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NPS Director Jon Jarvis Sells Out to Coca Cola!
(Nov. 19, 2011)


Will the Western Snowy Plover be next up for sale by Director Jarvis?

Officials at Grand Canyon National Park were planning last year to ban all plastic bottles from the scenic treasure in order to reduce litter. But National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis scuttled the plan after Coca-Cola, a major donor to the National Park Foundation, objected.

Stephen Martin, the former top parks official at the Grand Canyon, said his boss told him last December that Coca-Cola, which sells Dasani water bottles and has donated more than $13 million to the parks, had questioned the bottle ban through the foundation. Read more...

Stiv Wilson, a Change.org member who's dedicated himself to stopping plastic waste, has started a petition to bring back the bottle ban. You can add your name to Stiv's petition calling on the National Park Service to reinstate the ban on selling plastic water bottles in the Grand Canyon. Please click here to sign the petition.



 
The Legacy of the Late Brian O'Neill
GGNRA Superintendent 1986-2009
By Stephen S. Sayad, Esq.  (May 17, 2009)

The glowing accounts in the local media regarding the late GGNRA Superintendent Brian O'Neill probably reflect personal friendships with the man rather than anything approaching objectivity. And, insofar as that is the case, journalists are clearly entitled to their opinion, although it would be more appropriately suited as Op-Ed material rather than hard news.

To the extent the media is attempting to portray O'Neill in his role as General Superintendent of the GGNRA, they have fallen far short of being accurate.

For example, they use the term "sensitive habitat" without explanation. The term has no scientific or legal definition, but came in vogue during O'Neill's tenure for the purpose of putting lands within the Park off-limits to recreational usage, the first and foremost purpose of the GGNRA as a unique urban national park (it's right there in the enabling legislation, a point I will come back to). The term is broad enough to encompass virtually anything and that is how O'Neill used it. Ironically, the media generally refers to the GGNRA as "his park" and that is exactly as he treated it. As he said to a friend of mine on the former Citizens Advisory Committee, "I will not have dogs running loose in my park." Of course, O'Neill's proprietary desires over the Park ran contrary to its purpose. He was so against the Park's unique enabling legislation that he recently enlisted Nancy Pelosi to introduce a bill into Congress that would not simply change the name of the Park, but eliminate the word "recreation" wherever it appears in the original and current enabling legislation. Clearly, under O'Neill's helm, the goal has been to eliminate recreation first from the GGNRA and make it into a museum -- something to be looked at but not used.

O'Neill's warped vision of the GGNRA (that is, one clearly contrary to the intent of Congress and the City and County of San Francisco is deeding lands to it) was manifested in several illegalities: he was found to have acted illegally in closing off a portion of Fort Funston to everyone and everything, and he was found to have violated the law in rescinding his own 1979 Pet Policy on tidelands that remain owned by the State and are without federal jurisdiction (Crissy Field and Ocean Beach being two). O'Neill also brought the nativism movement to the Park, a movement with no scientific basis but only a preferential one. So much so that allegedly non-native white deer are being massacred at Point Reyes. Forget about relocation or more humane tactics -- if the nativists have their way, the non-native is killed and forgotten about, at least until it becomes endangered or threatened. The movement perhaps finds its most ridiculous extreme in the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on "restoring native plants to Crissy Field". Of course, if you are a born and raised San Franciscan or otherwise know the history of Crissy Field, the only thing native to it was the bay. It is all landfill and there were no native plants there other than those that might have lived underwater. The nativists under O'Neill also decimated ice plant at Fort Funston (in favor of "native" plants) with the result that the Bank Swallows fled the area and have not returned.

O'Neill was also responsible for refusing to follow federal law and allow handicap access to the Park. A year or so ago, a lawsuit had to be brought in order to bring the GGNRA into compliance with federal laws protecting the handicapped. With 30 years of time to comply with such laws, they too were flouted by the GGNRA.

There are many pages that can be spent discussing the warped agenda of Brian O'Neill but I doubt they are things you wish to hear. In the end, O'Neill will be remembered by many people as a despot. More significantly, I find him to be the tragic figure discussed by Lord Byron:

"When some proud son of man returns to earth
Unknown to glory but upheld by birth
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done upon the tomb is seen
Not what he was
But what he should have been."

O'Neill's charge was to keep the GGNRA open and active for recreation. Virtually everything he did violated that charge and will continue to do so under the philosophy he created. This is not something for the media to extol.



 
We're Number One!
(As reported in the LA Times; July 29, 2008)

The GGNRA's Award Winning Masterpiece: Le Sewage de Habitat Vicente

GGNRA's Ocean Beach Plover Protection Area Makes Top Ten List of California's Dirtiest Beaches

Yet another dubious honor for GGNRA Superintendent Brian O'Neill and his "environmentally sensitive" staff. Just as the GGNRA reinstates their seasonal (and illegal) "Emergency Closure" to off-leash recreation on the majority of Ocean Beach under the premise of protecting the Western Snowy Plover, we discover this fine example of park stewardship. Apparently Supt. O'Neill and his cohorts want us to believe that by forbidding time honored recreational activities the plover will somehow recover. Never mind that Ocean Beach is sewage covered, toxic oil contaminated, rat infested, teeming with predatious ravens, savaged by treacherous tides, and that the GGNRA themselves bulldozed the plover's previous habitat. Could it be that the GGNRA is actually leading this poor little bird to a gruesome extinction?



 
Pelosi Betrays Her Constituents!
(As documented at OpenCongress.org; June 19, 2008)

Congresswoman Pelosi and her co-conspirators in crime, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Executive Director Greg Moore and GGNRA Superintendent Brian O'Neill, hold hands, sing kumbaya and plot the end of recreation as we know it in the soon to be extinct Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Introduces Bill HR 6305 to End Recreation in the GGNRA

(The following is provided courtesy of www.sfdog.org)

Nancy Pelosi submitted a bill HR 6305 on June 19, 2008. Much of the bill covers administrative details (allowing the Presidio Trust to move their visitor center, allowing a concession contract at the Maritime Historic Park). But Section 2 is very dangerous:

SEC. 2. GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARKS.
(a) Name Change-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is hereby renamed the `Golden Gate National Parks'.
(2) REFERENCES- Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is deemed to be a reference to the Golden Gate National Parks.
(3) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- The Act titled `An Act to establish the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the State of California, and for other purposes' (Public Law 92-589, approved October 27, 1972) is amended--
(A) in sections 1 and 2 by striking `National Recreation Area' each place it appears and inserting `National Parks'; and
(B) by striking `recreation area' each place it appears and inserting `national parks'.
(b) Change of Unit From Recreation Area to National Park-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Golden Gate National Parks, as so renamed by subsection (a), is hereby designated as a national park and shall be administered as such by the Secretary of the Interior.
(2) CLARIFICATION- This section designates the recreation area known as Golden Gate National Recreation Area as a national park and renames that unit Golden Gate National Parks. Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a new `national parks' category of designation with the National Park System.

Offleash advocates have been told by GGNRA staff for years that changing the name from Golden Gate National Recreation Area to Golden Gate National Parks will make it easier for them to further restrict recreation within GGNRA boundaries. There is no other reason for this name change. They want to remove recreation from the park just as they remove it from their name. It would remove any ambiguity as to whether or not GGNRA land should be treated differently from national park land such as Yosemite. This name change says the same management policies must apply.

This proposed name change ignores the historical reality -- the GGNRA was created to preserve land for the "outdoor recreational needs of the people of the metropolitan region", according to the 1972 Report from the US House of Representative. The objective of the GGNRA, according to the 1972 document, is "to expand to the maximum extent possible the outdoor recreational opportunities available in the region." The name-change section of this bill flies in the face of the intention behind the founding of the GGNRA and the promises made to the people of the Bay Area when it was formed and under which they gave their municipal parkland to the federal government to manage.

This Section 2 has nothing to do with the rest of the bill, which it says is "To clarify the authorities for the use of certain National Park Service properties within Golden Gate National Parks and San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, and for other purposes." Clearly Sec 2 is the other purposes. Not making that part of the description of the bill is highly suspect. Was Pelosi hoping to sneak this through with the public not knowing what she was doing?

Please contact Pelosi and demand that she remove Sec 2 from HR 6305:
email: sf.nancy@mail.house.gov
District Office - 450 Golden Gate Ave. - 14th Floor - San Francisco, CA 94102 -
(415) 556-4862
Washington, D.C. Office - 235 Cannon HOB - Washington, DC 20515 - (202) 225-4965

Also contact the Committee on Natural Resources to which the bill has been referred:
1324 Longworth House Office Building
(202) 225-6065 Fax: (202) 225-1931
MR. NICK J. RAHALL, II, West Virginia, Chairman
MR. DON YOUNG, Alaska, Ranking Republican Member
and the Subcommittee on National Parks Forests and Public Lands to which it was referred on June 25:
1333 Longworth House Office Building
(202) 226-7736 Fax: (202) 226-2301
Mr. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona, Chairman
Mr. Rob Bishop, Utah, Ranking Republican Member

Let the Pelosi, Committee and Subcommittee members know that you want section 2 removed from HR 6305.

Click here to view Ken Ayers' response to the proposed legislation as sent to his Congressional representative.



 
GGNRA Denies Access to Disabled People!
(As reported in the S.F. Chronicle; Feb. 8, 2008)

Lawsuit Seeks Access to GGNRA

On a recent outing to Fort Mason, Peter Mendoza encountered one frustrating obstacle after another. The sidewalk curbs were too high for his wheelchair, handicapped bathrooms could not be found, and when he finally tried to enter the administration building, there was no ramp in front.

"So I went to the back and pushed the designated button," said Mendoza, 41, a Berkeley resident who was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. "But nobody answered. Eventually I went around to the front again and flagged somebody down. This happens all the time."

Because of experiences like his, a disability rights organization filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday against the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the National Park Service. The suit, lodged in federal court, contends that people with mobility and vision disabilities are being denied access to some of the nation's largest and most beautiful urban parks.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, covering a broad swath of 75,000 acres between San Mateo and Marin counties, includes such landmarks as Alcatraz, the Presidio, the Marin Headlands, Fort Mason and Muir Woods.

"These are parks that many visitors to San Francisco as well as local residents want to see," said Julia Pinover, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, a nonprofit law firm based in Berkeley that filed the suit. "These areas are not only naturally beautiful but historically significant."

According to the suit, the federal recreation area is discriminating against people with disabilities by systematically excluding them from such areas as restrooms, visitor centers, trails, pathways. Federal laws since 1973 have obligated Golden Gate National Recreation Area to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, Pinover said.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, is aimed at forcing the Park Service to take steps to assure that people with disabilities have access.

At the Marin Headlands, she said, the visitor center has a ramp, "but to a third-party evaluator, it was so steep as to be inaccessible and dangerous. Alcatraz offers a tram, but it only holds two wheelchairs - they just don't have the capacity. At Muir Woods, one of our plaintiffs has had problems with paved trails. GGNRA hasn't kept the paved trails in a condition that allowed her to use them."

Chris Powell, a spokeswoman for the national park, said that a review has already begun.

For about a year, the two sides have been discussing ways to bring the agency into compliance.

Powell, expressing surprise and disappointment at the suit, said she believed the talks were "fruitful." The advocacy law firm disagrees. "It was our impression that this just wasn't a priority for them," said Pinover. For Mendoza, who grew up in Marin, being outdoors is a joy, but a visit to one of the national parks can turn into a disheartening obstacle. "Barriers have existed in these parks for years," said Mendoza, a plaintiff in the legal action. "I don't expect there to be a solution overnight, but there's been a law about this for about 20 years. "


 
O'Neill Youth Come to Ocean Beach?
(As posted in the Pacifica Riptide; Feb. 1, 2008)

GGNRA Seeks Snowy Plover Outreach Volunteers

Job Description: Snowy Plover Outreach Volunteers will conduct outreach with park visitors who enter Snowy Plover habitat at Ocean Beach and Crissy Field.  Volunteers will greet park users, offering verbal and printed information about the plovers, including how visitors can protect these birds.  Volunteers will also document actions that may impact snowy plovers and other shorebirds. In addition, volunteers may assist visitors with information about sites and developments within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  In this way, volunteers will assist in the National Park Service mission and stewardship goals.  When necessary, Outreach Volunteers alert park rangers to emergency or unusual situations.
Duties:
o  Rove Snowy Plover habitat a minimum of three times per month.
o  Provide information and materials to park visitors.
o  Develop knowledge of park resources.
o  Convey NPS policies and regulations to the public.
o  Report significant wildlife disturbance to Park Rangers.
o  Recognize shorebirds of Ocean Beach.

Knowledge/Skills Desired:
o  Enjoy interacting with a broad range of people.
o  Friendly, courteous, reliable,
o  Able to work constructively with those who disagree with park policies.
o  Ability to work independently.
o  General knowledge of wildlife and park natural & cultural resources.
o  Comfortable walking for 1-2 hours.
o  Ability to be calm and courteous during occasional hectic and emergency situations.
o  CPR and First Aid Trained (training can be provided).

Beginning March 1st, 2008 - ongoing
Contact: George Durgerian 415-335-8258, george_durgerian@nps.gov


 
January 22, 2008:  Deadline for Comments on GGNRA Proposed Rule for Restriction of Off-Leash Recreation at Ocean Beach and Crissy Field!
(posted January 3, 2008)

Click here to view the GGNRA's proposed rule as stated in the Nov. 20, 2007 Federal Register

Sample comment letter follows:

This proposed Rule by the GGNRA/NPS for the seasonal closure of parts of Ocean Beach and Crissy Field to off-leash recreation is described by the GGNRA/NPS as a necessary action to protect the threatened Western Snowy Plover. The language of the Endangered Species Act contemplates and supports the position that any loss of these recreational areas for such purpose be balanced by scientific proof that such sacrifice will indeed help save the plover from extinction. As of yet, that scientific evidence has not been provided. In fact, as I will show within this document, the scientific evidence shows that restriction of off-leash recreation will NOT increase the number of plovers at these locations. Further, it is more likely that the restriction of off-leash recreation in these areas will negatively impact the plover population. It is also critically important to note that the enabling legislation for the GGNRA does not support the implementation of this Rule. Therefore, this proposed Rule should be summarily rejected as a clear effort by our Federal Government to unfairly discriminate against taxpaying citizens who are dog guardians. Click here to view the entire comment letter.

Submitting comments, by design, is not a user friendly process. The GGNRA directs you to the following link to submit online comments:
http://www.regulations.gov
Use the center text box "Comment or Submission" and enter "GGNRA Plover" and click on "Go" to get to the next page. From there, click on "Send a Comment or Submission" to get to the actual comment page. Good luck!

Alternatively, OBDOG has provided an unsupported direct link to the comment page which is much more user friendly. As of the date of this posting it works fine. Try it, and if it fails, fallback to the supported link in the previous paragraph:
http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=SubmitComment&o=09000064803799ac

Of course, there is always good old-fashioned snail mail. Address your comments to:
Superintendent
GGNRA
Ft. Mason
Bldg. 201
San Francisco, CA 94123.

Comments must be received by January 22, 2008.

 
Emergency Closure Over - GGNRA Bulldozes Plover Protection Area!
(updated August 7, 2007)
Click here for details on this story and to view the video, "The Ocean Beach Plover Protection Area"

The "Emergency" closure at Ocean Beach was officially terminated by Superintendent O’Neill on May 17, 2007 with the following statement: "The park has determined that the Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) are no longer present in the Ocean Beach Snowy Plover Protection Area, having migrated to breeding areas…The restriction will be put back in place when the plovers return in July."

The Superintendent’s statement goes beyond what his own Compendium document legally allows, as it states: "The seasonal restriction will remain in effect for this overwintering season until monitoring confirms the species is no longer present, as announced by the General Superintendent." (dated 11-02-2006). There is no provision made for resumption of this restriction.

The controlling law for Ocean Beach is once again the 1979 Pet Policy as specified by the Federal Court in 2004. Therefore, we should continue to enjoy our off-leash recreation on all of Ocean Beach!!! However, Superintendent O'Neill has once again illegally claimed a NEW emergency exists and has sent his staff out to the beach to ticket us should we recreate with our dogs off-leash south of Stairwell 21.

While the plovers were away, and even now when they are (in theory) back at Ocean Beach, the GGNRA will play…play havoc with the plover’s "protected area", that is. The GGNRA has been busily bulldozing the area of Ocean Beach where they claim the plovers predominantly roost. Click here to go to the Closure Section of OBDOG where you can view a video and photos of the GGNRA’s destruction of the landscape the plover allegedly once enjoyed. Limitation of our recreational rights at Ocean Beach in conjunction with this type of activity is not only ridiculous, but in violation of the Federal Court's ruling, USFWS guidelines, the enabling legislation for the GGNRA, and the deed restrictions for the transfer of Ocean Beach to the GGNRA.


Superintendents O'Neill and Neubacher "aim" to please their NPS superiors
 
National Park Service Jihad Escalates!
(posted Jan 10, 2007)
The recreational mandate for the GGNRA has already been perverted by Supt. Brian O'Neill's campaign to eradicate non native flora in "his" park. Now the NPS has decided to expand their Death List to include non native fauna. According to a Federal Register posting by the NPS, all axis and fallow deer in the Point Reyes National Seashore and 18,000 acres of the Northern District of the GGNRA shall be eradicated.

The NPS trophy case
 
The mission of the NPS, as mandated by the Congress, is to provide for the public’s enjoyment of park resources while, at the same time, preserving and protecting these great treasures so they will be unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. The NPS justified the destruction of non native plants and the limitation of our recreational opportunities at Ocean Beach and Fort Funston by claiming the necessity to protect wildlife "resources" in the GGNRA. Now we see that the politics of NPS policy have redefined the term "resources", and not all wildlife "resources" are created equal.
 
As pointed out in a Feb. 2005 "must read" article in the Point Reyes Light (please click here to view the complete article), in its 2001 Management policies, the NPS has perverted the park mission by instructing park management to "re-establish natural functions and processes in human-disturbed components of natural systems". Non native species, e.g., eucalyptus trees, iceplant or fallow and axis deer, are classified as "human caused disturbances". The management document says the NPS should control non native species "up to and including eradication" to return to its historically natural condition.
 
This destruction of park resouces that the overwhelming majority of park visitors enjoy is not consistent with the underlying mission of the NPS.
 
Our parks have been hijacked by NPS management who espouse nativism, a philosophy that originated in Nazi Germany. Furthermore, the NPS does not feel obligated to respect the desires of the local taxpayers who pay for these parks. Whatever happened to the precept that the national parks are the "people's parks"? Like the fallow and axis deer, is its eradication imminent?
 
Please click here to view the Dec. 12, 2006 Marin Independent Journal article detailing the GGNRA's plans with respect to the deer.
Please click here to view the Jan., 2007 Coastal Post Online article entitled "Deer in Park's Gunsight" to better understand this situation.

lyin_brian.jpg
Ocean Beach Sloat Blvd. Entrance (Sep. 20, 2006)
 
Lyin' Brian O'Neill At It Again!
(updated Oct 22, 2006; originally posted Oct 13, 2006)
Yes sports fans, after years of refusal to obey the decision of the Federal Court (both Magistrate Laporte and Judge Alsup) through failure to remove the signage prohibiting off-leash recreation at Ocean Beach, Lyin' Brian O'Neill is at it again. The recently placed signage (see above picture) which appears to respect the will of the Court is merely a ruse perpetrated by O'Neill and his gang. OBDOG has recently discovered that O'Neill has masterminded a "new and improved" scheme to circumvent the Appellate Court's decision reinstating the 1979 Pet Policy. In lieu of his previous scheme to disallow off-leash at Ocean Beach, i.e., "Accelerated Rulemaking", O'Neill now plans to institute a Superintendent's Compendium in order to execute his will. (Please click here to view NRC member Brent Plater's Oct 22, 2006 press release announcing the banning of off-leash at Ocean Beach and Crissy Field effective Nov. 8, 2006. Also, please be sure to view the video on the upper right hand side of the page entitled "The Days of Dogs Running Free On SF Beaches Are Numbered"
 
In 2004, and again in 2005, the Federal Court threw out the previous Compendium issued by Sup't. O'Neill which banned off-leash recreation at Ocean Beach. The Court made it quite clear that making such a change by virtue of a Compendium, without a public process, was in direct violation of the law. 
 
O'Neill and the Park Service have already made it clear to the Federal Court that no emergency exists at Ocean Beach which would justify the rescission of the '79 Pet Policy. Additionally, the GGNRA has admitted in writing  to OBDOG (in response to our Freedom Of Information Act request) that no data exists to support an environmental emergency at Ocean Beach. We at OBDOG are anxious to see what excuse Lyin' Brian will provide for breaking the law this time around.

Gavel Banging

 
Sayad Files Petition for Access to Public Records
(posted Jun 19, 2006)
OBDOG member attorney Stephen Sayad has filed a petition with the Superior Court of the State of California for the City and County of San Francisco in order to access public records pertaining to communications between Negotiated Rulemaking facilitators/convenors Gregory Bourne and Michael Harty and the GGNRA. To date, Mr. Sayad has been denied his legal right to examine such communications. It has become obvious throughout the course of NR that Mr. Bourne and Mr. Harty have compromised their position as faciltators/convenors as defined by the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1996 (see: http://mits.doi.gov/cadr/main/regnegact.pdf) by subjugating their duties/responsibities to the GGNRA (the GGNRA is not only the sponsoring agency in NR, but is also a participant by virtue of their position as an NRC member). 
We thank Mr. Sayad for his continued efforts on behalf of OBDOG and all dog guardians.
 

crucial_habitat.jpg
Ocean Beach Sloat Blvd. Entrance (June 2006)

GGNRA Misleads the Public... Again! 
(posted Jun 17, 2006) 
 
The GGNRA continues their defiance of Judge Alsup's June 2, 2005 appellate decision that ordered the 1979 Pet Policy reinstated; thereby designating off-leash recreation permissable by law on Ocean Beach. Additionally, US Fish and Wildlife Service determined in October of 2005 that Ocean Beach was not "critical habitat" for the Western Snowy Plover.  Note that on this sign the GGNRA has designated Ocean Beach a "crucial habitat" for the Western Snowy Plover.  Exactly what is "crucial habitat"?  According to Department of Interior documents, the definition for "crucial habitat" is as listed below.  Clearly the GGNRA intends to mislead the public into believing they have a legal responsibility to provide special protection for the plover here at Ocean Beach, and clearly this should not have been a designation the US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to.  This is yet again another case of dishonesty and deceit from public servants whose salaries we pay with our tax dollars.
 
Crucial habitat – a term describing any particular seasonal range, or habitat component, which has been documented as the determining factor in a population’s ability to maintain itself at a certain level over the long term. In Wyoming, this often refers to winter range or habitat. The use of the term crucial habitat is strongly discouraged when referring to endangered or threatened species so as to avoid confusion with the legal definition of critical habitat tied to these species. In common usage, the term crucial habitat refers to those portions of a population’s range utilized to a greater than normal/average extent during any important period, or utilized during the most severe seasonal conditions as a reserve, or survival, habitat. (Emphasis in original document - see http://www.wy.blm.gov/wildlife/baldeagle/be-appe.pdf).

ggnra_mobile.jpg
Park Ranger deploys the new GGNRA Ocean Beach Canine Elimination Unit

"Accelerated" NR Slotted for Ocean Beach
(posted Apr 19, 2006)
At the April 18, 2006 Negotiated Rulemaking Committee meeting, Superintendent Brian O'Neill's  chief spokesperson, Chris "Mini-Me" Powell, stunned some of the NRC when she announced that the 2.2 miles of Ocean Beach south of Stairwell 21 will be subjected to "Accelerated Rulemaking" outside of the normal NR process. Although she did not comment any further on the subject, clearly this is an attempt by the GGNRA to circumvent the tenets of the 1979 Pet Policy, and fast-track their will to close down Ocean Beach to off-leash recreation. Stay tuned for updates...
 
Note:  Please check out the "Comic Relief" section for our prophetic satire of "Expedited Negotiated Rulemaking", authored nearly one year ago.

liar.jpg

oneill.jpg
Supt. Brian "Pinocchio" O'Neill continues his assault on the truth and the law

OBDOG Files for Administrative Review on Negotiated Rulemaking
(posted Mar 6, 2006)
Ocean Beach DOG, in consideration of the many laws which have been and will be violated in the Negotiated Rulemaking process by GGNRA Superintendent Brian O'Neill, has filed a request for Administrative Review of the current NR. We are in the process of submitting this document to government officials in the DOI/NPS/GGNRA, the Federal Office of Management and Budget, City, State and Federally elected politicians, and both Senate and House Congressional Committees who have oversight of the National Park System. We are calling for the termination of this illegal NR process and for the permanent ratification of the 1979 Pet Policy as a Section Seven Special Regulation. Please click here to view the actual document submitted by OBDOG.

mini_me.jpg
Supt. O'Neill's assistant

Additionally, we are demanding that the City of San Francisco enforce the terms of former Charter section 7.403-1(a). This section, as approved by the voters, requires that the deed transferring any City-owned park lands to the NPS include the restriction that said lands were to be reserved by the Park Service "in perpetuity for recreation or park purposes with a right of reversion upon breach of said restriction."

        

prayer_79pp.jpg
"and PLEASE don't take away the '79 Pet Policy..."

Sign the Petition in Favor of the '79 Pet Policy
(posted Mar 1, 2006)
Negotiated Rulemaking meetings are poised to begin on March 6, 2006. This will not be a fair and lawful process. OBDOG members are circulating a petition to terminate Negotiated Rulemaking and institute the 1979 Pet Policy as a Section 7 Special Regulation for the GGNRA.  Please click here to access the "Negot'd Rulemaking" section of this web site for specifics and links to download the petition and our flyer about NR and the first NR meeting.

dog_pen.jpg
The future of off-leash in the GGNRA

Ocean Beach DOG Thrown Out of NR
(posted Feb 17, 2006)
For choosing to exercise their First Amendment rights regarding the unlawful premise for this Negotiated Rulemaking process, Ocean Beach DOG was completely removed from NR by GGNRA Superintendent Brian O'Neill.   Please click here to view the Feb. 17, 2006 Federal Register posting which announces the NR Committee membership.  

dog_celebrating.gif

U.S. Attorney Calls Off the Dogs in the Presidio
(posted Jan 29, 2006)
Ocean Beach DOG's stellar attorney Stephen Sayad has once again brought the GGNRA,  as well as their subsidiary, the Presidio Trust, into compliance with the law (as affirmed by Judge Alsup in June 2005). All off-leash citations issued the past couple of months in the West Pacific Avenue and Mountain Lake areas of the Presidio will be dismissed.  Please click here to view the press release describing this important victory in detail.

ob_signage.jpg

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Stairwell 1 at Ocean Beach (Nov. 2005)

Entrance to Fort Funston (Nov. 2005)

Good Faith? (posted Nov 5, 2005)
 
The GGNRA continues their contempt of Judge Alsup's June 2, 2005 appellate decision that the 1979 Pet Policy is still in force and that off-leash recreation is permissable in areas such as Ocean Beach and Fort Funston. The GGNRA's refusal to remove/modify their misleading signage has caused consternation amongst park goers and could lead to potentially dangerous situations. 

Sitting pooch

New Federal Habitat Designation affects Ocean Beach
 (posted Oct 30, 2005)

New critical habitat designations have been released for the Western Snowy Plover, effective October 31, 2005. Ocean Beach is not listed as critical habitat for the Western Snowy Plover. What exactly does this mean?

In the text of the explanation of the decision of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/05-19096.html), the following information can be found:

“Our current designation of critical habitat is different from the 1999 rule in two primary ways. In this designation, we utilized a different methodology for determining essential areas,and we relied upon additional scientific information which was not available in 1999. Thus, this rule, while similar in many respects to that in 1999, is a new designation, and does not designate the same areas.”

Specifically with respect to Ocean Beach, the following is written:
We have decided not to include the suggested additional areas because they do not meet our three criteria from the Methods section: They do not support either sizeable nesting populations or wintering populations, nor do they provide unique habitat or facilitate genetic exchange between otherwise widely separated units. Although we do not consider these areas essential for recovery, we do consider them important, and will continue to review projects in these areas that might affect WSP as required by sections 7 and 10 of the Act.”

Allowing humans and off-leash dogs to enjoy Ocean Beach is not a new project, it is an activity that has persisted for over 50 years. We believe the GGNRA might find their best management practices later in the text of the new designation:
“Nest exclosures, predator-proof trash receptacles, aversions conditioning, and both lethal and non-lethal control of predators has been successful in reducing the impacts of predators on plover reproduction and survival. We believe that these actions implemented to reduce the impact of predators on plover nesting, and other management measures designed to reduce the potential impacts of humans (e.g. use of symbolic fencing, public education, and enforcement of regulations), are responsible for the increases in plover breeding success documented at many locations.”

We refer again to Ocean Beach DOG's latest recommendations for management of the plover at Ocean Beach:
Proper control of beach fires and camping in the areas where the plover roosts, exclosure fencing of roosting areas where appropriate, and control of the litter and the ravens (predators of the plover) the litter draws. All these measures could assist in protecting the plover appropriately at Ocean Beach. Year-round leashing of dogs is not a rational, measured response to the plover’s limited presence seasonally at Ocean Beach. That should be abundantly clear in light of the latest critical habitat designation as released earlier this month.

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Ocean Beach DOG Fights Back!
(posted Sep 28, 2005)
Thanks to the hard work of member attorney Stephen Sayad and Dr. Suzanne Valente, Ocean Beach DOG submitted a response today to the emergency petition to ban off-leash recreation in the GGNRA. Please click here to view the OBDOG response petition. A special mention goes out to supporting cast Chris Cannon and your humble webmaster.
 
Several documents are referenced in our response petition.
Please click here to view Exhibit A - the Hatch Report.  This report was produced by GGNRA biologist Daphne Hatch and used by the GGNRA to shut down the majority of Ocean Beach to off-leash recreation in 1996.
Please click here to view the Sept. 26, 2005 S.F. Examiner article "Residents irked by Ocean Beach Parties". This article confirms our allegations that the GGNRA is not taking the stewardship of Ocean Beach seriously and is erroneously focusing on off-leash dogs as the source of all problems related to the plover.
 
If you wish to comment to the applicable government agencies on the emergency petition or our response, please follow the link in the section below to visit our comment page.

Comment on the Emergency Petition
(posted Aug 20, 2005)
If you would like to express your outrage regarding this "emergency" petition to ban off-leash recreation throughout the GGNRA, please click here. Your comment will be directed to the NPS officials who have received this petition. More information on this below in the Aug. 16, 2005 posting "CDB at it Again!".

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Something doesn't pass the sniff test...

CBD At It Again!
(posted Aug 16, 2005)
Yes, the Center for Biological Diversity, and their mouthpiece, attorney Brent Plater, are at it again (click here to view the web log chronicling CBD activity). Along with the usual cast of characters, (i.e., Golden Gate Audobon Society, Coleman Advocates, the Sierra Club, EQUP, Yerba Buena Chapter of the Calif. Native Plant Society, etc.) the CBD has issued a press release announcing their submission of a petition calling for an emergency ban of off-leash recreation throughout the GGNRA. 
 
One comes to expect such "end run" tactics from these groups since that has been their practice throughout the years. Their complete and uttter contempt of court (i.e., Judge Alsup's appellate decision reinstating the 1979 GGNRA Pet Policy), as well as their making a total mockery of the prescribed Negotiated Rulemaking Process (their press release cites that NR is for the express purpose "to implement leash laws"), tells one all they need to know about the petitioners. 
 
However, the recruitment of Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) to assist in their bidding is disturbing. GDB is an organization that has historically enjoyed great support from the dog community. It would appear that GDB has no problem asking that dogs make great sacrifices for us and our handicapped, yet they can't seem to find it in their hearts to provide these heroes a place to play fetch or to swim. 
 
Please take the earliest opportunity to let Guide Dogs for the Blind know how you feel about their participation in this matter.  Let them know about the financial ramifications of their decision. GDB contact information follows:
 
Tamara Barak
Communications Specialist
Guide Dogs for the Blind
415 499-4000
 
 

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Two separate reports of a stocky, Caucasian male jogging at Ocean Beach early AM who has brandished a knife at dogs running up to greet him. He matches the description of a man who stabbed a dog at a Santa Cruz beach whom authorities have stated was paroled recently. (posted July 11, 2005)

Knight and Pawns Chess Pieces Moving

 
NOI Comment Update (updated July 9, 2005)
The next step to establish the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for Dog Management is here.  The Notice of Intent to Establish a Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee for GGNRA was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2005.  This notice gives the public 30 days to comment on the establishment of the Committee and the proposed members.  The deadline for comment is 7/28/2005 at 12:00 AM.

The NOI gives the public a chance to comment on the following two issues:

a) The proposal to create the Committee; and
b) If members of the public believe they will be affected significantly by
the regulation and their interests will not be represented by those
identified in the notice, they are invited to apply or nominate another
person for membership.

The GGNRA has advised us to utilize the following link to view the documents and comment:
Follow the directions when you get into the website. It will give you background information on the proposal. (Note - it appears as though the form is working at this time)
 
Alternatively, you can EMAIL your comments to:
Please Put ``Negotiated Rulemaking Committee'' in the subject line.
 
Alternatively, you can mail your comments to:
Superintendent, Attn: Negotiated Rulemaking Committee
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Fort Mason
Building 201
San Francisco, CA  94123 
 
OBDOG has completed its analysis of the significant aspects of this document. We have many concerns with respect to the process itself, as well as to the entities and individuals who have been identified as members of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. OBDOG believes that if the process is allowed to continue without significant changes, our interests and lawful rights will not be served.
 
Please take the time to read the comment letter provided by the OBDOG advisory staff before submitting your comments. Our letter does an excellent job of pointing out these problematic areas to the GGNRA. It is critical that our concerns are on record so that our position can be properly considered by the court upon judicial review, if that becomes necessary.
 
Click here to view our advisory comment letter.  Please feel free to utilize any of its content in your own, individually worded comments.
 
Thanks in advance from all of us at OBDOG!

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EXTRA! (posted 6/2/2005)
Judge Alsup has affirmed Federal Magistrate Laporte's  decision dismissing the Crissy Field tickets on the basis that rulemaking is required prior to eliminating the 1979 Pet Policy.
Judge Alsup concludes that the 1979 Pet Policy was adopted by the GGNRA and that the GGNRA cannot change that policy without compliance with the public comment requirements.
Page five, second paragraph:
"Judge Laporte held that the 2002 closures in question violated 36 C.F.R. 1.5(b).  This order agrees."
 
Page eight:
" . . .but here there was a violation of the law -- a violation of the NPS' own regulation requiring notice and comment before making a dramatic land-use change."
 
A special thanks goes out to all of our members who fought and funded this effort. 

Gavel Banging

    
Reminder About Hearing Date (posted May 23, 2005)
It has been confirmed that the appellate hearing regarding the GGNRA's attempt to reverse Magistrate Laporte's ruling that the 1979 Pet Policy is still in force, as well as Stephen Sayad's appeal on the the tidelands issue at Crissy Field, is  scheduled for May 31, 2005 at 2 PM on Judge Alsup's calendar. Judge Alsup's regular courtroom is Department 9 located on the 19th floor of the S.F. Federal Courthouse at 450 Golden Gate Avenue.  

 
Sayad Reply Brief Filed (posted May 10, 2005)
OBDOG member attorney Stephen Sayad's reply brief to the GGNRA appeal brief is now available. 

 
Cannon's Appellees' Brief Filed (posted May 1, 2005)
OBDOG member attorney Christopher Cannon officially filed his Appellees' Brief with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. This is an answer to the appeal filed by the United States of America against Barley, Kieselhorst and Sayad after their victory in the Motion to Dismiss their off-leash citations.   Please click here to view Chris Cannon's Appellees' Brief (865k file size).

Toilet, Opening & Closing Lid

CBD Amicus Brief Filed (updated 4/28/2005)
The Center for Biological Diversity's staff attorney Brent Plater has filed an amicus brief calling for the elimination of off leash recreation in all GGNRA areas.  Click here to view Mr. Plater's amicus brief (372k file size).   Click here to view the motion to strike Mr. Plater's amicus brief as filed by our member attorney Chris Cannon (162k file size).  The motion to strike addresses whether it is appropriate to consider Mr. Plater's arguments. Should the court decide to consider Mr. Plater's arguments, a response will be required. We are soliciting responses to assist the attorneys in filing an opposition brief to Mr. Plater, should it become necessary. Click here to view the weblog containing our responses to Mr. Plater's amicus brief.
 
Please send your responses to: OceanBeachDOG@mindspring.com

Gavel Banging

GGNRA Appeal Brief Ready (posted 4/4/2005)
GGNRAs Brief to Appeal the Motion to Dismiss granted by Magistrate Laporte is now available.  Please click here to view the document (2.5mb file size) 

Sayad Appeal Scheduled (posted March 31, 2005)
OBDOG member attorney Stephen Sayad's appellate hearing regarding the tidelands issue at Crissy Field is tentatively scheduled for May 31, 2005 at 2 PM on Judge Alsup's calendar.  Please click here to view Mr. Sayad's opening brief.
  

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BEWARE!  (posted 12/12/2004)
The Park Rangers/Police are choosing to ignore Magistrate Laporte's decision returning us back to the 1979 Pet Policy. Continued ticketing has been reported at Ocean Beach, Crissy Field and Fort Funston. Additionally, the NPS/GGNRA has filed an appeal  to the Magistrate's decision. One must view with extreme skepticism the "good faith" intentions of the so-called "Negotiated Rulemaking" process. Click here to view member attorney Stephen Sayad's cross appeal against NPS/GGNRA

EXTRA! (posted 12/2/2004)
Federal Magistrate Laporte has officially ruled that the 1979 Pet Policy must be reinstated.  It will remain in effect until the Park Service engages in the public comment process which is required to abolish the policy. This is a HUGE victory for us. It will be interesting to see what leverage this provides us in the negotiated rulemaking process. Click here to view the actual court ruling. A special thanks goes out to all of our members who fought and funded this effort. 
 
 
News Update (updated 10/25/2004)
 
The "Motion to Dismiss" hearing vis-a-vis off-leash ticketing at Crissy Field has been rescheduled (for the second time) and will now be held:
Date: November 2, 2004 
Time: 1:30 P.M.
Place: U.S. District Court Northern District of California
          Magistrate Laporte; Department E
          Federal Courthouse; 15th floor 
          450 Golden Gate Avenue, S.F.
The trilogy of supporting documentation and briefs pertaining to this hearing are now available on this web site. First, the final version of the defendant's brief for the motion, as authored by lead attorney Chris Cannon: Click here to view the document (555k file size)Second, the final version of the plaintiff's/NPS' opposition brief: Click here to view the document (760k file size)And lastly, the final version of the defendant's reply to the NPS' opposition brief: Click here to view the document (762k file size)
 
The exhibits referenced by the defendant's brief will be posted at a later date - due in part to their extremely large file size. This motion has been consolidated with the previously filed  "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction". Click here to view a draft version of that document. Kudos to our member attorneys for carrying out this time consuming and expensive battle which is sure to benefit all of us off-leash advocates. Although we hope to prevail in this matter, please be advised that the defenses presented in this document have not yet been legitimized by the Court. Please stay tuned...