Please Veto California Bills SB.556, AB.537 & SB.378
“Wire California is asking Gov. Newsom to please veto three bills, currently on his desk, that are not consistent with his broadband-for-all-Californians vision:
- Senate Bill 556 from Sen. Dodd — the “Destroy Local Control & Child Endangerment” Wireless Bill
- Assembly Bill 537 from Asm. Quirk — the “Deemed Approved, Deemed Permit-Issued” Wireless Bill
- Senate Bill 378 from Sen. Gonzalez — the “Cheap Micro-Trenching & No Public Access to Fiber” Bill
SB.556 would allow new microwave radiating antennas to be installed on virtually every existing street light or traffic signal throughout the state which would be a public safety disaster. The bill would override local zoning and public safety laws by severely limiting control over where such so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) can be constructed.
AB.537 grants automatic approval for any application for a new wireless antenna not approved by a local authority within a short 60-day time frame. Considering that wireless companies routinely submit hundreds of applications at a time, this bill would pave the way for impossibly short windows for approval, especially for local governments with limited personnel and budgets burdened by the demands of Covid-19. AB.537 sets an unnecessary 60-day shot clock with a more severe “deemed approved” ratchet than anything by the FCC: “deemed approved, and all necessary permits shall be deemed issued and the applicant may begin construction” [SEC. 2. Section 65964.1(a)]
SB.378 allows Big Telecom companies to ignore local construction standards and then slice through city streets using so-called “micro-trenching” instead of the best practices of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), which does not slice through streets. When Google Fiber tried micro-trenching, it failed in Louisville, KY. Google pulled their fiber service out of Louisville and had to pay the city millions of dollars to fix their streets.
Cheryl Scheurer’s Closing Remarks
Governor Newsom, please look at the actual data in the 2021 California Legislative record. The Wireless Carriers’ business is just fine in 2021. They are having no problems working with localities to install the equipment necessary to provide wireless telecommunications service, and nothing more.
Most of California already has sufficient wireless telecommunications service. Therefore, the Wireless industry no longer qualifies for preemption under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Wireless is a mature industry. These bills — SB.556, AB.537 and SB.378 — are just state-sponsored gifts, handouts that fulfill no worthy policy goal, because they do nothing to bridge the Digital Divide.
So-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities installed in the public rights-of-way, every 500 feet — as close as 15 feet from homes, schools, parks and care facilities have already been documented in the 2021 CA Legislature’s public record as a public safety disaster. RF microwave radiation levels in a second-story bedroom in Sacramento were professionally measured in 2019 at levels that were 25-30 million times higher than needed for “5-bars” telecommunications service.
Such extreme RF microwave radiation pollution made both young children sleeping in that Sacramento bedroom sick in a matter of weeks. The professional RF microwave measurements and the medical diagnoses are in the Legislature’s record. Similar disasters are occurring all over California. Are you, Governor Newsom, willing to further sicken millions of Californians and suppress their immune systems with such extreme RF microwave pollution in an environment of on-going SARS-CoVi-2 infections?
For what gain? Extra profits for billion-dollar companies that result in public safety, privacy and property value harms? Sticking with this withering agenda of placing full-power cell towers in the public rights of way, every 500 feet, enables unconstitutional 24/7 surveillance and comprises a crowd-control weapon system installed in California’s residential neighborhoods. Do you want this as part of your legacy for California, Gov. Newsom?
It is, therefore, not at all surprising that over 300 cities, nearly all counties, the League of California Cities, the Communications Workers of America, The Utility Reform Network, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the AARP, hundreds of medical doctors and PhD scientists, many other non-profit consumer protection groups and a majority of California residents strongly opposed SB.649 because it was wholly unnecessary for telecommunications service and was not a good balancing of the desires of industry and the needs of cities and counties. The same applies in 2021 to the CA triple-threat of SB.556, AB.537 and SB.378.
Instead, you can start investigations into the $Billions of cross-subsidies carried out by AT&T Holding Co. to avoid paying California State taxes and boost its corporate profits. For decades, Big AT&T has transferred $Billions from its REGULATED wired State PUblic telecommunications Utility Co. (AT&T-California) to its UNREGULATED wireless subsidiary companies (New Cingular, AT&T Mobility, and others. These financial sleights-of-hand have been and continue to be in direct violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act: Title 47, §254(k), which states
“A telecommunications carrier may not use services that are not competitive to subsidize services that are subject to competition.
You could recover billions from AT&T that would help the state pay for the middle-mile fiber network that AT&T-California promised to install back in the 1990’s, but failed to complete.
Fiber Optics to the Premises — all the way to every home and business — is the way to finally bridge the Digital Divide.