All posts by Mark D McHale

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!

mark.mchale@evna.org

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: mark.mchale@evna.org

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 evna.org

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 conanmchugh@hotmail.com

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

January 2019 Meeting Update

Joe Applebaum and Stu Maddux present on the epidemic of loneliness hitting our culture.

Here's What You May Have Missed...

Many thanks to those who made our January 2019 general meeting quite fun and informative.

Stu Maddux and Joe Applebaum are documentarians working on their newest project: The Minister of Loneliness. They're making a film about the increasing phenomenon of loneliness in our ever more connected culture- an epidemic found in nearly every country and on most continents. Young adults and seniors are two of the most susceptible groups to experience a growing sense of disconnect. The symptoms are sometimes hard to identify, but often are related to feelings of despondency, physical lethargy, isolation and depression. Our audience came up with some easy steps to safeguard our well-being: take a walk around the block and say "hello" to those you meet. Call someone you trust and ask for help. Create boundaries for healthy use of social media. Join a local group like EVNA, a church, a bowling league- anything to get out of your house and engaged with others.

Click here to learn how you can support the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wllvgf9Cu_U

The Castro Mission Medical Facility is going to get an upgrade.

We also learned about the proposed upgrades to the Castro-Mission Medical Facility on 18th Street. The interior floor plan is going to flip allowing for bigger exam rooms, a staff break room, and better offices, and on the outside, there will seismic fittings and a makeover to freshen the building look, including a reconfiguration of the landscaping removing the overgrown eucalyptus trees and planting more Mexican Fan Palm trees.

Supervisor Mandelman made a cameo appearance, giving us an update on his on-going work to address homelessness and improve street conditions in our neighborhood, District 8 and the city at large. Especially important to deal with the most severe cases of mental distress that we see daily, is our support of SB1045. Rafael anticipates there will be well organized resistance to SB1045 by the Coalition on the Homeless and other civil liberties groups when the proposal is presented at the Board of Supervisors meeting, and has asked that we show up to weigh in as residents. EVNA will let members and residents know when the meeting is scheduled.

We also presented the Castro Welcome Packet- this project is result of months of collaboration by the neighborhood groups: DTNA, EVNA, Castro Merchants and the CDB, working together as the Castro Retail Strategy group. The idea is welcome new residents moving into the area, promote the neighborhood association, and encouraging them to shop our Castro businesses. We've designed a cool looking wine tote with Castro branding on it, and it will contain information on the local neighborhood group and as many discount and special offer to Castro businesses as possible. EVNA is looking forward to welcoming our new neighbors, and we are looking for volunteers to get them delivered!

Don't Forget:
Neighborhood Meet & Greet!

Saturday, Feb 9th from 3-5pm
Poesia Osteria Italiana

4072 18th Street between Castro and Hartford Streets
Passed hors d'oeuvres and cash bar

Next General Meeting is:
Wednesday, March 27th, 7pm-8:30pm
Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy
19th at Collingwood Streets

It’s EVNA’s DISASTER EDITION Meeting!

You won't want to miss EVNA's next meeting Thursday, July 26th from 7:00-8:30pm at Eureka Valley Rec Center, 100 Collingwood Street.

It's our first ever- DISASTER EDITION!

Member's Drawing for some cool emergency gear!

We'll welcome our new "Let's Get to Work!" D-8 Supervisor, Rafael Mandelman, and then...

We'll cover various topics related to disasters and emergencies, from updates on the earthquake retrofitting of the SF Seawall and the Twin Peak Tunnel projects, to creating a go-bag and an action plan for home evacuation.

For our valued members, there's a drawing for 3 emergency kits: a 3 day survival go-bag, a first aid kit, and an emergency broadcast radio...

Don't miss out- if you're not a member, join now/at the meeting (www.evna.org/join) for $20-30 and you can have a chance to win as well!

Please remember- it's at the Eureka Valley REC CENTER this time!

Hope you and yours enjoy a happy PRIDE event. After 30 years living in San Francisco, I still get excited to celebrate and take notice of how far we’ve come to be such a diverse and inclusive city, and remind myself how much work we have yet to do to stretch our understanding of what that means.

Welcome to Summer in the City; there’s nowhere with a more beautiful version of it then here in the Castro/Eureka Valley- it doesn’t escape my attention that the fog is often hanging above the crest of Twin Peaks, reminding me to enjoy the warmth of the blue sky and sun until Karl comes back.

It’s been a busy summer since our last edition, what with the debate and the elections. Thanks to all those who attended EVNA’s Sheehy/Mandelman debate to hear the candidates discuss the issues affecting District 8 communities and their respective plans as supervisor. I’d like to thank Jeff Sheehy for his hard work and effort over these past many months as our Supervisor. It isn’t an easy job, and Jeff worked hard to tackle the big issues of LGBTQ youth homelessness, chop shops, crime and more.

With election ballots now counted, I want to congratulate our newly elected Mayor London Breed, and D-8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. EVNA looks forward to working with both officials to keep our community strong by reducing the barriers to building more housing for lower and middle income families and individuals, and to effect real and positive change by getting those on the streets into the services and the stability they need to reclaim their health and their lives, and in the process, making our streets more enjoyable, safe and clean for every citizen, resident and visitor.

Then came the scooters, huh? Wow, like locusts, they were suddenly everywhere! My old-man fist was shaking in the air on many a day, having to navigate scooters on the sidewalks and discarded carcasses everywhere: leaned against newly planted trees, tossed into the bushes, parked neatly right in the center of the crosswalk, not to mention jumping out of my skin every time one of them clipped me on the elbow from behind as the rider zoomed by on the sidewalk. ”Young whipper-snappers!” I heard myself yelling to no one who really cared. What sweet vengeance when SFMTA gave them the companies like Lime, Bird, and Spin the ultimatum to get them off our streets or be impounded with heavy fines. There is justice!

But, being practical and knowing how the SFMTA will sell a permit for anything as long as there is enough money involved, EVNA is sending SFMTA an advance letter in support of the scooters as long as a few important points are addressed: proper fees to handle increased enforcement, permits for approved vendors, implementation of rules for the safety of pedestrians, requiring rider helmets, and a better docking system to keep parked/unused scooters out of rights of way. That’s it! Easy fixes. I’ll be the first to use them if they can meet those simple standards.

Speaking of transit options, we all know the Twin Peaks Tunnel is now closed for 2 months while SFMTA updates the 100-year old tracks, walls and the drainage systems inside. It’s a good thing, and SFTMA has been very effective in getting the word out and educating riders on their alternative routes. On the surface, we’ll see lot’s more foot traffic at the Castro and Church Street Stations as riders scramble for buses and shuttle rides.(https://www.sfmta.com/projects/twin-peaks-tunnelimprovements 0). Making our transit more dependable, our city more ready for the transit challenges we face as a growing city.

EVNA is working with area neighborhood groups like Duboce Triangle, Castro Merchants, Ford Street NAG, and the Castro CBD, to launch an educational campaign on how to properly recycle cardboard. There are days, walking around the neighborhood, when things are just out of control. Some merchants are bypassing the expense and breakdown restrictions placed by Recology and instead relying on an informal scavenger system to pick their cardboard up from the curb. Unfortunately, when the driver doesn’t come around, and the wind and the street people have their way, large panels of cardboard get strewn all over the area overnight; in shop doorways, splayed out at the curb, dragged into the parking lots, used as signs for various enterprising individuals, etc. It means a lot of litter and a lot of extra work for the CBD cleaning crew every morning. I’ve noticed residents can be equally careless, putting huge flat panel TV boxes out on the curb any day of the week, stuffed with plastic, styrofoam and other boxes inside. We have to do better. An inviting street scene helps us all feel less stressed and our neighborhood more welcoming… you’ll see a joint campaign over the next couple months, and Recology has a system to encourage eventual compliance: educate, encourage, audit and finally, fining abusers who persist. If you’re a cardboard scofflaw, watch your Recology bill… it isn’t cheap.

Finally, the next edition of the newsletter and the agenda for our next public EVNA meeting is all about disasters and planning. I hope to see you at the meeting on July 26 th (notice it’s a Thursday, NOT the usual Wednesday) at Eureka Valley Rec Center (upstairs). We’re focusing on all the important ways to be prepared for the inevitable- whether it’s the BIG ONE earthquake, a power outage, or just a scraped knee needing a band-aid, being prepared for disasters and emergencies is a no-brainer, but too often a low priority in busy lives. We’ve got stories of great disasters lined up, disaster preparedness ambassadors, a sea wall earthquake plan, and more emergency stuff. If you’re a member (or you join at the meeting!), you’ll be entered to win one of several Emergency Supply kits and supplies! Be sure not to miss it!