All posts by Mark D McHale

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

A Small Step Forward to Help Some of Those Struggling on Our Streets

There's a glimmer of hope from the Board of Supervisors, who struck a deal to pass SB-1045 after all.

For all the hand-ringing and political posturing it took to arrive at even this meager solution to get the absolute worst cases of mentally ill off the street and into some modicum of care, it's no surprise why we can't seem to solve this huge problem given the huge amounts of energy, money and social cohesiveness  it's been sucking from our community and city budget. This bill will purportedly apply only to 2-5 people across the entire city.

Thanks to our own D-8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Carolyn Thomas and Jared Goldfine (Ford Street Action Group), and all our neighbors who got involved, showed up at City Hall, and made their support known to our Supervisor and the Board.

Read this write up in the Chronicle for more details.

It’s Time to Speak up for Some of the Most Vulnerable Among Us…

EVNA Members- Call to Action

As president of EVNA, and as your neighbor, I'd like to ask you to be at this meeting at city hall tomorrow- will you show up to support SB-1045, The Conservatorship Law?

San Francisco needs to address the serious and inhumane crisis on our streets. Mental illness affects nearly 25% of individuals living outdoors.

We've seen it everywhere in our neighborhood- it's distressing, overwhelming, and at times terrifying to witness the extreme and out of control behavior of people who are obviously suffering from mental illness, whether organically or chemically induced. It's shameful that we've allow this to go on, and it's inhumane to leave them outside to survive in often brutal circumstances.

There's a time when, with care and transparency, we need to help these worst-case individuals by taking them into care, stabilizing their situation, and hopefully help them into services to improve their lives over time.

The SF Board of Supervisors is deliberating the merits of SB-1045 (The Conservatorship law) and is taking public input as to what citizens think would be in the best interests of our city, carefully weighing civil liberties and conservatorship.

The hearing is Monday 5/13 at City Hall, Room 250, beginning at 10am. The Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association is in support of applying SB-1045 Conservatorship to the most hardcore individuals, estimated to be 5-12 people in the entire city. They need us to speak for them- let's take this small step in the name of human kindness...

Let’s welcome our new neighbors…

We're having our first "Welcome New Neighbors!" mixer tomorrow, Saturday, May 4th, at 10:00am to 11:00am.

Aviva, owner of SparkArts Gallery  (4229 18th Street, near Mollie Stones) has generously donated her space for us to use. New neighbors have been invited as a part of the Castro Welcome Packs we delivered in April.

We'll have coffee and pastries while they last, and some great conversations with those in attendance. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to stop by, say "hello", and share what you love about living in the Castro/Eureka Valley.

Hope to see you there!

Castro Welcome pack kick off this week

The long awaited Castro Welcome Pack campaign is ready for delivery! We've got our backs packed (so to speak!), we have about 100 addresses, and now all we need is our volunteers to pick 'em up and get 'em delivered!

You've been hearing for several months now that the EVNA is launching a quarterly program to welcome all new residents to the neighborhood with a "Hello!" and a wine tote gift bag that includes information about EVNA and also promotes our local businesses with coupons and specials. I can't think of a better way to make sure those moving into the neighborhood feel connected and cared for from the start!

The delivery process goes something like this: you and a friend pick up about 10-15 of the pre-assembled, pre-addressed gift bags, and get them delivered before the end of April- anytime that works for you and your side-kick (we recommend teams of 2 people). The idea is to meet new residents face to face, say hello and welcome to the neighborhood, share a little bit about yourself, the Castro, and invite them to check out EVNA and to stop in the shops and restaurants with these specials included in the gift bag. Sounds pretty fun and easy! We've got a conversation guide if you need it, and a system to deal with recipients who might not be home the first time.

Volunteers had a great time putting all the bags together, and it's going to be a lot of fun getting them delivered. I know from experience, that the more I invest my time in helping others to feel connected, I somehow walk away with the same gift- it's a great feeling. If you'd like to help with delivery of the Castro Welcome Packs, email me and I'll get you connected!

Join us for our Next mixer @ Canela!

Join your neighbors for a little fun and frivolity! Sarah Palin once said, "I can taste Spain from Eureka Valley!" as she enjoyed an array of tapas prepared by our own local wonder, Chef Mat Schuster! And this time, she was RIGHT!

EVNA is hosting Happy Hour(s) for it's members and admirers on Sunday, April 28 from 3-5pm with a variety of tapas and a cash bar!

Eat, drink and be neighborly, and you too will be saying "Buen Provecho!"

Castro Welcome Pack delivery starts in April

Ever think about what it would be like to actually meet your neighbors and spend some time talking with them and getting to know them (and not just typing at them on Facebook or NextDoor)?

We're inviting you to get out of the house and be a part of welcoming our newest neighbors to the Castro/Eureka Valley. Every quarter, starting in April.

EVNA (your neighborhood group) is launching the Castro Welcome Pack... think "welcome wagon"... we've committed to welcoming every new neighbor in the hood with a little gift and a human "hello"... would you be interested in joining us?

Share some of our history, tell 'em your fave restaurants, point to the library, the museum, show 'em the flag...share with them some of the excitement and passion for why we love our neighborhood so much!

We're going to have our first volunteer orientation meeting on March 30th at 10:00am- location tbd. We'll introduce you to our cool new Welcome Pack, go over the contents, review talking points and nail down logistics. This is an authentic and genuine welcome, and not a sales pitch.

(The Welcome Pack is a Castro branded wine tote with coupons and discounts from local Castro Merchants to encourage residents to support, shop, and dine locally).

It's a great way to welcome new residents, help them feel connected and engaged from the get-go, and for you to make some lasting friendships!

Who's in? Email me:

President’s update: March 2019

It’s spring again, and there’s lots to keep us busy! With the new year, we are taking focus on issues and matters important to us as a neighborhood- and we are raising the stakes and calling membership into action.

The newsletter committee is publishing its second edition in digital format later this month. Not only is the committee hard at work pulling together March’s content, but they’re adapting their work processes, figuring out best practices for content collection and distribution systems, and also getting our advertisers renewed and making calls to bring in new advertisers. These guys don’t know the meaning of “stop” because they go till it’s done…hat’s off to Psyche, Rob, Mary Edna and Steve! Look for the next edition coming out around March 20, 2019. If you’d like to advertise your business or cause, click here- Advertise in the Eureka, and submit your payment and artwork! Be sure to support out advertisers and all the businesses in the Castro. Look for the one page "teaser" newsletter on doorsteps around central Castro, or sign up for the digital version at

We’ve reserved the March issue of the Eureka! to cover topics important to EVNA’s Planning and Land Use Committee. You’ll find fascinating articles on the basics of planning and land use terminology, one explaining the process used to interact with developers and the planning department for balanced outcomes. Another article covers who’s on the committee and how you can attend or join. You can read about Collingwood Park- ever wonder when that dirty old dog park is going to get some much needed attention, or how the park got surrounded by those super high fences (I do!)? Lastly, you may have heard about SF’s Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin’s proposed ordinance SFBOS 181216, which is his attempt to reign in developers/ builders/ speculators who sometimes abuse the city’s demolition and renovation rules and regulations to unfair advantage. We do need to safeguard our rich architectural history while doing whatever is in our power to build more units, but does the ordinance go too far? Read up- you’re going to be asked to weigh in when it comes to public hearings later in March or April.

Who decides what gets built where?
SF Parks Alliance helps communities and parks raise funds to ensure the health and well-being of these vital assets.

Ever wonder how to bring a community dream into reality? Think back recently to the efforts you may have participated in regarding a potential redesign of the Harvey Milk Plaza, or when we widened the sidewalks- those are examples of a community improvements process, and wow, that was a lot of organizing, talking, listening, hand holding, etc. Well, EVNA sent several delegates to attend the SF Parks Alliance’s Partner Conference 2019 to learn more about the process to bring community projects into reality. It was a full day workshop with guest speakers and locals experienced in the process. We’ll have an update posted for you in the Eureka! Who knows, we may even think of a worthy community project to get behind at some point.

The Mission Dolores Green Benefit District (MD-GBD) is a great example of a community improvement project- this group of dedicated and passionate residents are working to create a “green benefit district” around Dolores Park, two of the edges are west of Castro and south of Market Street (where it would dovetail into the Castro Community Benefits District). Conan McHugh has been EVNA’s liaison, and is now inviting EVNA members and local residents to a Focus Group to provide their input on the project. Are you curious? What are your thoughts? Contact Conan McHugh, 650.722.6347 or

The City of San Francisco is considering a 5 year pilot program to expand conservatorship in an effort to get some of many individuals who experience extreme mental and drug related illnesses, into care and off the streets.

On another important front, you’ll be hearing more about SB-1045, written by Scott Weiner and passed into law by Governor Brown, it’s scheduled soon to be considered by our own Board of Supervisors. The law creates a five-year pilot program allowing for strengthened conservatorship laws that focus on providing housing and wraparound services for people suffering from mental health and substance use issues. There are many questions we should be asking to ensure humane and well monitored support systems to those suffering the most, and it’s one of the few tools we have to actually try to help some to get stable enough to actually change their circumstances. We’re asking our members to read up on this pilot program and support it however possible- send an email or letter to SF Supervisors, attend the hearings coming up, and get involved. The word is there will be a lot of push-back by the Coalition on Homelessness and other civil liberties groups. What’s your position?

Reach WAAAAY back, and try to recall anything you may have heard about the Welcome Wagon? I’m not old enough, but I have been told, neighbors used to make a big effort to welcome new neighbors when they moved in. Why can’t we do that again? I’m really excited to announce the Castro Welcome Pack! With grant funds from the city, and coordination with the Castro CBD, the Castro Merchants, and Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, we are going to bring the tradition back to life! EVNA volunteers will visit new neighbors every quarter and deliver a Castro-branded wine tote full of information about the EVNA, our neighborhood history, and including lots of coupons and special offerings from Castro area Merchants! It’s all an attempt to build community, make new friends and promote our shopping district. It’s going to be a blast. I’ll be knocking on doors myself- would love to have you join me.

As a final mention- I’m sad to hear that Lion Barrett has passed in December 2018. He lived on 17th Street, and served as a past president of the EVNA from 1998-2001 (then called the EVPA). We don’t have many details, and if you can share pictures or memories, we’ll be sure to include them in the March newsletter.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on in Eureka Valley, and I’m looking forward to seeing you around the neighborhood, be sure to say “hello”.

Our next general meeting is:

Wednesday, March 27th

7:00pm to 8:30

Doors open about 6:45pm

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th at Collingwood in the Cafeteria