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Greg Herlein

Comments at 1/23/01 GGNRA Advisory Commission Meeting

My name is Greg Herlein, and I'm a Computer Consultant from Cow Hollow. My wife and I have a dog named Sofia. The nature of my job and the fact that I work from home, restricts my social life quite a bit. Instead of going out for a drink or dinner with my co-workers, my wife and I take our dog out for extended walks. We use Crissy Field and the Presidio four or five times a week. This gives my dog a chance to exercise and socialize with other dogs, and my wife and I get to talk with the other people out walking and enjoying our wonderful scenery. Being able to enjoy the GGNRA with our dog off-leash is a major quality of life issue for us.

I was planning to tell you more about the socializing aspect of our dog walks - for both humans and dogs - and about how important that is. But as evidenced by recent quotes from both the GGNRA and some members of this Commission, you've evidently already decided to icepick the 1979 Pet Policy. Presumably, you've taken this position because the GGNRA lawyers have told you it's illegal. Presumably, this sudden reversal of Policy has nothing to do with the fact that local dog friends held the GGNRA accountable for it's Fort Funston Closures. Presumably, this closure is a result of the increased number of dogs and people using GGNRA lands. I hope that we've dispelled some of those presumptions tonight. Hopefully you listened as our lawyer described the legal basis for retaining the Pet Policy. Hopefully you've listened as we described the specific procedure for how Federal Law and the Pet Policy can happily coexist. Hopefully you've listened to the City Board of Supervisors, who unanimously passed a resolution yesterday asking you all to delay a recommendation until there is sufficient time for the City to participate in the Policy evaluation. Hopefully you now understand that a Memorandum of Understanding binds the GGNRA and the City legally - a document that still cannot be found despite numerous FOI  [Freedom of Information Act]  requests - and that until we can all evaluate that document it's presumptuous to change the Pet Policy. Hopefully you've listened to the other dog friends here tonight who've asked you to work with us to preserve a Policy that's worked for over 20 years.

However, if you haven't listened, and you do vote to recommend rescinding the Pet Policy, then let me make you familiar with a saying that's made it's way into common use. Dog friends know all too well what it means to "hound" something - my dog Sofia certainly shows me the meaning of that word every day when it's time for her walk! Ladies and Gentlemen of this Commission, we will hound this issue. We will hound it through the legislative process. We will hound it through the political process. We won't go away. We won't lie down. And we won't be leashed. Thank you for your time.

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