All posts by quesadagardens

Parrot Poem

FullSizeRender4By Wei Ming Dariotis  

 The black cat jumps up the


but cannot interrupt them;

beaks full of pink plum blossoms,

the parrots coo and

cackle softly

Is it the faint flavor or the soft

petal texture? Or just theFullSizeRender1

smell? Red heads and green

bodies in a cloud of pink

against the mottled blue

spring sky.

They seem so pleased.


It’s just a soft San Francisco


afternoon, in the Bayview

Shane King travels to SXSW, Berlin Film Fest

IMG_5171Filmaker and Cinematographer Shane King with Armistead Maupin at South by Southwest film festival, where they celebrated a film Shane helped to shoot about Maupin, “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.” Image: Courtesy Shane King

Quesada neighbor and Chairperson of Quesada Gardens Initiative,

Shane King, has been busy! In addition to coordinating and leading multiple volunteer days for QGI, raising his daughter running his video production company, and getting engaged, he also recorded an audio tour for the audio tour app, Detour (more about that later in this issue!).

 In addition to being a father, fiancée, community leader, tour guide and video production company CEO, Shane is also a filmmaker, and he has been getting some recognition lately.

 In February, Shane spent five days at the Berlin Film Festival where he attended the world premier of the documentary Tania Libre, a film he shot much of and edited with Director Lynn Hershman. The film will show locally at the Yerba Buena center for the arts as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival

 Then in March, Shane went to SXSW for The Untold Tales Of Armistead Maupin, a documentary about Armistead Maupin directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, that he did the cinematography for had its world premier and won a coveted Documentary Spotlight Audience award. The Untold Tales will likely show at the Castro Theater as part of the Frameline Film Festival

 Now, Shane is looking forward to a relaxing weekend of moving his pregnant fiancée into his house and then shooting an all day dance performance with local choreographer Erika Chong Shuch in the Marin Headlands. 

Quesada Garden hosts groups of volunteers

 H4H - 23Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity with some bags they filled. Image: Craig Cannon

By Elizabeth Skow

Quesada Gardens hosted two groups of volunteers in March, a group of around 35 enthusiastic people from Habitat from Humanity and a smaller group of youth, 8 teens from Student Conservation Association .  Thanks to coordination efforts by Shane King and to Craig Cannon and Carlos John Davila for leading volunteers, these groups helped us to prepare the garden for spring planting.

 The Habitat for Humanity group did a stupendous amount of work, cleaning up palm fronds and weeding much of the garden in one day. I got a chance to work with a group of volunteers weeding and planting garlic.

H4H - 6 Palm fronds are sharp, but they’re no match for these volunteers. Image: Craig Cannon

When they heard the story of Quesada Gardens and how the people here came out and started gardening, building community as they worked, the volunteers were visibly excited about the story and about contributing to the continued success of the gardening and community-building movement

We worked and talked about music, gardening, college and politics. Everyone was friendly and easygoing. Some people had gardening experience, some didn’t but everyone caught on quickly. The group even brought delicious bagels and coffee for all the volunteers!

I was impressed, as I always am when I work with volunteer groups, with the level of cooperation we achieved as relative strangers working together toward a common goal.

Later in the month I worked with Student Conservation Association, weeding the founders garden and sweeping the tile steps. We carefully pulled small weeds out by the roots for about two hours. This group was smaller and a bit shy, but eventually we talked about gardening and what they were studying in school.

Resized_20170325_114147     Joel McClure of works with volunteers from Student Conservation Association

Again, I was impressed with how much we got done. I thought about these high schoolers that gave up a Saturday morning to come into someone else’s community and give their time and labor to us.

Quesada neighbors win NEN for block party


Organizers of Quesada Neighborfest, including Maxine Kraemer, Charlie Castenada and Wei Ming Dariotis, just won a NEN award for Extraordinary Neighborhood Block Party! These three and many other neighborhood volunteers got together, raised funds,engaged the block and created something really cool. more about the volunteers

This year was their first party, and clearly they did a great job. Plans for next Neighborfest are already underway. The party happened Oct. 30 on the 1700 block of Quesada Avenue. It featured wonderful food (local BBQ and a taco truck) live music and a dance troupe from Brette Harte Elementary School.

Congratulations, neighbors!!

Bayview is going solar

By Jeffrey Betcher

Footprints has been championing solar power in Bayview for years.  See some local history

Quesada Gardens, in the heart of the neighborhood, is dense with solar panels, most installed by Oakland-based nonprofit GRID Alternatives.  The home of Jeffrey Betcher sports ten solar panels, as of last Thursday, with help from GRID.  

Pictured are volunteers who joined with GRID staffers and solar professionals to make Jeffrey’s home more sustainable, and to help train workers for a new economy.

In 2007, former Quesada Gardens Initiative Board Member, Leah Pimentel, pushed to make the area the most solar powered place in San Francisco.  Quesada Gardens, in the heart of the neighborhood, is dense with solar panels.  Homes on parallel avenues Palou and Revere, along with several homes on Bridgeview Drive, are also part of the sustainability effort.

Other neighbors are getting in queue for affordable solar.  Contact Andres Rosario to learn if you qualify for the program.

Chatting with Mr. Allen…again

Text and image By Beth Johnson

Josie Mr Allen.01.25.17.XVIII

Mr. Allen has been a familiar face on our block for over 7 years. After completing his military service as a medic in the Korean conflict, Mr. Allen returned to his home state of Louisiana.

In 1956 Mr. Allen moved to make a new life for himself in San Francisco.  He moved into the Bayview at that time, but relocated into the Dogpatch for a number of decades, before he moved into his current long-term home on the Northern side of Quesada Avenue.

Mr. Allen is well known to any who spend much time on our block. Although he is well into his golden years, has spent most of those years working hard, and has surely earned time for sloth. Mr Allen says that sitting at home makes him restless, and leaves him feeling old. Thus, when his health is not bad and it isn’t raining, Mr Allen emerges from his home to hold court on the block. 

Josie Mr Allen.01.25.17.IX.3

Because of the consistency of his presence, and because he is a thinking man who enjoys exchanging ideas, there are many who seek him out to visit with him. I myself very much enjoy conversing with him, while watching the quotidian life in the heart of my neighborhood, and meeting others who stop by to see him. His accepting personality and sharp mind make him excellent company to man or beast alike. 

My little Josie dog (see pic) craves his attention, and always feels like she’s won the lottery when Mr Allen permits her to sit on his lap.

more about Mr. Allen


Jon Chester’s wonderful animated kid’s film

By Wei Ming Dariotis

A longtime resident of the Bayview, quiet, unassuming Jon Chester is an artist, graphic designer, teacher husband and father. After three or four years of working on his own personal art when he could find time, he recently finished his poignantly lovely short animated film, “Rudy with a Flashlight.”

 He used a multimedia technique to create the film. 

 First, he took video of his son, Chester with his phone, then transferred this video to his computer, stopping the film frequently and taking screen shots. 

 He then drew and painted the screen shots onto 8×10 inch drawing paper, scanned in all the drawings, sequenced them with the music in Adobe After Effects and rendered the movie into the video.


Rudy with a Flashlight from Jon Chester on Vimeo.

“The music of Rainer Ptacek was very important to me. He was a great person, father and musician and I feel more people should be exposed to his music.” Jon says his inspiration for the film is rooted in two things. First, he said,

 The second part was being inspired by his family and his son’s experiences in life.

 “I was watching the miracle of my son Chester learning and growing and wanting to ‘capture’ that with my drawing and painting skills,” Jon said.

 The finished artwork is lovely in itself, but its meaning to Jon is not only a love letter to his wife and son, but also to the great musical artist who inspired him. 

 “I’m really happy that Rainer’s widow Patti and his son Rudy love the video, and Rainer’s best friend Howe Gelb (of the band Giant Sand), one of my musical heroes, called it ‘stunningly fantastic.'”

more meet the neighbors

Cancer and community

By Jeffrey Betcher

Maybe there should be a more uplifting title to this article, not just because it might be gentler on you, dear reader, but also because there is so much about “cancer and community” that is positive.

It’s a strange way to start a sentence, but…  The good thing about dying is how it can make a person feel more alive than ever, a phenomenon that can extend to the family, friends and community of the person dying.  Most of my relationships are healthier as a result, just as the hole my death will leave in my community has clarified.

When you’re sick, it’s hard to remember this:

Death isn’t just about the dying. It’s also about those left behind.  I’ll be pissed at myself enough to come back for a do-over if my friends and neighbors are shocked to learn of my death. Ideally, I will have included them in my journey so that whatever beauty there might be in my passing will help balance the grief.

In past updates about my own illness and how it relates to the community of place I love so much, I’ve talked about how those living in traditionally under-served communities like Bayview can be at higher risk for all sorts of diseases than those living in more affluent places.  That’s something communities can help address, primarily through education and advocacy.  More

I’ve also talked about how my neighbors have helped me in ways that only neighbors can, and how being part of a local community improves my odds. Wherever you live, when it comes to being sick, the closest support is next door if not in the house with you.  Clearly, being part of a community comes with benefits for the sick person.  More

We’ve lost two more neighbors to cancer here on my block of Bayview in just the past couple of months. One of them a relatively young long-term resident, something that may speak to the incidence of cancer rates here.  The community response as I’ve observed it speaks to the value of social networks to getting through tough times. While it may be impossible to understand loss suffered by others, folks in Bayview seem to understand that acknowledging it and reminding those in grief that they are not alone makes a difference.

Connecting with the people and physical environment where we live takes some effort. But I believe it’s important. A sense of community contributes to a better life for even the healthiest neighbors. And when a community member dies, the community context helps make sense of the loss.

I’ve come to think that a person with a life-threatening illness or injury has a unique role to play in their community that goes beyond being the receiver of help from neighbors.  Active awareness of death, something we will all grapple with one day, can be depressing. But it can also make each day more valuable.  Every word and act can be more compassionate, intentional and responsible.

Trust me on this: get a terminal diagnosis, expect to change in practical ways. No one could blame you if you lowered the blinds, powered-down your phone and burrowed under the covers. On the other hand, you could find yourself picking up litter in the SuperSave parking lot, waving at the person across the street who you had been angry at for some reason you can’t quite recall, seeing beauty in precisely those things that had made your life less beautiful the day before your diagnosis….

Folks have told me that by witnessing my journey (and by my willingness to share it) they are living life more fully and dealing with their fears more successfully. It seems that I am contributing to my community in a new way these days: by living with death, openly. Sometimes, building community is as easy as breathing.

Get a recent update on Jeffrey’s health and cancer treatment, and a whole lot more, by going to and searching on his name.

Literacy for Environmental Justice seeks board members

By Elizabeth Skow

Literacy for Environmental Justice was founded in 1998 by community members to build a greener, more equitable future for itself. LEJ has been educating youth about their environment and leading volunteer groups to restore green parts of Southeast San Francisco for almost twenty years. They also run a native plant nursery that provides plants for many greening and conservation projects in San Francisco.

Currently, LEJ is restoring an area of Candlestick Point and building six campsites that will accommodate walk-in, boat-in and bike-in campers. It will be one of only two places in San Francisco that allows camping. The campsites will be available to the public, and will prioritize youth camping in an urban setting.

This project is in conjunction with expanding their garden and native plant nursery for eco-restoration on Carroll Ave. The nursery will provide plants for the Candlestick Point project and others in Southeast San Francisco. LEJ will have coordinated 1,000 youth and other volunteers who will have donated 3,000 to 5,000 volunteer hours by the time the work is finished. The project will also involve Parks and Rec in an effort to promote better use of San Francisco’s parks.

LEJ’s Executive Director Patrick Marley Rump has been working with LEJ since 1999. He got involved after he did some restoration work at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and heard about LEJ projects at Heron’s Head Park. He had noticed a disconnect between ecology and preservation work and the communities most in need of that work. As he was living in Bayview, he saw an opportunity to serve the community in which he lived.

Today, Literacy for Environmental Justice is looking for Board of Director candidates.

Patrick says the ideal LEJ board member would be rooted in Bayview, and would want to be involved in governance, planning and community building. That board member would have a connection or desire to connect with environmental justice work in Bayview, would want to impact the lives of young people here, and would bring to the board role some funds development skill.

If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact LEJ.