Foes and Friends of Planned Parenthood Face-Off During Weekend Demonstrations

In case you missed it — or didn’t hear it — there was a big anti-abortion protest in La Lengua last Saturday at the Planned Parenthood on Valencia.

The protest inspired an even larger counter-demonstration on the part of pro-choice advocates, who rallied to show support for Planned Parenthood’s services. Things got tense, but remained peaceful, as MissionLocal describes:

San Francisco Police Lieutenant Eric Washington said that some 12 officers oversaw the protest to facilitate both sides’ “first amendment rights” and to ensure that there is “no violence on either side.” By 2:45 p.m., the vocal crowds disbanded, and only a handful of protesters remained.

Gilda Hernandez, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood, said that the organization had originally encouraged protesters standing on both sides of the issue to express themselves “far away from our health center.”

“This is quite intimidating for people who are just seeking healthcare,” said Hernandez said about the clinic’s clients, adding that she was nonetheless appreciative of the strong show of support.

Read the full report, with more video, at MissionLocal.

VIDEO: via MissionLocal

Bernal Neighbor Launches “30 Days, 30 Songs” Voter Registration Music Project


Bernal Heights neighbor and celebrity music impresario Jordan Kurland has joined forces with author Dave Eggers to create a voter-registration project that seeks to ensure Donald Trump does not become the next President of the United States.

Neighbor Jordan tells Bernalwood:

I wanted to let you all know about a project that we launched. It is an independent campaign website called 30 Days, 30 Songs and it was conceived by myself and author Dave Eggers. It features a collection of amazing artists who contributed amazing songs that champion a diverse, inclusive, and prosperous America. In other words, everything Donald Trump opposes.

We started with a brand new Death Cab for Cutie song, titled “Million Dollar Loan,” and will be posting a song per day up through Election Day. It features original compositions, live versions, and remixes. I can’t divulge every act that we’ve confirmed but the first week will also feature Aimee Mann, REM, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Thao Nguyen and Josh Ritter.

The songs will be released on the 30 Days, 30 Songs website and as a playlist on Spotify and Apple Music. Any proceeds generated will be donated to The Center for Popular Democracy and their efforts towards Universal Voter Registration.

The music is fab, and the cause is righteous. Today’s song, for example, is the world premiere of Franz Ferdinand’s “Demagogue,” featuring original artwork from Shepard Fairey (shown above).

Check it out, tell your friends about it on the Facebook, and big ups to Neighbor Jordan and Dave Eggers for making this happen!


How Neighbor Lisa Got a Stop Sign and Crosswalk Installed Near Holly Park


Through persistence and some savvy nagging, Neighbor Lisa recently arranged to have a stop sign and proper crosswalk installed on the east side of Holly Park near Highland. Now, Neighbor Lisa tells Bernalwood how she did it:

Recently saw your post / community update about some new neighborhood street lighting, and all that went into making that happen. Crazy, but success. Yay! Inspired me to reach out to you all to tell you about our exciting new-ish crosswalk to Holly Park, pedestrian signage, and new stop sign on Highland.

It was installed during late spring to connect Highland Avenue and Holly Park Circle walkers headed to the east side of the park (main entrance with ramps, playground, dogs galore). Before this crosswalk, there was only one on the entire circumference of the park, connecting to the elementary school on the west. I was always worried about my toddler son and his preschool crossing that crazy circle everyday with cars whipping around the curves, so I made a 311 request.

This is an exciting community safety improvement that hundreds use every day, but more importantly, it’s a way to show other neighbors that this crosswalk (and the stop sign) came about simply because I completed an online 311 application and then made a few follow-up phone calls to SFMTA. I have also called 311 for more urgent requests, like a huge pothole on Appleton at Mission where I almost flew over my bike handlebars, and a massive trash dumping on the sidewalks behind the Safeway.

PHOTO: New crosswalk at Highland, courtesy of Neighbor Lisa

Fiesta On the Hill Cancelled as Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center Struggles With Change


This story was reported by David Young and edited by Todd Lappin

For as long as many can remember, Fiesta on the Hill has been a Bernal Heights tradition. Organized each year by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center (BHNC), Fiesta on the Hill is a time when Cortland Avenue shuts down to traffic to play host to a sprawling street party that fills Bernal’s main street with a colorful cross-section of neighbors, families, bands, merchants, food stalls, community organizations, and kiddie rides. Fiesta usually happens in October. But this year, it’s been canceled.

“Fiesta on the HIll was our annual fundraiser, but for the past several years the organization has actually paid out more to put it on instead of it being a fundraiser,” says Gina Dacus, BNHC’s new executive director, “Where we are as an organization is, we have to really be cognizant of our finances.”

The cancellation of Fiesta isn’t the only sign that BHNC is rethinking its priorities. Last year, BHNC executive director Rachel Ebora left the organization abruptly. This year, BHNC shuttered Gifts on the Hill, the thrift shop it operated from a BHNC-owned storefront next door to the organization’s headquarters on Cortland. Most worrisome of all, when the devastating Cole Hardware fire ripped through four buildings at the foot of Bernal Hill on June 18, BHNC was conspicuously absent from efforts to organize assistance for the fire victims — even though the fire took place across the street from Coleridge Park Homes, the BHNC-operated affordable-housing facility on Mission Street above the Big Lots store. The fire left 56 Bernal residents homeless and facing an uncertain future, until activist Edwin Lindo, the Mission-based Mission Economic Development Agency, and an ad hoc group of Bernal neighbors stepped into fill the void by organizing fundraising drives that raised $140,000 for the fire victims. (Lindo is a BHNC board member, but his fundraising effort was undertaken independently.)

Together, such incidents and absences fuel the perception that the BHNC has become a diminished organization. “Basically, what happened is that BHNC got stale,” says Buck Bagot, a longtime Bernal activist and original co-founder of BHNC during the late 1970s.

Though few are willing to comment publicly, some observers point to systemic mismanagement as root cause of BHNC’s woes, while others claim the Center failed to keep up with the times. Cortland merchants say BHNC has become disorganized and aloof. Left-leaning activists point to the gentrification of Bernal Heights as proof that BHNC’s has failed to fulfill its core mission to “preserve and enhance the ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity of Bernal Heights.” Newer Bernal residents say BHNC’s political agenda is part of the problem, as BHNC uses its resources and connections to oppose the construction of new housing in Bernal Heights.

Undeniably, however, BHNC’s most urgent concern right now is to get its finances in order. Since the Great Recession, BHNC has struggled as revenues plunged 43% between 2008 and 2014:


As funding sources shriveled, BHNC was slow to reduce expenses, and the result was a  series of painful years during which the organization operated deep in the red.  In 2009 alone, BHNC recorded a massive net loss of $383,000 due, in large part, to a sharp decrease in contributions and grants. The steep losses continued until 2014, the most recent year for which filings are available, when BHNC managed to eke out positive net revenue of $555:


In September 2015, the San Francisco City Controller placed BHNC on a list of nonprofit contractors receiving City funds that do not meet the City’s financial monitoring standards. With 16 such findings, BHNC ranked third on the list of noncompliant organizations, which Controller’s office says “can signal potential instability in the organizational and financial health of a nonprofit – and ultimately an organization’s ability to provide effective and sustainable services to residents in need.”

Originally called the Bernal Heights Community Foundation, BHNC was founded in 1978, at a time when some Bernal residents sought to combat City Hall neglect, market-rate housing construction, and an influx of new residents moving to Bernal to take advantage of cheap rents and inexpensive homes. In the 1980s, the BHNC began working with at-risk teens and collaborating with St. Kevin’s Church to provide services to local seniors. In the 1990s, the BHNC spread beyond Bernal by launching community-service programs in Bayview/Hunters Point, the Mission, and Visitacion Valley.

Today, BHNC operates 15 publicly subsidized-affordable housing developments throughout the City, including the Bernal Gateway apartments on Mission at Cesar Chavez, the Market Heights apartments adjacent to the Alemany Flea Market, and the Coleridge Park Homes above the Big Lots on Mission. All told, BHNC manages 369 units that provide homes to 600 low-income seniors, adults, and youth.

Along the way, the BHNC has also been a key player in Bernal’s own brand of left-wing politics, and political action has always been an integral part of the neighborhood center’s agenda. The Bernal Heights Democratic Club, which still meets regularly in BHNC’s community room, was first established in the early 1980s by BHNC co-founder Buck Bagot. Over the years, many BHNC board members and staff have left the organization to work directly in politics.  In 2011 Joseph Smooke, who was BHNC’s executive director at the time, quit to pursue opportunities in the offices of supervisors Eric Mar and David Campos. Edwin Lindo, the former Frisco Five hunger striker and D9 Supervisoral candidate (and Cole Hardwire fire fundraiser), remains a member of the BHNC board of directors. Recent BHNC board member Sheila Chung Hagen now works as a legislative aide Supervisor David Campos’s office, and the ties between Supervisor Campos’s office and BHNC remain close.

In previous decades, this mix of community engagement and political connections helped BHNC win lucrative grants and public funds. A decade ago, BHNC established youth scholarship programs and completed two then-new affordable housing projects: the Crocker Amazon Senior Apartments and the Excelsior Teen Center. In 2006, BHNC reported that its membership had topped 1,000 — a 13 percent increase over the previous year — as the organization’s total revenues hovered at $200,000. At the time, BHNC published also published its own print newspaper, The New Bernal Journal.

Then came the Great Recession of 2008. The intense downturn transformed the economic landscape for nonprofit community organizations throughout San Francisco, and BHNC was caught flat-footed. 2008 was also the year Rachel Ebora began working with BHNC. Ebora started with BHNC as a community development coordinator, before becoming director of community engagement. In 2011, when Joseph Smooke gave up his post as BHNC’s executive director to pursue opportunities in City Hall, BHNC’s board chose Ebora as his replacement.

Critics say Ebora was chosen largely because of her political credentials, but BHNC’s finances didn’t recover after she became executive director — even as the overall economy began to improve and San Francisco entered a period of rapid growth. According to IRS filings, in Ebora’s first year, total grants and contributions fell by 20 percent.

Year after year of red ink explains many of BHNC’s recent cost-cutting moves. In 2014, the New Bernal Journal, which the BHNC had published since 1987, ceased publication. By 2011, the Center’s subsidized-affordable housing development projects had stopped altogether, beginning the longest period of inactivity since BHNC was founded. IRS filings reveal that BHNC also slashed salaries and compensation, which fell from a high of $1.8 million in 2009 to $1.2 million in 2014.

As the losses continued, Ebora left with little explanation in July 2015. Gina Dacus, BHNC’s director of operations at the time, was chosen by the board to serve as interim executive director. Throughout the second half of 2015, rumors swirled that BHNC was having a hard time finding candidates with both the managerial skills required to turn the organization around and the political alignment needed to win over BHNC’s board. (Dacus’s interim executive director position became permanent in July 2016.)

Staff turnover hasn’t been confined to the executive director position. In 2014, after a brief tenure as the director of membership and development, Adam Kinsey quit, leaving BHNC with no full-time staff dedicated to fundraising. According to executive director Dacus, BHNC’s board has hired a part-time grant writer to pursue more private funding. In addition, several board members are writing grants and assisting in renewed fundraising efforts. This year, Julia Bennett also left BHNC’s board of directors. Bennett had been seen as a reformer who wanted to bring more professionalism and financial discipline to BHNC’s operations, yet after her departure she was replaced on the board by Barbara Bagot-Lopez, a veteran activist, retired UCSF administrator, and sister of BHNC co-founder Buck Bagot.

Dacus acknowledges that BHNC is trying to rebuild. “We’ve reached huge milestones in terms of our recovery process. We feel more comfortable about the sustainability of the organization.”

Still, other remain keenly aware of the challenges ahead. “I feel like, around the time that Rachel came in, the organization began to recede,” says Buck Bagot, who served as the BHNC’s executive director from 1978 to 1982, and has remained an active member and community organizer ever since. “The board became a little distant. And Rachel, in these tough times, didn’t address the tough times as well as I wish she would have. You have to keep revitalizing.”

Buck Bagot considers BHNC’s financial problems to be more of a symptom than a cause of BHNC’s difficulties. The bigger issue, he says, is that BHNC hasn’t listened to the changing needs of the community. “You can never coast, you can never stand pat,” he says. “It’s very hard to get funding these days. I’m not saying the Neighborhood Center doesn’t deserve its funding, but if you aren’t a vibrant, active organization, continually trying to tap into your community and find out what they need and do what they need with them…” Bagot trailed off, shaking his head.

Dacus, meanwhile, insists BHNC still serves Bernal Heights and its surrounding neighborhoods. “Our community looks a lot different, but we’re still meeting challenges,” she says. “Neighbors who can no longer afford to live here still find ways to come to our senior program. We still feed 350 families in the Excelsior every week. We have over 400 families living in our properties that we currently have in our portfolio.”

She also cites a string of other BHNC projects that are underway, such as a youth leadership program that provides additional career services, and expanded senior services that include a health and wellness program.

Yet in the midst of an ongoing housing shortage, and after several years of financial struggle, some Bernal residents wonder whether this is enough. For them, what is at stake is not just a organization with deep ties to Bernal Heights, but the vibrancy of the neighborhood itself. They want a Center that will not only support the basic requirements of the community, but will be a vital force in the community, as it was during its early years.

To do that, BHNC will first have to address some important questions regarding its structure, management, and funding. Dacus acknowledges this. “We’re looking to expand our community development,” she says. “That’s an initiative that we have for 2016, because this is really teaching us the importance of pulling neighbors into all the changes that are happening in the community.”

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Bernal Neighbor Remembers Son, Organizes for Gun Violence Awareness Day

Neighbor Clare and Camilo in Lake Tahoe, 2013

Neighbor Clare and Camilo in Lake Tahoe, 2013

Bernal Neighbor Claire Senchyna lost her son to gun violence in 2014 . Today she brings details about Gun Violence Awareness Day, which happens on Thursday, June 2:

My son Camilo attended Little People’s Workshop Daycare Co-op on Cortland Ave when he was 2 years old. We fell in love with the neighborhood and found a place to rent on Moultrie St.

When Camilo was 9, we bought a house on Putnam St. We loved living in San Francisco and especially our little village in the city, Bernal Heights. When Camilo started a family, he was going to take over his childhood home on Putnam St to raise his kids here in the neighborhood. I worked as a Nurse Practitioner for the SF Department of Public Health, and Camilo’s goal was to also work for the city, in the Fire Department. He took Fire Science classes at City College and worked as an EMT. In December 2014 he completed a Paramedic program and was well on his way. He went out to celebrate on December 7, 2014 and was killed in a random shooting on leaving a club in the Mission to come home.

I am now the volunteer California Everytown Survivor Network coordinator, which is part of Everytown for Gun Safety along with Moms Demand Action, which started as a Facebook group after the Sandy Hook shootings of 1st graders in Newtown, CT. Our members are now millions across the nation. Guns are too easily accessible, each year 30,000 people lose their lives to gun violence. We want gun laws to change. Closing loopholes on background checks is an important first step

Thursday June 2nd is Gun Violence Awareness Day, when everyone is asked to wear orange. This is an event started by high school students in Chicago to honor their a friend who was killed in a random shooting. Orange is the color hunters wear to protect themselves from being shot by other hunters.

In San Francisco on June 2nd, City Hall and Coit Tower will be light Orange. Our SF Giants baseball Team will participate. And we hope to get hundreds if not thousands to join us in a Wear Orange walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, which starts from the SF side at 11:30 am. Please join us. I will be wearing Orange and walking for my beloved son Camilo.

If you are unable to join us please Wear Orange, take a selfie and email to or twitter to #wearorange. We need to address the issue of Gun Violence . If not us, then who?

Thank You.


GG-Bridge March-June2-EMAIL-2

Residents Demand Accountability at Bernal Heights Public Safety Meeting


Less than 24 hours after a neighbor was brutally robbed at knifepoint on the Esmeralda stairway, a crowd of Bernal residents packed the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center to listen as a panel of civic leaders discussed how to address crime and lawlessness in Bernal Heights.

Neighbor Ryan from the Northeast Bernal Neighbors Alliance attended the meeting and took great notes, which he has generously shared with us here. There’s lots of useful information here —  as well as some truly depressing statistics about auto break-ins — so read on for the full details:

Community Crime and Public Safety Meeting
January 28, 2016, 6 pm
@ Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center

# City government Attendees:
* Supervisor Campos + Hillary Ronen
* Capt. Joseph McFadden, SFPD Ingleside
* Sarah Burton / Executive Director SF Safe
* Ernest Mendieta; SF Adult Probation Department
* Archie Wong, Bernal’s prosecutor from the DA’s office
* Reps from DPW, PUC

# Supervisor Campos (District 9 Supervisor)

* Supervisor Campos: had a prior commitment, could only stay at the meeting until 7:15
* “We’ve heard a lot of complaints about car break-ins. To be honest I am as frustrated as you are when I look at what’s going on.”
* Quoted the car note from the lovely neighbor who posted a sign in her car: “My car has been broken into 7 times… there’s nothing inside anymore, and I’m too old for this shit.”
* “What we’ve seen in car thefts in SF has reached, in my view, ridiculous levels. … It is a city-wide problem.”
* Supervisor Campos discussed discussions in government audits; other districts have had a task force-based approach to crime, but not in D9. Why not “is a question I have.”
* “I will be making sure the city takes not just a neighborhood approach, but a city-wide approach, that goes beyond what I believe could be called a ‘timid response’.”
* Proposing a new resolution Tuesday with asks for Chief Suhr: “I think the response from the city has focused too much on the citizens becoming the problem-solvers.” He continues, we all have a responsibility to minimize the risk of becoming a victim, city focuses more on what residents can do, not enough about what the city can do.
* He will ask Chief Suhr to develop an app to report thefts and crime. A big problem SF faces: “People stop reporting crime.” Reporting is critical. [Totally agree!]
* “I want to get to the bottom of how the police department and law enforcement is being used around us… there’s a lot of finger-pointing. What is happening? What kind of enforcement is the police department actually doing?” He continues, PD points finger at DA, and so on.
* “To the police department: I hope it happens not only in Ingleside, but throughout the city. I think we need better technology, and I think we need to improve our tactics,” such as bait cars (which McF has discussed before).
* “We need more information from all the law enforcement agencies. We are working in a vacuum. I know car thefts are up because I hear from my constituents, but what are the numbers of arrests?” He continues that the public has a right to that information. [Actually, lots of that information is already online here.]
* In reference to the annual budgeting process, which will begin happening shortly: “If there is any resource needed by law enforcement, as the supervisor of this district, I am committed to getting that resource. … If that means we need more officers or better technology in Ingleside, I will do that.”

# Capt. McFadden (SFPD Ingleside)
The captain’s section got cut into a bit (partly thanks to questions from yours truly) so the conversation jumped around a bit.

* To the Supervisor: “We already have an app.” It’s going out now and in the coming weeks, and it can alert officers of crimes to their city-issues smartphones in real-time. [I checked, and I don’t believe it’s out yet — no mention on the SFPD site, and nothing in the App Store (iOS)]
* “I’m not asking constituents in the community be cops, but I want you to be good reporters. … We need witnesses.”
* The discussion thus far had been almost entirely about car theft, and I asked to stop that thread momentarily, and for the Supervisor to speak to violent crime. Supervisor Campos: “In terms of crime, the priority is always violent crime. … The key is increasing our police presence. … There is something to be said about a police officer being seen in a neighborhood. … My ask would be we get more foot beats in that area. There is nothing like consistent police presence to demonstrate this isn’t acceptable.”
* Community member asks: “You’ve been Supervisor for a lot of years, it seems like the relationship with the police” is not great. tl;dr what is Supervisor Campos doing to foster this?
* Supervisor Campos: “Under the charter of SF… I don’t have the authority to tell the Captain to do x, y, and z. I have the ability to be a facilitator between the public and the agency. … I don’t know any Supervisor that works more day to day with the police department than I do.”
* “Any time there has been an uptick (in violent crime), I ask the Captain: is that enough?” [I may have transcribed this incorrectly — I think he was saying he checks in with the police captains in his district.]
* Another resident asks about cameras. “Public streets are public streets. … We need cameras on the streets.” Met with lots of vocal support and clapping.
* Nato Green asks the panel what their plans are, and “I’m sure you’re all failing completely.” Zing!
* Okay, back to the Captain: arrests are “way up” in car break-ins (aka “852s”)
* Capt. McFadden is a huge proponent of cameras, but “We also make cases on the simplest little facts.” (i.e. tiny details in clothing, bodily features, vehicles, etc.)
* The Captain also discusses some incidents of recent violent crime, followed by the same presentation as last week (showing a burglary in process) — refer to last week’s post on Bernalwood, the talking points were largely the same.
* Supervisor Campos asks Captain about the SFPD app: when will it be live? “I believe it’s already out there, I’ll have to check with the Chief.” [Again, I don’t think it’s out there yet.]
* Supervisor Campos: At the last meeting “I heard Prop 47 is the reason for all these crimes.” (Cue Archie Wong.)

# Archie Wong, prosecutor for the DA’s office
 Archie has worked over a decade here and Riverside — career prosecutor!

* Works on cases primarily in Bernal and Tenderloin — Tenderoin is the worst area of the city for all crime, per CompStat data shown. So his time is likely not spread proportionately. (More on that shortly.)
* DA has a camera registry: If you have a camera, if your neighbors have a camera please ask them, register your camera. Here’s the link!
* “Video video video, give me as much video as you can. These cases are really tough for us to prosecute.”
* In 2014 there were over 22,000 reported auto break-ins in SF. [THAT NUMBER IS REAL.] “We have 437 brought to DA for prosecution.” Out of those, Archie’s office took action on 63% of those cases. “We’re looking to prosecute these cases.” But it’s still less than 2% of cases.
* 2015: 26,000 reported auto break-ins, and 487 cases brought in to be charged. DA charged 80% of those cases 390. But still less than 2% of total cases.
* For those not keeping track at home, if you wanted to steal from vehicles in SF, you have a 99%+ chance of doing so without any repercussions (especially including all the unreported auto theft crime).
* Archie discusses common inability to get a conviction; public defenders only need to use Twinkie defenses: “That’s a very viable defense, especially here in SF. … This is a darn tough place to be a prosecutor and a police officer. The bench is very liberal. And I say that because the jurors are also very liberal.”
* “We need video, we need witnesses.”
* When taking a case to trial, “The first thing we do: ask civilian witnesses.” But many people don’t want to step forward for fear of retaliation. Archie urges people to do so anyway.
* “I can honestly tell you that in 17 years, over thousands of cases, I have never seen a civilian witness ever get threatened.” He includes himself in that too, he’s never been threatened.
* Addressing prop 47: “It didn’t cause this uptick in auto burglaries.” They’re actually able to be charged as either felony or misdemeanor before 47, and didn’t change. “They just look for easy marks. … There’s no $950 limit [referring to the felony theft threshold, see more detail ].”

# Ailed Quijano Paningbatan-Swan, BHNC Director of Community Engagement

* Proposed monthly meetings! (Sounded like the fourth Thursday of each month — didn’t hear the date)
* Nicki Hatfield: runs youth summits! Next one is in April, this one with the goal of creating a dialogue between SFPD officers and local youth, as well as empower them and give them tools, such as rights awareness.

# Q&A Period
* Neighbor: She has lived here for 55 years, talking about driving safety. “You want to know where the police are? The police are all in Martha’s. Go to Martha’s.” Zing again!
* Neighbor (who was assaulted just last night, and wore bandages and wounds to prove it… UGH. Really feel for her.): “I had a knife to my neck last night on the Esmerelda steps. … There’s been volleying to the conversation.” She asked for folks from the city to come together. “I’m an attorney and I’ve passed the bar in two states. I understand your position … This conversation needs to revolve less around trying to find evidence or witnesses after the fact, but to deter it. … Something like cameras puts criminals on notice that we’re watching them. This conversation should be more about things like that.”
* Capt. McFadden on a comment about not hearing back from police: “If you don’t hear back from one of my officers, call me. I guarantee you will get a call back.”
* Neighbor: “Will you support concealed-carry weapons?” McF: “I don’t support more guns.” He continued that he wants to do everything he can to reduce guns in the community, and he doesn’t have, like, or keep a gun except when he’s in SFPD uniform.
* Neighbor: Expressed more support for cameras. [This is definitely a trend I am noticing amongst the community!]
* Neighbor: Explanation of the district court electoral process, and requests for district judges here next month to speak to the community group. [No one seemed confident that could happen, but thanks for the strong suggestion, Buck!]
* Neighbor: Request for redistricting of Bernal’s local police station be in the Mission due to proximity. Some discussion of that idea, which seems far-fetched (other corners of Bernal will be without good coverage), followed by Capt. McFadden: “One of the positives… you’re on the border of three stations. We’re talking about getting on the same radio channel.” This was recently discussed — 911 dispatch calls can go out to multiple stations, but right now Mission and Ingleside use different radio channels to reduce chatter, but possibly for not much longer!
* Question from me to Archie: “Are you shared with the Tenderloin?” Yes. “So Bernal shares its DA prosecutor with one of the top three most blighted urban areas in the entire nation? (and, obviously, the most crime-ridden area in our city)?“ (Yes.) “How can we get you (Archie) focused solely Bernal?” Archie: things are changing, but it’s up to the supervisors. For example: “DA units in New York units have 20 prosecutors, we have 5 per unit.” The DA is asking Supervisors for more budget to hire more prosecutors.
* Neighbor: How can we get CalTrans involved in the CalTrans-run areas (like the Bayview footbridge)? In trying to fix little things, like the lighting in that footbridge, our neighbor got tons of handoffs, and eventually called every day for 60 days straight to get results. Hillary: “CalTrains is notoriously hard to get ahold of.” Followed by some discussion on how to better reach them.
* Neighbor: How can we get CalTrans involved in the homeless encampments in NE Bernal? Hillary: Hotspot walks, helping get them into Navigation Centers, “What we think we need to do with that area is try to open a new much bigger Navigation Center down the road on Cesar Chavez (in district 10). We want to activate that area [use it for city storage, etc.] so people can’t move back in.”
* Neighbor: re. Holladay, would love to put a park on Caltrans right of way and turn it into a park. It’s already terraced.
* Neighbor: one of the local leaders who led the improvement Holly Court, missed name? Bobby?) Discussed community policing strategies, community involvement, and suggesting really working hard to cooperate and get to know local PD.
* Neighbor: He’s been coming to community safety meetings “for many years” and never seen Supervisor Campos or anyone from his office, including Hillary. He appreciated their attention, but strongly implied that the citizens of D9 + Bernal were not interested in election year stunts.
* Ernie (SF Adult Probation Department): Strongly in favor of community dialogue. “Some of these ideas, these are nothing new. You’re reinventing the wheel.” [This reads defeatist in text, but I didn’t take his comments that way; my interpretation of Ernie’s tone was more like: a lot of people around SF have these problems, and there are only so many solutions, so keep organizing and communicating.] Probation team has been discussing stay-away orders, using GPS on people on probation, as well as sanctions (and rewards!) for behavior.

At this point the meeting was well over 2 hours in, and I was getting a bit loopy and ran out of steam; I may have missed a couple of questions / comments but this should have covered the vast majority.

Thanks for reading, and please keep on top of our government folks.

Hope to see you all at the next meeting, and NE Bernal folk please do sign up for the Northeast Bernal Neighbors Alliance!

Very special thanks to Neighbor Ryan for sharing his thorough notes.

PHOTO: Bernal neighbors at the Community Crime and Safety Meeting, Jan. 28, 2016. Photo by Neighbor Sarah

Thursday Eve: Community Crime and Public Safety Meeting at BHNC


As you might have heard, we’ve been addressing property crime and robberies in Bernal Heights lately, as burglaries, auto thefts, and thefts-from-autos have been taking a wearisome toll on Bernal neighbors. And sometimes, things get violent.

Following up on last week’s meeting with the Northeast Bernal Neighbor’s Alliance, and as part of an ongoing series of efforts to address crime and public safety concerns in Bernal Heights, Supervisor David Campos and the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center are hosting a community meeting on Thursday, January 28 at 6 pm.

Neighbor Ryan from the Northeast Bernal Neighbor’s Alliance says:

Supervisor Campos and Hillary Ronen are holding a separate meeting this week to address broader Bernal safety. If you didn’t make it to last week’s meeting, would like to continue the discussion with the other city agencies noted there, or don’t live in NE Bernal, I think it’s worth showing up!

Here’s their description of the event:

Supervisor David Campos is hosting a meeting to discuss the rampant car break-ins in Bernal Heights. Captain McFadden will present on how the community can work together to guard against and effectively report these crimes. Representatives from the Department of Public Works and the Public Utilities Commission will be there to discuss areas where additional street light is needed in the neighborhood. A representative from the District Attorney’s Office will be there to explain the office’s work to address this problem. Supervisor Campos would like to hear resident ideas to address the problem and will propose a plan to start addressing the issue.

What: Crime & Safety Meeting
When: Thursday, January 28th at 6:00pm
Where: Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave

Feel free to contact Hillary Ronen, from Supervisor Campos’ Office, with any questions or comments prior to the meeting.; 415-554-7739.

01-28 Community PS Mtg Flyer

PHOTO: Capt. Joseph McFadden at BHNC, Oct. 20, 2015 by Telstar Logistics