BYO-Bagism Up in Bernal Heights, Plus: Get a Free Canvas Tote This Weekend

It’s been three weeks since the city instituted its 10-cent minimum charge for compostable, recycled paper, or reusable sacks at the checkout counter, and so far the policy seems to be an easy pill for Bernal Heights to swallow. (No big surprise there, since green is, after all, glamorous.)

A micro-interview with cashier Alex at the Good Life on Cortland indicates that the ordinance is having its intended effect:

Bernalwood: Have you noticed any difference in the bag situation recently?

Cashier Alex: We’re definitely seeing a lot more people bringing their own bags.

Bernalwood: What happens when they don’t?

Cashier Alex: Then we have to count up all the bags at the end and charge for them.

Bernalwood: Sounds like kind of a pain. Is it? 

Cashier Alex: A little bit.

If you need to add to your collection of reusable bags, make sure to find SF Environment’s booth at Fiesta on the Hill on Cortland Street this Sunday starting at 11 a.m. The fine folks there will be handing out nice ones as part of their consumer education campaign.

PHOTO: Bronwyn Ximm

Kickstarting Bernal Heights: Hillside Supper Club, Barbasket, and Zip Cup

Here in Bernal Heights, Kickstarter fundraising efforts have become kind of like Louis Vuitton handbags on Cortland Street: Everybody has one. Let’s sit in on pitch meetings from three Bernal entrepreneurs:

Hillside Supper Club
Bernalwood has been following the adventures of the Hillside Supper Club since the days when it was called the Bernal Supper Club. In addition to making exceptionally yummy food, HSC wants to transform the sad Cafe Cozzolino space into a permanent culinary hotspot.

By this fall, we plan to be open six nights a week for dinner, self-service lunch (to include picnics in Precita Park), and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, we will hold special dinners/classes with local farmers, artisans, wine makers, and butchers. We will stay involved with Slow Food and other local food communities to share food and nutritional education with others, especially the next generation of children. Once a month we plan to bring back an original 50’s “supper club” where we encourage guests to dress the part, with live bands and singers performing. We want to host “HSC movie in the park” events in Precita Park that will feature classic films along with hot beverages and popcorn.

Hillside Supper Club is looking for $25,000 to get the job done, and you can contribute until September 7.

Neighbor Chris from Alabama Street cooked up a clever idea to build a way-new bicycle handlebar that includes an integrated frame for a handy-dandy fabric cargo basket:

The Barbasket is a one-piece handlebar and basket rim that supports a fabric basket. The fabric basket holds your stuff snugly, and has a clever bungeed flap on the top that keeps your goods secure. But the best part is that it does all that without looking like a janky add-on. It’s a basket that becomes part of your bike.

Love this. Chris hopes to raise $20,000, and you can contribute until August 13. Hurry!

Zip Cup
Neigbor Karla lives over on Coleridge, and she wants to create the ultimate to-go coffee cup:

A few years ago, I got sick of schlepping my reusable coffee cup to Martha’s and Nervous Dog. So I went out and created Zip Cup–I took the collapsing coffee cup you had as a kid, made it safe by adding locking mechanisms used on space shuttles and submarines, made it stylish/attractive, cut out the BPA and voila — an easy-to-carry, safe, awesome, Made in Bernalwood collapsing coffee cup that fits in your pocket, (diaper) bag, and much more.

Clever! Karla is using an alternative service called Indiegogo for her fund drive, and she hopes to raise $70,000 by Sept. 11.

This Young Bernal Entrepreneur Wants to Jog with Your Dog

Bernalwood supports our many merchants and businesses in Bernal Heights, and in that spirit we bring you this announcement from one of our more energetic local service providers:

My name is Enoch Pacheco. I’m a 14 year old resident of Bernal Heights who is providing a Dog Jogging Service for the Neigborhood. I heard about the blog you have by word of mouth and think it would be great if you could post an advertisement on your blog for the service that I provide.

The jogging session is done in your neighborhood when possible. My preference is to use nearby parks. My main goal is to provide your dog with the necessary exercise to keep their bones and joints in good health. Being cooped up in the house all day can lead to boredom, mischief and a severe lack of exercise. I look forward to hearing from you. Whether your dog needs a running or a fast paced walking service, he/she is sure to benefit from a daily fitness routine!

If this a service that may be of use to you, please dial the number on your screen:

Oh, and as for his other qualifications… Bernalwood’s research revealed that in 2011, Enoch broke a San Francisco AAA Middle school Track Record in the 400 Meter Dash, with a time of 58.90.

Hopefully, your dog can keep up with him.

PHOTOS: Enoch Pacheco, by his friend Shawn

Ancient Decal Reveals Primitive Origins of La Lengua Identity

To properly manage the delicate relationship between the Dominion of Bernalwood and our rebellious vassals from La Lengua, it is important for us to understand the longstanding roots of the La Lenguans’ search for autonomy.

Neighbor Ben recently discovered an important artifact that should assist in this quest for historical context. Hiding in plain sight on a vacant Mission Street storefront just north of 30th Street, he found a vintage decal which pledges fealty to the “South of Army – Mission Merchants Association.”

Who were these proto-La Lenguans? What can we infer about the people who roamed the flatlands in the days before Army Street became Cesar Chavez Boulevard? The decal’s intimation that “He Knows You – You Know Him” suggests they were a paternalistic tribe that was closely bound by kinship ties and sharply-defined notions of geographic solidarity.

Minus the paternalistic bias, the same might be said of the La Lenguans of 2012. The contemporary articulation of La Lengua identity is a relatively recent phenomenon, but this decal demonstrates that the area’s sense of geographic “otherness” has been present for a very long time. Good to know.

PHOTO: Neighbor Ben

Last Vestiges of Infamous Nasser Market Disappear

Neighbor Lessley brings us this update on the evolution of the former Nasser Market space on the corner of Crescent and Anderson:

Nasser Market, the infamous Crescent Ave. liquor store that inspired a 2008 murder and served as a drug dealing front, is now gone for good. Vacant for the past several years, the owners finally decided to turn it into an apartment building. As you can see from the picture, the sign came down last Saturday, erasing what had been a shameful blot on South Bernal’s reputation.

For those not familiar with the sordid tale, here are the lowlights: Four years ago owner Tong Van Le was held up at gun point at the seedy market, then tracked down and shot on the doorstep of his house in Novato by six accomplices who didn’t want him to testify in court about the hold up. Next, the market was taken over by drug dealers, who used Nasser as a front for their marijuana operation.

There had been hopes among some neighbors that Nasser might be turned into a small produce market for overflow from the Alemany Farmer’s Market, but these rumored inquiries apparently went nowhere. Instead, a ground level apartment has been carved out if the former storefront, with a familiar Lowes-style vinyl window in front. It’s not particularly pretty, but for the moment it’s a big improvement.

PHOTO: Neighbor Lessley

Newfangled Electric Bicycle Shop Opens on Cortland

Last weekend, The New Wheel opened at last at 420 Cortland. As previously reported, The New Wheel is a newfangled kind of bicycle shop, specializing in electric bikes that effectively “flatten” San Francisco hills — including our own Bernal Hill. The awesome posters inside the store illustrate this idea:

From the New Wheel website:

What should an electric bike be like? It should be easy to operate and maintain, like a bicycle. It should elegantly and seamlessly combine pedal power with a silent, powerful electric motor. It should be practical, designed to match the utility of an automobile. And it should be built of high quality components that will last. The New Wheel sells electric bikes that exceed the highest expectations.

The design of the shop is lovely, inside and out. I dropped by during The New Wheel’s opening party on Friday night, and introduced myself to store owner Brett Thurber:

Mr. Thurber was predictably giddy, and excited to be here at last. He also tells us there will be opportunities coming up soon to witness the hill-climbing power of the products he sells. In the meantime, do stop in, say hello, and check out the wares.

PHOTOS: Posters, by The Real WBTC. All others, Telstar Logistics

Bernal Bucks Featured on Front Page of Today’s LA Times

Our very own “weird little borderline utopia” here in Bernal Heights makes an appearance on the front page of today’s Los Angeles Times, in an article about the unique (and fabulous) Bernal Bucks local currency program.

The LAT article begins thus:

Coiled around a wind-swept hill near this city’s lively Mission District, Bernal Heights takes an almost cult-like pride in being insular.

With a butcher, grocer, bookstore and bakery, the neighborhood provides the basics. When you add to that some unique establishments — like an organic baby food outlet and a knife-sharpening venture offering classes in Japanese whetstone techniques — many residents say they rarely feel the urge to leave.

“It’s this weird little borderline utopia,” said Ken Shelf, 42, who runs a combination movie-rental and succulent store here. His home, business, favorite shops and kids’ school are all within a five-block radius.

Now, Bernal Heights is taking its experiment in localism one step further, adopting what is believed to be the country’s first “complementary currency” in the form of a debit card.

Designed by two neighborhood loyalists versed in technology and banking, the Bernal Bucks card allows residents to pay for their purchases while earning credits every time they swipe it at any of the two dozen area businesses that have signed on since June.

Accrued as frequent-flier miles are, the bucks can be printed as coupons and used toward future purchases. Cardholders also can donate their accrued “wealth” to neighborhood nonprofits.

Here’s a close-up of that front-page image. So glam!

Read the whole article here. Bonus LA Times photo gallery from their visit to the ‘wood, here.

Want to get your very own Bernal Bucks card?  What are you waiting for???