SF Man Persecuted Just for Loud Music, Spotlights, Machine Guns and Explosives

LTB logo

We all have problems with our neighbors, but just be glad you don't live next to Don Bertone.

Residents in his community in southeastern San Francisco have complained for three years about Bertone, and police have been called dozens of times.  Let's review the charges.

Noise pollution.  Neighbors and police say Bertone blasts not only loud music, but also police radio broadcasts, shrill oscillating tones, and (as the Chronicle put it) "Spanish dance tunes and other noise" from speakers installed on the outside of his home.  This allegedly occurs both day and night.

Light pollution.  Bertone mounted floodlights on his house that sweep the block.  This allows him to monitor the block at night with the six cameras he has also installed.

Eye pollution.  Bertone Manor is a fortress, painted black, with boarded-up windows and barbed wire and hubcaps set along the top of his fences.  The backyard is covered with a blue tarp.  The roof is lined with milk crates and wooden pallets and bristles with over a dozen satellite dishes and antennas.  (The neighborhood-association president described it as "the oddest house in San Francisco," which is saying something.)  Allegedly, Bertone once wrote "KKK" on the side of his house, along with a picture of a noose, which finally spurred the African-American family living next door to move away.

Green-like-substance pollution.  A lawsuit filed last year by the city claims (among many other things) that Bertone poured a "green-like substance" on the car of a neighbor who had complained.  I don't really know what "green-like substance" means, but it sounds nasty.

Stockpiling weapons.  Police who searched the home Tuesday found a high-powered assault rifle, two handguns, 3000 rounds of ammunition, switchblades, and some kind of "explosive device."

Drugs.  Also found a quantity of meth and cocaine.

Miscellaneous.  He had also stolen a couple of street signs.

Defense?  Offense.  Bertone says he is the one being harassed by his neighbors.  No, wait: "persecuted like crazy."  Also, the police and city attorneys are involved in the conspiracy as well.  The only music he plays is when he listens to his stereo in the backyard.  The floodlights and cameras are to protect him against the police.  The barbed wire and boarded-up windows are to keep people out of his property.  The weapons are legal (he might have a point about that, except for the bomb).  Someone else painted "KKK" on his house.  The article did not quote any explanations for the alleged drugs, street signs or green-like substances.

Although it took a couple of years, apparently, the city did act and a restraining order was entered last fall.  Bertone was arrested this week after violating it (again).  He's being held without bail on charges relating to the "explosive device."

In 2000, Bertone ran for a position on the city Board of Supervisors.  He finished 12th out of 12.

Update (2014): In November 2006, Bertone's house caught fire after a spark from his water heater spread to a nearby can of gasoline. Bertone, who wasn't harmed, said he wasn't planning to rebuild and would leave as soon as possible. That's the most recent mention of him in the San Francisco Chronicle, so he probably did.