Press Advisory: CA SB 649 Passed by Senate

California Senate Passed SB.649 — An Unconstitutional Bill That Forcibly Exposes California Neighborhoods to Constant, Hazardous 4G/5G Microwave Radiation

Companion piece to Businesswire press release

SB.649 would dramatically increase California residents’ exposures to pulsed, Radio-Frequency Microwave Radiation (‘RF/MW radiation’) in their neighborhoods 24/7. Over 110 California Cities entered their formal opposition to SB.649 into the public record before the Senate vote.

05/31/17 SB.649: Read third time. Passed. (Ayes 32. Noes 1.) Ordered to the Assembly. Senator Glazer was the sole No vote. The following Senators did not vote: Allen, Beall, Jackson, Monning, Newman, Portantino and Wiecowkski.

Sacramento, CA, June 1, 2017 — At the tail-end of a 8 1/2-hour Senate session (View 5/31/17 Senate Floor Session from 8:31:52 to the end), the California Senate passed SB.649, a highly contentious Bill that would allow deployment of powerful two-way microwave transmitters on virtually every streetlight, utility pole and other non-pole structure in the public right of way throughout California neighborhoods. The microwave transmitters would be deployed as close as 10-15 feet from second-story windows and would forcibly expose the inhabitants to a never-ending stream of RF/MW radiation 24/7/365. This deployment would violate the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. State legislation cannot legally force 1.2+ million Californians out of their homes. SB.649 is destined to pit California cities and counties against the State and, if passed as is, is destined for court, just as in the State of Ohio: 80+ cities in Ohio are suing the State of Ohio over a very similar bill.

  • 5G is a pipe-dream: it is not even close to being deployed at scale. The engineers understand this. 5G is the smoke screen/hype machine being used to sell this vision to the politicians.
  • This is actually a real-estate scheme: AT&T and Verizon want to invade CA neighborhoods and secure cut-rate, rent-controlled access to publicly-owned structures (utility poles, light poles, traffic lights, street signs) so they can expand their operations, at will, without regulation. AT&T and Verizon will install 4G/LTE today to make obscene profits now . . . and perhaps never upgrade it to 5G.
  • Have AT&T and Verizon behaved like this in the past? Sure. Read about their promises to upgrade the copper wireline networks with fiber-optic cables. After years of promises, and a fraudulent diversion of funds that they received to install the fiber-optic cables, they determined it would lower their costs and maximize their profits to use Wireless for broadband instead — even though Wireless broadband is hazardous, extremely energy-inefficent, much less secure and much less reliable than fiber-optic to the home.
  • The real goal is to secure a new source of revenue: cell phone subscriptions are a mature (but still very profitable business); now the Wireless companies want to steal market share from Comcast and other cable companies and charge for data by the gigabyte. How to best do this? Make timely donations to politicians’ local programs to get these politicians to do their bidding, like price-fixing the access price to publicly-owned property to install powerful two-way microwave transmitters 10-15 feet from second story windows in residential neighborhoods.

These full-power microwave transmitters are being called small cells by the Wireless Carriers to make them sound innocuous, but the planning department documents for 19 Verizon 4G small cells, deployed in downtown Palo Alto in 2016, state that the input power for each small cell antenna is 300 to 500 Watts. Similar documents for a 2017 Verizon 4G Small Cell deployment in Weston, MA state that each antenna outputs 1,257 Watts of Effective Radiated Power (ERP), a significant RF/MW radiation exposure.

Now consider that each of these small cells is powered by associated equipment that is housed in a separate refrigerator-size metal box; these boxes set right on the sidewalk. This dense infrastructure, that is set to invade our neighborhoods, raises three common-sense questions:

  1. How much power do these small cells consume 24/7/365? Answer: a lot. In a state with aggressive green energy goals, this unecesssary planned deployment would add loads of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.
  2. What is the maximum level of RF/MW radiation that these antennas can output? Answer: a lot more than is needed to make calls or texts.
  3. Do we actually need to deploy any additional antennas or burn any additional power to spray electricity through the air like this, since 98% of Americans, including Californians can already make calls and texts? Answer: No — 3/2/17 Senate Hearing on Wireless Technology testimony: 97.9 percent of Americans can choose from three network base operators and 93.4 percent can choose from four operators.

These three critical questions, inexplicably, were not considered by any of the CA Senate Committees that conducted hearings on SB.649 or in the Bill analyses, written about SB.649:

  • Energy Utilities and Communications Committee, Chaired by Senator Ben Heuso (Hueso is also the author of SB.649 as explained well here). Read/view Committee testimony on SB.649 here.
  • Governance and Finance Committee, Chaired by Senator Mike McGuire (who has conducted closed-door negotiations with Wireless Carriers and in a subcommittee that he formed on 4/26/17 with Senators Hueso and Lara) Read/view Committee testimony on SB.649 here.
  • Appropriations Committee, Chaired by Senator Ricardo Lara (When Lara decided to vote SB.649 to the Senate floor, he ignored the well-documented due process violations of SB.649 by the Governance and Finance Committee, detailed in letters to Lara from Attorney Harry Lehmann on 5/12/17 and 5/23/17). Read/view Committee testimony on SB.649 here.

Deployment of Small Cells is Unconstitutional

Unbelievably, SB.649 contains NO on-going monitoring of RF/MW radiation exposures from these so-called Small Cells, even though his Bill would allow Small Cells to be installed in the public right of way in virtually all CA residential neighborhoods. This represents an insurmountable problem because even though SB.649 states that it must have compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), such compliance is not possible because deployment of small cells creates an illegal access barrier for over 1.2 million Californians.

Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) is recognized by the U.S. Access Board and is a protected disabled characteristic that affected 3% of Californians in 1998 and affects even more Californians today. Small cells deployed in residential zones would create an access barrier for the EMS-disabled to their homes and communities. Article I, Section 1 of the California constitution states “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.” Small cells would violate inalienable rights to safety and privacy and are, therefore, unconstitutional.

In addition to violating the ADA, also violates the Federal Fair Housing Act. The high-frequency antennas will make most public places, residential housing and federal housing inaccessible for a large and growing percentage of the population who are already injured from excessive exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Small Cells Will Grow Unfettered, Like a Virus

SB.649’s current language does not regulate off-pole associated equipment — which is what is deployed in 99% of all small cell installations. We highlighted this significant error to the Senators prior to the 5/15/17 Hearing of SB.649 in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee, but the error was not corrected.

The original language in the bill that limited the size of this associated equipment was stripped from the version that the Senators voted through on 5/31/17. Instead, a poorly written loophole was inserted into the bill on 5/2/17 that results in no effective regulation of the associated equipment cabinets or their contents, which can be computers, batteries that leak toxic chemicals and noisy fans:

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

In addition, due to arcane Federal definitions, existing small cell installations once they are in are called co-location facilities and are, therefore, allowed to grow in horizontal and vertical dimension year after year — without local input or control.

Small Cells Are Large Cell Antennas Stuck on a Utility Pole

The 19 small cell antennas in Palo Alto are deployed just 20 feet high (versus 200 feet high for traditional macro cell phone towers). Vertical RF/MW radiation lobes, typical for microwave transmitters, extend both above and below the antenna. The downward RF/MW radiation lobe actually reaches the sidewalk in Palo Alto. This explains why the peak levels of RF/MW radiation metered under these antennas on 4/21/17 registered three to five times higher than the RF/MW radiation levels for weapons that the Soviet Union beamed at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 1953 to 1978: these RF/MW exposures caused the deaths of three US ambassadors to Russia by brain tumors and caused other cancers, miscarriages, cataracts, immune system damages, sleep disturbances and more among US embassy personnel.

Dr. Neil Cherry reported in 2000 about the US Government data collected on the health of the Moscow US Embassy personnel:

A highly remarkable result is the dose-response relationship for a range of sicknesses. Despite the small numbers, the lack of long latency period and dilutionary factors, the data shows significant increases in:

  • Cardiac problems
  • Neurological and psychological symptoms
  • Altered blood cell counts
  • Increased chromosome aberrations
  • Elevated cancer in children and adults
  • Sickness increasing in a dose-response manner with years of residence.

Substantial Scientific Data Informs the Experts

Tens of thousands of Substantial scientific studies from the 1950’s to the present plus 100+ substantial scientific studies entered into the CA Senate pubic record on 7/15/15 and on 4/4/17, which were further discussed at the 4/26/17 CA Senate Governance and Finance Committee, provides the data that bolsters the common-sense conclusion that deploying 4G/5G small cell antennas in residential zones in CA will be a health disaster.

On 4/4/17, the results from the NIEHS National Toxicology Program’s $25 million, 16-year study of the carcinogenesis of cell phone radiation was entered into the CA Senate public record. The NTP study reported in 2016 that RF/MW cell phone radiation exposures at levels far below that which would cause tissue heating causes brain cancer, heart cancer and DNA damage.

Attorney Harry V. Lehman:

With 110 cities opposing SB.649, the State of California can expect a Constitutional battle. The proposed constant spraying of California citizens with carcinogenic radiation, and the taking away of local government rights, is the sort of greed-driven misconduct our constitution seeks to avoid.

Reinette Senum, City Council Member from Nevada City, CA also testified in Opposition to SB.649 on 4/26/17:

This is nothing short of the telecommunications industry [and the State of California] basically hijacking and staging a hostile takeover of our local governments—cities and counties. It will remove local authority and also risk property rights.”

The California Brain Tumor Association, Scientists For Wired Technology and other advocacy groups have urgently lobbied California State Senators to oppose SB.649, including sending certified letters to each of the 40 California Senators.

Ellen Marks, Director of the California Brain Tumor Association says,

“A large body of research indicates that wireless microwave radiation exposure causes biological and health effects. To increase wireless microwave radiation exposures throughout our residential neighborhoods and communities, using ultrahigh frequencies and without pre-market health testing, is highly irresponsible.”

Mark Graham of Scientists for Wired Technology says,

We are concerned that members of the California Senate may be under the influence of the telecommunications industry, similar to what may be the case with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). It was reported recently public health warnings about cell phone microwave radiation was suppressed for 7 years. In March 2017, in a case brought by Joel Moskowitz, PhD, Director of The Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley, the Sacramento Superior Court ruled that CDPH must release the never previously disclosed cell phone safety guidelines. Cell phones, small cell wireless antennas and infrastructure emit the same microwave radiation.

Sarah Reilly, a Health care practitioner from Danville, CA, says,

“What we are seeing in other states as well as in Congress, is hasty industry maneuvers, driven by greed, at the cost of human welfare and environmental integrity, with irreversible consequences. It is essential that the public become engaged in activism to defeat SB649 and hold our legislators accountable,

Who is Really Calling the Shots Here?

The two co-sponsors of SB649, Senator Ben Hueso and Assembly Member Bill Quirk, have been involved in the promotion of recent grants from AT&T, one to California State University East Bay Foundation, for $500,000, and a smaller grant of $25,000 to the Parent Institute for Quality Education.

Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute, and a respected telecommunications analyst, wrote in 5/15/17 HuffPost article:

“There is a proposed piece of legislation in California for the deployment of lots of small wireless cell antennas, and this is also happening simultaneously in other states, Congress and at the FCC. And, wouldn’t you know it, those who benefit the most from these state and federal gifts are AT&T et al., the companies who are also funding and engineering these campaigns . . . These foundation grants have been traditionally given to make the politicians look good in their districts and, in exchange, when the companies want them to place legislation into the hopper, and they are in a strategic position to make that happen, they are rewarded.”

This proposed (and unnecessary) additional layer of hundreds of thousands of ultra-high frequency antennas will be located right outside homes and businesses, will operate 24/7/365 and will create significant biological and health hazards to California residents and the California agricultural economy because millimeter waves (1/2 inch to 1/2 inch in length) will further damage bee and other pollinator populations.

SB.649 will usurp city and county planning rights provided for in the California Constitution, Article XI and Article XII, Section 8, overriding local government planning authorities’ decision-making authority in favor of commercially motivated expansion desires of the wireless industry.

It is clear that rolling out wireless technology, instead of fiber optic technology, which other advanced countries are deploying, is bad policy and will not ultimately meet the telecommunication infrastructure needs of the United States. The technology is undesirable from many perspectives: wireless data transmissions are hazardous to all living organisms, are much less secure, much less reliable and much more energy inefficient when compared to fiber-optic data transmissions.

Contact CA Assembly Members

Press Release Contacts:
Mark Graham
Scientists for Wired Technology

Sarah Reilly, CNC