Open Letter to Gov Jerry Brown

October 12, 2017

The Honorable Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, California 95814
tel 916-445-2841
fax 916-558-3160

Dear Governor Brown:

Veto SB.649 — Fire Hazard

As firestorms rage across California, I implore you to veto a bill that is currently on your desk: SB.649. This bill carries the promise of a hidden and unprecedented fire hazard. In this moment, it is preventable.

This bill has met with increasing opposition as more cities, counties, and residents have come to understand what SB.649 truly represents. As you know, more than 300 cities and 47 of 58 counties have told you they do not want to relinquish the last vestiges of local control over Telecom in exchange for a capped compensation formula.

Many residents are aware of the hazards of 4G LTE/AWS and 5G millimeter waves boosted through previously impenetrable barriers by phased array software. Our own military science and well as Soviet science shows harm: eyes, skin and testes are subject to damage from these high-frequency microwaves.

Cities, counties, and residents are united in strong opposition to SB.649, yet they come from different perspectives. There is a third perspective that begs for your veto of this bill, and that is the design of the cell towers that will be seen every five to ten homes, in front of our schools, hospitals, places of worship, places of work, in public parks, along median strips, and along our roadways.

These new cell towers have been estimated to number 50,000 for our state, though that number will rise, unchecked, as the 50,000 so-called “Small Cell” cell towers cannot fulfill the Telecom firms’ service promises. Indeed, the so-called 50,000 cell tower projection is only 1.25% of California’s 4,000,000 utility/light poles. A more accurate projection would be one to two million utility/light pole cell towers across California in the near-term. This projection is based on an August 2017 California Public Records Act (CPRA) request from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which shows 142,000 utility/light poles in the SMUD service area, which serves 1.4 million people.

Each one of these cell towers represents a fire hazard. The flaw is in the design, and if these towers were currently in place as fires rage across our state, we would have explosion after explosion as fire reached the backup systems for each cell tower. Here’s why:

  1. Every cell tower needs backup batteries or a backup generator, and many of these generators will be full of diesel fuel. There will be many more such generators than the Telecom firms have led us to believe.
  2. Federal rule 6409 allows each Telecom carrier to come back the day after a so-called “Small Cell” site is approved and add 10-foot height and width extensions including more antennas up to six cubic feet, or additional 35 cubic foot refrigerator-sized cabinets on the ground next to the pole.
  3. Each of these cabinets has a backup battery or generator; many of these generators will contain diesel fuel, particularly those in rural areas.

In addition to rural areas, AT&T cell towers are more likely to use diesel backup generators in hilly areas, suburban and exurban communities as they will carry FirstNet signals.

California will, therefore, be dotted not just with cell towers every five to ten homes, but with batteries and diesel generators waiting for the next firestorm to hit. You have accurately warned those of us who live in this state, in this country, and around the world that climate change is real, the earth’s temperature is rising, and more fires will result. This is a fact of life for us, and the inferno we are witnessing at this moment drives home the need to take precautions where we can. Vetoing this bill is absolutely essential to preventing future hellholes.

I urge you to not only veto this bill, but to consider an alternative which legislatively was this state’s first choice – fiber optics.

Further, I would urge you to call for an investigation as to why consumers’ payments for fiber were diverted to expedite the wireless build out. AT&T and Verizon have admitted that the funds for building much of the Wireless infrastructure has come from the fees paid by customers to upgrade Wireline from copper to fiber optic cables.

Fiber optics were part of the 1993 “California First” plan calling for spending $16 billion to rewire the state with fiber optics cable to replace copper wiring. Fiber has already been laid underneath the centers of streets and along gas lines in most cities and even rural areas in the late 1990s. This is the time to examine fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) as a utility right.

Cell towers with built-in fire risks in every facet of our lives are not needed when we have a safe, secure, high-speed, reliable, energy-efficient option: FTTP. In truth, this option may be not only a safer alternative, but our right — legislated and paid for.

Please veto SB.649.