Supervisor Campos Seeks to Revive Mission Moratorium on New Housing

Site of proposed housing at 1515 South Van Ness, photographed on August 9, 2016

Site of proposed housing at 1515 South Van Ness, photographed on August 9, 2016

Less than a year ago, in November 2015, San Francisco voters were asked to vote on Proposition I, the Mission Moratorium, which sought to suspend construction of new market-rate housing in the Mission District. On election day, however, voters overwhelmingly rejected Prop I, by a 57% margin.

Yesterday, however, MissionLocal broke the story that District 9 Supervisor David Campos now seeks to ignore the results of the Prop I vote and implement the Mission Moratorium through the Planning Department and the Board of Supervisors. MissionLocal writes:

In a letter sent to the Planning Commission on Wednesday, Campos urged commissioners to delay all projects in the [Calle24] Latino Cultural District, which is bounded by Potrero Avenue and Mission Street between 22nd and Cesar Chavez streets.

Campos singled out for delay three housing developments planned for the Mission District that would would bring in 293 units of mostly market-rate housing in the next few years. All three are being opposed by neighborhood activists, who say they would worsen gentrification in the district.

“These and several market-rate projects in and next to the cultural district could transform the district and threaten to displace long-time residents, businesses, and non-profits,” Campos wrote. “The Planning Department should consider the impacts of these projects on the Latino Cultural District and develop measures that will mitigate those impacts.”

That area was designated a “Latino cultural and commercial district” by San Francisco in 2014, a largely symbolic proclamation. Calle 24, the neighborhood and merchants association, hoped that designation would lead to construction guidelines down the road with more legal standing.

Now, Campos and others are acting on those wishes, crafting legislation that will be introduced to the Board of Supervisors later this year to specify the kinds of development that should be allowed in the neighborhood.

Campos wants the Planning Department to study the effects of market-rate housing on the district, specifying the potential effects on neighborhood businesses, residential displacement, rental affordability, and “the Latino community.”

This is a strange request, not least because it would exceed the legal mandate of the the Calle24 Cultural District, which does not include any development guidelines, ethnic quotas, or demographic requirements. Regardless, MissionLocal reports that Erick Arguello, a Mission District landlord and power-broker who leads the Calle24 group, opposes the creation of new market-rate housing projects, even when they meet city-mandated requirements for subsidized-affordable units.

The three housing proposals that would be impacted by Supervisor Campos’s revived Mission moratorium are 157 units at 1515 South Van Ness (at 26th St.), 117 units at 2675 Folsom St. (at 23rd St.), and 19 units at 2600 Harrison (at 22nd St.). All three sites are currently occupied by empty warehouse-style buildings, and construction of new housing on these sites would not displace any existing residents.

In a 2015 study on the potential impact of the Proposition I Mission moratorium, San Francisco’s chief economist concluded there is “no reason to believe that either a temporary moratorium, or an indefinite prohibition, of market rate housing will reduce the number of upper- income residents in the Mission, or slow the process of gentrification.”

Watch Our Coyote Neighbor Play with a Ball on Bernal Hill


Oh hey. Did your dog lose a ball on the southestern side of Bernal Hill? Because the Bernal Coyote found one — and had a lot of fun with it.

During one of his recent early-morning dog walks, Neighbor Rally filmed the Bernal Coyote mid-frolic, as the critter played with a ball. Just watch:

The Bernal coyote playing with a ball on Bernal Hill @bernalwood #bernalheights

A video posted by @rallyp_157 on

So cute! Just as a reminder: Please read these expert tips on how to co-exist sustainably with our Neighbor Coyote, to ensure we can enjoy his/her company for many moons to come.

VIDEO: Courtesy of Neighbor Rally

Emperor Norton Wants YOU in the Bernal Heights Hillwide Garage Sale


It’s just a week away! The shabbily-chic Bernal Heights Hillwide Garage Sale happens on Saturday, August 13.

That means now is the time to register your home if you want to appear on the fashionable Hillwide Garage Sale Treasure Map, Bernal’s own who’s-who of post-consumer purging.

And remember, Emperor Norton will be watching. The Hillwide elves tell Bernalwood:

This year, the World Famous, Bernal’s own Emperor Norton, will be judging the “Best of Bernal” Hillwide Award!.

The Emperor will be looking for the garage that exemplifies the spirit of the Hillwide: Somewhat irreverent, curiously clever, a darn good time and open to everyone.

Since he’s a very busy Emperor, he’ll be rendering judgement via his mobile device from an undisclosed location. To enter, take as many photos as you like and post them on Instagram and/or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag your pics #Hillwide2016 so we can find them. The more creative the images, the better!

And be sure to include the address of your sale as well – this is an EXCELLENT marketing tool to attract even more buyers to your neck of the woods! Because everyone wants to shop at the best garage sale!

The winner will receive the “Best of Bernal” trophy designed and crafted by the youth program of the BHNC. You will also receive immediate gratification and social media fame knowing that your garage typifies the very Best of Bernal. Just imagine how much more your kids/spouse/dog/goldfish will love you know that you have achieved a certain level of notoriety!

As always, 100% of donations received for the Hillwide registration go to the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Sign your garage up at

PHOTO: Emperor Norton spotted on Cortland Avenue, by Telstar Logistics

Work by Bernal Artist Jon Vohr On Display at Little Bee Bakery


Neighbor Jon Vohr is an artist on Andover Street. He tells Bernalwood that his work is on display this month inside the wornderful Little Bee Bakery at 521 Cortland:

I’m a long time Bernal resident, and I am excited to be showing some paintings at Little Bee for the month of August!

My art is a continuous exploration of different mediums and a reflection of living in the Bay Area.

Using hand crafted convex panels, my art explores the various aspects of stability or the lack there of, in the realms of the physical, mental and spiritual plane, as well as all transformational experiences that come with life.

The convex panel and distortion of them play with the idea of our multi-dimensional experience here on earth and invite the viewer to get close, explore and question their beliefs and attitudes towards life and art.


ARTWORK: by Neighbor Jon Vohr

Cortland Apartment Building Purchased to Ensure Current Residents Can Remain


And now, that most precious of things: A happy story about housing.

At a time when new subsidized-affordable housing in San Francisco costs almost $600,000 per unit to build, stabilizing our existing housing supply is often a more cost-effective way to prevent the displacement of current San Francisco residents. That’s why it’s great news that the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) used the Mayor’s Small Sites Program to purchase 1500 Cortland Avenue, a four-unit building built in 1960 on the corner of Bradford.

MEDA writes:

There are four units at 1500 Cortland that are called home by families — the types of families MEDA is looking to help stay in their neighborhood of choice.

Unit 1 is a one-bedroom apartment that is the 23-year home to Lisa and her husband, Winefredo, who is disabled and receives in-home care. Lisa, who is a hotel worker and the sole income provider, was in a car accident last winter, with head and back injuries meaning she cannot currently work. Daughter Jennifer lives with her parents, but is ready to start college.

In Unit 2 reside Gabriela and Ramon, devoted parents of Javier, an eighth-grader at nearby Paul Revere K-8 School. The family makes this one-bedroom apartment work for their living situation, and they feel part of their Bernal Heights community.

Unit 3 is the two-bedroom residence of Tomas and Greisy, plus their two young children, Jennifer and Kevin. Tomas works in construction, while Greisy is a full-time mother. This Latino immigrant family has felt welcomed in the neighborhood and were excited to find a way to stay. If not for the Small Sites program, they knew they would be displaced from San Francisco.

In two-bedroom Unit 4 reside 77-year-old Jane and her spouse, Claudio, who is one year older; their sole income is from monthly Social Security checks. The couple has lived over half their lives in this apartment at 1500 Cortland. Claudio’s sister, Bernadette, also lives with them for now. This is the third generation to call this apartment home.

To showcase how 1500 Cortland has become its own community over time, Jane serves as caregiver for Winefredo in Unit 1.

“These four units’ residents seized the opportunity to make this Small Sites program deal possible,” explains Housing Opportunities Coach Johnny Oliver, who helped structure the sale. “Tenants agreed to increase their rent a bit to maximize the amount of the first mortgage, but they will still be in affordable housing that is around 50 percent of the median for this neighborhood. This is a win for the community.”

Indeed it is.

MEDA didn’t say now much it cost to acquire 1500 Cortland, but the property had been listed for $1.6 million. (UPDATE: A plugged-in reader tells Bernalwood the property ultimately sold for $1,150,000.) The acquisition will also include a rehabilitation of the aging building, during which the current tenants will be temporarily relocated.

Bravo, MEDA, and big congrats to all our Bernal neighbors who can now remain Bernal neighbors for many years to come.

PHOTO: via Google Street View

RIP Bernal Neighbor KC Jones


Bernalwood is saddened to report that Neighbor KC Jones, a proud resident of Bernal Heights and vibrant member of our community, passed away last week following a bicycle accident.

Bernie Hirschbein shared a lovely tribute to KC on the Wild Side West Facebook page:

My best friend…my de-facto brother KC passed away last Thursday. It still seems so unreal, and I am so very devastated.

On Friday evening 6 weeks ago we were at El Rio eating the free oysters and having a couple drinks, just like always, and the next day I learned he was in a bicycle accident and was at SF General. I rushed over and he was just coming out of surgery. He had suffered very severe brain damage and was in a coma, and he never came back.

KC was an amazingly vital person, so intelligent and kind. He was just so very special. I learned of his passing while Wendy and I were having Shabbat dinner in Tel Aviv, Israel with my lifelong friend Joel Dzodin, his wife Suzanne, his daughter and son-in-law, and his young granddaughter. It was comforting to be among friends, but nothing could really ease my feelings of loss.

I still think of calling him to share the nice bottle of wine I brought back from Israel. I still think of calling him to help me with computer issues. It’s just so unreal that he is gone.

My deepest condolences to his wife Beth, his daughter Hana and his son Sam, and to all the other family members and friends that loved him so much. My life will never be the same.

This hits close to home for Bernalwood as well. Neighbor KC was active in Bernalwood comment threads, and your Bernalwood editor always appreciated his calm demeanor and keen sense of humor. We send condolences to Neighbor KC’s family and friends.

PHOTO: KC Jones via Facebook