CA Senate SB-649 May 15 Testimony

View the Video Testimony

Speaker One

Please vote NO on SB.649, an extremely costly bill that robs the public of their wealth and health to further enrich private wireless companies, who have over a decade of broken promises to use funds that the public already paid nine times over on their wireline phone bills to install fiber optic to their homes. Instead of upgrading wireline with fiber optics as they were required to do — these companies fraudulently transferred these funds to their unregulated wireless divisions. That’s right. Grandma’s landline phone bill financed the build out of 4G/LTE.

With the continuing list of due process violations of SB.649, starting at 9:31 am on April 21, [we must halt SB.649] These violations include

  • improper notice on CA government web sites of record for SB.649
  • language in the current bill from 5/2/17 that is not consistent with the language voted on by the Governance and Finance Committee on 4/26/17
  • And we have a subcommittee created on that date to conduct dark room deals outside of public view.

The current [SB.649] language has loopholes in it. It does not match what was voted [through on 4/26/17]. The suggested fix is clear and I gave it to the [bill] consultants, but it was ignored.

Finally, the Wireless bonanza has also created a large disabled population in California. Radio Frequency Microwave Radiation currently disables 1.2 million Californians and that will grow exponentially with the passage of SB.649, resulting in many tens of millions of dollars in State disability benefits, and increased medical and other state health insurance costs.

We have over 175 people — online in a conference call right now — that would love to participate and answer the following question: Are you electromagnetically sensitive, and have you been harmed physically and financially by RF/microwave radiation from wireless facilities?. The resounding answer would be YES.

SB.649 states: A small cell shall be a permitted if it satisfies compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act” Quite simply, cell phone towers 10-20 feet from second story bedroom windows violates the ADA.

Our next speaker, a disabled Electromagnetic Sensitive person, will give her personal testimony.

The following was edited out for time:


The associated equipment on pole structures does not exceed 21 cubic feet provided that any individual piece of associated equipment on pole structures do not exceed nine cubic feet.

What does this language really mean? The language now only deals with associated equipment on pole structures, but most of the associated equipment is off the pole and there are also a separate class of non-pole structures, and neither is regulated by this language — which was not the intent of Chairman Mike McGuire or the language the Senators voted through on 4/26/17. Also the use of ‘provided’ creates unnecessary ambiguity. What happens if an individual piece of associated equipment on pole structures exceeds nine cubic feet? The language says, the regulation does not apply in that case.

All equipment (antenna and associated equipment) either on or within 100 feet of each pole or non-pole wireless telecommunications facility will not exceed a total of 27 cubic feet, with the following additional requirements:

  • The antenna does not exceed six cubic feet
  • The associated equipment for this antenna does not exceed 21 cubic feet
  • No individual associated equipment item will exceed nine cubic feet

Conclusion: SB.649 bill should be halted in 2017 to give the Senators sufficient time to complete their due diligence and to ensure that all due process rules are properly respected and followed.

Speaker Two

My name is Nina Beety. Thank you for this disabled accommodation so I can speak.

I am disabled by electromagnetic sensitivities — to cell towers , cell phones, Wi-Fi, and Smart Meters. EMS is recognized by the U.S. Access Board and is a protected disabled characteristic. California’s 1998 survey found 3.2% of respondents were very sensitive to electromagnetic radiation. That was 1.1 million Californians in 1998. This is not an orphan illness.

This bill does not comply with ADA. Small cell towers are an access barrier for the EMS-disabled to their homes and communities.

Since 1998, radiation levels have soared. How many more Californians have EMS? You don’t know because industry is moving too fast. My symptoms include heart arrhythmia, severe sleep disruption, migraines, nausea, and loud ringing in my ears. U.S. and international experts warn about the public health cost. Other countries are taking protective steps. This bill mandates more public exposure – liability for the state. Halt this bill so you can examine these issues.

They say this bill costs California nothing. That’s false.

My costs include at least $500,000 in lost income, which costs the state in tax revenue. If 10,000 Californians are EMF-disabled with $50,000 per year lost income, that’s $500 million dollars of economic impact including taxes.

Local economic losses to stores, restaurants, coffee shops, businesses from the $4 coffee and $25 meal once a month, and $40 concert ticket three times a year I don’t buy is $568 per year. 100,000 people like me means $56 million dollars less for local economies.

I’ve lost access to most of these places, too, due to their wireless.

I’ve also lost access to ambulance services and the hospital.

Small Cell cell phone towers as close as 10 to 20 feet from my home will be an access barrier to my home and to my community.

There are many other unfunded costs to this bill. Please halt SB.649 or at least delay a Senate vote until 2018 to give the California Senate enough time to first examine these important issues. Thank you.

Speaker Three

Thank you. My name is Harry Lehmann. I am a trial lawyer by experience, but an old one doing other work now. I have dedicated the last six years of my life to this particular issue based on scientific study. My background was in engineering cases, including the Yuba flood cases, for example.

I would speak as to those as an example where a fiscal catastrophe resulted from litigation that should have been avoided because I know the inside of that one because I was one of the plaintiff’s lawyers. I will tell you that the eventual $423 million settlement that took 12 years that never should have been wasted, that could have been settled, in my view, having been one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, for probably $90 million, except for this unfortunate decision to fight.

The relevance of that here, fiscally, now is that there has been notice violation here in multiple ways. There were simultaneous issuances of contradictory positions from two separate state web sites as to whether or not the bill was, in fact, going to be on. As a result, we hadn’t nearly the attendance and the quality of testimony that we would have otherwise had.

In addition to that, it is my understanding that with regard to profuse amendments involved, that there is a Senate rule requiring that the amendments be supplied in writing to the other committee members two days before the Hearing upon which those amendments were approved. That was not complied with, so rather than this just being a toss-up or a close call for a sitting judge, I think it’s actually, unfortunately, a strong case in terms of lack of notice.

I would like to give up that sword. I would like to say to you, ‘take it’ and the way to ‘take it’ is to do this correctly with the correct notice so I don’t have that tool. I’d like to give it up.

But speaking of swords and fiscal consequences, this is what I said in my letter a couple of days ago that you have: this is really a wonderful moment for the fiscal health of California to pull the sword of courage out of the stone of apathy because the damage being done to people here is being done acoustically. That is to say in physics, acoustic means that there is a transmission mechanically through a medium having an effect. It’s not ionic.

This is well-established through the work at the University of Maryland in 1983 of Swicord and Davis, showing that when they put a 7.43 concentration of DNA salts into water, the resulting fluid had a 24-fold increase in specific absorption rate. That, in turn, was not ionic and that’s what’s happening to people here as a result of these machines [Wireless Small Cell antennas].

The consequence of this, fiscally, is going to be a disaster for California. People are going to die and be very sick if this is allowed to go forward in its current form. So I plead for further study. Thank you.