GGNRA AND POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE

ADVISORY COMMISSION MEETING

Tuesday, November 28, 2000†††† Fort Mason, San Francisco

 

Richard Bartke [chair]:

 

As a matter of introduction, the members of the Commission that are seated up here each have their names in front of them, and so I wonít introduce them all.They are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to give advice to the Park Service.And the Commission members are not paid, they are volunteer citizens, as most of you are, and have been appointed because they have some experience in local government or public affairs of some kind.And the Commission members range all the way from service of just a couple of months all the way to a couple of decades.

 

The two gentlemen on my immediate left are employees.Brian OíNeill is the general superintendent of Golden Gate, and Craig Middleton is representing the Presidio Trust this evening, and weíll be getting reports from them later.

 

The next item on the agenda is the Fort Funston closure notice, and itís going to take a couple of minutes, but I want to set this into context in order to explain to the people who are here what it is that the commission has dealt with with this issue.

 

First of all, in the area of public comment:this commission has had four sessions in which public comments were received Ė on January 18, March 21, July 18, and August 29, and then we even heard from a few on September 26 who had been missed on August 29.But on August 29 public hearing was closed, and so I hope that everybody understands that tonight is not a public hearing, itís already been closed.However, there was an eight-week public comment period and during that period of time we received a number of different communications.Iíve been told that the estimate is something like 1500 written communications, and that includes significant amounts of material from SFDOG, the SPCA, and habitat restoration.

 

Next, at the request of members of the public we reviewed the transfer from the City of San Francisco to the Park Service of the area now known as Fort Funston.That included, we all have copies of the voter pamphlet, the ballot arguments, and Proposition F of October 1973; the late but emphatic endorsement of Willie Brown; we have a bit on the spending, in which this proposition spent less than anything else on the ballot, less than $700, and yet it passed with the highest number of votes of anything on the ballot, on the November 6, 1973 election, getting over 75% of the vote.Weíve also reviewed the agreement that was signed between the City and the Park Service on April 29, 1975, and thereís two deeds, May 22, 1975 and September 17, 1975, that we had copies of.

 

As far as planning documents go, we reviewed the San Francisco Master Plan, the San Francisco comments to our General Management Plan and the Golden Gateís General Management Plan in 1980, which was adopted after I donít know how many hearings, but just in San Francisco alone there were over 100 hearings before that Master Plan was adopted, General Management Plan.

 

We also reviewed federal laws and regulations, which included the National Park Serviceís Organic Act, the 1978 amendment to the National Park Service General Authorities Act, Directorís Order No. 55, Code of Federal Regulations, specifically 36.2.15, and specifically having to do with Golden Gate, Public Law 92-589, which established Golden Gate, the Advisory Commission Pet Policy, which was adopted on September 27, 1978, the Code of Federal Regulations Compendiums Ė thereís three of them, dated July 8, 1996, December 19, 1997, and August 24 of this year.

 

We also reviewed the findings and order for the federal district court dated April 26 of this year.In fact, I went so far as to look up the cases that were cited by Judge Alsup, all of which had to do with Park Service closures Ė Henderson versus Stanton, Mausolf versus Babbitt, Spiegel versus Babbitt -- it was interesting that on appeal, all three of those the Park Service prevailed.

 

We also checked with other federal court cases that had to do with closures, one of which in fact involved Golden Gate Ė the Bicycle Trails Council versus Babbitt in 1996, in which this commission was involved, and that case held two things; one was that all units of the Park Service be treated the same, thereís no difference between national parks in urban areas and national parks in rural areas; and the second is that as long as the evidence supports the Park Service determination, the court is not free to substitute its judgment for that of the agency, and thatís a quote.

 

The members of the commission also made site visits to Fort Funston and, of course, have had available their own contacts with members of the public and their own opinions.If youíre looking for copies of the summary report, there are some at the back table, but it now comes to the Commission for action, and so thatís where we are right now.

 

The member of, the chairman of our San Francisco Committee is Jack Spring, and Jack, were you going to pass this off to someone else?

 

Jack Spring:

 

Well, Iím going to give you my report from our last meeting of November 7, and at the start of that meeting we were updated on the Camera Obscura and the nominating of that for the National Historic Register.And then we went into the Fort Funston closure notice for about the fourth meeting in a row.And there was a great deal of discussion, and the result of that discussion was that we should suggest to the Commission a series of resolutions to stimulate discussion and modification or change by the members of the Commission who have not had the opportunity to participate in these kinds of discussions.So in the packet there are three resolutions that are drafted very roughly, and by only a few of us, so they need a lot of polishing.And Amy Meyer has agreed to introduce these and talk about these resolutions and ÖÖ

 

Amy Meyer:

 

Okay, Iím going to present -- the first resolution regards the closure of 12 acres at Fort Funston.This is the issue which brought matters to a head.And Iím going to read the resolution into the record, and hope the commissioners have it as the top sheet in one of the sets of papers you have.

 

Whereas the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is part of the national park system and subject to its policies and regulations, as well as to federal law, and

 

Whereas the GGNRA has proposed to close 12 acres of Fort Funston to reduce cliff and bluff failure, encourage the restoration of natural habitat, protect the lives and habitat of bank swallows, a species listed as threatened by the State of California Endangered Species Act, and assure the safety of visitors and pets, and

 

Whereas the naturally eroding cliffs of Fort Funston have lost many feet of land since the GGNRA was established, exacerbating loss of species habitat and creating safety issues, and

 

Whereas this commission has, during extended comment period between January and October 2000, heard testimony from park users and other interested parties on four occasions and has received approximately 1500 written comments, and

 

Whereas this commission, in part at the request of the Fort Funston Dog Walkers, has reviewed applicable National Park Service law, including:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now therefore be it resolved that the decision of the GGNRA superintendent to close 12 acres of Fort Funston to dogs is appropriate and necessary, and

 

Be it further resolved that in preference to permanent closure, the Commission requests the superintendent consider removing the fences and having a trail through the area accessible to dogs on leash.

 

Well, I think that Iíve just presented that one straightforward.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

All right, itís now open to commission comment or question on the proposed resolution as drafted by, I think, a couple of members of our commission.

 

Redmond.

 

Redmond Kernan:

 

I have a concern that we havenít recognized that the plan for Fort Funston is somewhat old in that itís twenty years or more, I think, in age, and should be updated, and I would suggest a further resolve, which would be that this commission request that the National Park Service as early as practicable update the General Management Plan for Fort Funston, and in that process work with neighbors and user groups to see that that plan reflects not only conservation, but how people fit into that plan, which by just emphasizing the conservation aspects, doesnít indicate how people fit there; one could fence off the entire park for conservation.So, I think the plan needs to be revisited, and I would suggest adding that further resolve.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

I would like to point out that the Chair has not accepted a motion or second and we have not -- therefore, we donít have to put this in the form of an amendment to the motion because we donít have a motion.Itís open, wide open, for discussion, andÖ

 

Redmond Kernan:

 

I would move the resolution with my addition to itÖ

 

Richard Bartke:

 

I was actually encouraging to not do that until we get a lot of ideas on the floor, and then maybe somebody can frame a single motion, but ÖÖ No, weíre going to discuss without a motion for a while at least.

 

Speaking only for myself, I certainly sympathize with what you said.When I brought it up myself a couple of weeks ago, I was told that that would raise false expectations because there is no money in this budget or next budget or the next budget to do that kind of a plan, and which is regrettable.Iím not sure that that should stop us from saying what we want to say, but the reality is that the plan isnít going to get done very soon.

 

Amy Meyer:

 

Well Rich, I also think that this is a highly focused resolution, there are other resolutions here, thereís no reason why what you say canít be a separate resolution.But this resolution is specifically to deal with the closure of 12 acres at Fort Funston, which became the subject of the court case.And I would hope that we would stick to that one subject in this resolution.

 

Redmond Kernan:

 

I would only suggest that we consider the subject I mentioned because Iím not sure thereíll ever be money requested unless there is a meeting to update the plan, and therefore money will be requested at the point there is a recognized need.So I think it may help to get it on record, whether itís in a separate or this resolution, I donít care.But I think, I feel, one of the issues is operating without a plan thatís current enough for people to feel that it represents the wishes of all those involved.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Okay, hold that thought.Fred?

 

Fred Rodriguez:

 

I just wanted to draw attention to the, or ask a question, concerning the last clause, about the area being accessible to dogs on leash on the trail there.And this is solid with respect to the rest of Fort Funston.It is my understanding that, notwithstanding the federal legislation, that there really isnít an enforcement of the dog on leash in other areas within Fort Funston.Is there going to be any change with respect to that?

 

Amy Meyer:

 

We have a series of resolutions here.It seemed wise to start with one that spoke specifically to the core of the matter that went to court.We had to handle this ourselves, and because of the nature of it, this has been handled within the members of the commission; usually weíll work on the resolutions -- we work with the staff and language sometimes gets smoothed.But in this case this is a separate resolution to hang by itself; that topic will be taken up in another resolution.

 

Fred Rodriguez:

 

Okay.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

But the question specifically, as I understand it, was not necessarily the fact that there not be a permanent closure and that there be leashes, but whether or not the enforcement would follow, either whether that was done or not done.

 

Trent?

 

Trent Orr:

 

I donít have any, actually I like this quite a bit, but I have a correction at this point.I may have some discussion a bit later.Itís just a technical matter.

 

In the long ďwhereas,Ē three lines from the bottom Ė the name of that document is not the West Side Plan, itís the Western Shoreline Area Plan.An area plan is a specific subset of the general plan, itís incorporated as part of it.

 

Unidentified Speaker:

 

ÖÖÖ. ÖÖthat many lawyers!

 

[laughter]

 

Trent Orr:

 

Thatís my only comment right now.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Do you want to make any more?

 

Trent Orr:

 

Iíll wait and hear more of the discussion.

 

Amy Meyer:

 

Thank you.I heard what Fred said better after I listened to Richís comment and I think what you seem to be saying, Fred, about that last resolve, is the commission request the superintendent consider removing the fences, having a trail through the area accessible to dogs on leash, and enforcing the regulations that would then keep a dog on a leash.I think that thatís missing.That makes sense.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Other comments.[pause]Now, does somebody want to make a

 

motion on this proposed resolution?

 

Unidentified Speaker:

 

So moved.

 

Unidentified Speaker:

 

Second.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Itís moved and seconded as drafted, except for the name of the Cityís plan.

 

Unidentified Speaker:

 

Now, we just added a clause saying we hadÖ considered

removing the fences, having a trail through the area accessible to dogs on leash, and enforcing the leash regulationÖ

 

Amy Meyer:

 

The leash regulation required by the, by nationalÖ

 

Unidentified Speaker:

 

Well in other words by or enforcing the national leash regulation, the national parks leash regulation.

 

Amy Meyer:

 

The NPS leash regulation.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Okay, got it.That is part of the motion then.Redmond, did you want to bring up your point?

 

Redmond Kernan:

 

I willÖamendment, but Iím willing to have it be as a separate resolution.†††

 

[brief, unintelligible cross-conversation]

 

Richard Bartke:

 

All right.Discussion on the motion.Michael.

 

Michael Alexander:

 

I think weíve all read the legislation, and itís been pretty enlightening to me because it is, Iím not a lawyer, so I read it as a layperson does.We have lawyers on this panel, goodness knows there are enough lawyers around.I read it as a layperson, and as Iíve read the Organic Act and the long series of regulations and court decisions and further regulations and further court decisions and interpretations that bind the National Park Service, and bind this commission, because we took an oath to uphold the law, I donít see a lot of room.And so Iím going to support this resolution, because I think this is what the law says.

 

Now I appreciate that we have heard from some people that they believe that the law says something else.We have a much larger issue in this country right now that is being settled; thatís why we have courts, and itís my understanding that a case questioning the law has been filed.If thatís the case, so be it; thatís what the courts are for, and we will get a ruling, we will get an appropriate ruling on this issue.Until then, though, I feel bound by the law as I understand it and as it has been presented, I think quite persuasively, to me by the Park Service and its solicitors.So I will vote for this resolution.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Other comments.[pause]Trent.

 

Trent Orr:

 

Well, just briefly to take out, not saying what Michael just said was grudging, but Iíd just like to say that I think there are some principles here.Iím not voting for this just because I feel bound by the law.I think that the law is absolutely right there, but I think that to me itís really an issue of what national parks are for, and that obviously is expressed in the law, but the principle beyond that is a very important one, and I think that, in fact, we have at Fort Funston a really remarkable area that has some extremely rare and valuable resources within our city, and what the Park Service is trying to do is find a way to preserve those resources, to enhance them, to bring that population of bank swallows back, to save a little bit ofthe remaining dune communities we have here in the city, and I think in and of itself thatís an extremely valuable thing to do.And I think that the notion that in this area especially with the second resolve that we would even think that the fences could go away as long as people were willing to have their dogs on leash, which does not seem to me to be a really onerous burden in a national park.So I just wanted to have someone say for the record that I think there are a number of principles involved here that I think are very important ones that made me quite pleased to vote for this resolution.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Lennie.

 

Lennie Roberts:

 

Well Iíd like to add to that a bit.I agree with what Trent has said, and I also wanted to add the broad consideration that we have to do, about visitor enjoyment of the national parks.And we have to keep in mind that we are, we are really, we need to take into account the mandate of the Park Service for providing for all visitors, and having a single use in a national park actually will exclude other potential users, and from my perspective I am happy to see this park used by many dog users, dog walkers and dogs and owners, and I think that their dogs off leash become a problem for other users who may not choose to go there, and itís hard to find out about those people who are not there and why theyíre not there.Weíve heard a lot from the public that does use the park and I very much appreciate all the comments that we have heard about this.But I think we have to keep in mind many of the voices that we havenít heard as well, so I would support this resolution for that reason.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Redmond?

 

Redmond Kernan:

 

I think I agree with everybody, but I have a slightly different view, that urban parks perhaps shouldnít be treated the same as all national parks Ė maybe one size doesnít fit all.Maybe one set of rules shouldnít govern all parks.I think there is a distinction between creating an urban park in an urban area and some of the national parks Ė Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc. Ė who are in wild areas.And I think that, if I could make the law, I would have the superintendent have discretion in some matters that he now doesnít.But given all that, the law does say what it says and Iím willing to support it and support this resolution, but I wish that there were more latitude for creativity on the part of the superintendent and that there was the opportunity to have different rules for different kinds of parks.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Michael.

 

Michael Alexander:

 

Two points.First of all, I didnít mean to suggest -- by omission Ö -- that there werenít other reasons why I supported this resolution.But I think that following the law is the first test and everything else falls away if, as in this case, the law has to be obeyed.

 

As to Commissioner Kernanís point, there was a time, I believe in the seventies (Doug, I think you can check me on this) when the Park Service actually did set management standards for three different kinds of parks, one of which was recreation areas.And Congress clearly and specifically, in two instances, wrote into law that that was not to be the way the Park Service interpreted the Organic Act, that the Park Service was to treat all units of the national park system, to manage all units of the national park system by the same standards; they did not want that.So the Park Service had to revise its regulations to conform to the will of Congress.It was absolutely clear.You may disagree, you know, others may disagree with the intent of Congress, but thatís what Congress did and they did it twice.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Gordon.

 

Gordon Bennett:

 

Can I ask a question.Does anyone know what the San Francisco Westside Plan says?I assume someone knows.Could you read again that partÖ

 

Amy Meyer:

 

Yeah.This takes up all the coastal areas on the west side of San Francisco, such as Cliff House and Ocean Beach and Sutro Baths, and on Fort Funston it says,

 

        Objective 9:Conserve the natural cliff environment along Fort Funston.

 

        Policy 1:Maximize the natural qualities of Fort Funston.Conserve the ecology of entire Fort and develop recreational uses which will have only minimal effect on the natural environment.

 

        Policy 2:Permit hang gliding, but regulate it so that it does not significantly conflict with other recreational and more passive uses, and does not impact the natural quality of the area.

 

Gordon Bennett:

 

And thatís San Francisco policy for that areaÖ

 

Unidentified speaker:

 

Itís part of the General Plan.

 

Amy Meyer (reiterating):

 

Itís part of the General Plan.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Other comments or questions.Doug.

 

Doug Nadeau:

 

Iíd like to make a mild response to what Red said.In my view, in my experience, the only difference between an urban national park and what you would consider to be a more traditional national park is the incredible intensity of use in those areas, and to me that factor makes it all the more important that the National Park Service apply the correct standards of preserving resources and not look to lowering those standards.So to me it strengthens our resolve to make sure that we do the right thing at Fort Funston.So I think with that I just would like to say, Iím delighted with this resolution here.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Ed?

 

Edgar Wayburn:

 

Iím prepared to support this resolution, but I have certain comments, having had quite a fair amount to do with the establishment of urban parks in the United States, and particularly with the establishment of the GGNRA.We were confronted with this problem early on and it was agreed at that time that there should be certain exceptions made with regard to dogs, and these were done with the knowledge and the advice and the permission of the superintendent of the parks, the first superintendent, and realized that parks in urban areas are going to be up against different plans and objectives from parks in what are more wilderness areas.I think that the city allowed dogs in the Fort Funston area, and Iím not acquainted with the further developments which were just read, but it was not meant to take away any of the privileges which have been allowed before.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Other comments or questions?All right, I sense weíre ready to vote on this resolution, I call for a voice vote.†† If there is a serious split, then weíll ask for a show of hands, but first, a vocal vote: all in favor, say ďayeĒ.

 

[Several ďayes.Ē]

 

Any opposed?I hear none.The resolution is adopted as presented.

 

[The GGNRA later provided a copy of a revised resolution incorporating the changes discussed above.]

 

Amy, back to you.

 

Amy Meyer:

 

Okay, you have two other resolutions here.Some of you Iíve had a chance to explain this to, a few of you I havenít.Because this was processed completely outside of this building, it went through a bit of a, we just had some difficulties as it went from fax to fax.

 

Please turn to the third page, which is the resolution to rescind the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Advisory Commission 1979 Pet Policy.Now, Rich told me that actually we passed this in 1978; I was chair of the committee.But they didnít get around to printing it until 1979, just in case that comes up and bothers anybody.

 

The resolution of 1978 is in conflict with federal law, and as such we feel it is confusing to the public.And so I will read this resolution aloud.

 

Whereas in 1978, this Advisory Commission, recognizing that this national park in an urban area (rather than an urban national park, I would say parenthetically), this national park in an urban area included some lands whose social history was different from that of other national parks, passed a Pet Policy resolution in which it sought to accommodate San Francisco and Marin County custom regarding dog walking, allowing dogs to be walked off leash and under voice control in certain areas, and

 

Whereas, although not formally adopted by the National Park Service, this resolution was used as a permissive guideline in these park areas by a sequence of national park superintendents of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, although it contravened National Park Service regulations requiring all dogs to be on leash, and

 

Whereas over the years since the establishment of the GGNRA in 1972 and the transfer of the city lands to the GGNRA in 1975, the natural resources of the GGNRA as well as those of the state of California and the nation, including the habitat requirements of native plants and animals, have been studied and their interdependence has become better understood, and

 

Whereas it has become evident that many areas of natural habitat in this country have been so affected by human incursion and development that many species have been listed by the state and nation as threatened and endangered, under the Federal and State Endangered Species Act (those are two separate acts), and that some of these species live in areas of the GGNRA, and

 

Whereas since 1978 the dog owning population of the Bay Area has increased, and areas in other jurisdictions formerly open to dogs have been closed, so that the number of dogs that visit the GGNRA has increased, leading to increasing conflicts with other park users, as well as concentrations of dog litter off trail in areas of natural habitat where it cannot be removed by the dogsí owners, and

 

Whereas present circumstances in the GGNRA require the closer supervision of dogs as provided by a leash in order to fulfill the requirements of law and regulations, and

 

Whereas, because of loss of habitat and increased dog use, some of the purposes for which the GGNRA was established within the national park system can no longer be fulfilled in areas of the park in which dogs are now permitted to run off leash,

 

Now, Iím going to ask you to turn back to the previous page, because, rather than have another separate resolution, weíre going to try to incorporate two other whereases, which you will see here.

 

Whereas Directorís Order 55 of September 8, 2000, referring to the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916, the National Park Service General Authorities Act of 1970, and the Redwoods National Park Expansion Act of 1978, which contained a paragraph, states as follows:

 

Section 3.4, the prohibition on impairment:While Congress has given the Service the management discretion to allow certain impacts within parks, that discretion is limited by the statutory requirement, enforceable by the federal courts, that the Park Service must leave park resources and values unimpaired, unless a particular law directly and specifically provides otherwise.Thatís the end of the quote.

 

And whereas the September 15, 2000 ďNotice of the New Policy Interpreting the National Park Service Organic ActĒ states, ďAll NPS personnel must conduct their work activities and make decisions affecting the national park system in conformance with the interpretation of this Directorís OrderĒ and twice states, ďConservation is to be predominant.Ē

 

Now therefore be it resolved (back to page 3) that the GGNRA Advisory Commission rescinds its 1978 resolution.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Weíre open for commission discussion on that combined resolution.Redmond.

 

Redmond Kernan:

 

I donít find it on our agenda.This is to rescind a policy that applies to the total GGNRA.I think it should be discussed, but I donít think we should move on something that hasnít been calendared, noticed, that people have not been alerted to.There are areas that I can think of where I think the Directorís Order can be met, the resources can be protected, and yet you could have dogs off leash.West Pacific Avenue comes to mind; itís got a fence on both sides.Iím just not prepared to deal with something that hasnít been calendared so that those who might be affected would have an opportunity to address the issue.As I understand it, to the extent our policy contravenes the directorís orders, the Park Service will not implement our policy, they will implement the directorís orders.So I donít think we need to do this and I donít think we should do this because it has the appearance of changing a policy for which people have not had an opportunity to address this commission.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Okay.Other comments.Trent?

 

Trent Orr:

 

Well, I would take an opposite view of that, I mean, it seems to me completely in line with the resolution we just passed here recognizing that we have a policy Ė I mean, if it happens this month or it happens in the future -- I suppose, you know, next month -- doesnít particularly concern me.The problem is that, as Amy said, we have a policy out there that is blatantly inconsistent with the law, is illegal, is unenforceable, and so leaving it out there only leads to confusion and it leads to people coming in and saying, ďWell, thereís this policy,Ē and thatís then part of the misunderstanding and part of the problem that we are addressing right now.So I am certainly, I donít know what the commission feels about voting on it tonight, I donít have any problem with that myself, because basically weíre saying, weíre removing something that isnít legally authorized in the first place.We have a policy that was never adopted by the Park Service, itís advice that this commission as Advisory Commission gave in 1978; circumstances have changed.

 

To me the most important whereas here is probably the fifth one; while dogs historically were at Fort Funston, a combination of the increase in the number of dogs that come to the park, and I guess one thing that isnít mentioned in the resolution is the closure by other park agencies around the Bay Area, including the beaches down in San Mateo County, I know the Marin Open Space District I think is considering some further restrictions on dogs, and weíre just, as long as this policy is here, weíre going to have more and more people saying ďWell the national parks are the place where you go with your dogs.ĒSo it seems to me something we need to correct.Itís something thatís, as I say, entirely illegal and out of sync with everything else weíve said so far tonight, so Iím prepared to vote yes for it, but I would like to hear what other commissioners think.

 

[Audience Member] Avrum Shepard:

 

Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Bartke.Point of order.

 

Edgar Wayburn:

 

If thereís not a motion, I wonít make itÖ

 

[Audience Member] Avrum Shepard:

 

Mr. Bartke, I have a point of order, sir.

 

Edgar Wayburn:

 

If thereís a motion made, I would move to table it.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Okay.There has not been a motion made.Other comments from other commission members.Jack?

 

Jack Spring:

 

Iíd like to suggest that one of the reasons that we felt that this kind of a discussion should be held is that the fact that the Advisory Commission passed this resolution some years ago imposed the impression on the public that this was a matter of fact a policy of the National Park Service, whereas as it is not.So if we can remove that policy from our commission records I think it would be truthful Ö to do it.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Okay.Gordon.

 

Gordon Bennett:

 

I agree partially with both sides of this discussion.I think we should calendar what our policy should be, but I think I would support this proposal.I think itís confusing, I think itís illegal.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Are you suggesting that it go over to a noticed meeting at some time in the future or do you think it should be voted on tonight.

 

Gordon Bennett:

 

What Iím saying is I think this should be voted on tonight, but what Iím further suggesting is that we have now eliminated the policy if we all agree to pass that, and what Iím suggesting is that we calendar perhaps discussion about what a new policy should be, if there is one,that could replace this.That should go on the calendar for discussion.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

I see.Okay.Other comments?Susan.

 

Susan Giacomini Allan:

 

I agree, but I donít feel quite ready.I was really prepared on the closure issue.Iíd like to think about this a little bit more; I understand the confusion of two different policies.I think that weíre really informed on the subject now, so weíll really be ready to move on it at the next meeting.

 

Amy Meyer:

 

I would remind everybody that what this does is removes a basic confusion.The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Volume 1, Section 2.15, Pets, says the following are prohibited and one of those in failing to crate, cage, restrain on a leash which shall not exceed six feet in length or otherwise physically confine a pet at all times.I do not see how this commission can have a policy out there -- we have been told that this is -- what we have done is doing nothing but confusing the public.That is why I feel very strongly that this resolution to remove that confusion, I agree that we could certainly have a fine dog discussion on, you know, other subjects or, but we have to get, to remove the discrepancy between ourselves and the existing Park Service regulation, this has been an informal policy for 20 years.It survived.Circumstances have changed, some of which are cited in the resolution, someone else mentioned closure of the San Mateo County beaches and, you know, itís just become impossible if the confusion is too great.And weíve had plenty of letters indicating that people are terribly confused.Thatís why I want to see this voted on tonight.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Michael.

 

[Audience Member] Avrum Shepard:

 

Mr. Bartke.I have a point of order, sir.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

I think youíre out of order, but go ahead.What is it?

 

[Audience Member] Avrum Shepard:

 

Thank you, sir.I think that Mr. Kernanís suggestion that the item that youíre discussing now has not been put on the agenda; the public has had no notice of thisÖ

 

[applause]

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Yes, weíre aware of that, weíre havingÖ

 

[Audience Member] Avrum Shepard:

 

And I would like to see some public comment on this, if I can suggest that, sir.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Michael.

 

Michael Alexander:

 

I want to ask for some legal advice on this, because I donít want to see us, I agree that we are inconsistent and I think we need to get consistent, but I donít want to get into another situation where we, where we are legally challenged because we havenít given proper notice, and Iíd like that resolved.As soon as thatís resolved, Iím prepared to goÖ

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Okay, well letís get some more discussion.Trent?

 

Trent Orr:

 

Well Iíll, I mean, Iíll take a stab at that, which is to say, we are an advisory commission, we are currently giving advice which is clearly illegal; that is, through this 1978 policy.I donít think thereís any problem with our rescinding it now.If someone has a process problem with it, I suppose you could go to a federal court to ask the judge to have us un-rescind the policy and go through a formal process to reinstate and then get rid of again a clearly illegal regulation.Now, someone could bring that lawsuit.I think it would be difficult to win because it really is a nullity.I mean, youíre asking a federal court to spend its time recreating an obviously illegal piece of advice that hasnít even been adopted by the National Park Service.So I donít, I mean, I think the possibility of being sued and losing on that one is remote.I suppose someone could spend their time that way.

[Audience Member] John Keating:

 

Point of order.Youíve had someone request a public comment period.You cannot proceed to rule on an alteration of park use in a highly controversial instance without taking public comment.Youíre relying on legal advice.One of the values of public comment is to allow the public to contest the legal advice, which many would tell you that what has been presented to you as legal advice is wrong.And the value of public comment, that you are obligated to take, according to the point of order, is to allow that information to be received.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Weíve heard you.Any further comment from commission members?Betsey?

 

Betsey Cutler:

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.Iím persuaded that, although sitting as a relatively new commissioner, I would prefer to have all the policies be legal [laughter] and not have some that are illegal, I am somewhat persuaded that perhaps if the calendar allows, that we calendar this for January and vote on it at that time.If that is going to cause a huge problem, then is there some way that we can give, rather than a formal vote, an advisory vote, or some sort of an indication of our feelings, without making a specific motion.That would be my question.

 

Amy Meyer:

 

I feel strongly that we ought to vote on this because it is, remains, a matter of public confusion, and itís patently illegal; I mean, thatísÖ

 

Edgar Wayburn:

 

On the other hand, we have not had any advance notice of this, and being confronted by several resolutions, which we have not seen, I think is not wise of this commission.

 

[applause]

 

Doug Nadeau:

 

I can see the point about wanting to have a hearing, but I guess on the other hand, I donít see that the policy serves any purpose whatsoever.The Park Service never adopted it, theyíre not following it, and the only purpose it serves is to confuse people.So, it seems to me that going through a hearing on it would be a kind of a silly charade because we all know we want to get rid of it.†† [laughter]

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Trent?

 

Trent Orr:

 

Iím prepared to make a motion and see where the commission stands on this matter. I move that we adopt this resolution rescinding the 1979 or í78 Pet Policy.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Iím going to rule that motion as out of order, because I am convinced that the tradition of this commission, as well as our organic documents, require that there be a noticed hearing and that the public have an opportunity to speak.Iím not speaking to the merits of the resolution; Iím prepared to vote on it also, and I agree with those speakers who say that itís illegal and itís going to be silly to have a hearing on an illegal item.On the other hand, weíre talking about process here and faith Öwith the public.So Iím going to rule the motion out of order and if anybody wants to challenge the Chair, they can make a motion to do so.[silence, then laughter]

 

All right, this matter will be calendared.Unfortunately, we have no meeting in December, so I canít tell you exactly when it will be calendared for those of you that have an interest in it.

 

Is there anything further on Fort Funston?

 

Redmond Kernan:

 

I would like to move that the commission resolve that the, request the National Park Service as early as practicable, and I understand that it may be a few years, but update the General Management Plan for Fort Funston and in the process work with the neighbors and user groups.

 

Unidentified speaker:

 

Iíll second that.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

The move is seconded.Discussion on that motion?[pause]

 

All in favor say ďaye.Ē[several ďayes.Ē]

 

Opposed ďno.Ē[silence]Ö

 

[motion passed]

 

Gordon.

 

Gordon Bennett:

 

Question.Itís really directed to Brian.Itís whether we have a policy or donít have a policy, or whether we have a policy that says this or the other.You, what is the park going to do?What is the parkís position?

 

Brian OíNeill:

 

Well, the Park Service has no other option than to carry out the national policies.I mean, the issue to the degree of aggressiveness and enforcement is an issue here, but any policy that we adopt from the Park Service has to be within the purview of laws and regulations weíre mandated to carry out.Congress has expressed itself quite clearly on this issue, the National Park Service has adopted very specific regulations.So, any regulations we have that carry out that regulation have to be within the boundaries and purview of that regulation.But, that having been said, thereís probably opportunity to develop a policy within that framework.

 

Richard Bartke:

 

Okay.Now weíre through with the Fort Funston issue on our agenda.

 

 

 

transcribed by Vicki Tiernan and Michael B. Goldstein

ďÖÖindicates a word or two which could not be understood

 


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