Aerial Love Story: Watch as Bernal Neighbor Proposes to Sweetie on Bernal Hill


Yesterday, Neighbor Tim proposed to Renee atop Bernal Hill. She said Yes!

HURRAH! Congratulations!!!

This being 2016, the proposal was documented from above by Bernalwood pal and ace aerial videographer Eddie Codel. Eddie says:

Long time Bernal resident Tim Lang proposed to his girlfriend Renee Carano yesterday atop Bernal Hill, on what was probably the warmest day of the year. The special moment was captured by drone, of course!

The video is lovely, sweet and deep, in a way that only an aerial camera could convey. Kleenex Alert: You may experience feelings. Watch:

Aggressive Coyote on Bernal Hill Charges Neighbor Walking Dog


Bernalwood has received several reports of coyote sightings in northeast Bernal Heights during the last few days, and most of them have been charming. But today, Neighbor Jeff writes about a more aggressive encounter along Bernal Heights Boulevard that took place early this morning:

Wanted to report that the coyote living on Bernal Hill attempted an attack this morning at 5:30.

I was walking my dog along Bernal Heights Boulevard when I spotted the coyote standing on the hilltop watching us. As we continued toward Folsom St., the coyote followed us along the ridge, then sprinted down the hill and charged us.

I stopped and turned to face it as it held its ground about 15 feet away.

I then started to yell at it very loudly to try and scare it off. My third yell had some success as it scampered across the road and jumped the road barrier. But then it jumped over the barrier and charged us again. This time coming up about 10 feet away from us and getting ready to pounce.

At that point, a car came down the road and conveniently scared it away.

We were very lucky.

My dog is a 130 lb Mastiff, so this would not have been easy pickings for the coyote. It was incredibly bold and aggressive.

IMAGE: Coyote on grassy slope on Alabama just below Bernal Heights Boulevard, March 8, 2016. Photo by Judy Ko.

Summary of the Testimony Thus Far in Neighbor Alex Nieto’s Wrongful Death Trial


Last week, the civil trial pursued by the family of Bernal neighbor Alex Nieto against the San Francisco Police Department got underway to determine if police wrongfully killed Alex Nieto during a March 21, 2014 officers-involved shooting on  the north side of Bernal Hill.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kale Williams described the key elements of Wednesday’s testimony when SFPD officer Richard Schiff was on the stand:

Upon pulling within 25 to 35 yards of Nieto, Schiff testified, he got out of his car and immediately demanded to see Nieto’s hands, at which point Nieto began walking “purposefully” toward the officers and responded, “No, you show me your hands.”

“As we got out of car, he took what we call a boxing stance,” Schiff said, getting up to show the jury how Nieto allegedly raised his arms to his chest. Schiff said he saw the pointed weapon and the red laser beam before he began shooting, and stopped when [SFPD training sergeant Jason] Sawyer instructed him to cease fire.

Schiff said he continued to fire even after Nieto went down because Nieto ended up in a “prone position,” still facing the officers and appearing to point the Taser.

On Thursday, lawyers for the Nieto Family presented their new witness, Antionio Theodore, who described seeing something very different that night. Joe Rivano Barros from MissionLocal summarized Theodore’s testimony:

Theodore — a Trinidadian singer with the group Afrolicious — said that Nieto had his hands in his pockets the entire time and did not make any movements towards his waist. He also said the only command he heard from officers was one “Stop,” before they started firing and said he heard nothing from Nieto, a contradiction of police testimony offered on Wednesday.

“[One officer] fired a first shot at the man in the red jacket,” testified Theodore, who was the last witness called to the stand and was examined by the plaintiffs until the trial ended for the day. “He then fired another shot, fired a third shot, the person then fell on their knees, [and] within a second he got a fourth shot and he fell on his face.”

Theodore then testified that a 45-second pause followed the fourth shot, when Nieto had already fallen to the ground. At that time, another officer in a parking lot down the hill “was loading up a semiautomatic rifle and he got on the scene [of the shooting] right after the fourth shot, and they all started firing up on the man while he was on the ground.”

Theodore returned to the stand on Friday, as Deputy City Attorney Margaret Baumgartner, representing the defense, questioned his recollection of events.  Kale Williams from the Chronicle described what happened next:

Baumgartner repeatedly questioned Theodore about a deposition she took from him in May 2015, in which some of his answers were purportedly different than the ones he gave in court.

Theodore had not gone to police to give a statement in the immediate aftermath of the killing — he said he was scared of them and didn’t trust them — and city lawyers have suggested he is biased against law enforcement.

Asked Friday whether he had ever spoken with an investigator from the offices of the Nieto family’s attorney, Theodore replied, “No.” But Baumgartner read a transcript from the deposition in which Theodore recounted speaking with the investigator on three occasions, once in person and twice on the phone.

Baumgartner also indicated that, in the deposition, Theodore had recalled telling the crowd at a music venue that he had witnessed the shooting and thought it was unjustified. But Friday, Theodore said he had not made such a public statement.

At one point, Theodore attributed his difficulty recalling specific dates and times — and recalling his deposition answers — to heavy drinking.

“You have a different memory now from the one in the deposition?” Baumgartner asked.

“Slightly,” Theodore responded. “I drink a lot and that kind of helps sometimes, but I do not remember.”

The Nieto trial resumes this week, with testimony expected to continue at least through Friday.

(Review all Bernalwood coverage of Alex Nieto)

New Murals Take Shape Inside Sutrito Tower Complex



In case you hadn’t already noticed, the muralization of the the Sutrito Tower utility building is well underway on Bernal Hill. Omar Masry from the SF Planning Department says:

Precita Eyes Muralists has begun work (see attached photos) on the mural on the walls of the main equipment building (nothing is being added to the fence or tower). Weather permitting, the mural should be completed in a few weeks.

The building permit to remedy prior site deficiencies has been completed, with landscaping (non-invasive type) and a water tank (will generally utilized recycled water) for landscaping. We are also working with American Tower (the site operator) on making sure lighting is not on all night.

If you see anything suspicious or attempts to trespass please contact the Ingleside Police Station at (415) 404-4000.

IMAGES: Courtesy of SF Planning Department

Bernal Hill Is Now Very Green, Very Lush, and Very Gorgeous


January was gray and damp, and according to the weather-watchers, we had more rain in January 2016 than we had for the previous five Januaries combined. Hooray! But there was a break between storms over the weekend, so Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter and I took advantage of the sun to document the glory of Bernal Hill in full Green Mode.

To make our tour a little easier to follow, let’s use this official Ski Bernalwood trail map for navigational reference:

The Cub Reporter and I started on the south side, under a cloudless blue sky, just below Sutrito Tower. The colors were sizzling.


From there we walked toward Rock Quarry. For much of the year, this area looks like a passable facsimile of the surface of Mars. But right now, the chert formations in the quarry have grown a green peachfuzz beard:


And of course, no visit to Rock Quarry is complete without some walking meditation in the labyrinth:


Thus even more mindfully, we headed north along the western rim of the quarry, after stopping to admire another reminder that Bernal Is For Lovers:

Then we started climbing up, to take in that incredible OMFG Martian view of Sutro Tower and Noe Valley:


From there we continued north, to take in the colors and contrasts of the Owl’s Nest face. This is always one of my favorite views, but it’s so much more festive in green, don’t you think?


Then we climbed a little higher, to the fence around Sutrito Tower just above the 14 Limited face. From here, Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter took a moment to survey her hometown. (It must be tough to grow up in San Francisco, because it kind of ruins you for life):

24380284319_885d062605_kFrom there we continued along the summit ridge, until we got our first view of Bernal Hill’s east half. Oh my:

We continued east, walking along the ridge beneath the Vista Pointe chairlift, toward the quiet slope of Haunted House, on the southeast part of the hill. Thick green grasses were billowing in the wind, and hundreds of yellow Oxalis were open to the sun:

Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter confessed that this is actually her favorite spot on Bernal Hill. Then she sat down in a patch of grass with a panoramic view of the 101-280 spaghetti bowl, and began to weave a garland from Oxalis flowers:


That moment was about as good as any moment gets anywhere on our planet — or any other planet, for that matter. I looked back toward the west, to appreciate the scene:


It was time to continue our survey, so we contined east along the north side of the ridge, until we hit the mysterious tree-shrub thingy that some Bernalwood readers  tell us is actually a California Buckeye. Only, with so much green grass beneath it, it doesn’t seem quite so spooky at the moment:


From afar,  however, the tree-shrub thingy still looks sculptural, and the intensity of the green grass makes it look even more otherworldly:


Starting today, we’re in for a few days of unsettled weather. But next time the sun comes out, take a lazy stroll on Bernal Hill  to enjoy it during this period of peak seasonal engreenment. You will feel fortunate.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics