Friday, July 21, 2017

Major newspaper editorials oppose 5G "small cell" antenna bills

The following editorials oppose the 5G "small cell" antenna bills proposed by the telecommunications/wireless industry in numerous states across the country.

The editorial boards of four major newspapers in California are opposed to this legislation because it imposes serious limitations on local control over the siting of cell antennas. 
"The telecom corporations want to streamline permitting and reduce costs for slapping their transmitters — ranging in size from a pizza box to a small refrigerator — on municipal utility poles, street lights and traffic signals wherever they want.... 
In Sacramento, the telecoms have hoards of money to fuel legislators’ reelection campaigns, and they routinely spend it. 
During the last election cycle, AT&T doled out more than $1.6 million to political groups and politicians. It didn’t discriminate among parties. Virtually everyone got a piece. The California Democratic Party was given $615,000. But the Republican Party got even more, $625,000.
AT&T also spent $250,000 on the annual Speaker’s Cup golf tournament at the world-class Pebble Beach course. That’s the Assembly Democrats’ big fundraiser. 
By contrast, the League of California Cities and other local government organizations aren’t allowed to spend a dime on politicians because their money comes from taxpayers. They do lobby, however." (Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2017)
The legislature, as well as most newspapers, have ignored the potential health risks from the proliferation of cell antennas necessary for 5G adoption including widespread exposure of the population to new radio frequency bands including millimeter waves. As many as 50,000 new cell sites will be required in California alone.

For more information about the potential public health risks from this new technology see 

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California should butt out of cities’ dealings

 with telecom companies using public facilities

Editorial Board, San Jose Mercury News, July 11, 2017

A state bill that would give huge telecom companies a financial break and unprecedented rights to use public property at almost no cost is sailing through the Legislature this summer.

Why? Money, of course. Telecom companies measure profits in the tens of billions. California lawmakers understand this, so that’s whose side they’re on. The bill sailed through the Senate. Now it’s up to the Assembly to stand up for communities — particularly low-income neighborhoods — that will be harmed by it.

SB 649 would prohibit cities from any discretionary review or public say on plans to put “small cell” wireless antennas on publicly owned light poles and other structures in any neighborhood. (Yes, even your neighborhood.) And it would sharply limit fees that cities charge private industry for using property or facilities that taxpayers have paid for.

Sponsored by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-Chula Vista, SB 649 is billed as cutting through permitting red tape and improving cell phone service. But it will slash existing revenue to cities such as San Francisco, which stands to lose millions of dollars a year. And it will eviscerate cities’ ability to bring high-speed Internet service to low-income neighborhoods, as San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has promised to do for East San Jose.

Other mayors are joining Liccardo and the League of California Cities to fight this outrageous power grab by the state and telecoms. We hope it’s not too late.

Here are a few of SB 649’s problems:

By preventing cities from negotiating over antenna locations, the bill eliminates their ability to push companies to provide high-speed access in underprivileged areas. Without that leverage, companies will focus only on areas where they make the most money.

By limiting fees, the bill deprives cities of revenue they could use to increase access to broadband in those poor neighborhoods. Companies will save an estimated $30 million statewide over 10 years — at the cost of public services.

By making public property broadly available to for-profit companies, the bill will limit cities’ and counties’ ability to locate their own communication equipment, such as police and fire systems and equipment from partners — potentially Facebook in San Jose — working on ways to help equalize Internet access.

And wait until neighbors find out they have no say over the clumps of electronic equipment that show up on light poles near their houses. But state legislators don’t care about that. People won’t call them; they’ll scream to the local mayor and council members.

The bill sets a terrible precedent of forcing communities to all but give away public property for private profit. Yet it passed the Assembly local government committee last week and goes to the Communication and Conveyance Committee on July 12.

So — where are area Assembly members? Ash Kalra? Marc Berman? Evan Low?

They’re fresh from serving on city councils. They could lead the fight to stop SB 649 in the Assembly and be the heroes of local government. And their voters.


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Democratic legislators take bold stands, 
except when they don’t

Editorial Board, Sacramento Bee, July 9, 2017

California’s Legislature, it’s said, is about as liberal as can be.

With supermajorities of Democrats in both houses, legislators definitely go out of their way to defy President Donald Trump, especially on immigration issues. On business issues, however, lawmakers are far less adventuresome.

In the coming days, the Democrats’ leftward slant will be tested on major bills affecting the powerful telecommunications industry, privacy rights and consumer protection….

A second, Senate Bill 649 by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, would give wireless providers such as AT&T virtually unfettered ability to place wireless transmitters on utilities poles control by cities and counties, for a nominal fee.

It’s part of a national effort by wireless providers to introduce 5G technology, which promises to vastly increase wireless’ ability to provide super-fast connections, and compete more directly with old-line cable providers. Similar bills are pending or have been approved in 20 states.

Hueso’s bill would cap fees that local governments could impose on wireless companies at $250 plus expenses for placing their devices on polls. Certainly, local authorities should not gouge companies that provide what could be useful technology. But Hueso’s bill also strips local authorities of the right to regulate the use of property in their jurisdictions. We side with local officials: they should be able to determine what corporations build in public spaces, not Sacramento legislators ….

Clearly, something else is going on. We cannot help but think that for all their bluster and bravado, Democrats see business lobbyists arrayed against them and do what too many politicians do: duck.


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 An audacious 5G power (pole) grab

Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2017

Telecommunications companies are preparing to roll out the next generation of wireless networks, dubbed “5G,” which promise an enormous increase in capacity and connectivity. These networks not only will increase competition in broadband, they are a key enabling technology for a host of advanced products and services. They also represent a gateway to better economic opportunities in inner-city areas that are underserved by broadband today.

But these new networks are different in structure and appearance too. Instead of high-powered antennas on tall towers, they rely on an array of lower-power transmitters closer to the ground that serve much smaller “cells.” That’s why mobile phone companies are concerned that cities and counties will throw up bureaucratic or financial roadblocks to 5G in their communities. It’s not a groundless worry; wireless companies already have encountered local resistance in places where they have introduced the new technology.

It’s the look and the intrusiveness of the small cell networks that seems to spark the controversy. People are upset about the deployment of thousands of pieces of equipment the size of small appliances being placed strategically and liberally on publicly owned “vertical infrastructure” (that’s bureaucratese for municipal utility poles, street lights and even traffic lights). That means a lot of equipment in full view and in proximity — really close in some cases — to houses and people.

Local governments must retain some authority to push back on proposed deployments.

There is precedent for this kind of brazen move: The phone and cable TV companies persuaded the Legislature in 2006 to end local control over the construction of new cable TV systems, arguing that a shift to state licensing would bring much-needed competition to pay TV. But that logic doesn’t apply to the mobile phone market, where there is vibrant competition. Local government officials are crying foul, calling it an audacious power grab and the equivalent of a gift of public funds to billion-dollar telecommunications companies that don’t need the help.

The new mobile networks also will involve much more equipment in public view than an upstart cable TV system. Wireless companies say that the transmitters are typically the size of a pizza box or briefcase, although the bill would allow equipment up to the size of a small refrigerator.

Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), the author of SB 649, argues that wireless upgrades are a public benefit, and therefore local governments should not have the right to endanger them with unreasonable hurdles. Besides, he says, the more that individual cities are allowed to charge for their pole rentals, the less that wireless companies will have left for network upgrades in other, possibly more needy communities. But the bill goes far beyond setting a reasonable fee to access public property; it would usurp the rights of cities and counties to make decisions about how to use their property. Those rights include the right to make the wrong decisions.

It’s clearly in everyone’s best interest for 5G networks to be deployed, and surely most local governments would agree. But why shouldn’t cities and counties be able to try to leverage their assets to get a good deal for residents as part of the process, or take the time to get the public’s input on what could be a significant change to their physical and virtual landscapes?

Small cell technology does not have to be obtrusive or unattractive, nor will every street in a community necessarily require outfitting. That’s why local governments must retain some authority to push back on proposed deployments. Left to their own devices, telecommunications companies would naturally opt for the most efficient and cost-effective configuration when making a capital investment. Their goals are making profits and serving customers, not making a city look nice.

The telecommunication industry has been pushing this “streamlining” strategy in other states, with various degrees of success. Eleven have adopted some sort of laws to limit the local permitting process and pole fees. Legislators in other states, like Washington, have been more skeptical. California’s lawmakers ought to be wary as well and show more interest in protecting the rights of communities to govern the use of their infrastructure, rather than letting telecommunication companies make those decisions for them.


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A brazen phone power grab

Editorial Board, San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 2017

Local governments should decide where cell phone equipment goes.

San Francisco has hundreds of them: slim cylinders and flat boxes strapped to utility poles that serve as mini-cell towers to speed up wireless service. The devices are essential for anyone carrying a smartphone or tablet, but the subject is breeding a battle over money and political control.

Telecom firms such as Verizon and AT&T are pushing Sacramento to pass a law that would essentially remove the control cities and counties now have over where the equipment goes and how much localities can charge. In San Francisco’s case, the loss could total in the millions, according to Supervisor Mark Farrell, an opponent of the measure, SB 649.
  
His argument, backed by scores of other local jurisdictions, is about as basic as home rule gets. Cities, not Sacramento, should have the final say on what private industry can build in the public right of way.

The telecoms are selling the measure as a way to streamline approvals and improve coverage, an appealing idea to anyone who’s had a call dropped or Facebook session cut off. But these companies also want to curb the fees that local communities can charge to only a few hundred dollars per device.

In San Francisco’s experience, nearly all of the mini-cell towers are approved, making the argument about timeliness suspect. The existing rules give telecoms ready access to phone poles and utility posts as a way to fill in broader cell phone service that can be disrupted by tall buildings, thick walls or rolling landscape. Also, as wireless needs grow, more bandwidth to handle the traffic is needed. Cities have responded with lease agreements and worked out arrangements to put the wireless boxes in the right spots.

This bill would shred that process. The measure, which is showing up in nearly identical shape in other states, is about cutting expenses and avoiding local oversight. Health concerns about cell phone towers are not an issue in this dispute since that topic is governed by federal rules.

The bill has already shot through the state Senate and faces its first test before the Assembly’s Local Government Committee on Wednesday. That panel should heed the criticism from their home communities and stop a measure that subverts local control.


Other Newspaper Editorials in Opposition

Daily Bruin, July 16, 2017

East Bay Times, June 9, 2017

Pleasanton Weekly, July 6, 2017

Ventura County Star, May 22, 2017


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wireless Radiation TV News

Which wireless radiation risks 
are covered most by TV news in the U.S.?

Since June, 2014, television stations in the U.S have aired more than 135 news stories on wireless radiation risks. TV stations were most likely to report news stories about cell phone radiation health risks including stories that focused on risks to children. The next most common stories discussed radiation risks from cell antennas/towers. Other wireless technologies of concern included smart meters and devices that emit Wi-Fi radiation.

CBS and its affiliates have provided the most news coverage about wireless radiation and health. Besides CBS national news, almost all major CBS stations have run stories including stations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Los Vegas, New York, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Antonio, San Francisco, Spokane, and Washington, DC. CBS was the only TV network to cover the two major wireless policy developments in 2015: the International EMF Scientist Appeal and the Berkeley cell phone "Right to Know" ordinance.

On April 9, 2017, CBS 60 Minutes aired a story on smartphone addictionWith the publication of Norm Alster's book,"Captured agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates," it is time for 60 Minutes to do an investigative story about why our government has not updated the obsolete wireless regulations adopted in 1996 that fail to protect us from harmful levels of cellphone radiation.

The above statistics are based upon Google searches for TV news stories about wireless radiation health risks where the video was posted online; thus, the actual amount of TV news coverage is underestimated.

Links to the TV new stories appear below.


Updated: July 12, 2017

Phil Matier, CBS San Francisco, June 28, 2017
CBS SF Bay Area, Sep 13, 2016

Julie Watts, CBS San Francisco, Sep 7, 2016

Jon Delano, CBS Pittsburgh, Sep 1, 2016

Mt. Tabor neighbors fight plans for cell towers
Chris Holmstrom, KOIN (Portland, OR), Aug 31, 2016

Addressing health concerns of new KUB smart meters
Heather Burian, WVLT (Knoxville, TN), May 31, 2016


Study reignites concern about cell phones and cancer
Paula Cohen, CBS News, May 27, 2016

WiFi in schools: Is it hurting your child?
Paul Joncich, KLAS (Las Vegas, NV), May 10, 2016

New Research Links Cell Phones To Health Issues In Children
Ami Yensi, CBS Baltimore, May 3, 2016

Cell tower proposed behind middle school causing controversy
WDRW (Columbia County, GA), May 3, 2016

Protester Claims Vice President Biden's Son Died from Cell Phone-Related Brain Cancer 
CBS SF Bay Area, Feb 28, 2016

Could Your Cell Phone Be Harming You?
Tess Leonhardt, WDTV (Bridgeport, WV), Feb 21, 2016

Notre Dame researchers target cell phone radiation
Zach Crenshaw, WSBT (Mishiwaka, IN), Jan 27, 2016

Bay Area Residents Worried About Radiation Face Uphill Battle Fighting Cell Towers
Julie Watts, CBS San Francisco, Jan 12, 2016

Scientists: Effects of cell phone radiation on kids is cause for concern
Ashley Daley, Live 5 News (Charleston, SC), Nov 6, 2015

SF Residents Battle Wireless Firms Over Super Bowl Building Boom In Neighborhood Cell Antenna Systems
Julie Watts, CBS San Francisco, Oct 31, 2015

Montgomery County parents concerned about wireless routers in schools
Mola Lenghi, WUSA9 (Maryland), Oct 20, 2015

Mark Ackerman, CBS Denver, Jul 9, 2015

Are Wi-Fi Signals Making You Sick?
Marissa Bailey, CBS Chicago, July 1, 2015

People Believe Wi-Fi Is Making Them Sick
Dr. Mallika Marshall, CBS Boston, Jun 8, 2015

Seen At 11: Is Wi-Fi Making You Sick?
CBS New York, May 20, 2015

Why I Declared Our Bedroom A Wireless-Free Zone
Julie Watts, CBS SF Bay Area, May 20, 2015

Special Report: Upgrade Outage
WMMT (Kalamazoo, MI), May 19, 2015

Berkeley Passes Nation’s First Radiation Warning For New Cellphones
CBS SF Bay Area, May 13, 2015
CBS News, May 13, 2015

Elizabeth Hinson, CBS National, May 12, 2015 (last updated May 14, 2015)
       KMOV (St. Louis, MO)
       KPAX (Missoula, MT)
       WCTV (Tallahassee, FL)
       WDTV  (Weston, West Virginia)
       WFMY (Greensboro, NC)
       WIVB (Buffalo, NY)
       WKBN (Youngstown, OH)
       WREQ (Memphis,TN)
       WTSP (Tampa Bay, FL)

Can you get radiation poisoning from your cellphone?
CBS News, May 12, 2015

Woman Cuts Family Off From WiFi Over Health Concerns
Gerri Constant, CBS Los Angeles, May 5, 2015

CBS New York, Mar 6, 2015

Samantha Cortese, KESQ (Palm Desert, CA), Feb 18, 2015 (also ABC affiliate)

In-depth investigation: Examining reports of a cancer cluster at La Quinta Middle School
Natalie Brunnell, KESQ (Palm Desert, CA), Feb 12, 2015 (also ABC affiliate)

KENS (San Antonio, TX), Nov 18, 2015

Cell phone towers raise new concerns about safety
Jason Barry, KPHO (Phoenix), Nov 10, 2015 (updated Nov. 25)

FPL, Foes Of Smart Meters Square Off
CBS Miami, Sep 30, 2014

CBS Pittsburgh, Sep 15, 2014

Brain Cancer Warning Stickers Proposed For Cellphones Sold In Berkeley
CBS SF Bay Area, Aug 22, 2014


Abigail Elise, WISN (Milwaukee, WI), May 14, 2017

Long Island Residents Outraged by Cellphone Towers in Front of Homes
N.J. Burkett, WABC (New York, NY), May 11, 2017 

Cell phones and cancer, is there a connection?
Kerri O'Brien, WRIC (Richmond, VA), Mar 20, 2017

CA Health Dept. Releases Report Saying Cellphone Use May Cause Cancer
Lyanne Melendez, KGO (San Franciscom CA), Mar 3, 2017


Parents fight plan to put cell tower near playground at Virginia elementary school
Richard Reeve, Jay Goldberg, WJLA (Washington, DC), Sep 28, 2016

San Jose residents fight cellphone tower proposal over radiation concerns
Lisa Amin Gulezian, KGO (San Francisco, CA), Aug 13, 2016

Alpine residents outraged over EMF levels from Sunrise Powerlink
Ariel Wesler, KGTV (San Diego, CA), Feb 24, 2016


Notre Dame researchers making a faster and safer phone
Brandon Pope, WBND (South Bend, IN), Feb 5, 2016

New concerns over kids and electronics
Shannon Murray, KVUE (Austin, TX), Dec 3, 2015

Parents upset over cell tower possibly being installed near Weho school
Mayde Gomez, KABC (Los Angeles, CA), Dec 1, 2015

City leaders, neighbors raise concerns about cell towers
Kayla Moody, WHAS (Louisville, KY), Oct 28, 2015

Cell phone industry sues city of Berkeley
Lyanne Melendez, KGO (San Francisco, CA), Aug 20, 2015

Alki Beach residents protest plan for cell antennas near school
Theron Zahn, KOMO (Seattle, WA), May 7, 2015

Lake Ronkonkomo residents speak out against proposed cell tower in neighborhood
Kristin Thorne, WABC (New York, NY), Apr 29, 2015

Workers say cell tower sites putting them at risk
Cristin Severance, KGTV (San Diego, CA), Mar 19, 2015 (updated Mar 24, 2015)

Ann Arbor family has power shut off by DTE in dispute over installing new SMART meter on their home
Dave LewAllen, WXYZ (Detroit, MI), Mar 18, 2015

WZZM (Lansing, MI), Dec 2, 2014

WFTV (Orlando, FL), Dec 2, 2014

KSAT (San Antonio), Sep 22, 2014 (updated Sep 23, 2014


Natalie Brunell, KCRA (Sacramento, CA), Jun 20, 2017

Greenbelt Residents Worried About Health Effects of Cellphone Tower
Darcy Spencer, NBC Washington (DC), Apr 25, 2017

Cellphone safety tips to limit radiation exposure
Natalie Brunell, KCRA (Sacramento, CA), Apr 9, 2017

Sign puts Berkeley in center of cellphone debate
Natalie Brunell, KCRA (Sacramento, CA), Apr 9, 2017

How to reduce electromagnetic fields created by electricity
Meredyth Censullo, KFLA (Tampa, FL), Mar 31, 2017

Cell Phone Cancer Debate Heats up With Document Release
Scott Budman, NBC Bay Area, Mar 3, 2017


State health officials accused of keeping cell phone dangers secret
Vicki Gonzalez, KCRA (NBC Sacramento), Mar 3, 2017

Jeff Gillan, KSNV (NBC Las Vegas), Mar 3, 2017

Researchers: Long-term cell phone use may increase your risk for a brain tumor
Bob Segall, WTHR (Indianapolis, IN), Feb 21, 2017


Special Report: The Facts about Smart Meters
Joy Wang, WILX (Lansing, MI), Feb 12, 2017

Board denies proposed Greendale cell tower
Rebecca Klopf, WTMJ (Milwaukee, WI), Feb 7, 2017

Radiation-blocking underwear and five other crazy CES gadgets
Matt Granite, WGRZ (Buffalo, NY), Jan 7, 2016
Mark Matthews & Stephen Ellison, NBC Bay Area (San Jose, CA), Sep 13, 2016

Jackie Bensen, NBC Washington (DC), Sep 2, 2016

Government study links cell phone radiation to cancer
Maggie Fox, NBC News, May 27, 2016

Piper Glenn residents cite eagles in cell tower fight
Jean Elle, NBC Bay Area (San Jose, CA), Mar 21, 2016

BGE makes case for another rate hike
George Lettis, WBAL (Baltimore, MD), Mar 18, 2016

North Kingstown teacher says she's being fired because she believes WiFi is health hazard
Brian Crandall, WJAR (Providence, RI), Feb 23, 2016

Kids Face Potential Radiation Danger Using Cell Phones
Shanay Campbell, WSAV (Savannah, GA), Nov 6, 2015

Scientists: Effects of cell phone radiation on kids is cause for concern
Ashley Daley, WMBF (Myrtle Beach, SC), Nov 6, 2015

Pediatricians express concern over growing cellphone use, radiation exposure for children
Meghan McRoberts, WPTV (West Palm Beach, FL), Nov 6, 2015

Potential radiation danger to kids using cell phones

Shannon Wolfson, KXAN (Austin, TX), Nov 5, 2015

Pediatricians' new warning: Limit children's exposure to cellphones
Danielle Dellorto, NBC Today Show, Nov 5, 2015


Report Examines Cell Phone Radiation
Jean Elle, NBC Bay Area, Sep 24, 2015

Group wants cell towers gone
Barry Sims, WBAL (Anne Arundel County, MD), Sep 22, 2015

Neighborhood fights possible new cell tower on church property
Forrest Sanders, WSMV (Nashville, TN), Jul 30, 2015

Residents protest cell tower installation citing health concerns
Sophia Kunthara and Melissa Etezadi, NBC Southern California, Jul 20, 2015


Wireless companies sue Berkeley over cellphone radiation warning ordinance
Tamara Palmer, NBC Bay Area (San Jose, CA), Jun 8, 2015

Berkeley approves "Right to Know" cell phone radiation warning ordinance
Jean Elle, NBC Bay Area 
 (San Jose, CA), May 12, 2015

West Seattle residents protest new cell phone antennas
Alex Rozier, KING (Seattle, WA), May 7, 2015

Bay Area documentary "Mobilize" examines cell phone dangers
Jean Elle, NBC Bay Area 
 (San Jose, CA), Mar 28, 2015


Fox News

Ashland residents meet to discuss potential health risks of wireless radiation
Danielle Miller, KSAZ (Phoenix, AZ), Feb 22, 2016

Cell phones and fertility
Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, WNYW (New York City, NY), Feb 21, 2016

Health concerns over Wi-Fi technology exposures in schools
Laura Evans, WTTG (Washington, DC), Feb 15, 2016

Cell Phone Dangers?
Stacey Delikat, WNYW (New York City, NY), Jan 16, 2016

High Point neighbors speak out against cell tower project
Jeremy Finley, WBRC (Franklin, TN), Nov 23, 2015

Pediatricians express concern over growing cellphone use, radiation exposure for children
WFLX (West Palm Beach, FL), Nov 6, 2015

Scientists: Effects of cell phone radiation on kids is cause for concern
Ashley Daley, Fox Carolina News (Greenville, SC), Nov 6, 2015

Brooke Crothers, Fox News, Oct 20, 2014
WGN (Chicago, IL), Jun 6, 2017
WQAD (Moline, IL), Jun 6, 2017

Can Wireless Technology Make You Sick?
Azia Celestino, Channel One News, May 18, 2017

Cell Phone Radiation Warning Law Causes Controversy
Azia Celestino, Channel One News, May 17, 2017

No Wi-Fi or cellphones allowed in the ‘Quietest Town in America’
Julie Unruh, WGN (Chicago, IL), May 15, 2017
CBC Marketplace, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Mar 24, 2017

Berkeley's Cellphone Crusade
The National, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Mar 23, 2017

California Department of Public Health releases draft of document warning against cellphone radiation
Gabe Slate, KRON (San Francisco, CA), Mar 3, 2017

Smart meter opt out fees could be nixed in legislative session

Emily Ikeda, WHAG (Montgomery County, MD), Feb 2, 2017

City Light takes feedback on opt-out for smart meters
Joel Moreno, KOMO (Seattle, WA), Aug 12, 2016

KXII (Denison, TX), Jun 26, 2014