Cortland’s “Flower Lady” to Offer Thanksgiving Flowers For Sale

After a long hiatus, Denhi the Flower Lady tells Bernalwood that she’ll be out today and tomorrow to sell Thanksgiving flowers on the northeast corner of Cortland at Wool:

My name is Denhi, the flower lady. Thanksgiving is here! I will be selling on Wednesday Nov. 22 from 5 to 9 pm, and on Thanksgiving day, Thursday Nov. 23, from 11 am to 6 or 7 pm.

PHOTO: Denhi Donis on Cortland, courtesy of Beth Stephens

Tonight! Tom Petty Tribute Party at Old Bus Tavern

If you’re looking for something fun to do this Halloween eve, without too much costume-pressure fuss, the fabulous Old Bus Tavern (at 3193 Mission, near Fair Ave.) is hosting a Tom Petty tribute TONIGHT, Oct 31.

Ben Buchanan from Old Bus tells Bernalwood:

We’re hosting a Petty-ween party on Tuesday 10/31 from 8:30pm -12:30am.

Celebrate Halloween with two sets of Tom Petty performed by Kelly McFarling and friends! Best Petty costume wins a bottle of Old Bus Tavern-branded Bernheim whiskey. It’s a free show!

Shotwell Neighbors Exasperated by Public Pooping Guy

There’s a public toilet nearby, but this man prefers to poop on Shotwell Street. (Photo: A neighbor)

Bernal neighbors who live along Shotwell near Cesar Chavez are frustrated with a bearded man who frequently poops on the southwest corner of their street.

A Shotwell neighbor writes:

Alas, we have a consistent public pooper at the corner of Shotwell and Cesar Chavez.

He poops fully waist-down naked in the same spot about three or so times a week, leaving behind a big giant mess about a half block from the preschool.. Urgh.

We ask Bernalwood readers to call the police if they see him. That isn’t generally my approach, but it’s gotten out of hand, and I have tried to ask him to stop on many occasions.

UPDATE Sept 25, 7 pm: In response to some of the comments on this post, the Bernal neighbor who shared the photo of the man provides some additional context:

I knew that the post was going to get some controversy and agree with many of the folks who posted that calling the police is mostly NOT the right response when it comes to homelessness. But I also agree that there aren’t a lot of good responses.

I have watched small kids walk past this guy when he is doing his doo – and very very exposed. I have talked to him – he is both very mentally ill but also well enough to make clear to me that he is making a point by doing what he is doing and is fully aware of his actions.

The school down the street have complained very regularly and to no avail. I will also be trying to reach out to the Nav Center and have tried to reach out to St. Anthony’s – so far, of no avail.

Is citing him going to do anything? Possibly not, but something has to be tried and maybe, just maybe, a citation might be a disincentive – I honestly don’t know but have been at a loss.

If I had a good answer to these kinds of problems, and I wish I did, I would have [SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing director] Jeff Kozitsky’s job.. But alas, it is, as one reader points out, a federal problem that trickles down to a city problem that trickles down to the challenges we see in SF and most major cities these days.

Ambitious Turtle Seeks Adventure Beyond College Hill Reservoir

Why did the turtle cross the road?

To seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, obviously.

Neighbor Darryl shared this video of a very determined turtle that has been spotted several times emigrating from the College Hill Reservoir near Holly Park.  Neighbor Darryl says:

This little guy escaped from his Holly Park Refuge on Tuesday. Turns out this is the third time he’s flown the coop or the pond or whatever.

Neighbor Darryl also captured the turtle’s bold flight to freedom in this insanely dramatic video:

CPMC To Keep Inpatient Nursing Beds In San Francisco After St. Luke’s Facility Closes

This article was reported and written by Sara Gaiser from Hoodline.

Bowing to pressure from city officials and family members, California Pacific Medical Center yesterday announced it will continue to care for patients in its sub-acute nursing unit even after the planned closure of the old St. Luke’s Hospital building at 3555 Cesar Chavez in the Mission, where it’s now based.

The announcement marks a sharp turnaround for hospital officials, who until now had said they had no space for the sub-acute unit, which provides long-term care for medically fragile patients who require around-the-clock nursing but are well enough to be discharged from the hospital.

The hospital’s plans to shut down 39 skilled nursing beds and 40 sub-acute beds at St. Luke’s by the end of October produced an outcry when they were announced in June because it would have left the city with no sub-acute beds.

Construction is currently underway for a new120-bed, 215,000 square foot hospital facility on the St. Luke’s campus. The closure of the sub-acute unit was part of a planned transition into the new building, which is expected to open in 2018.  When the transition is complete, CPMC plans to tear down the legacy hospital tower that currently stands at 3555 Cesar Chavez. St.  The new building is not slated to include sub-acute care beds.

Family members of patients testified at a hearing sponsored by D11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai and D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen in July that they were struggling to find beds in the Bay Area. Some feared patients could be moved as far as Sacramento or Southern California.

“After several meetings with our patients and their families, and after consulting with city leaders, we have decided to provide continued care to these patients within the CPMC organization here in San Francisco,” said CPMC CEO Warren Browner.

“We hope that this solution will give families peace of mind, knowing that their loved ones will continue to receive the highest quality care here in the city, where they can easily visit and support them.”

The unit closure was part of a planned transition into a new 120-bed, 215,000 square foot campus for St. Luke’s expected to open in 2018, and had been approved by state health officials. CPMC is also building a new 274-bed facility at Van Ness Avenue and Geary.

“I think CPMC came to the right decision to accommodate these patients and their needs,” Safai said. “It’s hard to argue that when you’re building 400 new beds of hospital space that you can’t shift things around.”

The announcement does not solve the city’s larger problems, however, as it only covers existing patients and does not provide any new sub-acute beds.

“There is still a gaping hole in our healthcare system in San Francisco and that’s the complete lack of sub-acute care beds into the future,” as well as a shortage in the number of skilled nursing beds, Ronen said.

A city task force released a report in February of 2016 that found the aging population, the high cost of doing business in the city and low reimbursement rates, especially for Medi-Cal, have created a shortage of sub-acute and skilled nursing beds.

The report made recommendations including exploring new funding, incentives and land use policies for care providers, looking at public-private partnerships and working to transfer some patients to more community-based care in their homes.

A hearing scheduled for the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to examine the proposed closure will look at these wider issues, Ronen said.

IMAGE: St. Luke’s Hospital at 3555 Cesar Chavez, via Google Maps

1977: Remember When Wild Side West Arrived in Bernal Heights?

Wild Side West

Heads up: There’s a terrific article in the San Francisco Bay Times that provides a fabulously detailed and personal history of Wild Side West, Bernal’s truly fabulous neighborhood-lesbian bar on Cortland Street.

Arguably,  Wild Side West may be the last lesbian bar in San Francisco.

But did you know that Wild Side first opened in Oakland in 1962? Did you know that, at the time, it was illegal in California for women to work as bartenders? Did you know that Wild Side West then moved to North Beach in San Francisco, before coming to Bernal Heights in 1977?

Here’s what that was like:

In 1977, Pat and Nancy moved WSW (including the actual physical bar and mirror) one last time … to San Francisco’s still untamed blue-collar neighborhood, Bernal Heights. Further than the miles on the map from the ever-growing crowds of downtown, they bought an 1890s Italianate two-story and settled down. More than just a place of business, WSW at 424 Cortland was their home.

Less than two days after the bar opened, the neighbors welcomed them by throwing a big rock right through the front window as people were in the bar. Pat and bartender “Uncle” Bill Owens just sighed and covered the window with a sheet of wood, which remains covered. But that didn’t stop the welcoming committee. A couple of nice broken toilets were also tossed in the other window. Pat and Nancy, and their renegade group of backyard gardeners, turned the porcelain fixtures into lovely flower pots in WSW’s incredible “secret” garden. If ever there was a way to take someone’s ugly intention and turn into a living retort, they nailed it.

Head over to The Bay Times to read the whole thing.

PHOTO: Wild Side West by Telstar Logistics.

Thursday: Dispensary to Host Fundraiser for Rocket Dog Rescue

This Thursday, July 20, the Harvest Dispensary on 29th Street in La Lengua will host a fundraiser for Rocket Dog Rescue.

As you may recall, Rocket Dog suffered a financial blow last month when the canine-rescue group’s founder was mugged near her Bernal Heights home. Harvest founder Marty Higgins tells Bernalwood:

Cannabis dispensary Harvest off Mission teamed up with The Front Porch to host a special fundraiser this Thursday July 20th from 6-10pm to raise money for Rocket Dog Rescue.

As reported on Bernalwood, the owner of Rocket Dog was forcibly robbed of their funded dollars last month. 100% of ticket sales and all proceeds will go to Rocket Dog Rescue.

The $50 ticket includes an eighth of Alegria Organic cannabis, a dab bar by Brite labs, home style fried chicken from SF’s Front Porch, exotic infused cannabis cocktails from award winning mixologist Alex Riddle, DJ Duserock, along with raffle prizes and a silent auction.

Harvest off Mission felt it imperative to support Rocket Dog Rescue after the appalling crime. One of the best ways to improve our community is to stand by our community organizations, especially in times like this. The robbery of Pali [Rocket Dog Rescue cofounder] was not only horrific but extremely untimely as the money stolen came from a fundraiser.

Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

Only individuals with legally recognized Medical Cannabis Identification Cards or a verifiable, written recommendation from a physician for medical cannabis may attend this event.

Thu, July 20, 2017
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM PDT

Harvest Off Mission
33 29th Street

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