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

SFPD Begins Foot Patrols in Bernal Heights

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Officers from the San Francisco Police Department have started foot patrols in Bernal Heights, says Capt. Joseph McFadden from SFPD’s Ingleside Station.

Via Neighbor Sarah, Bernal’s valiant volunteer crime correspondent, Bernalwood has learned that two officers have been permanently assigned to the new foot patrols, which began last weekend.

The Bernal foot patrols will be conducted by Officer Al Chan and Officer Kevin Endo, and Capt. McFadden encourages Bernal neighbors to get to know the officers. “Please stop them and say hello,” he says.

McFadden says new foot patrols will mainly focus on Cortland Avenue, but the officers can walk around the area if there are problems elsewhere.  Recently, neighbors have reported seeing SFPD foot patrols on Bernal Hill as well.

Capt. McFadden says he plans to add more foot patrol officers in Bernal Heights as more personnel are assigned to Ingelside Station.

PHOTO: Sara Bassett

City Prefers More Height for More Affordable Housing at Cole Hardware Site

The San Francisco Planning Department is pushing back on a proposal to build housing at 3310 Mission Street, the former Cole Hardware store site that was destroyed in a devastating June 2016 fire, by telling the developer that while the current plan is acceptable, it’d be even better to add some additional height to make room for affordable housing.

As currently proposed, 3310 Mission is slated to be a four-story, 45-foot-tall building with a new Cole Hardware store on the ground floor and eight units of market-rate housing above — a plan which D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she supports.

However, as the ever-vigilant Socketsite first reported, the City Planning Department’s Preliminary Project Assessment says the 3310 Mission could also include affordable housing if the developer took advantage of the increased density allowed under HomeSF, a new San Francisco law that allows developers to add additional height to new buildings to make room for additional affordable- and family-oriented housing units.

In the case of 3310 Mission, that could meaning including 16 to 20 affordable housing units by adding two more two stories to the project.

The Planning Department’s Preliminary Project Assessment for 3310 Mission says:

“It is the Department’s priority to give precedence to the development of all new net housing, and to encourage the direct building of more affordable housing and the maximization of permitted density, while maintaining quality of life and adherence to Planning Code standards.

Policy 13.1 of the City’s Housing Element, for example, calls for the Department to “Support ‘smart’ regional growth that locates new housing close to jobs and transit.” The Project is located in one of the most transit-rich corridors in San Francisco, adjacent to the recently completed 14-Mission Rapid Project (the “Mission Red Lane”) and within a 15-minute walk to the 24th Street BART station. Therefore, the Department would strongly encourage the Project Sponsor to maximize the parcel’s density and to provide the required amount of affordable housing.

The current proposal to build 8 units would reach the density limit established within the parcel’s NC-3 zoning district, but is well under the density that would be allowed if the Project Sponsor employs the HOME-SF bonus. The HOME-SF bonus would lift the density restriction in the parcel and grants two additional stories, which would allow the Project to have at least 16 and potentially 20 or more units. HOME-SF requires that 30% of the units be reserved for low- and moderate-income households, which means that maximizing density under the program could yield 3 to 8 market rate units above what is currently proposed.”

IMAGE: Rendering of proposed building at 3310 Mission Street. Photos via SocketSite; composite illustration created by Bernalwood.

Saturday: Taste Guacamole Glory at the 6th Annual Guac-Off Competition!

2015 Guac-Off Champion Elle “Monster Guac” Garcia clutches the Guacamole Glory Trophy

Attention all ye Acolytes of the Avocado: The 6th Annual Guac-Off Guacamole Competition is coming this weekend, and once again it’s happening right here in Bernal Heights.

Yes, that’s right: Guac-Off 2017 happens this Saturday, September 9 beginning a 1 pm at Dr. Rick’s glamorous Farmhouse Mansion, at 3340 Folsom near the top of the hill at Ripley.  That means if you you want to compete, you’d best get on the phone to beg your abuela for her secret recipe. The event is free, but  check out the website for complete details.

Here’s the guac-and-roll pep rally, courtesy of Guacstar Luke:

As this weather has surely reminded you, Indian Summer is here. So that means that it’s time again for the Annual Indian Summer Guac-off!

We’d love for you to join us this Saturday, September 9th, as we’ll once again be at Dr. Rick’s house for our 6th annual celebration of the almighty avocado.

This year promises to be even more fun, as we’ll have 10 different prize categories, a restaurant showcase with guacamoles from some of our favorite restaurants, chips provided by Tacolicious, and of course, an even bigger Guacamole Glory Trophy.

The rules this year are simple: Your our guacamole must use at least 8 avocados, and it must arrive by 2pm. Other than that, let your creativity run wild!

We love having lots of Bernal neighbors show up. As always, the event is completely free, although guests are obviously encouraged to bring guacamole!

This Week: Enjoy the 2017 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival

It’s that glamorous red carpet and green grass time of year for Bernalese cinephiles! Thats because the 2017 edition of the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema film festival gets underway this week.

As you may know, BHOC is exactly like Sundance or Cannes — only with slightly less Gucci and Prada and lots more North Face and Patagonia. The films are free, most are short, and some are shown outside. The organizers emphasize local topics and local filmmakers, and this year the focus is on Bernal’s “strong tradition of outspoken civic leaders and engaged political organizations.”

The complete line-up of venues and films is available at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema website,  but here are the highlights:

  • Opening Night: Thursday, Sept. 7 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street.
  • Film Crawl on Cortland: Friday, Sept. 8, from 7:00 to 11:00, at multiple sites on Cortland Avenue from Bennington to Ellsworth Street. This year the Film Crawl also includes a Late Night Screening and After-Party from 10:00 to 11:00, at Barebottle Brewing, 1525 Cortland Avenue. All ages are welcome.
  • Under the Stars at Precita Park: Saturday, Sept. 9 from 7:00 to 10:00, at the corner of Folsom Street and Precita Avenue. Pro Tip: Bring seating. Dress warmly. BYO snacks. Sip from a flask. Snuggle as necessary.
  • Best of Bernal: Wednesday, 9/27 from 7:00-9:00, at the Barebottle Brewing Company, 1525 Cortland Avenue, BHOC will present an encore screening of the 2017 season’s award-winning films.

The BHOC organizers say these are some of the standout films in the 2017 lineup:

The Ride, directed by Jeff Adachi and Jim Choi. (Thursday, 9/7) SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi travels into the underbelly of the criminal injustice system when he takes on the case of Michael Smith, a young African-American man charged with assaulting police officers.

These Walls Speak: PLACA, directed by Carla Wojczuk. (Friday, 9/8 at Bernal Star) In 1984, artists and activists in the heart of the Mission transformed Balmy Alley into a “mural environment” when they formed PLACA to protest the U.S. government’s wars in Central America.

American Paradise, directed by Joe Talbot. (Saturday, 9/9) A desperate white man, forgotten in Trump’s America, tries to shift his fate by committing the perfect crime. He robs multiple banks wearing a hyper-realistic black-man mask – until, of course, all goes horribly wrong.

When Rabbit Left the Moon, directed by Emiko Omori. (Thursday, 9/7) The Japanese-American filmmaker says, “Words to describe the camp experience seem inadequate to me – either too many or not enough. This video poem is an attempt to express long buried feelings without words.”

Happy Birthday, Mario Woods. (Thursday 9/7) San Francisco police shot Mario Woods more than 20 times in December 2015. Six months after his death, Gwen Woods visits her son grave and the site of his shooting.

Again, look for the complete line-up of venues and films at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema website, and see you there.

PHOTO: Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema in Precita Park, by Telstar Logistics

After 90 Years, Bank of America Will Close Cortland Branch

Cortland Avenue Bank of America, 1973. (Photo: San Francisco State University)

This story was written by Nathan Falstreau from Hoodline, in partnership with Bernalwood:

Customers of the Bank of America branch at 433 Cortland Ave. in Bernal Heights received a letter late last month stating that the branch will close in November. The notification comes a year and a half after the bank announced it would no longer staff human tellers.

The letter sent to Bank of America customers in Bernal Heights.

The closure is part of a recent trend as more customers look to their phones to do business—Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan moved to close many of its retail locations in an effort to lower costs by bringing more customers onto its online and mobile banking platforms.

The decision by the native San Francisco business—now based in Charlotte, NC—was the result of internal data indicating a shift in how customers interacted with their local branches.

Crowd outside the Bank of America on Cortland Avenue after a robbery in 1936. | Photo:: San Francisco Public Library)

Community banking is essential for small businesses, as well as for more marginalized members of the community like seniors or those whose primary spoken language isn’t English.

“This has a big impact on us as merchants, and that further extends to our customers that use the bank,” nearby Heartfelt owner (and Bernal neighbor) Darcy Lee told Bernalwood in 2015. “There are many senior citizens that use this as a resource in Bernal.”

While many consumers are content with mobile and online banking, it’s not so simple for shopkeepers. “All of us as merchants need money—actual coins and bills—sometimes multiple times in one day,” said Neighbor Darcy. “We also make large cash deposits.”

Bank of America at 433 Cortland Ave. as it looks today (Photo: Google)

Bank of America’s Cortland Avenue location opened in 1927 as the neighborhood was still rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake; the bank still owns the building.

The branch was also historically the only banking center on Cortland Avenue—even to this day—making the closure even more problematic for neighborhood residents. The nearest banking service is a Wells Fargo ATM at 601 Cortland Ave.

“I don’t usually get choked up about banks,” Neighbor Julie told Bernalwood. “But this one does feel like a piece of the neighborhood.”

The last day for banking at the Cortland Avenue branch is November 28th.

Rebel Cartographer Burrito Justice Analyzes New 29th Street Bike Share Station

New bike share station on 29th Street

When he’s not fomenting insurrection, agitating for territorial autonomy, or weaponizing Mexican food, Burrito Justice, the rebel Spokeblogger for the La Lenguan people of the Bernal flatlands, also likes to dabble in cartography and map-making.

Last week,Burrito Justice applied those skils to analyze the controversial new bike share station on 29th Street (which just happens to be around the corner from his secret command post). Today, by permission — and in the spirit of science —Bernalwood shares this communique from Burrito Justice:

Before I rode my bike to work, I used to think people who biked, even from La Lengua to Civic Center, were CRAZYTOWN. Now, well, I think they are less crazy. I can bike downtown faster than via transit, and often driving.
It’s pretty hard to get sense of how long it takes to ride places. How long does it take to bike a mile? Two miles? A half mile? I ride every day, and I still don’t have a great feel for distance. Anyway, there is one way to solve this: MAPS. (Shocking I know).

There are these cool things called isochrones, which show travel distances of equal time as lines (thank the ancient Greeks, iso = equal, chronos = time). I happen to work for a mapping company that has an isochrone service, and now I know how to make these things.

Here’s a map showing 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute bike isochrones from La Lengua:

5/10/15/20 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

These isochrones take into account hills, prefer bike lanes, and use a relatively moderate biking speed. Actual travel times might be a little slower or faster for some folks, but this gives a pretty reasonable indication of how far you can get on a bike across town.

You can get surprisingly far in just 5 or 10 minutes (the two darkest blue rings).

Speaking of bike lanes, it’s always nice to see where it’s safe/less dangerous to bike. It just so happens I have the technology to put bike lanes into this map.

5/10/15/20 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua, with bike routes shown

Green indicates protected bike lanes, while orange are OK bike lanes based on a bunch of different parameters (bike infrastructure, road type, etc). Here’s the key:

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While I love to walk, it’s a haul. Here are 5/10/15/20 minute walking isochrones for La Lengua. (No wonder I never go to Noe Valley OMG SO FAR. And no wonder I rarely see the Valley People in La Lengua — you might as well need a visa.)

5/10/15/20 minute walking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

OK this may shock you, but I made a GIF of walking vs biking isochrones (the same shades of blue indicate 5, 10, 15, 20 min travel time whether by bike or by foot):

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Walking vs. Biking: 5/10/15/20 minute travel distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that they’re expanding bike share stations throughout the Mission and La Lengua (sorry Bernal). While you think that this would be celebrated, there are… opinions. These involve parking spots (shocking) and gentrification (shocking). But just look at how many bikeshare stations (pink circles) you can get to in five or ten or 15 minutes!

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Detail: 5/10/15 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

And guess what — you can bike TO La Lengua! (Oh man, biking from 24th St. BART to the 29th St bikeshare station, that will be sweet.)

While it may take some effort to realize that biking is a possibility, don’t stress about the bikeshare stations! They let you get places fast, and they let people get HERE easily. Here’s a quick map of just some of the restaurants, bars and businesses that are within 200 yards from the bikeshare station on 29th and Tiffany:

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Restaurants, bars and businesses within 200 yards of 29th St. bike share station. The aqua-colored circles are business that have closed or gone — Cole Hardware, 3300, El Gran Taco Loco…

Wwe have a pretty sweet little commercial corridor along 29th and on Mission in La Lengua, and you can look at these isochrones the other way around — folks who might never walk over can bike here in 5 or 10 minutes and enjoy our superior food and drinking and shopping establishments such as Rock Bar, The Front Porch, Good Frickin Chicken, PizzaHacker, Fumi Curry, Ichi Sushi, Coco Ramen, Old Bus Tavern, Mitchell’s, Iron & Gold, Los Panchos, Royal Cuckoo, Secession, and many, many more. And won’t have to worry about parking.

You can drill into a dynamic slippy map here (work in progress!) Drop me a line if you want me to show you how to make isochrones from your neighborhood or business district.