2017-06-29 Time to pressure Horgan for recall of smeters.

[BC Hydro Smart Meters – BCUC – California State Association of Counties – Cell Towers – Digital Legacy Meter – EHS – ElectroSmog – Envronmental Sensitivities ES Studies – Health – Industry Canada / ISED Innovation, Science and Economic Development – John Horgan – League of California Cities – Notice of Opposition Letter from John Reed, Mayor, Town of Fairfax re Ben Hueso & Bill Quirk SB 649 Microcells / Small Cells Public Right-of-way Siting Legislation – Rural County Representatives of California – Safety – Union of BC Municipalities – Wireless | BC – Canada – Fairfax, California, USA]

1)   John Horgan has been asked by the Lieutenant Governor of BC to form a government. Now is the time for us to ask John to do with the smeter program what he wants to do with Site C – demand a full review of the program by an independent body and, if it moves forward, to allow oversight by BCUC.

 

(click on photos to enlarge)

This program is dangerous in so many ways. The NDP have been concerned about the initial costs and lack of oversight, but no other problem has been a concern for them. WRONG. Health, fires, increasing and ongoing costs, cybersecurity, etc. Despite many letters from all of us about these things, the NDP has not been willing to step forward. It’s up to us to force this new government to take a new stand against this program.

LET’S  DEMAND  A  RECALL  OF  THESE  DEFECTIVE  DEVICES.

2)   Below is a letter from the Mayor of Fairfax, California, who explains why he is just the latest of many mayors opposed to the new bill regarding microcells. This appears to give the telecoms the right to put any transmitter any place, without any consultation by local authorities or the public, with no right to deny having these things right outside homes. As the science is providing stronger and stronger evidence of serious biological effects from prolonged exposure to microwave radiation, industry is pushing to add greater levels into our homes and immediate environment.

Right now, there seems to be no control over the siting of microcells outside homes in BC. Telus is using Industry Canada’s (now Innovation, Science and Economic Development) policy that allows telecoms to put transmitters on any existing structure without any limits or requiring consultation and notification. This loophole was given to cellphone companies to put transmitters on existing towers, explaining this would eliminate having to build more ugly towers – justifying this on the basis that people are more concerned about aesthetics than health.  This is bad enough when transmitters are put on tops of buildings, piled on existing towers, etc. But it was never anticipated that it would be used to allow transmitters mere feet from every home in the province.

We need to organize and fight this. What about our rights to enjoy our safety in our homes? First smeters.  Now microcells. Please write to your Councillors and Mayors, ask them to support the resolution asking for local input that will be presented at the Union of BC Municipalities conference in September.

3)   Additional groups in California are joining to fight this proposed Bill.

“We recognize that the wireless industry offers many benefits in our growing economy, but that must be balanced with local input.  SB 649 is the wrong approach. It benefits corporate bottom lines rather than communities, silences our local voice and negates a fair return for use of public infrastructure.

For these reasons, the California State Association of Counties, League of California Cities, and Rural County Representatives of California have joined efforts to oppose SB 649.

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article158437039.html

Plan To Install 50,000 Cell Towers In California Faces Opposition

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/06/28/plan-install-50000-cell-towers-california-opposition/

4)   Something truly amazing achieved by a member—he got a legacy (digital) meter. Proving, once again, that BC Hydro does have access to more legacy meters and could accommodate more of us.

In late 2015 it was agreed that I was allowed a legacy meter after much back and forth with Patrick Wruck.

No meter was ever installed, I never heard from [BC] Hydro until late 2016 when an unmarked vehicle showed up wanting to install a smart meter. That didn’t happen. Then, a letter dated late April 2017 said Hydro would be coming with a smart meter and I needed to make my analog accessible.  This time I worked with Canon Ho and now have a legacy digital. It looks new.  So far, I’m happy with the consumption readings but will be interested to see happens during power outages and related surges.  The meter was installed by a Hydro employee in a Hydro truck.  He said ” I don’t know how you managed this”.  My advice to anyone dealing with Hydro is to do so via email – get everything in writing.”  

5)   Environmental sensitivities such as EHS and chemical sensitivities often make life in the “modern” world unbearable for many people. And that number is growing steadily with the introduction of new chemicals and increases in the electrosmog. These people are often without resources and help.  Here is the introduction to a special issue of “Ecopsychology” which is devoted to Environmental Sensitivities.

Environmental Sensitivities: Living on the Margins.

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/eco.2017.0017

Links to other articles in the June 2017 edition can be found at:

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/eco.2017.0017

Letters:

June 26, 2017

RE: Notice of Opposition: SB 649 (Hueso) Wireless and Small Cell Telecommunications Facilities (as amended 6/20/17)

[http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Notice-of-Opposition-SB-649-Hueso-as-amended-6_20_17-by-John-Reed-Mayor-Town-of-Fairfax-June-26-2017-.pdf]

Dear Senator Hueso,

The Town of Fairfax is strongly opposed to your SB 649, which would represent a major shift in telecommunications policy and law by requiring local governments to lease out the public’s property, cap how much cities can lease this space out for, eliminate the ability for cities to negotiate public benefits, the public’s input and full discretionary review in all communities of the state except for areas in coastal zones and historic districts, for the installation of “small cell” wireless equipment. This proposal unnecessarily and unconstitutionally strips local authority over public property and shuts out public input and local discretion by eliminating consideration of the aesthetic and environmental impacts of “small cells.”

Despite the wireless industry’s claim that the equipment would be “small” in their attempt to justify this special permitting and price arrangement solely for their industry, the bill would allow for antennas as large as six cubic feet, equipment boxes totaling 35 cubic feet (larger than previous bill version of 21 cubic feet), with no size or quantity limitations for the following equipment: electric meters, pedestals, concealment elements, demarcation boxes, grounding equipment, power transfer switches, and cutoff switches.

This bill eliminates public input, full local environmental and design review, and the ability for local governments to negotiate leases or any public benefit for the installations of “small cell” equipment on taxpayer funded property. The industry also claims that SB 649 retains local discretion, but by moving the bill into the ministerial process, also known as over-the-counter or check-the-box permitting, their “attempt” at giving locals discretion falls flat. Cities would have to live with the size parameters established by the bill for “small cells.” The Town would also be prevented from requesting wireless providers to prepare studies addressing its residents’ concerns with electromagnetic fields (EMF’s).

Furthermore, cities would be unable to impose any meaningful maintenance requirements for the industry’s small cells and are limited to requiring building and encroachment permits confined to the bill’s parameters written by the industry. True local discretion exists only through the use of discretionary permits, not through building or encroachment permits, especially since the public has no say in the issuance of the latter.

Furthermore, the ability for cities to negotiate any public benefit (typically negotiated because of the level of discretion cities currently have) would be eliminated by this bill. Benefits, such as network access for police, fire, libraries, and parks, negotiated lease agreements for the city general fund to pay for such services, or the ability to use pole space for public safety and/or energy efficiency measures are effectively stripped down or taken away entirely. Even if every single city resident complained about a particular “small cell” and its visual blight, cities and their councils would have no recourse to take them down, move them, or improve their appearance or any other community impacts under SB 649.

In addition to the permitting issues raised by this bill, it would also cap how much cities can negotiate leases for use of public property and a city’s ability to maximize public benefit at $250 (was $850 under prior version of the bill) annually per attachment rates for each “small cell”. Some cities have been able to negotiate leases for “small cells” upwards of $3,000, while others have offered “free” access to public property in exchange for a host of tangible public benefits, such as free Wi-Fi in public places, or network build-out to underserved parts of their cities, agreements usually applauded by both cities and industry.

The proposal also unconstitutionally preempts local authority by requiring local governments to make available sites they own for the installation of a “small cell.” While a town may place “fair and reasonable terms and conditions” on the use of town property, the proposal does not provide a town with any discretion to deny a “small cell” to be located on town property except for Fire Department sites. In effect, this measure unconstitutionally gives control of public property to private telecommunications companies, while also precluding local governments from leasing or licensing publicly owned property.

What’s truly perverse about SB 649 is that it would actually fail to deliver on stated promises and make it especially tough for cities that always seem to be last in line for new technology to see deployment, while also completely cutting out these communities from the existing process. For example, SB 649 fails to require that their “small cells” deliver 5G, 4G, or any standard level of technology. The truth is that standards for 5G are still being developed, which is why the bill can’t require it to meet that standard which begs the question as to why this bill is necessary at all. It also fails to impose any requirement for the wireless industry to deploy their networks to unserved or underserved parts of the state.

While California has been a leader in wireless deployment, many rural and suburban parts of the state still don’t have adequate network access. The lease cap in the bill guarantees prices for the wireless industry to locate in the state’s “population hubs,” leaving other parts of the state stranded and when the technology finally does deploy, they’ll have no say in the time, place, manner, or design of the equipment, creating two different standards depending on where one lives in the state, one for coastal and historic, and a lower standard for everyone else.

As if SB 649 wasn’t wreaking enough havoc on the ability for cities to protect their residents, the latest June 20, 2017 amendments completely deregulate and eliminate all oversight for “micro-wireless” facilities which can be equipment nearly three feet long dangling between utility poles, raising significant public safety issues such as obstructing traffic sight distance without any oversight. In addition, the arbitrary “lease cap” of $850 in the prior version of the bill has now been lowered to $250 for each small cell, not just as applied to leases but also to the permitting of “small cells.” Also, the bill now applies a utility pole “attachment rate” formula which is inappropriate for equipment being placed on city buildings, street and traffic lights.

As amended, the bill is no longer limited to just “small cells.” It now applies broadly to all telecommunications providers and the equipment they use from “micro-wireless” to “small cell” to “macro-towers.” It’s clear from the direction of this bill, that this is not about 5G wireless deployment, but more about local deregulation of the entire telecommunications industry. This latest version places a new ban on city/county regulation of placement or operation of “communication facilities” within and outside the public right of way far beyond “small cells.” This new language would extend local preemption of regulation to any “provider authorized by state law to operate in the rights of way,” which can include communications facilities installed for services such as gas, electric, and water, leaving cities and counties with limited oversight only over “small cells.”

Ultimately, cities and local governments recognize that the wireless industry offers many benefits in our growing economy, but a balance with community impacts must also be preserved. SB 649, however, is the wrong approach and benefits corporate bottom lines rather than communities. The bill undermines our ability to ensure our residents have a voice and get a fair return for any use of public infrastructure. Residents that don’t happen to live in a coastal zone or in a historic district will have to wonder why their communities deserve such second-tier status. Furthermore, this bill is no longer about small cells; instead it’s about all telecommunications regulation. Such a massive shift in law and policy is unprecedented and would warrant statewide stakeholder meetings before even considering such a shift, let alone trying to jam this through between now and September.

For these reasons, as Mayor, I will be recommending the Town of Fairfax strongly oppose SB 649.

Sincerely,
John Reed
Mayor
Town of Fairfax

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

“The absence of evidence of hazard is not proof of safety”
—says Dr. Devra Davis