All posts by Mark D McHale

President’s Update: November 2019

I’ve just passed a major milestone in my life which has undeniably repositioned the anchor to which I have tethered my sense of home. I’ve now lived here for just over 30 years- now counting more years in California than in my home state of Michigan. No matter the calendar, nor the count of the years, it’s been true for me that I’ve felt more at home in San Francisco than anywhere else.

This city had welcomed me when I was broken and afraid as a 28 year old young man, it’s helped me declare and sharpen who I am each day, and it’s provided a community from which I’ve drawn my closest friends and family, on par with my own blood family, whom I love so much. Over these 30 years, I’ve become more whole, I’ve learned to stand shoulder to shoulder with my peers, I have found my voice to declare what is important, and I’ve found a community in which I can give of myself and be supported by them in return.

In these past years, it’s become clear to me that I’m living the life I used to only dream of. Even more importantly, I’ve pulled down the rose colored glasses of youth and fantasy, and have come to appreciate it for all it’s multi-textured, irregular, and at times worrisome, outcomes. While there’s much, much work for us to do as a community, for the most part, we’ve got it pretty good here. It’s all part of the crazy story of the Eureka Valley.

None of my 30 years have been more fulfilling than those in service to the EVNA. As a supporter, a board member, and finally now as president, I’ve been fortunate to meet so many of the hearts and hands who work in our rich community: the Castro Merchants, Ford Street Neighborhood Action Group, the volunteers of the Castro Community on Patrol, the reporters and city representatives in our local government. What my time in position has affirmed is that our community is a diverse and wonderful place, with its own energy and inertia that can sometimes weigh us down, and at others fill our tanks in service of our common interests. As president, seizing the positive momentum has been my objective all along; we’ve worked hard to provide a needed forum for education, insight and discussion in the hopes we better understand our obligations to each other, and take advantage of the opportunities that lie before us. We've expanded our membership, drawn neighbors out to say Hello. We've built our online historical archive and bolster our social media presence. I’d like to think the EVNA is stronger as a result of our efforts over these past two years.

With my eyes widened and my heart full, it’s now time to pass the baton of leadership to another. A special “thank you” to the many people who have served on one of EVNA’s committees and on the board of directors, giving their time, insight, skills, funds, and energy to keep the EVNA running. I’m grateful to have worked with these fine souls, and wish the new president and board the best in their years to come.

Thank you Alex Lemberg, Kevin Cureton, Griffin Gaffney, Mary Edna Harrell, Rob Anderson, Rob Cox, Rob LeVan, Loic Olichon, Dan Schulman, and Desmond Morgan and Steve Clark Hall~ what a great bunch of neighborhood heroes and nerds!

September Update from Supervisor Mandelman

Dear Eureka Valley Neighbors,
The fall season is here, and with it, the resumption of Board meetings here at City Hall after an August break.

My office has been working on a broad set of issues, from improving transit to helping small businesses, but addressing homelessness and mental health remains a daily priority. Here are a few initiatives we’ve been working on lately.

Last fall, I requested a Budget and Legislative Analyst report on the City’s use of Lanterman-Petris-Short conservatorships. That report was released in late July, and it showed that, despite the number of sick and vulnerable people languishing without intervention on our streets, San Francisco's referrals to the LPS conservatorship program have dropped by 50% since 2012. I believe we need to do more to get sick and mentally ill people off the streets and into care — that is why I worked hard to locally implement the expanded SB1045 conservatorship program, and why I am continuing to make sure the pilot program is implemented successfully.

In addition, I joined Mayor London Breed in September to launch an initiative that will provide evidence-based, comprehensive services and solutions to meet the needs of nearly 4,000 people suffering from severe mental illness and substance use disorders, starting with the 200 highest needs individuals. By prioritizing this group for housing and public health resources we can save lives and direct our resources to have the biggest impact.

Focusing on our neighborhoods, my office has been working with the Mayor’s Policy Director on Homelessness as well as the Healthy Street Operations Center to create a list of District 8 hot spots, including locations in the Castro, for increased outreach, street cleaning, and police presence. We have also created a list of the highest-need individuals who are dealing with substance use issues and/or mental health challenges, to help get those people wrap-around services and ensure they stop cycling between our jails, hospitals, and city streets.

Lastly, the Mayor’s Meth Task Force which I have co-chaired since April has been working hard on our recommendations for the City’s response to the methamphetamine epidemic. On September 9th I co-sponsored a Town Hall discussion about meth use in the LGBTQ community, and on September 12th we hosted the fourth and final meeting of Meth Task Force. I am looking forward to releasing the Task Force’s recommendations in a final report this October, and to working with my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor to implement those urgently needed changes.

As always, if you have a question or concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to my office, at
mandelmanstaff@sfgov.org.

2019 Fall Events

Hey, Neighbors!
There's lots happening at EVNA this fall, and you'll want to mark these important events and dates now for maximum fun and engagement.
It's Movie Night Again!

Our 2nd annual Neighborhood Movie Night- Saturday 9/28,

6:45pm - 10:00pm, Rikki Streicher Baseball Field at the Eureka Valley Rec Center (corner of Diamond and 19th

Streets). We're showing "E.T!" a sci-fi classic that will warm your heart as you enjoy a flashback from your childhood. Bring the kids! Admission is free. Bring blankets, warm clothes, and lawn chairs. Concessions will be available.

November Public Meeting Date Rescheduled
November's public meeting is moved to Wednesday, Nov 20th at 7:00pm at the Rec Center. (The original date was going to be 11/27, the eve of Thanksgiving, but we're moving it a week ahead so you

can spend the time with family). Join us for elections, enjoy cider and donuts while we change up the meeting format to enjoy each other's company before Thanksgiving!

Changes to the ByLaws
There's a proposed amendment to the ByLaws which the board voted on this month and now brings to the September public meeting for member approval. The amendment includes discussion regarding a code of conduct by members and a process to rescind membership under certain extreme situations. You can view the proposed language by clicking this link. You'll not want to miss this meeting.
EVNA Board Elections in November
November is election month, and it's fast approaching. We have half the board up for election, and there are leadership positions open. I invite everyone who lives in the EVNA footprint over 18 to consider running. Hone your leadership skills, accomplish great things for your fellow humans, work with your neighbors to make a better community- you can achieve these laudable goals and more just by serving on the board for a two year stint! Contact Mark D McHale for more details. Get your name in before 10/31/19 to be on the ballot for November's public meeting.
Castro Welcome Packets
You've probably heard about the 2019 Welcome Packets campaign. Our association volunteers have been delivering these packets to new residents moving into the neighborhood each quarter: as a welcome and an invitation to join the EVNA... the next list we get will be in January 2020, so stay tuned. We'll schedule the assembly and delivery dates in February 2020 soon and let you know when you can help.

President’s Update September 2019

President's Update; September 2019

Building community has been one of EVNA’s primary goals since our founding in 1881. In the last two years, since I’ve assumed the post of president, we’ve been busy bringing people together around different interests and causes: whether its mayoral debates or movie nights, I’ve been happy to see our neighbors and members joining in the action. The Castro and Eureka Valley is (by a long shot) one of the most community focused and engaged neighborhoods in the city.

There have been plenty of activities to get engaged in over the summer and more planned for this fall. If you’ve got an interest, please reach out and help in any way you’re able, we’d love to have you.

The 2nd round of the Castro Welcome Pack has been assembled and delivered by an army of volunteers in August. We received a list of over 300 new names and addresses this past quarter of those  moving into the neighborhood, and managed to pack and distribute welcome packets to most of those. A big thank you to all the board members and volunteers who gave their time and effort, especially to Barrie Simpson, who went above and beyond in making deliveries and getting the word out about EVNA.

As a follow on to the Welcome Packet was the Neighbors Mixer- we sent postcards to those on the Welcome Packet list, as well as sent an email out to member’s inviting everyone to the mixer on August 10th at the Spark Arts Gallery on 18th Street. This is such a cool space to meet up for tasty coffee and baked goods from Spike’s Coffee on 19th, check out the current art on display, and sit around the comfy living room furniture and catch up with each other for an hour or two. I have to say this is one of my favorite spaces and definitely my favorite EVNA event. We’ll have the next mixer in November sometime.

Looking forward on the calendar is the upcoming EVNA movie night on Saturday September 28 at 7pm! Mark your calendars and tell your neighbors. This is our second annual event sponsored by Vanguard Properties on Castro Street. The board is busy finishing up the planning and details. It will be held again on the Rikki Streicher Field at the EV Rec Center, corner of Diamond and 19th Street. The movie title will be announced as soon as we have it. This will be a great family event, free to all but donations welcome.

 

And most importantly, we are gearing up for elections at our November 25th public meeting. Nearly h

alf of the current board is up for election, and new board members are welcomed and encouraged to run. If you live in the EVNA footprint, are a dues paying member, and would like to throw your hat in the ring, please email me with a headshot and a brief statement about you and your aspirations as a leader in the community. Women, persons of color, people of all persuasions, ethnicities and orientations are welcomed and supported.

Please plan to join us at our next public meeting on September 25th in the upstairs meeting room at the EV Rec Center. Meeting starts at 7pm, doors open at 6:45pm. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.

Next General Meeting is Here!

 

President’s Update: July 2019

Mark D McHale

What’s Shaking These Days in the Valley?

 

It’s summer, and school is out- and Karl is making the days chilly and windy this year! We’ve had a few of those perfect days though, you know, the ones where the breeze is warm and promising, the trees are sporting their new leaves, and the sidewalks are clear and clean… those days that remind my of why I moved here in the first place!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Our general meeting location is changed this time to the upstairs multi-purpose room at the Eureka Valley Rec Center...100 Collingwood Street on Wednesday, July 24th, 2019, doors open at 6:45pm and meeting goes till 8:30pm.

We’ve got some good stuff to cover in the meeting- Our D-8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman will update us on the latest SF Budget which passed earlier this month, and includes extra funding for some issues that are very important to EVNA. You can get his latest newsletter by clicking here for a sneak peak. Find out if funds were approved for additional beds, mental illness and rehab services that have been on everyone’s list of high-priority demands this year.

As you know, we are featuring one new candidate for District Attorney each meeting. Last meeting, we heard from Lief Dautch, and this month we’ll hear from Suzy Loftus. Ms. Loftus will introduce herself and tell us a little about her career experience and her aspirations if elected to the post. 

Hats off to our board members and volunteer crew for assembling this quarter’s Castro Welcome Packets for delivery to all our new neighbors moving into the Eureka Valley since April. The crew prepped almost 400 bags, and we’ve got teams signing up to make the deliveries. If you haven’t helped yet, just know this is absolutely fun. Welcoming new folks is central to our core values as a welcoming community. Deliveries are scheduled to go on from July 20th to August 10th...when we have a party to meet everyone face to face!

 

Our second new neighbor’s mixer is coming up and also being combined with our member’s mixer- save the date! Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 10:00am to 11:30am...located again at the Spark Arts Gallery at 4229 18th Street. Join us for coffee and pastries, see a cool art exhibit, and meet some old and new friends!

Elections for the Board are Coming up in November- we’ve got a great group, and we’ve got room for more good souls to share the fun and work with us- we keep EVNA running and relevant! Of particular interest are candidates who can bring new voices to the conversation: if you’re  non-male, of any age but certainly between 21-50, and any non-white ethnicity, let’s talk. This year we’ll be focusing more on community events, and would appreciate skills in marketing, PR/Events, communications, advertising and social media.

Hope you’ll make it to the general meeting on Wednesday, July 24 starting at 7pm and going till 8:30pm. Doors open at 6:45, come early!

Eureka Valley Rec Center (100 Collingwood Street x 18th), Upstairs

In the meantime, I hope to see you around the neighborhood!

Transit and the J-Church Improvement Project

Our Own Supervisor, Rafael Mandelman, is hard at work. He's launched the J Church Improvement Project and writes: Muni’s J Church line serves nearly 17,000 riders each weekday in Noe Valley, the Castro, the Mission, Glen Park and Mission Terrace. Our office has been working with the SFMTA to create a plan to better serve those riders, and starting in May we launched the J Church Improvement Project. The first step in the process is a Listening Tour, where the SFMTA is asking riders about their top concerns and what improvements you would like to see. The SFMTA will be putting together proposals over the summer to address these issues based on what we hear. ​​​​Check out the upcoming schedule by visiting the J Church Improvement Project page, and visiting these upcoming neighborhood meetings:

  • Mission Dolores Neighborhood Assn, 6/11, 6:30pm
  • Upper Noe Neighbors, 7/17, 7pm
  • Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, 7/24, 7:00 pm

In addition, you can tell the SFMTA what improvements you would like to see on the J Church by emailing JChurchProject@sfmta.com.