Saturday: Remembering Bernal Neighbor Bill Guedet

Sadly, Bernal Neighbor Bill Guedet of Gates Street passed away recently. His friends and family wth host a memorial celebration of his life on Saturday, May 20 at Wild Side West from 3-5 pm.

Neighbor Toria tells us more about Neighbor Bill:

I wanted to share the sad news about the passing of a longtime Bernal/Gates Street resident and San Francisco original — Bill Guedet.

On behalf of his son Ruben and his partner Erica, I’m spreading the word about a toast/memorial/celebration to be held on May 20th at Wild Side West from 3-5pm. Ruben grew up on Gates Street, and is currently living in New York.

Bill moved to San Francisco in the 60s. He lived in the Haight, hanging out with Janis Joplin and others from the community there. He moved out in 1967 because he saw the change that was heading for that neighborhood. After a time in Potrero, he landed in Bernal in 1976. He was a cable car driver and an avid photographer.

Bill was a familiar sight on Cortland, and always good for a story about the past, or opinions about the present. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that he’s gone.

Bill son Ruben grew up on Gates Street, and he tells us more about his dad, and his life in Bernal Heights:

My father was born Oct 2nd, 1942 in Merced, California. He remembers growing up in the 40’s and 50’s, fondly recalling sharing Sunday lunch with his grandfather, a field hand who did not speak English, but taught him how to eat in the Italian way, and developed Bill’s palate for anti pasta, olive oil and vinegar. Bill was one of a handful of white teenagers to see Little Richard play in Merced, and he tried to get over the wire fence that separated him from the Latino and African American kids that were having a much better time.

As soon as he could, he left the valley for San Francisco and stayed with some gay classmates who escaped with him. He never saw any real reason not to be friends with them; indeed his family’s request to avoid them was even more reason to, and studied theater as SF State.

He would have told you that SF State was the real ground zero for the 60’s. It was wilder, much messier, far more fun than posturing UC Berkeley, and it spilled out into the Haight. In a strange coincidence, Bill’s great grandfather ran a pharmacy at Haight and Ashbury for a while with his three brothers from Italy. Bill would continue that fascination with the scene there, he famously (though not uniquely) danced with Janis Joplin. She called him “dude”, saw the Stones, poo poo’d the Dead, and lived many stories there, before he saw the good natured feelings turn away from the hope and transformation once promised.

It was in the Panhandle that he made the acquaintance that would lead him to my mother Holly (an early date being the fabled Beatles show at Candlestick). This began the great tragic romance of his life, and Bill eventually settled in Bernal Heights when I was 6 years old. Some of that time he worked as a photographer for the Chronicle, but ultimately found that less satisfying than just pursuing his own work.

In the early 70’s Bill had gotten a job working nights on the Cable Cars. This began a rollicking few years of fun and misbehavior while “the folks” (or tourists) never let on that they were the main attraction. In 1984 the cable cars were renovated, and a poorly designed switch at Powell and Market brought an end to Bill’s time with Muni. Severely injured, Bill sought training as an accountant and came to find work at the Vintage Court Hotel as a night auditor.

In the 1980s Bill began to really invest time in Bernal Heights; he was always known as the guy who cleaned the streets by picking up trash in the area (this was before recycling gave value to cans and bottles), and was instrumental in getting trash cans installed on Cortland street. Closer to home, he began the epic house renovation that continues to this day; transforming our home on Gates street from a flophouse into a family home.

It was this success that encouraged Bill to start a neighborhood tree planting program shortly thereafter. He was a leader in getting street trees planted in Bernal Heights, and was very proud the tree he had planted in front of our house. He continued his civic engagement by working against a city plan to implement street cleaning on Gates Street. BIll’s focus and drive allowed him to improve the area, and devotion to Bernal Heights is an important part what the neighborhood is today.

Bill’s energy turned inward when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, a disease neither would ever recover from. After years of fighting with an implacable enemy, my mother succumbed and with her passing Bill would never have her far from his mind. For most of the last two decades this is the Bill that his Gates Street neighbors would come to know. Longtime residents might remember his messy attempt to redo the front of house (resulting in home made scaffolding up for years), or the eventual removal of the tree in front, but those who took the time to know Bill would understand that his passion for the area, and his love for San Francisco was never dimmed.

Bill passed on April 28th. Just as in life, he was supported by his neighbors on Gates Street in that time.

PHOTO: Bill Guedet, courtesy of his family

To Prepare for Another Decade, Avedano’s Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Avedano’s Meats at 235 Cortland is a culinary treasure and a Bernal Heights success story. Founded in 2007 in a space that has reportedly been a butcher shop since 1901, proprietors Melanie Eisemann, Tia Harrison, and Angela Wilson were true pioneers, opening Avadano’s several years before the idea of whole-animal, artisanal butcher shops became a well-understood thing.

But San Francisco is tough on our small businesses, so Avedano’s is now launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise additional capital needed to maintain the viability of the store in the years ahead.

This week, in an email to customers, Team Avedano’s wrote:

For 10 years this neighborhood, Bernal Heights, has trusted us to bring you nothing but the best. We know our sources, personally. It’s been an amazing 10 years, this business has provided us with a multitude of caring friends and neighbors. We’ve watched you and your families grow and change just as you’ve watched our’s do the same. Avedano’s has been a cornerstone of a thriving community on our strip that our neighbors always generously compliment. We are always humbled when we can provide the best quality, locally sourced meats, in the Bay area, to you the community we care so much about. We are very proud of what we do. We do it because we love and believe in it. We’ll never be rich, but it’s a rewarding life and we work with great people.

When Avedano’s opened it’s doors, we had 3 employee’s. Since then we have grown and improved and stand 10 members strong. We have been voted “Best in the Bay” 6 times in 3 different publications. However the food industry is NOT easy, and exists on razor thin margins. It has always been a challenge for us to maintain high standards, pay our employee’s a fair wage, repair facilities, and maintain equipment. So we do everything we can to keep it going.

To finance the growth, we’ve invested the small amount of profit we generate back into the business each year improving equipment, fixing our historic building, and maintaining our commitment to small farms and quality products. In this city and industry one needs to grow and evolve to stay alive. Now at the start of our second ten years we need to find new ways to continue to meet your needs. Please invest in your neighborhood butcher shop ensuring we can hit the next decade strong and vibrant, meeting you nourishment needs.

We are raising $50k to help us explore various avenues of growth and secure our future, while keeping the doors open for you. We would love your help; please visit our GoFundMe campaign!

You can learn more and contribute to the crowsdsourcing fund here.

PHOTO: Avedano’s during the March 2015 Orangepocalypse, by Telstar Logistics

Get Your Tickets to the BHNC Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser

As part of the ongoing effort to shore up its finances, the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center is holding a fabulous  fundraising dinner at BHNC’s Cortland Avenue HQ next Tuesday, April 25 from 5-7 pm.  Special bonus: The spaghetti will be made with love by the certifiably delicious Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack!

BHNC’s community engagement director Ailed Quijano Paningbatan-Swan says:

I wanted to formally invite you all to join BHNC’s first ever fundraising feed! We are partnering with Emmys Spaghetti Shack and having a special Family Night Out with BHNC where you can take your family to the center for a delicious dinner and afterwards cross the street to participate in the library’s activities and help with homework! There will be face painting and photo booth! The plate of spaghetti comes with a side of salad, garlic bread and beverage. Now more than ever its important that we gather and get to know our neighbors!

I am very grateful that as always we have had unwavering support from folks like yourself but also support from our neighboring merchants and community. This feed is supported by Pizza Express and Good Life as well as Emmys Spaghetti Shack and the library!

Note: The SF Bernal Library is not helping fundraise but are only supporting by providing their usual activities that day for the families!

We hope to see your lovely faces there! Seating is very limited so purchase yours today and help the center continue to provide resources for our seniors, youth and the overall community!

Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under, and you can get them right here. Hurry!

PHOTO: Top, Spaghetti and meatballs, courtesy of Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack.

Bernal Neighbor Joins Mt. Everest Charity Effort with DJ Paul Oakenfold

Neighbor Greg, with a different big hill in the background

Bernal neighbor Greg Miller has been away from our hill for the last few weeks. Instead, he’s been tromping around another big hill — Mt. Everest — with celebrity DJ Paul Oakenfold to help raise money for local charities in Nepal. Neighbor Lisa tells Bernalwood:

My husband Greg Miller is part of a film crew that’s hiking to Everest Base Camp with Paul Oakenfold, the world-acclaimed DJ, where they just performed the world’s highest elevation DJ show ever. Folks can follow the day-to-day adventure here.

The adventure is raising money for local children’s charities and earthquake relief.

My brother Mark’s production company from Teton Valley, Idaho is leading the effort to make a feature-length movie about the effort, and Greg is in charge of the audio, capturing the natural and human soundscapes that Paul will incorporate into his music and future movie soundtrack.

The team staged the highest concert in the world on Monday night in Nepal. They’re about to start a Nepalese New Year’s Eve concert in Kathmandu as the finale of the trip. Look for videos from the show here.

PHOTO: Neighbor Greg with Mt. Everest in the background, courtesy of Neighbor Lisa

Housing Deal Adds $1 Million for Calle24 and Temporary Homeless Shelter

What does it cost to build new housing on an abandoned lot near Cesar Chavez Avenue? In the case of 1515 South Van Ness, the  157-unit mixed-income development proposed for the site, a previous commitment to make 25% of the new units affordable wasn’t enough. Yesterday we learned that it’ll also take a $1 million payment to an anti-development organization  with close ties to D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen to get the project approved.

Reporter J.K. Dineen from the San Francisco Chronicle broke the story about the deal yesterday, adding that in addition to the $1 million payment to a “cultural stabilization fund” run by Erick Arguello of the Calle24 Council, the former McMillan Electric building on the corner of 26th Street and South Van Ness will also be converted into a temporary homeless shelter until construction begins.

Dineen writes:

A four-month impasse over a key Mission District housing project is headed toward resolution after the developer agreed to new community benefits including discounted “trade shop” space for local businesses and a $1 million contribution to a cultural district formed in 2014 to preserve the neighborhood’s Latino heritage and community.

In a deal hammered out with Supervisor Hillary Ronen, Lennar Multifamily Communities has committed to leasing out its six 700-square-foot trade shop spaces at 1515 S. Van Ness Ave. for 50 percent of the market rate. The $1 million contribution would be made through the San Francisco Foundation to a cultural stabilization fund that could be spent on building or acquiring sites for affordable housing.

In addition, Lennar, which had previously agreed to make 25 percent of the 157 housing units affordable and to use 100 percent union labor, has agreed to let the city use the current building that is on the property as a navigation center — a pop-up shelter for homeless services.

IMAGE: Aerial view of 1515 South Van Ness, via Google Maps

Painted Rock on Bernal Hill Joins the Resistance

resistrock

The clever elves who decorate the iconic and always-topical painted rock overlooking San Francisco from the north side of Bernal Hill are at it again, as the rock has now  been transformed into a pillar of political resistance.

Neighbor Annie Sprinkle shared this photo of the painted rock over the weekend, capturing the glorious moment as a member of the Bernal Heights Canine Cadre stood guard to defend the painted rock against hooligans, reactionaries, subversives, xenophobes, and Milo Yiannopoulos.

PHOTO: Courtesy of @AnnieSprinkle

Chloe’s Closet Adds New Playroom, Art Classes, Spanish Storytime

chloesplayroom

As you may recall, the fabulous Chloe’s Closet kids clothing consignment store at 451 Cortland has been struggling of late. Now, after a bit of downsizing, the store has transformed some of its former office space into a play zone and classroom.

In a recent email to customers, Chloe’s Closet said:

UPDATE for Chloe’s Bernal Heights
As we mentioned in our previous email, we have downsized our Bernal Heights location in order to enable us to save on overhead. We have turned our “Toy” side into our consignment intake and pricing station. This has allowed us to reduce our payroll and has been very helpful toward efforts to keep our Cortland Avenue location above water. Unfortunately sales have continued to soften at both our San Francisco locations and it looks like 2017 may continue the trend of declining sales for a 4th consecutive year. Our Irving Street location is off to a rough start and has already had a very steep drop in sales for January compared to previous years, putting us in an even more difficult position. We just can’t seem to catch a break. The next few months should give us an idea of whether we can afford to continue with two locations in San Francisco. In the meantime, we are putting forth a strong last-ditch effort and if we do have to go, we will go out swinging.

Introducing Chloe’s Playroom!
The downsize of our Bernal Heights Toy side freed up our old pricing office which was promptly turned into an adorable playroom by several of our enterprising employees. (Shout out to Emily, Keyko and Alex for the amazing handpainted mural and wall art!) Chloe’s Playroom includes a train table, baby play / hang out corner, brand new play kitchen, and dollhouse. Also included are a dress up section, and a “Montessori” play area with bins of rotating activities (not pictured above.)

Shop & Play
As a thank you for shopping with us, customers are welcome to take advantage of the Playroom. In exchange we simply ask that customers please support the business that day by making a purchase of at least $5 per child. We also ask that customers sign off on our Playroom safety rules on their first visit.

Rent Our Room
We are also making Chloe’s Playroom available to rent. If you need a cozy space for your Parent’s group, or to hold child/parenting related classes or meetings, please just let us know!

Join Us in the Playroom for Art & Spanish Activities!
Starting THIS WEEK we will have several drop-in Art classes as well as a weekly Spanish Story & Music time.

PHOTO: The new Chloe’s Closet playroom, via Chloe’s Closet