Dense 4G/5G Rollout in Tucson Meets Strong Opposition

Adapted from an article and news report by Chorus Nylander, June 14, 2021 | KVOA News 4 Tucson article here

TUCSON (KVOA) – It’s the highly anticipated future for mobile service but for many Tucsonans 5G is not a future they asked for. These days dense 4G/5G Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) are popping up just about everywhere, and many homeowners tell the News 4 Tucson Investigators that they are furious.

Tucson resident Bryan Goldkuhl said:

“They Hid It From Us Until the Last Minute.”


Goldkuhl is outraged after a 4G/5G WTF was put up across the street from his home:

“They started by jacking pipe underneath the street that was probably three months ago. When we asked them about it, they told us they were just putting in fiber optic cable then when we found out it was for a cell tower, now we’re being told it’s too late to do anything about it,”

He’s not alone, a group of neighbors from Tucson’s Peter Howell neighborhood held a protest a couple weeks ago against the installation of several towers in the area, one by a school.

“This is happening because Verizon and AT&T would like to implement what our future should look like nobody asked us if we wanted this,” said Lisa Smith.

The telecommunication companies, mainly Verizon and AT&T right now, are able to move with such haste and not be slowed by community opposition due to the City Council of Tucson not reading carefully enough a State law, House Bill 2365, that was passed in 2017. The bill allows the companies to install so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) within the rights-of-way without following normal permitting procedures. Arizona was the first state to pass such a law for the dense 4G/5G rollout.

Even though HB.2365 purports to limits local government’s ability to have a say where the towers go, the law does provide exceptions for the city to regulate the operations of WTFs of any size or any “G” to ensure that the City, as a joint venture partner in this roll out, delivers actual public safety to Tusconsans.

“§9-592 (K). An authority shall approve an application unless the authority finds that the utility pole fails to comply with any of the following . . . Local code provisions or regulations that concern any of the following: (a) public safety.”

Even Councilmember Steve Kozachik seems confused about how the Federal and State Telecom laws apply to the City of Tucson, seeming oblivious to the actual words of these important laws:

Tucson Councilmember Steve Kozachik:

“Based on work that the telecom industry has done lobbying congress at both the federal and state level, they have basically taken our voice out of where we can compel these things to go,” said Tucson Ward 6 councilmember Steve Kozachik.

Kozachik has been hosting discussions with representatives from the telecom companies, but has been unwilling to meet wit Tucson residents and discuss what these residents did: they beat the Tucson City Attorney to the punch by writing and submitting a protective Tucsonans’ Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance, over three months ago in early April.

Kozachik is only “urging” Telecom companies to focus on what’s called collocation, which is installing the overpowered 4G/5G equipment onto or next to existing infrastructure like power poles and street lights. Instead, Kozachik and the City Council members could be limiting the maximum power output from these WTFs to that which provides Telecommunications Signal Strengths sufficient for telecommunications service (-85 dBm to -125 dBm) — and no higher.

Professional measurements for a Verizon sWTF in Sacramento, CA provide evidence that a typical sWTF 60 feet from a second-story bedrooms is way overpowered: in the bedroom of the two little girls who sickened in a matter of weeks, Wireless Signal Strength that was 30 million times higher than -85 dBm).

Instead of taking matters into his own hands, Kozachik appealed to the Telecom Cos:

“Our constituents are your customers and you ought to care about that. The first question your site selector ought to ask is would I want that in front of my house if the answer is no then find another spot.”

Many of the knowledgeable Tucson homeowners said they have evidence that proves the siting WTFs of any size or any “G” next to home lowering their home values by 20-30% and ruins the quiet enjoyment of their streets and homes.

Dr. Russell Witte, a professor of Medical Imaging, Optical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Applied Mathematics – GIDP, Neurosurgery and Neuroscience – GIDP, said “there are significant hazard and dangers to increasing the proliferation of microwaves in residential areas.”

Dr. Witte said he has reviewed thousands of studies on microwave radiation released from Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) and says there is established science that proves that current power output levels, which are far below federal guidelines cause adverse biological impacts, including direct neurological injury, cognitive deficits, early dementia, blood and cardiac abnormalities, irregular heartbeats and, eventually, cancer.

Dr. Russell Witte said:

“When you actually measure exposure in homes of people because of the close proximity of these small cells they are getting much more exposure from these cells sometimes 25-30 million times more than needed for telecommunications service. And this is for 24/7 exposure: people can’t escape it or turn it off,”
We reached out to AT&T and Verizon about 5G safety. In a statement to the N4T Investigators in February, Verizon called claims of the towers being unsafe “baseless conspiracy theories” and said, “all equipment used for 5G must comply with federal safety standards. Those standards it says have wide safety margins and are designed to protect everyone, including children.”

AT&T said in an email that questions of safety didn’t directly involve them and referred us to CTIA, a company that says it’s the voice of the telecommunication industry.

After our report Monday CTIA sent us the following statement:

“Radiofrequency energy from wireless devices and networks, including 5G, has not been shown to cause health problems, according to the consensus of the international scientific community, including expert organizations such as the FDA, WHO and American Cancer Society.”

Of course, that industry trade association statement is actually false. The statement means nothing because there are medical doctors making diagnoses in 2019-2021 using WHO medical codes: ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Codes W90.0: Exposure to other Nonionizing Radiation — Radio-frequency Radiation et seq. Actual medical evidence of injury, illness and death from exposure to electromagnetic power through-the-air at power levels that are hundreds of thousands of times lower than the Federal Guidelines trumps any self-serving Wireless industry statements.

Dr. Witte said that the general public should be shown the are many peer-reviewed studies on the subject and able to make up their own minds without being labeled a conspiracy theorist to question the installation of a dense 4G/5G WTF grid in their neighborhood. He believes Wired Broadband via fiber optic cables installed directly to homes and business is far superior to Wireless broadband on nearly every measure. FTTP (Fiber to the Premises) broadband (unlike Wireless broadband) is faster, more reliable, more secure, lower cost to install, has much higher data caps (if any, at all) and does not cause adverse biological effects. In, short, FTTP is the answer because FTTP also means Freeedom to the People of Tucson.

Steve Kozachik, who is up for re-election in November, said he expects thousands of 5G towers to be installed in Tucson within a matter of months. The residents of Tucson say otherwise. It looks like a real showdown in Tucson.

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