Wireless News of Santa Fe

About 100 people attended the October 25 meeting on four proposed new AT&T cell towers.

Many more applications from cell phone, WiMAX and utility companies are being submitted to the city, so many and so rapidly that it will be difficult to fight them all one by one (see list below). We need the force of sufficient numbers of citizens, acting together, to accomplish a change in city policy.

This is possible. When Miguel Chavez pushed for a moratorium on antennas and towers, he stood alone on the City Council. And I have not yet seen more than about 100 people turn out for a public hearing in Santa Fe on this issue. But we now have realtors and representatives of neighborhood associations coming to weekly meetings at Isis Medicine that are run by people with impressive talents and connections to this community. I now send these emails to 600 local people, most of whom have requested to be on this list, and some of whom have much larger email lists of their own.

Last week I sent out a letter nationwide, which some of you have received, and the response has been sobering. I will briefly tell some history, and explain what I see as the obstacles, here and nationally, and what needs doing. But first, the list of what’s coming to Santa Fe shortly:

  • The four new AT&T towers already mentioned (at the Solana Center; Baillios; Fort Marcy Park; and St. John’s Methodist Church). Public hearing to be announced.
  • Verizon: new microwave dishes and 4G antennas on the towers on Marcy Street (downtown) and on West Alameda near San Ysidro Crossing. Early Neighborhood Notification meeting: Nov. 15, 5:30 pm, Genoveva Chavez Community Center.
  • AT&T and Verizon: new 4G antennas on the towers on Camino Entrada (near Rodeo Rd. and Airport Rd.), Sawmill Rd., and Taos St. (the sky blue tower off Cerrillos Rd.). Approval is imminent. No ENN or public hearing will be held for these.
  • AT&T: new 4G antennas behind Pep Boys and on the tower above West Alameda near the transfer station. Already approved, but not yet installed because we are appealing them. Appeal date: November 17, 7 pm, City Hall, Council Chambers.
  • Every other antenna and tower in the city will be upgraded to 4G in the coming months.
  • Coming soon: new WiMAX towers and antennas at numerous locations all over town. Clearwire, Azulstar, TewaCom, CNSP, and other companies.
  • Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)?Extenet Systems, NewPath Networks, NextG Networks: hundreds of new short cell towers all over town. The only thing holding these franchise applications up is a pending lawsuit against the City by Qwest. This lawsuit may be settled out of court later this month.
  • New Mexico Gas Co. has just installed antennas on every customer’s home in Santa Fe.
  • In the future PNM will install “Smart Meters” (containing antennas) on every customer’s home, along with its own network of towers for an electrical “Smart Grid.”

As many of you know, I have been personally involved with this environmental issue for 30 years, and active for 15. Fifteen years ago was when the telecommunications industry (a) determined to put a cell phone and a wireless computer in the hands of every man, woman and child on earth; (b) made plans to blanket every square inch of the planet with radiation from antennas and towers so that all those phones and computers would work; (c) lobbied Congress to make it illegal for zoning boards to consider the health effects of all this radiation; and (d) convinced Congress to prohibit the EPA from publishing RF radiation exposure guidelines that it had already drafted and that likely would have made cell phones illegal.

All of that happened in 1995.

In 1996 and 1997, when the industry began to put its plans into effect, the consequences were predictable: widespread illness and the shattering of lives. I got to know some thousands of people whose health and lives were destroyed, and I collected their stories. In 1998 the California Dept. of Health Services conducted a random telephone survey and concluded that more than 120,000 Californians, and by implication one million Americans, were already disabled (could not work) by electromagnetic radiation. Ten million Americans felt the radiation and avoided it. Dr. John Goldsmith, at Ben Gurion University of the Nege v in Israel, helped me obtain mortality statistics. They showed what we suspected: During 1996 and 1997, n almost every major city in the US, a rise in mortality of 10% to 2 5%, lasting two to three months, followed immediately upon the advertised startup date for digital cell phone service in that city.

Opposition to antennas and towers was initially loud and vocal in villages, towns, cities and counties. Hundreds of moratoriums were put in place. But the industry’s strategies succeeded: First, prohibit citizens from objecting on the basis of health or environment. This takes the steam out of the protests and reduces the number of people who bother to object. Second, make the population dependent on their wireless devices. This reduces the opposition much more: people now not only need those towers, but no longer want to think about the health effects. Third, make the devices ever faster and more powerful: Smart Phones (3G and 4G) require denser forests of antennas and towers than older (2G) phones. Fourth, divide and conquer. There have been thousands of local opposition groups, all working in isolation and not joining forces. The few groups working on a national level represent pitifully few individuals, receive no funding, and do not work together. The millions who are made ill, disabled, and/or homeless remain invisible, isolated from one another, without any resources, and with no viable organization that they can plug into.

What needs doing is clear:

  1. In Santa Fe, and nationally, people who are concerned about, affected by, or disabled by microwave radiation must find each other, work together, and put this issue on the map. There needs to be something like a Sierra Club for EMFs. Since the few existing groups in North America that purport to represent this issue on a national level have refused to work tog ether for the last 15 years, and since none of the others has a mailing list anywhere near as large as the one my organization  (the Cellular Phone Task Force) has, we thought that the thing to do was to formally re-establish the Cellular Phone Task Force on a larger scale, with regional chapters, and membership dues so that we can function. Once we represent enough individuals in every part of the US and Canada, we can reach out to the other organizations from a position of strength.
  2. People who are opposed to microwave radiation for health or environmental reasons have to stop being afraid to say so. We must say so loudly, repeatedly, and in large numbers. The Emperor has no clothes. The consequences of not saying so are too great, and growing greater by the day. The primary responsibility of our elected officials is to protect our health and safety. But they won’t if we don’t demand it. Any federal law that purports to forbid them from doing so violates the US constitution as well as fundamental human rights and is null and void.
  3. We must become undependent on wireless technology. Right now it is mainly those who cannot use wireless technology who don’t use it, those whose lives have already been destroyed by it. To everyone else, throwing away your cell phone seems impossible. But once there is a viable, respected, national organization in place that represents this issue, and individuals, local groups, doctors, scientists and legislators are no longer afraid to speak out, this will change. It must, if we care about our planet.