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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