Grassroots Environmental Opposes SB.649

August 9, 2017

The Honorable Lorena Fletcher Gonzalez
Chair, Assembly Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room 2114
Sacramento, California 95814

In Opposition to SB 649 Wireless and Small Cell Telecommunications Facilities (as amended 7/18/2017)

Dear Assembly Member Gonzalez Fletcher,

Grassroots Environmental Education is a non-profit environmental health organization with a mission to inform individuals and lawmakers about the links between common environmental exposures and human health impacts. Our award-winning work has helped New York State adopt legislation prohibiting pesticides on school grounds and banning hydraulic fracking for natural gas

We are strongly opposed to statewide legislation in any state which takes away from local decision makers the ability to protect their constituents from harm. The telecommunications industry, one of the most powerful and profitable industries in the country, is spearheading the national effort to consolidate decision-making about 5G technology at the state level so as to avoid the cost and potential delay that might be caused by individuals and organizations that put health ahead of profits. We proudly count ourselves as one of them.

Continue reading “Grassroots Environmental Opposes SB.649”

AARP in California Opposes SB.649

July 19, 2017

The Honorable Lorena Fletcher Gonzalez
Chair,Assembly Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room 2114
Sacramento, California 95814

Re: SB 649 (Hueso): Wireless Telecommunications Facilities As Amended — OPPOSE

Dear Assembly Member Gonzalez:

On behalf of more than 3.3 million AARP members in California, I am writing in opposition of SB 649, which would harm California consumers. AARP believes that government should conduct the public’s business in an open, inclusionary, and equitable manner, and that administrative agencies should promote fairness, openness, and accountability in public decision-making. Unfortunately, SB 649 does just the opposite. It is part of a nationwide effort to undermine the authority of local jurisdictions by allowing the installation of wireless or “small-cell” technology without requiring city or county discretionary permits. The wireless industry has convinced the Federal Communications Commission to launch a proceeding that preempts local authority if permits are not processed as quickly as the industry desires. This is clearly a usurpation of local authority and is contrary to the public’s interest in transparent, accountable government. Continue reading “AARP in California Opposes SB.649”

CA Assembly SB-649 June 28 Testimony

Fair Treatment at 6/28/17 Local Government Hearing For Proponents and Opponents of SB.649?

View the video of the 28/17 Local Government Hearing
  • Go to
  • Click on VIDEO for Assembly Local Government Committee — Jun 28, 2017
  • View from 0:19:28 to 3:05:10
  • The 60 minutes for testimony on 6/28/17 was apportioned fairly (30 minutes for Support, 30 minutes for Opposition), but the 100+ minutes of discussion among/questions from of the Assembly Local Government Committee (from 1:24:45 to 3:05:55) was not apportioned fairly. Virtually all of the post-testimony discussion was with SB.649 Supporters: Bill Author Ben Hueso and Industry representatives from AT&T, Verizon and the CTIA — the Wireless Association. There was not a single follow up question from the members of the Assembly Local Government Committee about the unconstitutional consequences of SB.649 resulting from placing so-called Small Cell antennas in residential zones.

    On 6/27/17 after 5:00 pm, we received confirmation from the California Assembly regarding a second accommodation from the California Legislature (the first was on 5/15/17 at the Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing) for Electromagnetically Sensitive (EMS) California residents to speak to their government face-to-face. We used this accommodation to secure a time-certain start (2:00 pm), a directive by the chair for everyone in the hearing room to turn off the wireless antennas on their wireless devices and a metering of the peak Radio-Frequency Microwave Radiation (RF/MW radiation) levels at the testimony table in the Hearing room. Continue reading “CA Assembly SB-649 June 28 Testimony”

    Don’t Fall for AT&T’s Bait And Switch Scheme

    Legacy Landlines are Far Superior to VoIP phone lines

    AT&T’s May/June written notice to AT&T landline customers about AT&T’s plan to switch customers from Title-II-regulated Legacy Copper Phone-Switched Landline Phone Services to unregulated Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone Services is misleading. No one has to switch, as clarified here, so don’t switch, if you don’t want to.

    The following CPUC Blog Post attempts to clarify things (emphases are mine):

    Included in AT&T customer bills in May was a notice of changes to AT&T’s Residential Service Agreement. In response to the many questions raised with the CPUC’s Consumer Affairs Branch by AT&T customers, the CPUC is directing the company to send a clarifying notification.

    This clarifying message is being sent to assure that all customers are fully informed and aware that changes to the Residential Service Agreement do not impact their underlying telephone service. The prices, service descriptions, and other terms and conditions of an AT&T customer’s telephone service will remain the same in California.

    Future upgrades to AT&T’s network may require the company to install new equipment outside a customer’s home in order for telephone service to continue to work. If AT&T upgrades its network in a customer’s area, the company will provide additional notice and make an appointment with the customer, if needed. However, AT&T’s obligation to offer basic telephone service in California is not affected by any potential network upgrades.

    Legacy copper, phone-switched landline phone services have benefits that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, such as U-Verse and Wireless phone service do not offer:

    • Only landline phone works even during an extended power outage. VoIP phone modems depend on short-lived batteries, if present at all, which provide only limited-time use during an extended power outage.

    • Only landline 911 calls auto-verify the address if the caller cannot speak — such as after suffering a stroke.

    • The Governor of Florida has recently encourage all FL residents to maintain a landline phone for reliable emergency communications during floods, hurricanes or other natural disasters.

    Continue reading “Don’t Fall for AT&T’s Bait And Switch Scheme”

    June 14 AT&T Landline Notice Clarification?

    Will the CPUC Make AT&T Send Out a Correction Notice?

    They are considering it. At least that is what I have heard from California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Manager of Manager of LA Consumer Affairs, Juanita Lane.

    The $64,000,000 question is when? Will the CPUC require AT&T to correct their deceptive/confusing notice before the artificial July 1, 2017 deadline threatened by AT&T? Not likely.

    Unfortunately, the CPUC is much like the FCC: they are both captured agencies, which means that these government agencies are dominated by the industries they presumably regulate. The CPUC often acts more like a branch of AT&T than as a defender CA residents’ rights or as an enforcer of CA telecommunications laws.

    One large problem is that AT&T and Verizon for many years have each collected taxes/fees from customers’ landline bills for the express purpose of upgrading the legacy copper, phone-switched landline to fiber-to-the-home. Unfortunately, they never carried out that promise. Instead, these firms fraudulently transferred this money from their Title II, regulated wireline divisions to their unregulated Wireless divisions. That’s right Grandma’s landline phone bill financed the build out of 4G/LTE Wireless. The vast majority of fiber-optic cables go to cell phone towers instead of to customers’ homes.

    Continue reading “June 14 AT&T Landline Notice Clarification?”

    June 11 East Bay Times Op-Ed

    Nina Beety: CA State Bill 649 Would Turn California Utility Poles into Cell Towers

    East BayTimes Op-Ed: published 6/11/17 at 3:21 pm

    Most utility poles and light poles and many non-pole structures in the public right of way will become cell towers under Senate Bill 649 (SB/649). The Bill strips municipal governments of decision-making power.

    Spaced approximately every ten homes, cell antennas will hang in one or more clusters on utility, light poles, traffic lights and other municipal structures. Equipment cabinets the size of refrigerators, with cooling fans and back-up generators, will sit on sidewalks next to each antenna. Towers will be located in the public right of way a few feet from bedroom windows, offices, schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

    Continue reading “June 11 East Bay Times Op-Ed”

    June 10 Monterey Herald Op-Ed

    Nina Beety: AT&T is Stealing our Landlines

    Monterey Herald Op-Ed: posted 6/10/17 @ 3:08 pm, PDT

    The public paid for America’s sturdy, reliable and essential copperline landline infrastructure through rates and tax-subsidized incentive programs, but AT&T wants to eliminate copperline service. Most Californians don’t know this.

    “Dependable” is not in vogue, and AT&T no longer wants to service this system. It claims it must make way for new technology, and that this service is no longer essential or economical for them to continue, despite AT&T’s huge profit last year.

    Tell that to Californians who live in rural areas, are older, have medical devices, are disabled, or are low income. They rely on this service. “Traditional landline phone service remains the backbone and only reliable two-way communication mode,” says the Rural County Representatives of California.

    Continue reading “June 10 Monterey Herald Op-Ed”

    Press Advisory: CA SB 649 Passed by Senate

    California Senate Passed SB.649 — An Unconstitutional Bill That Forcibly Exposes California Neighborhoods to Constant, Hazardous 4G/5G Microwave Radiation

    Companion piece to Businesswire press release

    SB.649 would dramatically increase California residents’ exposures to pulsed, Radio-Frequency Microwave Radiation (‘RF/MW radiation’) in their neighborhoods 24/7. Over 110 California Cities entered their formal opposition to SB.649 into the public record before the Senate vote.

    05/31/17 SB.649: Read third time. Passed. (Ayes 32. Noes 1.) Ordered to the Assembly. Senator Glazer was the sole No vote. The following Senators did not vote: Allen, Beall, Jackson, Monning, Newman, Portantino and Wiecowkski.

    Sacramento, CA, June 1, 2017 — At the tail-end of a 8 1/2-hour Senate session (View 5/31/17 Senate Floor Session from 8:31:52 to the end), the California Senate passed SB.649, a highly contentious Bill that would allow deployment of powerful two-way microwave transmitters on virtually every streetlight, utility pole and other non-pole structure in the public right of way throughout California neighborhoods. The microwave transmitters would be deployed as close as 10-15 feet from second-story windows and would forcibly expose the inhabitants to a never-ending stream of RF/MW radiation 24/7/365. This deployment would violate the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. State legislation cannot legally force 1.2+ million Californians out of their homes. SB.649 is destined to pit California cities and counties against the State and, if passed as is, is destined for court, just as in the State of Ohio: 80+ cities in Ohio are suing the State of Ohio over a very similar bill.

    Continue reading “Press Advisory: CA SB 649 Passed by Senate”