January 25, 2018
Cingular and AT&T have filed an application to bring SB649 to Elk Grove.
On January 25, 2018 New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC (dba AT&T Mobility) filed a planning application and agreement requesting that the City of Elk Grove amend its municipal code, Chapter 23.94, Wireless Communication Facilities, of Title 23 to specifically define, address and ease the installation of cell antennas in the public right of way. This is Application EG-18-006.
You can download the City of Elk Grove Planning Application and Agreement number EG-18-006 here.
Elk Grove was one of the 325 cities that opposed SB649 last year, a bill that would have turned over control of public property to private corporations to install cell antennas on light poles and utility poles in the public right-of-way.
Wireless Industry Aims to Limit Local Control over Wireless Facilities, After Efforts in California Defeated by the League November 9, 2017
For all the reasons the City opposed SB649 it should also NOT amend the Municipal Code as Cingular / AT&T have asked.
This application should be denied for all the reasons Mayor Steve Ly stated in his letter of opposition to SB649 dated April 18, 2017 and addressed to Senator Ben Hueso. A copy of that letter is here.
Among other things Mayor Ly wrote, “This bill strips local government of the authority to protect the quality of life of our residents, and to protect public property and the public right-of-way from relatively unconstrained access by small cells.” To me, “protect the quality of life of our residents” means keep hazardous EMF 24 hours a day away from our homes. To other people it might mean noise, visual blight, loss of property values, etc.
If the City amends its municipal code the City will be voluntarily surrendering to all of the harms that the Legislature tried to allow telecom companies to force on cities through SB649. The City will be offering up its hands willingly to be handcuffed by Cingular, AT&T and the rest of them. Why would the City go along with something it fought so hard to oppose along with 325 other California cities and the League of California Cities?!
The applicant wants to circumvent the public process
What Cingular and AT&T want is no public process. There would have to be a public process, consisting of at least a hearing by the Planning Commission and, assuming the Commission approves it, a hearing by the City Council.
According to the cover letter signed by Tressa Bader on behalf of Vinculums Services LLC, a representative of AT&T, dated January 3, 2018 that accompanies the application:
“. . . we recommend that the City of Elk Grove exempt PROW (public right of way) small cell facilities from planning review and administratively adopt design guidelines allowing for a streamlined administrative review through Public Works.”
In other words, what Cingular and AT&T want is no public process. They want to be able to apply for permits to install these monstrous, ugly, hazardous cell antennas anywhere in Elk Grove with NO review by the Planning Commission and NO review by the City Council, and that means NO public comments or knowledge of what they are doing. They want to tie the hands of the City to either say “No” to a given application or to set requirements regarding noise, size, location, maximum input power, maximum output power, maximum number of cell antennas on a given pole or street, and so on. All of the items that the Planning Department currently can require in a discretionary use permit Cingular and AT&T want to eliminate.
It’s as if armed thieves (Cingular and AT&T) come to your house to break in and steal everything valuable but you meet them at the door and drive them away. The next day the thieves comes back to your house with a new strategy – to ask you for your permission to enter your house and steal from you! This time they are armed only with a request. They ask you for a copy of the keys to your house. Obviously the answer should be no. The thieves have no business being in your house.
The Municipal Code is here:
October 15, 2017
Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. vetoed SB 649! This is an excellent development. Governor Brown saved everybody in California from a huge public health disaster that would have turned over decision making power currently held by local government to the telecommunication companies that sponsored the bill (AT&T, Verizon, and their lobbying group CTIA). It would have allowed them, without any negotiation, parameters, or input by local government or the residents of a given city or county, to install cell antennas (misleadingly called “small cells”) on light poles and utility poles in the public right of way.
Thank you Governor Brown for vetoing this!
Governor Brown’s veto letter can be found on line here.
You can download it from this page here.
June 26, 2017
Sacramento Smart Meter Awareness opposes SB649, Wireless telecommunications facilities. Download our letter of opposition here:
April 30, 2017
SB649 wireless telecommunication facilities, a gift to the telecommunications companies at the expense of public health in California, will create chronic health problems for millions of Californians every day at home and at work.
There are several reasons to oppose this bill but two of them far outweigh the others. First, the health argument against SB649. The bill will allow the telecommunications corporations to place very powerful, high tech cell phone transmitter / antennae, so-called “small cells”, on light poles and utility poles in the public right of way and (here is the problem) these small cells will transmit wireless radiation in all directions 24/7 that is hazardous to human health. Second, the bill strips away the power of local governments to say no when a telecommunications corporation applies for a series of permits to place these small cells in a given city or county.
The Senators so far (in both the Senate Energy Committee and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee) have assumed:
1) that wireless radiation is harmless; and
2) that there will be a huge financial bonanza to California and Californians as a direct result of this bill.
They are wrong on both assumptions.
You can find out what is happening next and when (the schedule of hearings on this bill), follow the status of the bill, read the bill, read the bill analysis, compare versions and so on at this page:
On April 26, 2017 the Senate Governance and Finance Committee (of California) held a hearing on SB649 at its meeting. The video of the full meeting can be downloaded or watched from
On Friday April 21, 2017 I hand delivered to the office of each Senator on the Senate Governance and Finance Committee the following letter which includes a list of the 100+ scientific studies on the health impacts of wireless radiation that had been delivered to the Committee in 2015 and are still in the possession of the Committee.
About the videos on this page, if there are delays or pauses during playback try the following to reduce buffering during playback:
· Switch to “Auto” in the quality menu, if available
· If “Auto” is not available, switch to one of the lower quality options by clicking on HD in the lower right hand corner and selecting from the options that appear.
Here is a video of opposition testimony from Mark Graham on behalf of Scientists for Wired Technology.
Here is a video of Senator Robert Hertzberg’s response to the health argument against SB649, that the wireless radiation from the so called “small cells” will be hazardous to human health.
Here is a video of all of the opposition testimony.
This bill will strip away a local government’s right and ability to say “No” to the latest in cell phone transmitters and antennae. Known as “small cells”, these boxes will, under SB649, be placed by the telecommunications corporations on any light pole, utility pole, or other structure in the County’s public right of way. The purpose is to provide “5G” cell phone services including internet access.
Both the City of Elk Grove and Sacramento County opposed SB649 but the Committee’s bill analysis omitted them from the list of opponents.
The proponents speak of 5G as if it were an unlimited financial bonanza, a second gold rush such as California experienced in the 1840s, as if there is unlimited demand by consumers not already met but the current “4G” cell phone technology, and as if it will bring unlimited or very massive increases in jobs and economic activity. These claims are speculative, over-optimistic and unproven. As the telecom industry boasted in a March 2, 2017 hearing in Washington, DC 99% of the U.S. currently has cell phone coverage.
Proximity of “small cells” to homes and offices
The biggest problem with these small cells and SB649 is the health effects of wireless radiation. The reason the telecom companies want to place these so close to a person’s home or office, literally as close as 12’ (twelve feet) from your home or office, is that the new technology relies on shorter wavelength radiation, in the range of a few millimeters. 4G and earlier cell phone technology used longer wavelengths. Although it is possible to pack a LOT more data onto each of these shorter waves these waves do not penetrate buildings (such as homes and offices) as well as current cell phone transmitters / antennae. Where it was possible to transmit 4G from a cell tower or antenna, 5G has to be transmitted from much closer.
Health impacts or effects of wireless radiation
Scientists around the world have been studying the health impacts of wireless radiation for decades. They have found that even at levels of chronic exposure thousandths or ten-thousandths of the levels of exposure that we currently get, wireless radiation causes a wide range of harmful health effects. This is radio frequency radiation and microwave radiation (two ranges that overlap in the electromagnetic spectrum).
These health effects of wireless radiation can be broken down into short term and long term.
The short term effects include:
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Inability to focus or concentrate
Suppressed melatonin production (melatonin is essential for the immune system)
Leakage of the blood brain barrier (which allows more toxins into the brain)
There are many more.
The long term effects include:
Developmental and learning disabilities
There are many more.
Note that the “short term” effects just start sooner and are felt sooner. They will also be long term as long as the source of the radiation is present.
If SB649 passes neither a resident nor any City or County in California will have a right or ability to say “No” to having a “small cell” placed on a light pole or utility pole right outside their home or office. The small cell (a very deceptive name) will transmit this radiation in all directions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nor will a resident or the County have a right or ability to tell the telecom company to turn the radiation down or off, for any length of time or to any degree.
The direct consequence is that California residents will experience all of these health effects in their homes. They will be harmed by the small cell radiation in their own homes.
The text of SB649
The analysis of the bill by the consultants of two committees: the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.
Here are the amendments to SB649 first made public after the April 26, 2017 Committee meeting and approved on that date.
Local government is opposed to SB649
The League of California Cities wrote a letter opposing SB649 and spoke in opposition at the Committee hearing on April 26, 2017. The League’s website has a draft letter that a city can send to Sen. Hueso opposing the bill. It is at
The problem with that letter is that it does not mention the health impacts / health effects of the wireless radiation from the “small cells” that the bill will allow the telecom companies to place on light poles, utility poles, etc. in the public right of way all across California. That is the biggest issue by far.
The California State Association of Counties and the Urban Counties of California are both opposed to SB649.
Only firefighters are protected from small cell hazardous wireless radiation.
The bill contains one clause which implicitly admits the health hazards of wireless radiation and protects firefighters from it. It doesn’t state the reason, but the new section 65964.2(a)(3) of the Government Code will say, “(3) The small cell is not located on a fire department facility.”
The good news here is that the bill protects firefighters from the health effects of hazardous wireless radiation. The bad news is that it only protects the firefighters at work and it doesn’t protect anybody else in the state.
California firefighters opposed AB57, another bill giving the telecom companies more power to circumvent local government control, back in 2015 until that bill was amended by the addition of a similar protection of fire departments from having cell towers placed on them.
California firefighters’ reason for not wanting cell towers and antennae on their fire departments is based on the position of the International Association of Fire Fighters since 2004.
That position, from the IAFF Division of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine, is called,
“Position on the Health Effects from Radio Frequency/Microwave (RF/MW) Radiation in Fire Department Facilities from Base Stations for Antennas and Towers for the Conduction of Cell Phone Transmissions”.
That position provides detailed scientific evidence on the health hazards of wireless radiation from cell towers:
“The International Association of Fire Fighters’ position on locating cell towers commercial wireless infrastructure on fire department facilities, as adopted by its membership in August 2004 (1), is that the IAFF oppose the use of fire stations as base stations for towers and/or antennas for the conduction of cell phone transmissions until a study with the highest scientific merit and integrity on health effects of exposure to low intensity RF/MW radiation is conducted and it is proven that such sitings are not hazardous to the health of our members.”
A problem with SB649 is section 65964.2. (b)(2)(B), which as proposed reads, “The submission of additional information showing that the small cell complies the Federal Communications Commission’s regulations concerning radio frequency emissions referenced in Section 332(c)(7)(B)(iv) of Title 47 of the United States Code.”
California should not rely on the Federal Communications Commission’s regulations concerning radio frequency emissions referenced in Section 332(c)(7)(B)(iv) of Title 47 of the United States Code because of the significant flaws therein. The Commission’s requirements are detailed in Parts 1 and 2 of the FCC’s Rules and Regulations [47 C.F.R. 1.1307(b), 1.1310, 2.1091, 2.1093].
Available to download from this page
is a document called “Flaws in the MPE guidelines of FCC 1996 black.pdf”. That file gives the best reasons why the Federal Communications Commission’s “maximum permissible exposure guidelines”, set in 1996 based on engineering data but not biological data from 1986 and 1991, and not revised since then, are woefully inadequate to protect against health effects. The relevance to SB649 is 65964.2. (b)(2)(B), because the telecom companies will not have to do anything other than provide this information to “protect” residents from the health hazards of 5G wireless radiation.