5GFreeCalifornia.org | Julie Levine, 5G Free California | firstname.lastname@example.org
Preserve Local Control over 4G/5G Wireless Infrastructure
Stop Antennas On Every Pole.
Take action: 2 Committee Hearings this week.
Stop this all-encompassing Telecom power-grab.
Don’t let Telecom decide where and how many antennas are on poles in your neighborhood.
SB-556 will be heard in the CA Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications on Monday April 19 at 3 o’clock
and likely on Thursday April 22 in the CA Senate Governance and Finance Committee. This bill removes all local government decision-making in your neighborhood and gives it directly to the Telecom corporations.
SB 556 gives control over small cell antenna numbers and locations to Telecom Carriers. Currently, our local governments have some control over those decisions.
What you must do:
Action 1 ~ Write your letter TODAY, Sunday: send opposition letter to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. Must be submitted through the portal by 9 am Monday morning 4/19 (so your opposition is part of the record for the second hearing on Thursday). See sample letter and instructions with below.
Action 2 ~ Call Monday 4/19 before 3pm: call members of the Senate Energy Utilities and Communications Committee. Here’s how to call Senators: (names and numbers below)
Call and leave messages/voicemails for as many Senators as you possibly can.
State your name and organization. Say: “My organization/I am(is) opposed to SB-556, antennas are proven fire hazards, we are entering the worst fire season in our California history. Overloaded poles and poorly planned placement of antennas will cause fires. More antennas will not improve voice or video communication. Only Fiber To and Through the Premises will improve voice and video. Local governments currently make this decision and should continue to do so. Close with urging them to vote NO on SB-556.
Senator Ben Hueso (Chair) (916) 651-4040
Senator Brian Dahle (Vice Chair) (916) 651-4001
Senator Josh Becker (916) 651-4013
Senator Andreas Borgeas (916) 651-4008
Senator Steven Bradford (916) 651-4035
Senator Bill Dodd (916) 651-4003
Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (916) 651-4005
Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (916) 651-4033
Senator Shannon Grove (916) 651-4016
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg (916) 651-4018
Senator Mike McGuire (916) 651-4002
Senator Dave Min (916) 651-4037
Senator Susan Rubio (916) 651-4022
Senator Henry Stern (916) 651-4027
If you live in their district, make sure you let them know; if you don’t live in their district, you can say “I don’t live in the district, so I can’t vote for Senator ________, but s/he votes for me on this committee.”
Action 3 ~ Monday, April 19: Give testimony at Senate Energy Utilities and Communications hearing on Monday 4/19 at 3 pm. Call at 2:45 pm, to get in the queue for speaking your opposition to SB 556 before the committee takes a vote.
CALL: Participant number: 1-877-226-8152
ACCESS CODE: 2599954
Please note: In order for your testimony to be heard clearly, you must mute any devices you are using to live-stream the committee hearing prior to calling into the teleconference service. Please do not testify using speakerphone or bluetooth ~ this can cause acoustic feedback and make it very difficult to hear your testimony.
- Upon calling in, you will be placed in a “waiting room” where you will be muted but you can listen to the committee hearing as you wait. (there’s a time delay if you are watching online)
- When a committee moves to public comment, a moderator will ask for anyone who is wishing to testify in “Support” of the bill to please press 1-0. The moderator will again prompt those waiting in “Opposition” when the committee moves to opposition you should press 1-0 when you are prompted by the moderator – be sure to listen for support or opposition and DO NOT press 1-0 until the proper position has been asked for.
- When you press 1-0 on your phone, you will wait and an operator will assign you a line number, at that time you will be placed in the queue for identification. Remember your line number, the moderator will call out that number to identify YOU when it is your turn to testify.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you press 1-0 a second time, you will remove yourself from the queue and you will not be identified to testify. Every time you press 1-0 you either put yourself “In queue” or take yourself “Out of queue” so listen carefully, and press 1-0 only once when you are prompted by the moderator.
- When you are successfully in the queue, with your assigned line number, the moderator will call out your line number, open your line, and at that time you may address the committee. You must have your own phone unmuted before you begin testimony.
- Speak fast and don’t pause (you will only have a few seconds, so chose what you want to say from below.
- State…“(Name)” and organization (if you represent one).
- State where you live.
- State “I strongly oppose SB 556.”
- State one of the following, or another talking point from WireCalifornia.org/action.
- Don’t Add Fuel to California Wildfires
- Cell Towers Are Fire Hazards
- No Fire Hazards in Neighborhood Fire Defensible Zones
- Don’t Transfer Electric Infrastructure Cost and Liability to Municipalities
- Don’t Sell Public Safety Out to Corporate Telecom Carriers
- Don’t Steal Cities’ Rights
- Finish quickly with: “Strongly oppose SB.556.”
- See Teleconference commenting instructions here: Video: https://www.senate.ca.gov/media/20200724-How-to-give-Public-Comment-with-the-Telephone-System/video
Action 4 ~ Tuesday through Thursday
After the Monday Hearing, we will focus on the next committee where SB 556 will be heard, Committee on Governance and Finance. (You wrote a letter to this committee in Action 1)
Until Thursday’s hearing, call the members of the Senate Governance & Finance Committee.
Find roster here: https://sgf.senate.ca.gov/committeeaffair
Same talking points as Monday above.
Consider adding you agree with the opposition letter from the League of California Cities
Senator Mike McGuire (916) 651-4002
Senator Jim Nielsen (916) 651-4004
Senator Maria Elana Durazo (916) 651-4024
Senator Robert Hertzberg (916) 651-4018
Senator Scott Weiner (916) 651-4001
Action 5 Thursday call in and testify in the committee hearing. Instructions in the next email.
Here’s How to Submit an Opposition Letter:
Before Monday (tomorrow) 9 am:
Submit opposition letter via Legislative “Position Letter” Portal. https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates/
Opposition Letter Template: Feel free to edit and personalize so it is not obvious it is a copy.
Letter to Governance and Finance Committee
Submit your letter through the portal April 18, 2021
The Honorable Mike McGuire
Chair, Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol Building, Room 408
Sacramento, CA 95814
Cc: Committee Consultant Mr. Anton Favorini-Csorba
Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol Building, Room 408
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB-556 (Dodd) Street Light Poles, Traffic Signal Poles, Utility Poles, and SupportStructures – OPPOSED (As Amended 03/16/21)
Dear Chair McGuire and Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Governance and Finance:
Thank you for your careful consideration of who is best to make decisions about where Wireless Antennas are located. I am writing on behalf of ORGANIZATION NAME, or yourself which strongly opposes SB-556 and asks for your help to whatever extent possible, to also help oppose AB-537.
This bill effectively eliminates local control over the placement, construction and modification of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs), particularly in the public rights-of-way, the management of which has been — and should remain — a municipal affair, not a statewide concern, and should not be decided by private Telecom Carriers.
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. SB-556 aims to construct small cells even closer to homes and businesses, yet no wireless carrier or their agents can get liability insurance for claims of injury, death or illness. Over a decade, Lloyd’s of London and other insurers have instituted Pollution Exclusions for RF-EMR/EMF exposures. Wireless telecommunication facilities are uninsurable. Fires have cost California Billions of dollars and individuals billions as well (not to mention displacement and suffering and death).
Wireless Telecom Facilities (aka antennas) are known fire-hazards, and decisions about where they should be placed are very important. State PUC law leaves local governments responsible for damage caused by attachments to their poles, not Telecom carriers, and not the state government. Localities are the only authorities who should be charged with making these safety decisions. In addition, local elected representatives know the residents and neighborhoods in their cities/counties. They know the neighborhood aesthetics and safety concerns.
SB 556 is unnecessary because countless local governments have already negotiated contracts in good faith with wireless companies to allow use of locally owned poles in the public streets on what the industry views as reasonable terms, and local governments already comply with the 2018 FCC Small Cell Order. Many cities in California have created special zones protecting parks, daycare centers, homes, schools, and fire stations, with setbacks for cell antenna towers in the public rights-of-ways. Each local government surveys its own neighborhood characteristics, its risks, and unique local conditions including: its own local fire codes, its unique topography, its existing fiber optic infrastructure and its needed wired fiber optic infrastructure, and the integrity of structures in HIGH winds.
Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) of any size or any “G” (generation) are known fire hazards. Lack of FCC attention to local concerns, complaints and damages (including traffic and fire) has allowed Telecom companies to self-regulate. SB 556 will further remove local control, and safety will be jeopardized. Rewiring poles for additional, sometimes multiple carriers’ antennas requires electrical engineering skills, and telecom carriers are not required to follow electrical code.
This is very expensive and the local government will have to bear initial expenses (until cost can be established for billing back the carriers). Imagine being stopped at a stoplight trying to evacuate from a fire and having the wind blow down the antennas above you. Many Californians have a diagnosis of post fire trauma — the very smell of smoke increases anxiety. Now they (or I) will have to worry about antennas as well.
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 violates the ADA, American Disability Act.
In addition to these very serious objections, it is documented that 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.
Alternatively, installation of wired broadband connections will be FASTER, with better video and audio, more private, more secure, more reliable, safer than wireless. It will not be affected in weather, wind and firestorms.
SB-649 did not become law, though many busy legislators voted for it without knowing that it was written by industry lobbyists with ALEC (the corporate-beholden American Legislative Exchange Council.) SB 556 is sponsored by wireless carriers. In the words of Jerry Brown’s veto letter for SB-556’s predecessor, (2017’s SB-649)”I believe that the interest which localities have in managing rights of way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill.”
Lastly, increased density of antennas (more and closer) will not improve reception — that requires wiring into the premises and USB cables to your devices. 5G (fifth generation technology) is for total surveillance via the “internet of things” — it is NOT for improving video or voice communication. 5G reception is interfered with by hills, trees, and weather.
California needs to take effective steps to close the Digital Divide. However, SB-556, is not technology-neutral, it only serves to increase the profits of the Wireless carriers without closing the Digital Divide.
Regulating the internet as a public utility: Wired FTTP Broadband installed with deep underground conduit (prevents fires). Local government can distribute internet resources and can generate revenue.
Once again, the best solution for California is wired broadband, Fiber Optic to and through the premises (FTTP) and municipal utilities.
Please vote down this bad bill and, instead, encourage the option of municipal wired broadband. We agree with the League of California Cities in asserting that the state must not further limit local control.
Thank you for serving your constituents and working to protect us, to oppose SB-556, AB-537 and SB-378.
This page will be continually updated with latest actions needed, including phone numbers and a selection of call scripts.
That page includes phone numbers to call and brief “call scripts” to choose from. You only have about 15 seconds to state the reason for your call. They just want to count the number of calls they get for or against the bills, and we need to make sure they get thousands of calls against.