By The Union Editorial Board and the Public, Sept 20, 2019 Board | Original The Union editorial here and the response here.
. . . about Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antenna (CPMRA) Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) as close as 15 to 50 feet from homes.
|5G technology will come to Nevada County and we should embrace it. — Some folks in Nevada County have their wires crossed about 5G technology. Fifth-generation cellular wireless, or 5G, promises to bring us a faster connection to the internet. That means quicker downloads, greater efficiency in our communications and, perhaps the crowd winner, self-driving vehicles.||High speed broadband technology will come to Nevada County and we should embrace it in the most respectful, democratic and technology-neutral way. Differences of opinion in a democracy are to be expected and tolerated, but there are some issues in which we have achieved broad consensus: ideas such as those in Article I, Section 1 of the CA Constitution: "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."|
|The technology also is the latest boogeyman for some Nevada County residents. It takes its place beside cell towers and radio frequency — which critics say not only hurt people, but also plants and trees.||Technology enabling telecommunications services (calls and texts) and information services (internet, gaming and streaming music/video) is just one aspect of our multifaceted lives — lives in which most of us profess to care about the well-being of people, plants, trees, animals, insects, birds and bees.|
|The Nevada City Council last week took its latest step toward passing a wireless ordinance that proposes to regulate (or not) the construction of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) throughout our town. What do we know? WTFs pump out 24/7 pulsed, data-modulated, Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) using radio-frequencies that are packed with data (via modulation) to support a variety Wireless Technology Generations (or G’s) whether the G starts with a 3, 4 or 5. We should be happy with the current wireless ordinance if the ordinance preserves the unique values of Nevada City and its residents. So . . . does it?||The Nevada City Council last week took its latest step toward passing a wireless ordinance that proposes to regulate (or not) the construction of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) throughout our town. What do we know? WTFs pump out pulsed, data-modulated, Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) using radio-frequencies packed with data (via modulation) that support a variety Wireless Technology Generations (or G’s) whether the G starts with a 3, 4 or 5. We should be happy with the current wireless ordinance if the ordinance preserves the unique values of Nevada City and its residents. So . . . does it?|
|Instead the council moved forward with the ordinance. A second reading and vote are needed before it becomes law. This should go without saying, but these governmental machinations are little more than sparks from a faulty wire.||The good news is that democracy is not a spectator sport. We can either actively participate in it or lose it. So now, we have an opportunity to consider the best information available to make sound decisions that preserve the unique values of Nevada City and its residents.|
|Many people despise 5G. They think it’s terrible, will injure them and, in Senum’s words, lead to “extinction.” Here’s a problem these folks face: 5G is coming, regardless of their beliefs. Candle makers no doubt were angry over gas-powered lamps. Pony Express riders must have hung their heads in sadness when the telegraph came through. And it’s certain typewriter companies grew glum over the creation of the first personal computer.||The very first questions for us to answer are these: "What do we like most about Nevada City? How is Nevada City different from Sacramento, San Francisco or San Jose? How much do we value consumer choice and diversity? Do we want our air, food and water free from manmade contaminants and pollutants? Do we want to reduce our collective carbon footprint? Do we value convenience over safety? Do we value local control over being told what to do by our State and Federal governments? Would we give up local control, if we had the choice?"|
|Progress has a way of happening despite our best efforts to stop it. In the Nevada City Council’s case, the federal government is working against them. The Federal Communications Commission restricts the power of local governments when it comes to regulating tech like 5G. For one, an attempt to “materially inhibit” its development is considered “effective prohibition” and not allowed.||These are the questions that Nevada City residents have the chance to answer right now. Please write down your answers — on paper (or typed into your phone) — and bring them to the next City Council meeting on Wed Sept 25 at 6:30 pm at 317 Broad Street and tell us during Public Comment. The City Council lists some of its core values on its web page: embracing and promoting diversity, ethical and transparent behavior, preserving and enhancing our community, a commitment to our community as a whole are just a few of those.|
|*Let’s not pull any punches: prohibition is exactly what 5G opponents want. That won’t happen, and it’s going to make some people angry. Those folks can stay angry, or they can examine the science. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November issued a statement about radio frequency. This agency sets standards for radiation exposure limits.||Once we understand what we value about our lives in Nevada City, we can apply this understanding to change the current wireless ordinance in ways that better reflect the unique values of Nevada City and preserves our small town charm and the residential character of our neighborhoods — while still providing fast wired internet service (for gaming and streaming music/video) and just enough wireless service to enable telecommunications (calls and texts).|
|“Based on our ongoing evaluation of this issue, the totality of the available scientific evidence continues to not support adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current radiofrequency energy exposure limits,” the document states. “We believe the existing safety limits for cell phones remain acceptable for protecting the public health.”||Our decision rests, at least in part, in being open to what the most recent peer-reviewed science (independent of Wireless industry funding) says about the negative health consequences from RF-EMR exposures that are at levels 0.5% to 5% (or lower) of the Federal RF-EMR exposure maximum public exposure guidelines. The negative health consequences from such RF-EMR exposures are DNA damage, lowered male and female fertility, sleep disturbances, diabetes, cardiomyopathy, neurological problems, dementia and even cancer (both brain and heart) to mention a few.|
|The Federal Communications Commission states: “There is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss.”||Our decision also rests on recognizing that in April of this year, the CA Supreme Court reminded cities that they have the local police power to regulate the public rights-of-way to preserve the quiet enjoyment of streets (and common areas, such as parks). Specifically the court said "travel is not the sole use of public roads; other uses may be incommoded beyond the obstruction of travel, including if telecommunications equipment (such as a Wireless Telecommunications Facility) ’causes negative health consequences’, or ‘creates safety concerns.’"|
|We’re not arguing the science is settled on this. Studies will continue to occur, and if we get better data then we should act on it. But to throw down the gauntlet at this stage, when the evidence points to this technology being safe, is foolish. It won’t just hurt businesses and economic development, it will endanger public safety.||In whose hands do you wish to place your well-being: the FCC, the most corrupt, captured-by-industry Federal Agency (the FDA is not far behind), or independent scientists and well-informed medical professionals? There is no need to throw down any gauntlets. We can. instead learn from forward-looking cities in California who have already done their homework and change our wireless ordiance to be close to theirs: we can learn from Mill Valley, Monterey, Fairfax and Petaluma.|
|We need faster communication, especially during fire season. We need business development, not an attitude that should have been discarded with the Luddites. Business will flock to where 5G technology is available. If Nevada City, or any jurisdiction, opts against it, businesses and jobs will go elsewhere. No one should actively strive for that outcome.||We can have faster internet and communications while preserving the core values of Nevada City by restricting any new wrireless telecommunciations facilties to industrial, commercial and mixed use zones, and regulating both the minimum antenna heights (the higher the better) and the maximum power output (the lower the better) from WTFs to preserve the quiet enjoyment of our streets: which are all valid aesthetic considerations.|
|People always fear change. Whether it’s a new shopping center in South County or a dispensary in Nevada City, change will happen. And, for the most part, people get used to it once it does. Sometimes we even grow to like the change and eventually support it. You shouldn’t need a 5G network to tell you that.||There is no need to fear change or ban any particular technology, if we thoughtfully exercise our city’s local police powers to balance the desires of “Team Big Wireless/Federal /State Govt.” with the core values of our team, Nevada City and its residents. Please come to the City Council meeting on Wed Sept 25 and participate in our democracy so we don’t lose it.|
The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.