August 12, 2021 | Julie Levine, MSW Executive Director | 5GFreeCalifornia.org |
Please forward this email to your contacts. See sample letters, talking points, and the attached fliers from Americans for Responsible Technology, https://www.americansforresponsibletech.org/, below.
If you call after hours and get an answering machine, please leave a voicemail with a few highlights on why it’s urgent that they oppose SB-556 and AB-537. Talking points below, and in the attached files.
Also, please ask your friends, neighbors, and local elected officials to contact their Assembly Members by email and phone.
See simple and longer call scripts and sample letters below.
SB-556 will NOT bridge the digital divide because it does nothing to make broadband available to all, and it does nothing to prevent Telecoms charging increasingly higher rates for internet access. It will put Telecom corporations in charge of placement of small cells and wireless infrastructure, and will give them cheap access to every light pole and signal pole — overriding local regulations on fire prevention, safety, setbacks, zoning, and limits on height, size, and power output. Telecom carriers need to be regulated, and this bill does the opposite. Municipalities can ensure affordable and even subsidized internet access via WIRED broadband as a public utility. The best way to close the digital divide is to allow California cities and counties to offer WIRED municipally-operated Broadband to and into buildings: FASTER, SAFER, ENERGY EFFICIENT, and CYBER-SECURE. If SB-556 passes, broadband for all won’t happen. Please vote NO on SB-556. Thank you.
Sample letter #2 (feel free to personalize):
Please oppose SB-556, AB-537 and any other current and future wireless broadband bills removing local control over wireless infrastructure placement, construction and modification. The management of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs), particularly in the public rights-of-way, should remain a municipal affair, not a statewide concern, and should not be decided by private Telecom Carriers. We do not want more WTFs in the public rights-of-way, especially within very close proximity to our homes. These wireless broadband bills demolish our local control and promote rapid deployment of wireless transmission facilities (WTFs) all over California. They remove all local government and neighborhood decision-making and give it directly to the Telecom corporations. Don’t let Telecom decide where and how many antennas are on poles in our neighborhoods. Stop this all-encompassing Telecom power-grab.
SB-556 is an attempt by the telecommunications industry to undermine local authority while making no meaningful progress towards closing the digital divide in California’s unserved and underserved communities. This bill does not close the digital divide. Cities and counties across the nation are implementing the FCC’s orders. If California is to close the digital divide, legislative efforts should focus on supporting municipalities to implement wired broadband as public utilities. Wired Broadband, aka Fiber to the Premises (FTTP)should be available, affordable, and accessible to all! It is faster, safer, more reliable, more private, more secure from hacking, vastly more energy efficient, has less fire risk, and will preserve our property values.
SB 556 and AB-537 directly conflict with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) adopted regulations on wireless services deployment, which cities and counties across the nation are actively implementing. This measure requires local governments to make space available to telecommunications providers without recognizing local authority to manage the public right-of-way preserved in federal law. FCC regulations explicitly enable local governments to ensure that such installations meet appearance and design standards, maintain traffic safety, protect historical resources’ integrity, and safeguard citizens’ quality of life. To protect the public’s investment, the control of the public rights-of-way must remain local.
Sample letter #3 (feel free to personalize):
I urge you to oppose all CA State Bills, including SB-556, AB-537 and any other current and future Broadband bills removing local control over wireless infrastructure placement, construction and modification. The management of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs), particularly in the public rights-of-way, should remain a municipal affair, not a statewide concern, and should not be decided by private Telecom Carriers. We do not want more WTFs in the public rights-of-way, especially not within very close proximity to our homes. These terrible broadband bills demolish our local control and promote rapid deployment of wireless transmission facilities all over California without regard to local zoning for safety, fire prevention, power/radiation output, or aesthetics on height and size. They remove all local government and neighborhood decision-making and give it directly to the Telecom corporations. Don’t let Telecom decide where and how many antennas are on poles in our neighborhoods. Stop this all-encompassing Telecom power-grab. Do not deregulate the telecom industry.
Corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) wrote these CA broadband bills. ALEC rewrites state laws that govern our rights in almost every area of American life, mostly directly benefiting huge corporations.
We oppose installations of unneeded, overpowered cell towers, often without any notification to occupants and without proof of a significant gap in cell phone service. We need more local authority over cell towers, not less. These bills give a free pass to the telecom industry at the expense of our property values, fire risks, privacy, carbon footprint, health, safety, and the quiet enjoyment of our streets. Wired broadband, which is faster, more reliable, and more secure, NOT wireless broadband, should be accessible and affordable to everyone in their homes, schools and businesses. We advocate for Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), aka fiber-optic cable, aka wired internet or wired broadband. It is only in the interest of the billion-dollar wireless industry to deploy wireless facilities on utility poles, street light poles and traffic signal poles. These bills will not close the digital divide.
California is entering another drought year. The California Department of Water Resources has marked 2021 as the third-driest year on record for our State, potentially setting us up for a 5th and even more severe deadly wildfire season. California has suffered devastating fire losses due to telecom equipment. Construction of small cells even closer to homes and businesses will increase risk of fires. Fires have cost California Billions of dollars (not to mention displacement, suffering and death).
Wireless telecommunication facilities are uninsurable for injuries, illnesses and deaths resulting from radiation pollution. For over a decade, Lloyd’s of London and other insurers have instituted Pollution Exclusions for RF-EMR/EMF exposures. In addition, thousands of scientific studies show radio-frequency microwave radiation has been proven harmful to humans, plants, animals, and the environment.
5G equipment will block disability access in our Public Rights of Way and in affected public buildings, which is morally and legally unacceptable and will prompt lawsuits. SB-556 and AB-537 violate the ADA, the American with Disabilitiesy Act.
The 5G antenna roll-out will lower property values and harm nearby businesses, (US Association of Realtors research). This will lower the local government tax base.
SB-556 and AB-537 are the ones which attempt to remove local control over decisions regarding the small cell roll-out. SB-378 has to do with micro-trenching of fiber. All of these bills override local regulations for safety, zoning, and fire prevention. None of these bills will fix the digital divide.
Wireless networks consume more energy than wired networks. Property values near small cells and antennas are declining. Small wireless facilities increase the risk of fires. Telecom corporations cannot get insurance for health claims resulting from radiofrequency radiation (RFR) pollution. Government research proves that exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) causes cancer. Wireless networks are more easily hacked. There’s already a much better, safer, faster, more reliable, more cyber-secure, more private,and more affordable solution for broadband connectivity — (wired) Fiber-Optics to the Premises. Please vote NO on SB-556, AB-537, SB-378, and any other bills ceding local control to telecom corporations.
Sample letter #4 from the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxic Safety :
Please assist the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxic Safety in opposing SB-556 (Dodd). SB-556 is a poorly-written bill that is designed to turn all decisions local goverments are charged with making for safe placement of new wireless facilities/antennas/small cells over to the telecom carriers themselves. Let me be clear….this is not an anti-technology exercise, this is about maintaining local control, the ability of communities to determine when and where and how they want wireless broadband, and the harmful impacts to the environment and personal health.https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/15/officials-camp-fire-deadliest-in-california-history-was-caused-by-pge-electrical-transmission-lines.html
Some important things to note:
- There are 2 types of “broadband” — wireless and wired fiber-optic.
- Wired broadband can be set up and regulated as a municipal utility and can bridge the digital divide as well as make money for local governments. It’s FASTER, safer (fire, radiation emissions), more reliable, easier to upgrade, more cyber-secure, more private, much more energy-efficient, and doesn’t add more boxes on poles in our skyscape or near our windows and in our parks.
- Wireless broadband, which look like mini cell phone towers located about every 100 to 500 feet within communities. These facilities/antennas will be much closer to homes and people than current antennas because new “G” (generations) have shorter frequencies and are easily blocked by walls and foliage. Because of this, they still require the 3G and 4G backbone for reliable connections. So antennas will be outside our home windows, on school grounds and in our parks.
- Wireless will not bridge the digital divide. It’s a telecom ruse to convince policy makers to allow wireless facilities to be rolled out without complying with local permitting.
SB-556 will allow corporate telecom carriers to use the “public rights of way” on any and all public utility, light, and signal poles to place wireless telecom facilities (AKA antennas or small cells). It also shortens the deadline for local governments to review and approve applications for new facilities/antennas or co-locations on existing sites. This bill allows telecoms to ignore zoning codes and preferences of the local community and begin construction with no notice. Safety has been given a sentence, but there are serious concerns about overloaded poles in windstorms causing electrical fires (as happened in Malibu). Telecom complains that each locality has different zoning requirements which are slowing the installation of new technology. That’s because each city has unique zoning for topography and safety — for example, every local fire department has protocols for these electrical fires. The past four years have been the worst fire seasons in California history, and this bill fails to address wildfire safety linked to poor antenna construction, which has previously resulted in property damage, personal injury and devastating fires.
And consider damage to the environment. Radio-frequency Electro-Magnetic Radiation (RFR-EMR) affect flora and fauna and cause biologic harm. Radio-frequency fields disrupt insect and bird orientation. There are thousands of articles from peer reviewed studies documenting the biological (human, animal and cell studies) harmful effects of RFR-EMR, including cancer and DNA damage in people as well as harming flora and fauna. Many studies have been done on birds and bees and plants, certainly more than enough to engage the “precautionary principle” before we allow the proliferation of harmful wireless radiation pollution throughout our environment, when there is a safer, faster, more reliable, more energy-efficient wired broadband alternative.
- Recently retired US Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist and a former lead on telecommunications impacts, Dr. Albert Manville, has written to the FCC on impacts to birds of higher frequencies to be used in 5G, and authored numerous publications detailing research showing harm to birds. Manville has testified about the impacts of cell towers on birds that, “the entire thermal model and all FCC categorical exclusions for all the devices we see today, rests on the incorrect assumption that low-level non-ionizing non-thermal radiation cannot cause DNA breaks because it is so low power. The evidence to the contrary is clear and growing in laboratory animals and wildlife.”
- The NIH National Toxicology Program spent $25M on a highly controlled study on 3G cell phone radiation and reported their findings in 2018 – “clear evidence” of cancer and DNA damage in laboratory animals was reported and these findings were replicated in Italy also in 2018.
Please OPPOSE SB-556. It’s bad for us, it’s bad for the environment. It will not help close the digital divide.
“5G Generates Twice the Greenhouse Gas Emissions As Wired Fiber Optics…In “Total Consumer Power Consumption Forecast Report” (Andree 2017 Huawei) the reality that the communications industry could use 20% of all electricity and emit up to 5.5% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2025 is documented.”
More talking points:
SB-556 and AB-537 deregulate the wireless telecom industry.
SB-556 and AB-537 will NOT close the digital divide.
The wireless telecom industry is not insurable. It cannot get insurance for fires and other injuries.
Cell towers close to our homes reduce property value and tax revenue.
Wireless telecom facilities close to our homes increase fire risks, increase surveillance, reduce privacy, and interfere with the quiet enjoyment of our streets.
This is an environmental and climate crisis issue: SB-556, AB-537 and SB-378 will increase our greenhouse gases, our carbon footprint and the digital device waste stream. See: https://ehtrust.org/5g-exacerbates-global-pollution-and-human-rights-violations-says-greenpeace-france/
SB-556, AB-537 and SB-378 give telecoms a free pass to place wireless antennas anywhere they want.
These antennas violate ADA and Fair Housing regulations, and cause discrimination and injury to EMF-sensitive and EMF-disabled persons.
It is dangerous to place wires in shallow “micro-trenches” for reasons of fire hazard and personal injury. The only thing SB-378 would accomplish is saving billions for telecom companies in the short term. Cheap micro-trenching installation of cables fails easily in high-traffic zones and will require frequent cable and road repair, with associated internet outages. In the long term, those cables will need to be dug up and replaced with properly-laid fiber-optic cables. Make them do it right the first time. Please vote NO on SB-378.
We must NOT put the telecom corporations in charge of where and how many antennas and towers are installed without local community and government control.
“Southern California Edison said in 2019 that its equipment was “likely” the cause of the massive Woolsey fire, which began at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Valley. “Absent additional evidence, SCE believes it is likely that its equipment was associated with the ignition of the Woolsey Fire,” the company said. ” https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/30/us/southern-california-edison-responsible-woolsey-fire/index.html
“Cal Fire says the catastrophic Camp Fire in November 2018 was caused by electrical transmission lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. The state agency says it conducted “a very meticulous and thorough investigation” of the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, which resulted in 85 civilian fatalities.” PG&E has since pledged to bury power lines in high fire zones, and we should bury fiber-optic cables as well. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/15/officials-camp-fire-deadliest-in-california-history-was-caused-by-pge-electrical-transmission-lines.html
Fire information from S. Foster 2021:
1) The Malibu fire was caused by an overloaded utility pole in 2007. ” Malibu Canyon Fire (2007); 4 carriers including AT&T, Verizon & Sprint (T-Mobile) overloaded an SCE utility pole and it snapped in the wind, sparking a fire in the dry grass below. All 4 carriers plus the utility were accused by the CPUC of attempting to mislead investigators.
2) Woolsey Fire (2018); there were two ignition points and the Woolsey Fire is currently under criminal investigation so we do not have access to most of the details. We know that a telecommunications lashing wire was the cause of at least one ignition point; we know the second ignition point was directly underneath that lashing wire. We simply do not know which telecom carrier was involved. Woolsey consumed half the homes (over 400) in Malibu and has changed that city forever. Many of those homes have not been rebuilt because of permitting issues and financial ruin. Insurance is dropping a number of people in the high risk fire areas. Many people do not know that Woolsey was a $6 billion fire. It started the same day as the Camp Fire which burned Paradise and killed 84 people. Because of the massive loss of life in Paradise, the Camp Fire overshadowed the Woolsey Fire, but Woolsey was completely devastating. In the Woolsey Fire we know the utility SCE was involved but it was a telecom lashing wirethat appears to have triggered the fire at the site of an SCE power pole – these lashing wires connect telecom fiber to the big utility poles; when they are not done correctly, they can come loose and fire is often the result. This was likely the result of improper engineering, faulty equipment, or faulty installation. Telecom is doing slipshod work and we are paying the price.
3) Silverado Fire (2020). This fire was caused by a telecom lashing wire that came loose and forced the evacuation of over 130,000 people.
Malibu is finding design and engineering flaws in almost every application for cell towers reviewed by their engineers. Most cities let these laws slide through. Fiber is needed for 5G to operate, and the fiber is not all underground; much of it is strung from utility pole to utility pole with lashing wires, and the lashing wires can come loose due to faulty equipment or improper installation. We know 5G small cells have spontaneously caught on fire, but we don’t have data on these fires because 5G is too new. But 5G is no different than 2G, 3G, 4G when it comes to fire risks. In fact, the risks are greater because the cellular equipment has been brought closer to our homes. 2G – 5G are all electrical devices and every one of them is going to fail. If they are not engineered properly, fire is often the result of this failure. By building this infrastructure so close to people’s homes, there is no time left for escape. All cellular fires are electrical fires. Electrical fires cannot be fought until the power has been cut by the utility, and that takes between 10 and 60 minutes. Every family needs time to escape, and to place a 5G small cell on a stop sign at the corner of somebody’s yard shows a reckless disregard for human life and safety.
NOTE: The city leaders will tell you that telecom is complying with all applicable electric and fire codes. After thorough research of the codes in California, we found that telecom was exempt from most electrical and fire codes at the federal, the state, and the county levels. Thus telecom has been policing telecom from the very beginning. Therefore, it is up to local municipalities to impose safety and fire regulations.”