April 26, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- The House today passed an amendment authored by Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) to protect emergency responders from illegal drone use during disasters. Davis’s amendment directs the federal government to work with state and local entities to educate the public about the dangers of flying unmanned aircraft into areas with temporary flight restrictions. It also calls for coordinating on enforcing current laws against such drone use. The bill has yet to pass the House.
October 10, 2017 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to restrict drones from flying near or over fires and locations that have public safety temporary area restrictions to ensure public safety.
Photo: A CAL FIRE air tanker drops retardant on a fire in San Diego County. Image credit: Jeff Pack
July 10, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Hobbyist drones are a growing safety concern among local first responders fighting fires in the air and on the ground.
As we approach peak fire season, San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego Unit officials are reminding hobby drone operators to steer clear of wildfires. Drones put first responders’ safety at risk, and they stop or slow firefighting operations.
June 19, 2017 (San Diego) – Cal Fire Captain Isaac Sanchez has asked media to remind the public about several new laws passed by California’s Legislature last summer to address problems raised by drones that interfered with firefighting, including causing delays by firefighting aircraft. Under the new laws, anyone whose drone interferes with emergency personnel can be charged with a misdemeanor and if their drone is damaged or destroyed in the process, they will not have legal recourse to hold emergency responders liable.
February 23, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – If you own a drone, you must register it with the Federal Aviation Agency. Under a new law now in effect, flying an unregistered drone outdoors anywhere in the U.S. could land you in jail and facing hefty fines.
Photo, San Bernardino Fire Dept.: North Fire in its early stage
July 20, 2015 (Sacramento) -- After a series of serious incidents involving drones interfering with firefighting aircraft, state legislators have introduced bills that would allow firefighters and rescue personnel to damage or disable drones, also increasing penalties for drone operators who impede firefighting.
The latest and most devastating incident occurred Friday, when five drones forced firefighting planes to delay air drops in order to avoid mid-air collisions. The North Fire quickly spread out of control, crossing Interstate 15 in San Bernadino County and destroyed 20 vehicles on the freeway. The blaze swelled to thousands of acres, also destroying homes and other property.
July 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) is the first utility company in the nation to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test the use of small, unmanned drone aircraft for monitoring electric and gas lines.
The company announced that this will improve safety and response times, but the announcement is also drawing criticism for the lack of public input and potential environmental issues.
March 26, 2013 (San Diego) A talk held yesterday at San Diego State, hosted by SDSU’s Center for Science and Media (a collaboration of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts and the College of Sciences) raised important questions on how to use drones in media gathering--also demonstrating how effective drone coverage could be, as a drone whirred overhead transmitting images.
Professor Matt Waite from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, founder of the Drone Journalism Lab, brought a small drone to show it to the public. (For the record, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has shut his Lab down for the moment, as well as drone usage by the Washington Nationals and a beer company in Minnesota. The proposed use of Drones by Amazon.com to deliver goods is also not permitted under present rules.)
December 30, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced its choice of six sites to test unmanned drone aircraft. San Diego is not on the list, despite being home to drone manufacturers and having support from Supervisors and Congressional representatives.
Today’s news drew cheers from citizens’ groups opposed to drone testing in East County, but disappointment from military and economic development interests.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has resolved to push ahead with a plan to expand its drone combat weapons system despite the malfunctioning drone that injured two last Saturday on the USS Chancellorsville’s last Saturday off the coast of San Diego. The $4 million aerial and subsonic target drone, Chukar (BQM-74E), which was manufactured by Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, capable of speeds up to 604 mph, had veered out of control during an operation test. Luckily only two sailors out of the 300 crew members aboard the ship were injured after it was struck by the drone. Investigators at the Naval Base were unable to say why the drone lost control and crashed.
This is the second drone crash to occur in the past week after another unmanned craft malfunctioned and came down over Lake Ontario on Tuesday, prompting the suspension of all drone flights in Central New York.
November 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – On September 24, the County Board of Supervisors threw their support behind a Southern California drone testing zone. This rash decision puts San Diego County at risk for $2.7 billion in liability for the property alone if a Drone goes down and starts a fire in the back country. The County Board of Supervisors need to rethink this position quickly, before the FAA opens our skies to drones for testing purposes, and put us all at risk.
November 17, 2013 (San Diego) – A malfunctioning drone has struck the U.S.S. Chancellorsville on Saturday night off the Southern California coast near Point Magu, the Navy announced.
Two sailors sustained minor burns. The guided missile cruiser ship will return to San Diego for an assessment of damages. The Navy did not reveal what type of drone went awry. However the Los Angeles Times reports it was a 13-foot-long drone with a six foot wingspan that slammed into the port side of the ship.
The accident heightens concerns among East County residents who have voiced alarm over a proposal to test drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over San Diego’s backcountry.
Back Country Voices, a citizens group in East County, held a forum on November 11 regarding a proposal to test drones--unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs-- over backcountry areas in San Diego and East County. Concerned citizens packed into Julian’s library to learn more about the implications of drone testing in our region.
The first speaker was John Raifsnider, a local resident. “San Diego Military Advisory Council, the Economic Development [Council] and then the Chamber…What does that mean? “ he asked. “Money and military. What does that mix create? We want to know.”
November 7, 2013 (Washington D.C.) –The Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act was introduce November 4 in the Senate.
“The FAA’s plan falls far short of putting in place the necessary privacy protections for the commercialization of drone use in U.S. airspace,” Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)said in a statement. “This disregard for the need for strong and comprehensive privacy safeguards underscores why we must pass federal legislation to protect innocent individuals from expanded use of commercial and government drones.”
Markey said that his legislation requires transparency on the domestic use of drones and adds privacy protections that will “ensure this technology cannot and will not be used to spy on Americans.” Markey’s bill would require law enforcement agencies to acquire warrants before they use drones to conduct surveillance. A copy of his bill can be viewed here.
Meetings set in Julian on November 11 and December 4
By Miriam Raftery
November 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Should unmanned drone aircraft testing be allowed over San Diego and East County?
San Diego’s entire Congressional delegation thinks so. All five members have signed a letter supporting efforts by Inyokern to have the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declare our region an unmanned aircraft systems test site,The Drone News reported on October 26. San Diego Supervisors have also voiced support for the proposal, directing staff to write a letter in support. Supervisor Dianne Jacob has said she supports the concept to provide jobs and fire monitoring.
But now a citizens action group called Back Country Voices has formed to oppose drone testing here. The The group plans two meetings, one at the Julian Library on November 11 at 6 p.m. and the second on December 4 at 6 p.m. Objections include safety and privacy concerns over drone surveillance, impacts of drones on the environment, bird migrations, and the deaths of innocent civilians including thousands of children worldwide inadvertently killed by drones.
July 29, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The loonies in the U.S. Government now think it is a great idea to arm those drones patrolling the Mexican and Canadian borders and if these drones start slaughtering and maiming their citizens like other countries on the planet then America will end up at war with their two neighbors.
July 26, 2013 (Ramona) – Beginning in 2012 the stories about the misuse of drone technology have been frightening. Starting with the revelation that we have been killing hundreds of civilians and children in places that we are not at war, to the government using the border drones to surveil American citizens. Worse yet, there appears to be an unholy alliance between our nation and Pakistan because there is now evidence that our drones are killing people that are not terrorists, but instead political enemies of the Pakistani regime.
March14, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
September 15, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
Obstacles may delay drones access to U.S. skies (UT San Diego)
State court ruling deals blow to U.S. mortgage system (Reuters)
FBI warns of U.S. violence over anti-Islamic movie (ABC)
Republicans split on Mitt Romney remarks (Politico)
Debunking Romney’s attack on Americans who don’t pay income taxes (L.A. Times)
New Romney ad rips Obama on coal energy (The Hill)
Libyans see Al Qaeda hand in U.S. embassy attack (Wall Street Journal)
Anti-American fury sweeps Middle East over film (Reuters)
Protests sweep Islamic world, fueled by domestic politics and anti-U.S. anger (CS Monitor)
Prince Harry targeted in Taliban attack in Afghanistan (Telegraph)
Police clash with Muslims at protest in East Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post)
Peacekeepers attacked in Egypt’s Sinai Penninsula; foreigners injured (CS Monitor)
Large anti-austerity protests in Spain, Portugal (UT San Diego)
India opposition parties protest economic reforms (UT San Diego)
Anti-Japan protests sweep China on anniversary of invasion (Reuters)
“Stop the drones.” – Mossaret Qadeem, Amn-o-nisa implores
May 30, 2012 (San Diego) -- Dressed in brightly colored robes and hijabs, the women of Amn-o-nisa make a powerful statement with their presence alone. These 11 Pakistani women have come to the United States for the second time to spread their message of peace and international cooperation.
The name Amn-o-nisa translates to “women for peace,” which is the message the group hoped to spread on their visit to the U.S. The group visited Washington D.C., San Diego and Los Angeles and met with political figures including Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein.
March 13, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
State joblessness rate dips to lowest level since ’09 (SF Chronicle)
U.S. extends its run of strong job growth another month (NY Times)
Drones over America: What can they see? (NPR)
Voters blame Obama for gas prices, but experts say not so fast (Washington Post)
Rampage in Afghanistan puts long-term US Presence in peril (Christian Science Monitor)
Afghans urge US exit after killings; US says timetable unchanged (Reuters)
Syrian opposition calls for international intervention (CNN)
‘Arab revolts led to Islamization, instability’ (Jerusalem Post)
Israel and Gaza factions ‘agree on truce’(Al Jazeera)
SCIENCE & HEALTH
Loss of Greenland ice could become irreversible, scientists say (Los Angeles Times)
Study: Red meat raises risk of dying; risk higher with processed meats (CBS)
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.