Local Restaurants to Host Tasty Benefit for Chef Tim from Ichi Sushi

timerinfund

As you may recall, all-star Bernal neighbors Tim and Erin Archuleta, the husband and wife team behind the fabulous Ichi Sushi, have been navigating a rough patch lately, owing to Chef Tim’s health crisis. That’s why Ichi re-relocated to its original location at 3369 Mission at the beginning of the year, and the Archuletas have been doing some crowdfunding to help defray the cost of medical expenses.

Now, some of Chef Tim’s friends in the local restaurant biz are joining forces to lend a hand as well, as InsideScoop reports:

To help support the couple during this rough time, local chefs and restaurateurs are banding together for an evening, offering up a walk-around food/drink event and raffle tickets.

“They are the nicest people of all time,” says Corridor partner Ryan Cole. “And they do so much for everyone else. ”

The fundraiser will take place on the (al fresco) rooftop above Cole’s three-star Corridor (100 Van Ness), and will include food and drink from the following places:

  • Blue Plate
  • CatHead’s BBQ
  • Deli Board
  • Flour + Water
  • The Front Porch
  • Lolinda
  • Mission Chinese
  • Namu
  • PizzaHacker
  • Waterbar
  • The Riddler
  • Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio

The restaurants will each have food stations, and the Riddler and Mr. Tipple’s will be serving up drinks. Tickets cost $60 and are available here. Oh, and do note that if you can’t attend, you can still buy a raffle ticket. All proceeds will go to the Archuletas to help pay their hospital bills and help them “prosper in Ichi Sushi’s latest location.”

You’ll notice, of course, that there are many Bernal-based restaurants on the list of participants, as well as some Bernal-owned restaurants around town.

Get tickets for the event right here.  And even if you can’t attend, you can still support Chef Tim and Neighbor Erin the traditional, tasy way, by stopping by Ichi to have some of their amazing food. All the old-skool favorites are still on offer, and there’s a new lunch menu as well.

Feel better soon, Neighbor Chef Tim!

PHOTO: Tim and Erin Archuleta, via their crowdfunding page

SF Chronicle Reports on Bernal Family’s Struggle With Housing Shortage

hawkinssale

A few weeks ago, Bernal neighbor and Bernalwood contributor Heather Hawkins sent a sad email announcing that she was having a garage sale. “As the struggle becomes too real to be worthwhile for us any longer,” she told Bernalwood, “our family is calling it quits from the City and heading for the hills (Truckee, to be exact).”

Bernal Heights is famous as a great place to raise children, in part because our neighborhood is packed with single-family homes and open spaces. Yet the median price of a single-family home in Bernal now hovers at around $1.3 million, and that’s way more than many middle-class families with kids can afford.

In this morning’s paper, reporter Heather Knight at the San Francisco Chronicle introduces Neighbor Heather Hawkins in the context of San Francisco’s ongoing housing shortage, and the toll it takes on young families:

San Francisco has no official definition of “family housing,” but Heather Hawkins knows what it isn’t.

It isn’t the little two-bedroom flat in Bernal Heights that she paid more than $4,000 a month to rent, where her baby slept in the closet of her sister’s room, and where space was so tight she knew the number of steps between every point. Seven steps from her bed to the toilet. Thirteen steps from her bed to the girls’ room.

Hawkins, her husband and girls, like so many other San Francisco families, have packed up to head for the hills — well, the mountains. Her family is renting an apartment in Truckee while they look for a house to buy. They’ll probably get twice as much space for half the price of anything they could find in San Francisco.

“It’s hard when your kid comes home and says, ‘But I love my little blue house!’ It’s this sinking feeling of, ‘This isn’t yours. This isn’t ours.’ That’s never going to happen for us in this city,” said Hawkins, a 42-year-old consultant in the health and outdoors industry whose husband works in tech. “I roll my eyes when people say it’s the techies. Nope! We’re leaving too.”

San Francisco notoriously has the smallest percentage of kids — 13.4 percent — of any city in the nation. But while San Francisco officials sweat and bicker over affordable housing, they rarely talk about family housing.

Read the whole thing at the San Francisco Chronicle.

PHOTO: Neighbor Heather preparing for her garage sale. Photo by Lea Suzuki from The Chronicle

After Chef Tim’s Medical Scare, Ichi Sushi Moving Back to Smaller Shop

timichi2.0

These are challenging times for Bernal Heights neighbors Tim and Erin Archuleta, the husband-and-wife team behind the much-celebrated Ichi Sushi and Ni Bar.  Yesterday, Neighbor Erin told Bernalwood that Chef Tim has been navigating some very serious health issues, with the result that the couple has decided to shutter the the Ichi Sushi and Ni Bar restaurant at 3282 Mission and relocate to their original, smaller restaurant space across from the Bernal Safeway.

As you probably know, Ichi Sushi has won nationwide accolades and drawn big crowds since expanding from the small shop at 3369 Mission to the full-service space down the street near 29th Street. But in a statement, Neighbor Erin says Chef Tim’s heath necessitates a change:

After Tim suffered a significant health scare, we are returning us to our roots and moving ICHI back into our little space at 3369 Mission. We are grateful to our talented team who helped us win local, regional, national and international acclaim, and we will keep many of our beloved crew with us. We are also actively searching to secure placement for the rest of our skillful team.

Our final night of service in our 3282 Mission Street space will be New Year’s Eve — A party for the books! And, we’re planning to reopen in our 3369 Mission Street space just after the New Year.

This move will allow Tim to get back behind the sushi counter and to reconnect with all our guests. Our gorgeous space at 3282 will go on the market with our friends at CGI Retail and we’re excited to offer it up to a new generation of small business owners.

We’ve been so grateful for the support we’ve received from our friends and guests over the last few months, and look forward to Tim getting back to the sushi counter soon when he is on the mend. Food, restaurants, and the community bring us all together, and through Tim’s recovery, our guests have been incredible. We never forget how loved we are and we are thrilled to return the favor and care for everyone back in our original sushi bar, where Tim is looking forward to reciprocating that hospitality.

We’re accepting reservations at our current venue via ichisushi.com and OpenTable. We’ll also be accepting reservations for the return to 3369 Mission in the new year on our website and Open Table, as well.

Sadly, Chef Tim’s medical expenses have been a huge strain on the couple’s resources. To help defray their costs, a crowdsourced fund has been established to help with some of the bills. If you’re so inclined you can assist Tim and Erin by donating here.

It goes without saying that all this is sad and troubling, but it’s also true that Tim and Erin have nurtured (and fed) a huge local community.  Now, many members of that community will be eager to support them, in any way possible.

Get well soon Tim.

PHOTO: Chef Tim Archuleta in the then-new Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar space, January 20, 2014,  by Telstar Logistics. 

Oakland Fire Victim Cash Askew Had Deep Roots in Bernal Heights

cashaskew

Cash Askew

A few neighbors have alerted Bernalwood that one of the victims in last weekend’s horrific Oakland warehouse fire had roots in Bernal Heights. Cash Askew, 22, perished in the blaze.

Neighbor Paula says:

Cash Askew, one of the artists who perished in the Oakland fire, grew up in Bernal and also worked at Bernal Beast for a few years before she moved away to go to school.

Neighbor Jordan adds:

Cash Askew died in the Oakland fire. Cask was a graduate of Children’s Day School and she was in a band named Them Are Us Too.

Cash’s step-dad, Sunny Haire runs a dog-walking business and walks many a Bernal dog (including mine). Cash’s mom, Leisa Askew, owns Fix Studios on Valencia Street.

Neighbor Jordan adds that a memorial fund has been set up to assist Cash’s surviving family as they come together to recover. Bernalwood readers are encouraged to contribute.

The Washington Post published a profile of Cash Askew yesterday:

Cash’s stepfather, Sunny Haire, is a transgender man and skilled guitarist who for years worked as the manager of one of the last lesbian bars in San Francisco, the Lexington Club, he told The Washington Post. As a child, Cash would spend time with her stepfather in the Lexington Club, sipping cranberry juice and watching the clientele.

Since 2013, Cash had been performing in a musical duo called Them Are Us Too alongside Kennedy Ashlyn, whom she met while studying at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Some have described the group as “goth” or “synth-pop,” but the duo prefers to refer to its sound as “visceral,” “euphoric” or simply “feelings.”

Most of all, the two identified as “queer femmes” and connected most with underground, queer or transgender communities of young people in different parts of the country, Ashlyn told the Post.

“It’s our chosen family, our radical music community,” Ashlyn said, describing their circle as one of “creative, beautiful people who are not as highly valued in normative spaces as they should be.”

Them Are Us Too released its first album last year, and had since toured the country several times, Ashlyn said. Cash had been working on a new demo track for years, and the duo had hoped to finish writing a new album within the coming year. They planned to tour South America at the end of January, Ashlyn said.

This is “Eudaemonia,” from Them Are Us Too’s 2015 album, Remain.  It’s wonderful:

Once again, you can contribute to the memorial fund for Cash Askew’s family right here.

Neighbors Establish Recovery Fund for Bernal Family Displaced by Prospect Fire

prospectfirebaker

We’ll start with the good news: Everyone is okay.

But beyond that, the two-alarm fire that damaged the house at 158 Prospect last Friday morning has turned the life of Bernal’s Grant-Weisler family upside down, because their home is no longer habitable and much of their stuff is destroyed. At the time of the fire, the house was occupied by a family of two parents and three kids, their au pair, and two visiting houseguests.

But that brings us to another silver lining: This is Bernal Heights, and neighbors here help one another during times of need. A crowdfunding effort has gotten underway to help the Grant-Weisler family begin to rebuild, and all Bernalese are invited to contribute.

We’ll have more detail on the crowdfunding effort in a moment. But first, here’s a note from Neighbor Sam, the mom of the house at 158 Prospect:

Tonight I am grateful. So grateful. And I feel lucky. So lucky.

That’s not what I would expect to be feeling after standing on the sidewalk and watching my home of the past 15 years, the home where all 3 of my kids were born, the home where JJ Wiesler and I have built our whole adult life together, go up in flames.

But it’s amazing how quickly your priorities come clear when you are forced to choose, in a second, what is most important to you. People, memories, photos, videos, musical instruments, the kitchen table around which so much of my life has unfolded, my dads lap desk and typewriter, cameras, journals…

Everyone is OK. The girls are pretty shaken up, but they’re going to be fine. And the baby is just going with the flow. To him, it’s just another day of new experiences.

The only person who was injured was one of the 66 amazing firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department who risked their lives today to save our home. I am so moved, overwhelmed with gratitude, by the moments of kindness that we experienced in this insane day from hell. The female firefighters, who are also moms, who took the time to rescue the kids lovies. The other firefighter who returned our emergency cash stash that was about to disappear into the flames. The other firefighters who went back into an active fire to recover all our family photos and videos. The neighbors who boxed up and stored our salvaged belongings without even being asked. The other neighbors who quietly pressed their keys into our hands, offering beds, pillows, towels, food, and even a friends apartment where we are staying right now. I’m so moved.

The “Grant-Wiesler Onward & Upward Fund” was launched by Bernal Neighbors Aaron and Bronwyn Ximm. They write:

Thankfully, and most importantly, everyone is fine.

Their warm and welcoming home however is unlivable, and most of the family’s posessions were lost.

The Grant-Wielsers are bracing for for a very long climb to restore, remake, and rebuild.

As friends and family, many of us immediately wonder how we can help in this time of need.

One certain thing is that during the next few months especially, the family’s cash flow is going to be both complicated and unpredictable.

There will be hundreds of compounding expenses small and large to re-acquire the tools of modern life.

One way we can help is to build the Grant-Wielsers a ‘slush fund’ for those occasions.

There will be many ways to help West, the girls, and Sam and JJ!

But if you can make a donation–and of course, of any size at all!–it will make a real difference, one that will be received with profound gratitude.

About the campaign organizers: we are Aaron, Bronwyn, Ember, and Juniper Ximm. We are a family of close neighbors and friends of the Grant-Wieslers.

Our families shared the same world-class nanny over many years. Only a few days ago our girls traded morse code messages from our front porch to their back one.

We can’t believe it’s going to be a year or more before we can trade more morse code. We love them one and all, and wanted to immediatley get some help organized on their behalf!

If you’re so inclined, please contribute to the fire recover fund here. As of this writing, the fund has raised $5500, with a goal of hitting $12,500.

You know what to do, Bernal neighbors: Let’s hit that goal — and then exceed it.

PHOTO: Fire at 158 Prospect, by Tom Baker

José Quiñonez from Mission Asset Fund Wins MacArthur “Genius” Grant

maf_quinonez

Brilliant! José Quiñonez from the Mission Asset Fund just won a McArthur “Genius” grant! Mission Asset Fund is headquartered at 3269 Mission Street (near 29th) here in Bernal, and José Quiñonez is MAF’s founder and CEO. His spiffy new MacArthur Fellows page says:

José A. Quiñonez is a financial services innovator creating a pathway to mainstream financial services and non-predatory credit for individuals with limited or no financial access. A disproportionate number of minority, immigrant, and low-income households are invisible to banks and credit institutions, meaning they have no checking or savings accounts (unbanked), make frequent use of nonbank financial services (underbanked), or lack a credit report with a nationwide credit-reporting agency. Without bank accounts or a credit history, it is nearly impossible to obtain safe loans for automobiles, homes, and businesses or to rent an apartment.

Quiñonez is helping individuals overcome these challenges by linking rotating credit associations or lending circles, a traditional cultural practice from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, to the formal financial sector. Lending circles are typically informal arrangements of individuals pooling their resources and distributing loans to one another. Through the Mission Asset Fund (MAF), Quiñonez has created a mechanism for reporting individuals’ repayment of small, zero-interest loans to credit bureaus and other financial institutions. MAF participants are able to establish a credit history and gain access to credit cards, bank loans, and other services, and lending circles focused on youth provide individuals with fees for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival applications and apartment security deposits (which are particularly needed by youth aging out of foster care). All participants are required to complete a financial training class and are provided with financial coaching and peer support. Since the lending circles were established in 2008, participants’ credit scores, collectively, have increased an average of 168 points.

Quiñonez has established a network of partnerships with the financial services industry to enable other organizations to replicate his approach. With Quiñonez and MAF providing the technology necessary to disperse and track loans (a significant hurdle for many nonprofits) and assisting in securing local partners and investors, 53 nonprofit providers in 17 states and the District of Columbia are now using this powerful model in their communities. Quiñonez’s visionary leadership is providing low-income and minority families with the means to secure safe credit, participate more fully in the American economy, and obtain financial security.

José A. Quiñonez received a B.A. (1994) from the University of California at Davis and an M.P.A. (1998) from Princeton University. He founded Mission Asset Fund in 2007 and continues to serve as CEO. His prior affiliations include the Center for Community Change (2001–2004) and Bread for the World (2000–2001). From 2012 to 2014, he was the inaugural chair of the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Felicidades, José and MAF!

HAT TIP: Neighbor Kathy
PHOTO: via John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation

Bernal Fire Victims, Now Homeless, Reveal Support System Shortcomings

hotelfire

MissionLocal carried an important story yesterday about two Bernal neighbors who were displaced by the June Cole Hardware fire, who are now homeless.

Kimberley Walley and her husband Henry Texada were living in the Graywood Hotel at the corner of Mission and 29th Street when the building was badly damaged in the fire. Since then, they’ve received several rounds of financial assistance from the City and private donors, but the couple has still had a hard time finding and staying in places to live. They’ve been kicked out of a few SROs for various behavior-related issues, and they’ve declined offers to move into shelters.

Laura Waxmann from MissionLocal writes:

Ben Amyes, the [San Francisco Human Services Agency’s] emergency response coordinator, declined to comment on the couple’s case for confidentiality reasons.

“We were working on finding SROs for all of the tenants, and I have placed everyone that I have had the ability to place,” Aymes said. “There are extenuating circumstances [regarding Walley and Texada] that I’m not able to go into.”

Walley said that she has a criminal background including a charge for assault that landed her in jail for nine months. This happened before moving into the Graywood in March, 2011. She also said she suffers from bipolar disorder and depression, but visits a therapist regularly.

Despite this history she found a room at the Graywood Hotel in 2011 through a re-entry program, NoVa, run by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in partnership with the Sheriff’s Department.

Gerald Miller, the center’s director of community based services, did not work with Walley but said that she was likely a client five years ago. Upon hearing of her plight, Miller said that mental illness and a criminal background are not reasons for keeping clients seeking SRO residencies unhoused.

“[Those] issues don’t stop anyone from getting SRO housing,” said Miller. However, other factors, such as a limited housing stock and a client’s consistent refusal to comply with the terms of the agencies attempting to house them, could be a reasons why they end up on the streets.

The whole article is an essential, gut-wrenching read, because it underscores the sad truth that while we can be pretty good at providing economic support to people in need, we’re generally really bad at managing the mental health issues that are often a root cause of homelessness.

PHOTO: Fire-damaged Graywood Hotel, August 2016 by Telstar Logistics