several trees on Bernal Hill that were deemed to pose a potential hazard. Back in 2015, Rec and Park told Bernalwood to expect that some trees on the western slope of Bernal Hill would eventually be removed as part that effort.

Citywide, there are several initiatives underway to remove old Eucalyptus trees, as they are a non-native species that may pose a fire hazard.

Sunday: Join a Fabulous, Fascinating Bernal-La Lengua Walking Tour

Valencia Street at Cesar Chavez (Army) Street looking south, June 9, 1920. (Source: SFMTA)

The fertile flatlands of Bernal Heights along Mission Street are home to many tasty restaurants, rollicking nightlife, and proud inhabitants who are famous for their hyperlocal pride and rebellious attitudes. Yet even if no one can quite agree what to call it — La Lengua? Mssion-Bernal? Bernal-Mission? South of Army? — Bernal’s stretch of Mission Street is one of the most vibrant micro-hoods in all of San Francisco, and tastemakers around town are just starting to realize that.

Underpinning all this, La Lengua also has a rich history that extends all the way back to our primordial ancestor, Jose Cornelio Bernal, whose ranch gave our neighborhood its name and whose homestead was located on the site of today’s St. Luke’s Hospital.

This weekend, on Sunday Nov. 12 starting at 10 am, Bernal Neighbor Michael Nolan will join forces with neighborhood enthusiasts to lead a walking tour of Mission-Bernal La Lengua Bernal-Mission South of Army:

District Nine Neighbors for Housing presents a Mission-Bernal Walking Tour ~ Past, Present & Future, Part One, Led by Gillian Gillett

$5 covers tour guide materials for participants. We convene at Tierra Mia Coffee, Valencia & Mission at 10am and conclude at El Buen Comer, Mission & Kingston, at Noon for Brunch.

Our guide and neighbor, Gillian Gillett, will describe the street widenings (and sidewalk narrowings) of Cesar Chavez (once Army), Guerrero and San Jose Avenue, the aborted Mission Freeway and Southern Crossing, and troubles at St. Luke’s Hospital: 1940-2017.  We look at housing development opportunities along the route.

Gillian Gillett is a neighborhood activist (San Jose/Guerrero Coalition to Save Our Streets), public space advocate (Greening Guerrero and Guerrero Park), and mom of two. During her day job, she is Director of Transportation Policy in Mayor Lee’s office, focusing on Caltrain, bike share, California High Speed Rail, BART and the coming of the Autonomous Vehicle.

Part Two will take place in January, originate at Tierra Mia Coffee and head south past the Royal Cuckoo, 3300 Club/Graywood Hotel-Cole Hardware-Safeway sites and finish at Randall Street.  More details will follow as the date approaches.

To join, use this link to get an invitation from Neighbor Michael.

Saturday: Families Invited to Frolic at the Paul Revere Elementary Schoolyard



There’s a gorgeous schoolyard at Paul Revere Elementary School in South Bernal, and this Saturday morning, Bernalese of all ages are invited to come celebrate and enjoy it.

Sharon Chung from the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project tells Bernalwood:

We’re hosting a large community event at Paul Revere Elementary on Saturday, Nov. 4 and welcoming families and kids to come have a great time with us under the sun.

The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project is a non profit organization that works to open schoolyards across the City for public use on weekends. Our mission is to provide every child and family in San Francisco an accessible space to gather and play within walking distance.

We hope everyone in the Bernal Heights community will be able to utilize Paul Revere’s schoolyard more readily with this opening.

WHAT: Schoolyard Opening at Paul Revere Elementary School
WHEN: Saturday, November 4, 11 am – 1 pm
WHERE: Paul Revere Elementary, 555 Tompkins Ave.
RSVP: Via this website

Neighbor Creates Amazing, Intricate String-Art Map of Bernal Heights

To the ever-expanding genre of artwork inspired by maps of Bernal Heights, Neighbor Naomi shares news about a very cool string-art piece she recently created.

Derived from the 5′ topographic map of Bernal Heights that local carto-wizard Eric Fischer produced in 2012, Neighbor Naomi tells Bernalwood how her piece came together:

I saw the post of Eric Fisher’s map on Bernalwood years ago and it got my wheels turning. I love textile arts (where my knittahs at?!), and my first idea was to do a quilt where the stitching followed the contours of the elevation lines.

That project stuck in my head for a while without becoming a reality (as these things do). Then I began noticing artists doing interesting things with nails and thread – Kumi Yamashita and Dominique Falla are two examples. The thought of the contour map came back to me as a cool subject for that technique.

I made an abridged version of the map with fewer elevation contours (every 20′ instead of 5′) and simpler, more segmented lines. That became my template for where to place the nails on a large piece of prepped plywood. Then, with regular sewing thread in several colors, I just started winding!

To make it a little easier to navigate between the nails, I threaded the strand through the casing of a ball-point pen, which actually made it feel a lot like drawing with string.

Special bonus! Neighbor Naomi also shared this fantastic time-lapse GIF showing how her piece came together:

Tonight! Tom Petty Tribute Party at Old Bus Tavern

If you’re looking for something fun to do this Halloween eve, without too much costume-pressure fuss, the fabulous Old Bus Tavern (at 3193 Mission, near Fair Ave.) is hosting a Tom Petty tribute TONIGHT, Oct 31.

Ben Buchanan from Old Bus tells Bernalwood:

We’re hosting a Petty-ween party on Tuesday 10/31 from 8:30pm -12:30am.

Celebrate Halloween with two sets of Tom Petty performed by Kelly McFarling and friends! Best Petty costume wins a bottle of Old Bus Tavern-branded Bernheim whiskey. It’s a free show!

Precita Park Pizzeria Plan Comes to an End

3214 Folsom, on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (Photo by Telstar Logistics)

Alas, it’s not happening.

Back in 2015, Bernal Neighbor Eliza Laffin announced plans to open a pizza shop called Red Apron Pizza at the corner of Folsom and Bessie, at the western end of Precita Park.

She knew that opening the shop would be tough. Still, it had been a lifelong dream to open her own pizzeria, so Neighbor Eliza was determined to renovate the space at 3214 Folsom and navigate San Francisco’s labyrinthine permitting process. To symbolize all that, she papered the windows of the storefront with handmade graphics that said, “It Will Happen.”

Yet it wasn’t to be. The renovation effort soon bogged down in negotiations with the property owner about who was responsible for various structural improvements, water damage abatement, and sewage system repairs, with the result that work on Red Apron Pizza was suspended for more than a year.

The “It Will Happen” signs have now been taken down from the windows of 3214 Folsom, and over the weekend Neighbor Eliza shared this update with the Bernal community:

On September 18, 2017, I made a very difficult decision to terminate the lease for Red Apron Pizzeria at 3214 Folsom Street.

We were headed for trial a week prior, but the judge directed us to a mandatory settlement conference. We spent two days in the settlement conference negotiating before agreeing to the terms of our arrangement.

I agonized over this decision.

My heart was set on what was the perfect place for my pizzeria. The bad news is I’ve lost that spot, and it means starting all over again. The good news is that we avoided going to trial.

The even better good news is that the relationship between the landlords and me is over. They did not comprehend what turned out to be myriad hidden issues with their building, which has three residential units in addition to the storefront. […]

My restaurant – while currently a figment of my imagination – remains the same, as Red Apron Pizzeria.

In the meantime, I had a major foot surgery two weeks ago. After recovering from that, I hope to find a leasable restaurant space in my ‘hood.

The sign in the front window is gone. I feel like I let my neighborhood down.. I’m sorry. But please continue to hope. You never know when opportunity comes knocking on the door.

With mixed feelings and perpetual pizza dreams,

Eliza

Cortland Merchants Will Have Halloween Treats For Your Little Monsters

For many tens of thousands of years, the shopkeepers of Cortland Avenue have put out candy baskets for children during the evening hours on October 31st, so that families in Bernal Heights can partake of Halloween in locavore safety and style.

That tradition continues again this year, and Neighbor Darcy from Heartfelt brings the details — along with some ancient wisdom:

Our Halloween celebration for the wee ones on Cortland Avenue will start at 4-5 pm onHalloween night, Oct. 31 and wind down when the candy is gone.

Here are some Halloween suggestions:

  • Stay in a group and communicate your route to each other.
  • Have a spot in the neighborhood to meet if you get separated
  • Carry a cellphone if possible
  • Use the sidewalk and cross at cross walks…no diagonal street crossings please.<
  • Never assume you have the right of way. One car might stop, but the next might not.
  • Have a great time in a great neighborhood!

PHOTO: Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter with her best friend Eddie, learning about Halloween on Cortland in 2009. (Now much bigger, she’ll be on Cortland this year once again.) Photo by Telstar Logistics