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Proposed Ban on RC Aero modeling (Drones) _at_(domainremoved)

From: domainremoved <David>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:16:08 -0700

To the members of the Menlo Park City Counsel,

I have grown up on the Peninsula and work in Menlo Park, and have for most of my life been someone who enjoys the outdoors and technology. For over 7 years I’ve been enjoying the passive hobby of RC aero modeling specifically at Bayfront Park most weekend days generally from the morning into the mid day. I am part of a collective of respectful people who like other park attendees enjoy the open and unique park that is Bayfront Park.

In all the time I’ve been at the park I’ve never seen of or known of any injury that has resulted from the RC hobbyists. I have however seen a man who was walking have a seizure on one of the highest peaks and helped to assist the Menlo Park fire department, paramedics and police to him to help aid his rescue. Bikers have fallen, dogs have been off leash and chased other animals. Accidents have happened, or poor decisions made, but by in large those are a very very small portion of the larger communities of walkers, bike riders and dog walkers. The point is, there is no way to prevent all accidents, yet within our community I don’t know of serious problems. I know those of us who have been at the park for years are always open to help educate others on etiquette, form and respect for the park.

Unlike many other parks, Bayfront provides an outlet for the most diverse group of people I can think of at a Peninsula park without focusing on organized sports. There are bikers, runners, walkers, joggers, kite enthusiasts, photographers, bird watchers, dog walkers, orienteers, HAM operators, geo geocaching enthusiasts, and RC aero modelers.

As an active attendee to the park I can say with total confidence, most people enjoying the park see the park as a place we can all use as long as we’re all respectful and open about what we’re doing. I have had so many encounters with families and people walking who love to stop and enjoy the passive flying we do with light weight foam RC models. While some make minimal noise, the noise is not ever present across the park. The noise is similar to hearing people passing riding bikes talking, and far less than the large commercial jets way way above preparing to land at SFO every few minutes, or the private craft also well above (and obvious) as they pass by. While I can hear motorcycles and cars on Bayfront Expressway across the park also every few minutes or so, I can look out and if I see a model plane flying, generally unless I’m up close I can’t even hear it. Even with RC craft, the park is a beautiful and peaceful space in a place where few open spaces exist anymore that are accessible to the pu
blic.

Having attended a few of the Parks and Recreations meetings on proposing a ban, I’ve found there is a vocal minority who is using hearsay and fear mongering on the negative effects of RC flying at the park as a way to sway the Parks & Recs and City Counsel. There simply has been little to no research to prove any effect on wildlife disruption or incidents of concern. If there was said disruption then why has there not been massive changes to the local eco systems and wildlife as people have been flying RC craft at Bayfront Park for well over a decade most days of the week, most days of the year (since we have such beautiful year around weather)? The reality is the park serves both as a natural spot for wildlife, and a place people enjoy. Those can co exist.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to make the city counsel meeting tonight (8/23) as I have a newborn son to help take care of, but it saddens me if Menlo Park would make a move to ban such recreational fun, and a group of people who have been self policing to ensure people fly safely and are respectful to the park and it’s attendees. If you’ve not been to see how passive the hobby is, and how it does really fit into the open and communal vibe if the park, I please ask you to do so.

We are in a time where people are using knee jerk tactics to add fear into conversations, and I ask you not fall into this trap. Please reconsider a ban, and communicate with the mix of RC hobbyists who enjoy the park like everyone else, and deserve to have access to Bayfront Park. We are openminded and are willing to have open conversations. This has not been the case of those opposed to the hobbyists which is unfair.

I’m happy to speak to with any of you direct on this matter.

Please feel free to call or email me.

Thanks,
David Urrutia

650-281-1888
Received on Tue Aug 23 2016 - 10:22:34 PDT

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