Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thank you and farewell


It was a sad day when the moving van pulled up to our home on Gates Street. We recently moved from the city and headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mill Valley. With the kids getting bigger, the lure of bike paths and open space was too strong.

The thing I miss most about Bernal is the community -- the friends, neighbors, shop keepers, police, and city officials who worked so hard to make Bernal a great place to live.

I have to say that the local police beat is also a little more subdued. Can you believe these two from the recent police report in the paper.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tinderbox Opens in Bernal Heights

Friday, August 17, 2007

Food for Thought

Have you ever shared the feeling that buying groceries for dinner at Goodlife (or whatever your healthy local choice is) costs as much or more than eating out?

When it comes to putting food into your kids bellies, these decisions are as much emotional as they are financial. At some point, however, the $10 gallon of milk raises some questions.

A very quick survey of the milk that has come through our fridge -- Clover, Horizon, and the occasional RAW or goat milk -- showed a wide range in cost for a 6 ounce glass of milk:

Cost per 6 ounce glass of Milk
  • Rainbow's RAW milk = $0.65
  • Horizon Organic = $0.33
  • Clover Organic = $0.30
  • Clover (non organic) = $0.25
  • Dairy Glen = $0.15

So, if we assume a child drinks 3 glasses per day (include spillage) for the year, the difference between the Strauss organic and the Clover non-organic is about $200 a year. Assume you have two kids over 8 years and that's a cumulative difference of $3,276.

I'm not sure how this will change how we buy but it is an interesting perspective.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Avedano's open on Cortland

I stopped into Avedano's, the new meat market on Cortland, this evening for some prawns. I was impressed with the people and selection. The guy behind the counter offered me some delicious soup as I waited for my prawns to be de-veined.

Avedano's is owned by three woman one of whom is the chef at Sociale, one of my favorite restaurants across town. They also offer pre-cooked dinners that look compelling if not somewhat pricey.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Home wind turbines in Bernal

The Bay Guardian has an article about Bernal resident Todd Pelman on Roscoe Street and his six-foot-tall cylindrical turbine. The article says a turbine can generate about 10% of a home's electricity needs.

"A one-turbine system will cost around $5,000, though Pelman estimates that rebates will reduce the price by $1,500. It's an "emotional purchase," he said, that will at least partially satisfy a green conscience."

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Bernal Heights' History Now in Print

The History of Bernal is now in print.

from the review:
"San Francisco’s Bernal Heights is a hilltop village tucked away in the southern part of the city. Freeways and urban thoroughfares now bound the neighborhood, once defined by the swamps and creeks of the original Mexican land grant. The legacy of Potrero Viejo, or “old pasture,” and the farms of the 19th and 20th centuries have developed into today’s passion for the preservation of open space. From the 1860s legend of Widow O’Brien’s cow to the 1970s fight that saved the hill’s crest from development, Bernal residents have tirelessly guarded their environment. An unofficial coyote mascot reigns over one of San Francisco’s few remaining wild areas. "

San Francisco's Bernal Heights (CA) (Images of America)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ammiano spins rooftop wind turbine idea in S.F.

Ammiano spins rooftop wind turbine idea in S.F.

SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco supervisor wants to give residents of Bernal Heights the opportunity to harness wind for energy by allowing wind turbines on rooftops to rise beyond existing area height limits.

The relatively new and untried practice of erecting wind turbines on rooftops to generate electricity may be catching on in San Francisco.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Financial Times calls Bernal the "City's Last Secret"

The city’s last secret

Bernal Heights is getting recognition for being a the last, true San Francisco neighborhood. Even the Brits have noted the "secret" "cult-like" feel of Bernal.

By Kevin Allison

Published: April 20 2007 18:37 | Last updated: April 20 2007 18:37

Perched on a hillside above the gritty, funky streets of San Francisco’s Mission district, Bernal Heights feels a world removed from the city below. And that’s exactly the way the locals like it.

Bernal isn’t the next neighbourhood in San Francisco; it’s the last neighbourhood in San Francisco,” says Reema Bahnasy, a public relations executive who moved there when she returned from a stint abroad in Singapore last year. “It’s almost like a secret hiding place.”

...Bernal has a quirkiness to it that appeals to some and not to others,” Droubi concludes. “But once people land there it becomes cult-like.”

Full Article

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Interactive Google Map of Bernal

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gavin Comes Clean at Bernal Bubbles

SF's Mayor Gavin Newsom came clean this evening at Bernal Bubbles.

I came late to the gathering at the Bernal laundromat so I had to squeezed in right next to the door. I was incredibly impressed by how knowledgeable and articulate he was. Gavin was very comfortable going into details on a wide range of topics. Some of the specific areas that caught my attention:
  • SF Connect -- The question of how to engage volunteers came up and the mayor praised what SF Connect is doing. "The mission of SF Connect is to mobilize residents and sectors for a stronger San Francisco. SF Connect is about engaged residents volunteering their talent and time for the City as well as innovative partnerships between the private, public and social (nonprofit) sectors."
  • Experience Corps -- A program where the "experienced" ones are able to give back in educational settings.
  • College Track -- A progam that is starting to come into SF. They say, "We exist to help students, who have the desire but lack the resources and support, to attain higher education and fulfill their own best promise." Video of College Track.
  • There's a movement gathering momentum to generate power from tidal turbines outside the Golden Gate. Chronicle article
  • He mentioned that San Francisco has a recycling rate of 70% and that this blows away all other US and international cities.
  • There was also a lot of talk about Bay View and the potential for a greening of the area along with development of green collar jobs.
  • The Mayor's blog.
A video of his talk at Bernal Bubbles.
Part 1

Part 2

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Piqueo's opens in Bernal

Neighborhood Peruvian comes to Bernal in the shape of Piqueo's, the long awaited replacement to Moki's space opened last Friday.

From the Chronicle review:
The cuisine: The menu is dominated by piqueos, or appetizers, such as beer-battered fried smelt for dipping into huancaina al rocoto limon, a creamy sauce infused with rocoto chile. The same chile adds warm heat to halibut ceviche served with potatoes and Peruvian toasted corn. Queso fresco-stuffed yucca balls are fried until crisp, then served with huancaina sauce. Large plates include the iconic lomito saltado -- beef stir-fried with soy sauce, tomatoes and fried potatoes -- and chuleton Alberto, a grilled pork chop on a bed of savory, chewy barley with smoky adobo sauce.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Green the Ghetto - Environmental Justice

A recent conversation about the challenges in Bayshore and Hunterspoint reminded me to go back and listen to an inspiring talk by Majora Carter, a 2005 MacArthur "genius" grant recipient, who fights passionately for environmental justice in South Bronx.

From the TED site:

"In an emotionally charged talk, Majora Carter explains her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx. This MacArthur-winning activist shows how minority neighborhoods have suffered most from flawed urban policy, and energetically shares her grassroots efforts to "green the ghetto."

With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.

Her success is no surprise to anyone who’s seen her speak; Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature.

Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur "genius" grant, now serves as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx, where she pushes both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and, equally important, job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise."

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Can you spare 18 minutes for inspiration?

TedTalks, one of the most inspiring sites on the net, has just rolled out a very nice enhancement to their site.

My favorite part of the site contains a series of 18 minutes videos by a fascinating collection of the world's leading thinkers. The talks range from Technology, Entertainment, and Design to Business, Art and Global Issues.

Drop me a comment and let me know which are your favorites.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bernal community is driving change

I sat in the Bernal Heights safety meeting last Thursday evening thinking how lucky we are to have such an engaged and committed neighborhood.

More than 35 residents from all corners of the neighborhood came together in the BH Community Center for a safety update. This gathering followed a previous meeting that drew more than 170 residents earlier in the year. Ingleside Police Captain Paul Chignell brought five of this officers. The Mayor and Supervisor were also represented. Police Commissioner David Campos made an appearance. You get the idea -- there was a lot of official support.

Frank and Betty, members of the Alemany working group, updated the group on the improvements at the Projects. After Frank spoke, a 65 year Bernal veteran admitted that he had not spoken with someone from Alemany since his high school years. They quickly gained common ground and agreed that a community Bar-b-que was in order.

There is also tangible progress as reported in the SF Chronicle.
  • Starting last weekend, four police officers were assigned full-time to the Alemany beat. The Ingleside police station received four new officers to make up for the ones assigned to Alemany.
  • The federally funded San Francisco Housing Authority has promised to give the Alemany officers their own apartment in the development in which to build a satellite office.
  • Social services are also an important component, and Ammiano helped secure $300,000 in city money for violence prevention programs at Alemany. A Head Start preschool program and playground recently were established in the development.
  • The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center has asked for another $100,000 from the city to run recreation programs.
Captain Chignell and three officers stayed for a neighborhood block watch meeting that followed the main meeting.

"Community Put Peace Together. Responding to Increased Violence a Working Group Gets Alemany and Bernal Heights Residents Together to Effect Reform"

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Why is Toyota littering our neighborhood?

By now anyone walking down Cortland has come across the Want2BSquare posters.

Posters have gone up on shop windows, trash cans, street lights, and anything with a flat surface.

The box headed man holding a bloody knife is brought to you by Toyota's Scion marketing team.

There is a great video of a guy walking down Cortland and being inundated with the annoying posters.