Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Leery drone-zone denizens convene in Julian

Back Country Voices aims to be heard

Dave Patterson, Gabriela Rivera, Bill Everett
Dave Patterson, Gabriela Rivera, Bill Everett

A crowd of about 30 gathered at the Julian Town Hall on Wednesday night (December 4) for the second official meeting of the newly formed Back Country Voices, a group that sprung up in opposition to a plan that would turn most of Southern California into a federal testing ground for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) of all sizes.

The Federal Aviation Administration is set to select a handful of sites across the country, possibly as early as this month, which will serve as experimental zones for integrating drone technology with traditionally piloted aircraft. Members of Back Country Voices have exposed a host of potential problems they would like to see addressed before any testing begins.

"Our concerns are about safety, privacy, wildlife and, I think most importantly, quality of life," said local resident Kathleen Bennett when opening the meeting.

Ramona resident Dave Patterson, a longtime drone opponent via San Diego Veterans for Peace, spoke about large-scale drones manufactured by the local firm General Atomics currently being used along the U.S./Mexico border. According to Patterson, immigration officials have said that the drone surveillance is responsible for curbing "one percent, maybe two" of total illegal cross-border traffic.

Despite that limited effectiveness, Customs and Border Patrol officials have in recent years pushed for the purchase of more drones, a move that Patterson questions.

"The Electronic Freedom Foundation found out, via a Freedom of Information Act request that in 2012, ten drones just along the southern border were used at least 500 times by other government agencies," says Patterson. "This is a problem."

"What we're looking for is oversight," concludes Patterson, who wants to know what information is being gathered by drone, who is using it, and how long it is being stored before acquiescing to expanded drone use over privately owned land.

Gabriela Rivera, a staff attorney with the local American Civil Liberties Union office, was pressed into service as the next presenter, though she said her main goal at the meeting was to listen to community concerns and identify ways in which the ACLU could help.

"It seems like all of the pieces are lining up for the introduction of routine aerial surveillance of the population," Rivera observed. "The problem is that laws related to privacy protection have been surpassed by technological advances."

Rivera added that "the ACLU's concerns are very much aligned" with those expressed by Back Country Voices members.

Bill Everett, a pilot with over 20 years' experience, was last to talk, sharing insights from someone familiar with flight patterns and the intricacies of San Diego's already-complex airspace.

"It may come as a surprise to you that all drones are already regulated by the [Federal Aviation Administration]," Everett said. He also expressed a concern that seemed to have been overlooked by many in the focus on government intrusion — hobbyist drone operators.

Video:

Quad-copter at 1000 ft.

Camera-equipped recreational drones are already on the market, and a host of videos online show their pilots operating them at altitudes of up to 1000 feet (hobby drones are technically illegal to fly more than 400 feet high). Everett noted that a host of negative outcomes ranging from a high-tech peeping tom to intentionally crashing into other aircraft are likely to result from expanding consumer-drone access.

The meeting then shifted to a public-comment format, with community members asking questions of, and sometimes challenging, the panelists' statements.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Not your father's Normal Heights

"All the neighbors came out and danced in the streets"
Dave Patterson, Gabriela Rivera, Bill Everett
Dave Patterson, Gabriela Rivera, Bill Everett

A crowd of about 30 gathered at the Julian Town Hall on Wednesday night (December 4) for the second official meeting of the newly formed Back Country Voices, a group that sprung up in opposition to a plan that would turn most of Southern California into a federal testing ground for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) of all sizes.

The Federal Aviation Administration is set to select a handful of sites across the country, possibly as early as this month, which will serve as experimental zones for integrating drone technology with traditionally piloted aircraft. Members of Back Country Voices have exposed a host of potential problems they would like to see addressed before any testing begins.

"Our concerns are about safety, privacy, wildlife and, I think most importantly, quality of life," said local resident Kathleen Bennett when opening the meeting.

Ramona resident Dave Patterson, a longtime drone opponent via San Diego Veterans for Peace, spoke about large-scale drones manufactured by the local firm General Atomics currently being used along the U.S./Mexico border. According to Patterson, immigration officials have said that the drone surveillance is responsible for curbing "one percent, maybe two" of total illegal cross-border traffic.

Despite that limited effectiveness, Customs and Border Patrol officials have in recent years pushed for the purchase of more drones, a move that Patterson questions.

"The Electronic Freedom Foundation found out, via a Freedom of Information Act request that in 2012, ten drones just along the southern border were used at least 500 times by other government agencies," says Patterson. "This is a problem."

"What we're looking for is oversight," concludes Patterson, who wants to know what information is being gathered by drone, who is using it, and how long it is being stored before acquiescing to expanded drone use over privately owned land.

Gabriela Rivera, a staff attorney with the local American Civil Liberties Union office, was pressed into service as the next presenter, though she said her main goal at the meeting was to listen to community concerns and identify ways in which the ACLU could help.

"It seems like all of the pieces are lining up for the introduction of routine aerial surveillance of the population," Rivera observed. "The problem is that laws related to privacy protection have been surpassed by technological advances."

Rivera added that "the ACLU's concerns are very much aligned" with those expressed by Back Country Voices members.

Bill Everett, a pilot with over 20 years' experience, was last to talk, sharing insights from someone familiar with flight patterns and the intricacies of San Diego's already-complex airspace.

"It may come as a surprise to you that all drones are already regulated by the [Federal Aviation Administration]," Everett said. He also expressed a concern that seemed to have been overlooked by many in the focus on government intrusion — hobbyist drone operators.

Video:

Quad-copter at 1000 ft.

Camera-equipped recreational drones are already on the market, and a host of videos online show their pilots operating them at altitudes of up to 1000 feet (hobby drones are technically illegal to fly more than 400 feet high). Everett noted that a host of negative outcomes ranging from a high-tech peeping tom to intentionally crashing into other aircraft are likely to result from expanding consumer-drone access.

The meeting then shifted to a public-comment format, with community members asking questions of, and sometimes challenging, the panelists' statements.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Unexpendable Rambo

The first and fourth foray
Next Article

Who stole your iPod, FM94's Mike Esparza, Hell's Angels, our Russian yacht, Seaworld sharks, why they leave San Diego

San Diego Reader stories with most clicks
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close