During a recent city council meeting the Mayor of Danville, California admitted that the council had “lost control” of the 5G rollout to the federal government and Big Wireless.
On March 6, the Danville Town Council voted four to one to block a permit for an upcoming small cell wireless installation by Verizon. During the meeting, Danville Mayor Robert Storer stated that the vote was an effort to stand up to the federal government and telecommunications companies, like Verizon.
The Danville Town Council’s decision to deny the land use-permit for the small cell opens the town to possible lawsuits from Verizon.
“We’ve made a lot of difficult decisions over the years, and this one is right up there in my top three. But that is exactly why somebody elects us to do the right things,” Mayor Robert Storer said during the council meeting. “We’ve lost local control and this says: ‘You know what? We are sick of this and we’re not going to just sit here and be bulled over.’ We say no; we play our cards out. We’ve been in lawsuits before.”
The installation of small cell sites is taking place around the nation as the U.S. government and telecommunications companies roll out 5th Generation—or 5G—cellular technology. The new technology is expected to herald the beginning of Smart Cities, where driverless cars, pollution sensors, cell phones, traffic lights, and thousands of other devices interact in what is known as “The Internet of Things”. However, there have been a number of health and privacy concerns raised by opponents of the rapidly advancing 5G technology expansion.
The controversial vote came after the Town Council had been inundated with complaints and concerns from Danville residents who worry the new small cell site and other 5G related infrastructure could have negative health effects. The installation of small cells and other 5G infrastructure is opposed by Danville Citizens for Responsible Growth (DCRG), a local group who has been putting pressure on the Town Council since at least October 2018.
That month the Danville Planning Commission approved a land-use permit for the small cell site owned by Verizon. On November 2, DCRG filed an appeal challenging the approval. The group has been battling Danville officials since and was successful in convincing most of the council to vote against the permit. However, despite many of Danville’s residents expressing concerns regarding health, the council voted against the permit because the chosen location was intrusive.
Danville SanRamon reports:
“The Danville The decision to deny the permit was based on the council majority claiming that the proposed location was not the least intrusive site possible, that better alternative locations may exist and that the applicant had not adequately demonstrated the proposed facility would meet federal radio frequency standards — all of which went against the recommendation of town staff.”
In fact, Danville city attorney Robert Ewing noted that the Federal Communication Commission heavily regulates the installation of wireless cell sites and in the process limits local government’s ability to enact their own regulations.
“While potential health concerns are a huge concern, if that was the basis on which you were making a decision I would be fairly confident to tell you that you would lose, because that’s about as clear as the law can get,” Ewing said at the meeting. “As much as I understand the concern folks have over safety, what I can tell you is that if you make a finding based on potential health impacts of RF, then I will tell you that my opinion is you would lose.”
According to the FCC’s regulations, local governing bodies are not allowed to even consider health risks when making their decisions. This is because the federal law known as the Wireless Communications Act of 1996 prohibits local jurisdictions from considering perceived health effects when taking an action on a proposed facility. Instead, cities and towns can only regulate cell sites based on the aesthetics and placement of the devices. This problem was only made worse in September 2018, when the FCC passed a new rule which put the federal government in complete control of the 5G rollout.
This is why Danville Mayor Storer talks about losing local control. The federal government and their partners in Big Wireless have usurped local control of our communities. Danville Councilwoman Renee Morgan advised the people of Danville not to stop their efforts to expose this loss of power.
“What we need to do to make sure that we gain that local control. You cannot walk out of here and say we won by having this cell site moved somewhere else. The point is to go out there and talk to your state legislators, and make sure that they understand that we as the town of Danville, deserve to tell people where we want to put these things — not have them dictate it to us.”
Despite the difficulties in organizing to raise awareness about 5G, there are recent examples of resistance at the federal level. In early February, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing on the future of 5G wireless technology and its impact on the American people and economy. At the hearing, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) raised concerns with the lack of scientific research and data on the technology’s potential health risks.
On January 24, Frank Pallone, Chairman of the U.S. House Commerce Committee, accused the FCC of collusion with Big Wireless on the massive 5G rollout. Pallone sent a letter to the FCC asking for copies of communications between the FCC and the corporations involved in the current roll out of 5th Generation (5G) cellular technology. Pallone’s letter seems to indicate that the Commerce Committee had spoken with a whistleblower.
In early December 2018, Senator Richard Blumenthal and California Representative Anna Eshoo held a press conference asking the FCC to provide evidence that 5G technology is safe. “To ensure we communicate accurate information to our constituents we respectfully request you provide to our offices the 5G safety determination from FCC and relevant health agencies that you referred to during the field hearing,” Blumenthal wrote.
It’s clear there are many questions about 5G which are going unanswered. Help us get to the bottom of this important story by sharing this article.
To learn more about this topic see the following interviews:
Derrick Broze talks with Theodora Scarato, Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust (EHT), about the health concerns around cell phones, wireless devices, and 5G.
Derrick Broze talks with Matt Cagle, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, regarding the privacy concerns surrounding the roll out of 5G technology and the so-called Internet of Things.
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