Infamous Rock on Bernal Hill brings humour and politics to SF cityscape

Bernal Heights, named the #1 “hottest” neighborhood in America of 2014 by Redfin, is known for its many families and combination of old San Franciscans and younger money. Due to its proximity to Palo Alto and Silicon Valley, the neighborhood is highly desirable for new tech employees. Bernal also has a long history of political activism. Its neighborhood center offers senior lunches for less than $2 and offers “social justice programs” to train teenagers on how to be politically engaged. The neighborhood used to attract home buyers because of its lower prices but, according to local blog “Bernalwood,” the combination of city views and “a community of like-minded progressives” has made the neighborhood highly attractive to buyers and raised home prices. Bernal is also highly desirable because of Bernal Hill Park, which occupies the top of its large hill. In recent years, a large boulder that overlooks the cityscape has been painted to look like everything from a poop emoji to a Christmas tree. In the recent presidential cycle, the Bernal Hill rock has taken on more of a political stance, as opposed to the cheeky paint jobs of the past. While the rock has been used to commemorate great musicians like Prince and has been painted gold in support of gay rights, the neighborhood “elves”, as local blog Bernalwood has named them, fought over the boulder during the democratic nomination as Hillary and Bernie supporters painted their opinions. The rock began painted blue with a silhouette of Bernie and the words “Bernie Rocks” written on it. Hillary supporters quickly changed the text to read “Woman R the Revolution” with “Hillary” written below it. Only days later, the rock was again transformed against Hillary, now reading “Some Woman R the Revolution,” and “Hillary is owned by Goldman Sachs.” Some residents resent the use of the rock for political reasons, as Tikloh Bruno-Basaing stated in an interview that, “as city property, it shouldn’t be advertising one political stance.” Others believe that it brings character and carries on Bernal’s long tradition of activism as “Bernalwood” named the rock a “pillar of political resistance.” 60% of 30 Urban students surveyed in late March 2017 believed it should be a place for political content while 80% of students surveyed said yes or maybe to whether it should show more humorous content. From a g-string-“mom”-tattoo-bearing buttcheek, to a resistance against Hillary’s corporate affiliations, the Bernal Hill Rock seems to grow a layer of paint a week. Currently, it’s painted an electric green with a stenciled white clover, returning to its non-political roots.