Two bills pending in the California Legislature (SB 556 and AB 537) put the telecom carriers (Verizon, At&T, Sprint) and their installers (Crown Castle) in the driver’s seat of deciding where new wireless antennas for 5G service will be placed in Santa Barbara.
What’s the problem with that? Well, this is akin to putting Maserati drivers in charge of enforcing the speed limit in our residential neighborhoods. These new wireless antennas are touted for “faster download speeds,” “bridging the digital divide,” and “improving phone service.” The truth is these antennas are not needed to improve phone service and do not close the digital divide. They’re not required for first responders or tele-medicine. Wireless service will always be slower, less reliable, easier to hack, and more expensive than fiber-optic cable.
What we are not being told, is that the radiation they emit has been proven by the National Institutes of Health to cause cancer, and no one is monitoring the radiation levels. The radiation is invisible, and the damage to our cells occurs over time. Who can stop the cancer or insomnia that people experience after wireless antennas are installed within feet of their bedroom windows? It’s like letting Maseratis race down our neighborhood streets, running over pedestrians and smashing into vehicles with no police to stop the reckless rampage.
These bills override our local municipal authority to limit the placement of small cells, despite fire and safety risks, negative impact on property values, risk of biological harm, enhanced surveillance, and substantial increase in greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change.
The decision to oppose these bills is in the hands of our legislators: Steve Bennett, Monique Limón, and all the state legislators voting on these bills. At this final stage of voting, despite heavy pressure from the telecoms, we need enough of them stand up for us, to make sure these bills do not pass.
The voices of opposition to these bills are many, including thousands of constituents. Among the organizations opposing are the California League of Cities, Santa Barbara City Council, many more California city douncils, Safe Technology for Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute, Sweetwater Collaborative, Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, Americans for Responsible Technology, Environmental Health Trust, California chapter of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, 5G Free California, and many more.
Santa Barbara residents, our legislators need to hear from you! Let them know, by calling and emailing, that you are counting on them to protect your privacy, safety, health and property by opposing SB 556 and AB 537.
Katie Mickey is vice president of Safe Technology for Santa Barbara County and director of the Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute.