Defend our Safe and Reliable Analog Landline Telephones

1597px-FTTR_RTT56B_TelephoneUpdate Friday, May 27th: AB2395 has been left in the “suspense” file and will likely not be moving through the legislature this year. All your calls, e-mails, and letters made a difference! Thank you for taking action to defend our landline telephones!

Stop Smart Meters! is part of the new Coalition to Save Landline Telephones, an international coalition formed to defend our landline system, currently under attack.

The coalition is presently focused on defeating AB 2395– a California bill that would permit AT&T to dismantle copper analog landlines, starting Jan. 1st, 2020 (in only 3 1/2 years!).

Millions of people depend on landlines as the only safe and reliable means to call for help during power outages and emergencies, to access services, conduct business, and to reach our loved ones. The destruction of our landline network would disproportionately affect the poor, seniors, rural residents, those in prison, and others with few or no alternatives.

Telecom companies are bullying and deceiving customers into accepting more expensive, lower quality, unreliable digital phone connections that leave them vulnerable to hacking, scams, overcharges and serious health problems. More on the issues–>

Red_phoneDeadline May 24th: Telephone CA Assemblymembers on the Appropriations Committee- even if you live out of state. Tell them to Vote NO on AB2395! You can also call after hours & lv a msg.

Save Landlines Talking Points and Key Issues

Full AB2395 Details Including Legislator Contacts

Save Landlines Flyer in .pdf format for Download

CA Assembly Appropriations Committee:

Lorena S. Gonzalez (Chair) (916) 319-2080
Frank Bigelow (Vice Chair) (916) 319-2005
Richard Bloom (916) 319-2050
Susan A. Bonilla (916) 319-2014
Rob Bonta (916) 319-2018
Ian C. Calderon (916) 319-2057
Ling Ling Chang (916) 319-2055
Tom Daly (916) 319-2069
Susan Talamantes Eggman (916) 319-2013
James Gallagher (916) 319-2003
Eduardo Garcia (916) 319-2056
Roger Hernández (916) 319-2048
Chris R. Holden (916) 319-2041
Brian W. Jones (916) 319-2071
Jay Obernolte (916) 319-2033
Bill Quirk (916) 319-2020
Miguel Santiago (916) 319-2053
Donald P. Wagner (916) 319-2068
Shirley N. Weber (916) 319-2079
Jim Wood (916) 319-2002

AB2395 will be heard by this committee at 9 a.m. next Wednesday May 25th – Capitol Rm. 4202. Be there to speak out! (check SaveLandlines.org for updates)

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 1.31.15 PMThis Monday in San Francisco:

Save Landlines Protest

Join the Coalition to Save Landline Telephones this coming Monday May 23rd at 11:30am at AT&T’s Wireless Store at 425 Market St. in San Francisco to demand AT&T stop its attacks on our landlines, and that the State Legislature kill AB 2395.

Who: The Coalition to Save Landline Telephones — SaveLandlines.org
What: A Demonstration of Support for Landline Telephone
When: 11:30am Monday May 23rd
Where: AT&T Wireless Store 425 Market St. San Francisco (at Fremont St.)
Why: Because AT&T is Sponsoring State Legislation to Destroy our Landlines

Bring your friends, signs, and landline telephone handsets.

For more information about this event, and to spread the word, click here. Any questions or media requests please contact info@savelandlines.org

Posted in California, Citizen rebellion, landlines | 1 Comment

Video of April 13th California Landline-Killing AB2395 Hearing

**Contact the State Assembly Appropriations Committee Who Will Vote Soon on this Bill – Tell Them to:

SAVE LANDLINES and VOTE NO ON AB2395**

Timepoints for the above video of the Utilities Committee Hearing on April 13th

CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY
Committee on Utilities and Commerce
April 13, 2016
Assembly Bill 2395

Deregulation and Discontinuation of Analog Landline Service

INTRODUCTION:
Evan Low, Bill Author: 00:16

SUPPORTERS:
Witnesses:
Ken McNeely, President, AT&T California: 05:07
Gary Passmore, Vice President North, Congress of California Seniors: 10:43
Dave Roberts, Fire Chief, El Dorado Hills Fire Department: 14:25
Public comment: 17:22

OPPONENTS:
Witnesses:
Tom Runnion, Vice President, Comm. Workers of America (CWA), District 9: 24:24
Kevin Mottus, California Brain Tumor Association, Los Angeles: 32:01
Josh Hart, Director, StopSmartMeters.org: 37:35
Mark Toney, Executive Director, The Utility Reform Network (TURN): 44:44
Public comment: 48:48

REGULATOR – OPPOSING:
Hazel Miranda, Director, Office of Governmental Affairs, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC): 1:07:33

COMMITTEE DISCUSSION AND Q & A:
Bill Quirk:  1:09:07
Ken McNeely

David Hadley: 1:16:42
Ken McNeely

Jay Obernolte: 1:23:35
Ken McNeely

Rocky J. Chavez: 1:25:11
Ken McNeely

Philip Y. Ting: 1:29:34
Ken McNeely
Evan Low

Eduardo Garcia: 1:32:10
Brian Dahle: 1:33:55
Susan Talamantes Eggman: 1:34:40
Ken McNeely
Tom Runnion: 1:40:12
Roger Hernandez: 1:41:53
Jim Patterson: 1:46:03
Mike Gatto: 1:47:42

AUTHOR CLOSING:
Evan Low: 1:50:47
VOTE: 1:53:36

Posted in California, Cancer, Cell phones, Citizen rebellion, CPUC, Democracy, Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity, EMF Mitigation, Environmental Concerns, FCC, health effects, landlines, legal issues, radio-frequency radiation, Sacramento, Safety, Smart Grid, World Health Organization | 3 Comments

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: AT&T on Warpath to Destroy California’s Valuable Landline Network

AT&T lobbyists are hard at work trying to leave the landline network in tatters and force you to use a cell phone

AT&T lobbyists are hard at work trying to destroy our critical copper landline network, forcing people onto hazardous and unreliable mobile phones or “VOIP”

Updated 4/18/16: AB 2395 Threatens California’s Copper Landline Network

Last Wednesday, the Assembly Utilities Committee passed AB2395 and it now heads to the Appropriations Committee, possibly on May 4th. The committee listened to a series of corporate and astroturfed comments in favor of this horrible anti-consumer bill, but they also heard from a large, vocal contingent of truly grassroots groups and individuals opposed to this trainwreck (including Stop Smart Meters!).

You can watch the entire Utilities Committee hearing online here. The hearing for AB2395 runs from 0:44:40 – 2:39:10. Stop Smart Meters! Testimony begins at about 1:22:00.

AB 2395, currently before the CA Assembly, poses a serious threat to the health and safety of Californians, and will next be heard before the California State Assembly Appropriations Committee in Sacramento possibly May 4th.

Now is the time to ramp up pressure on your Assemblymember to kill this bill. Please make a call, write a letter (including to your local editor), spread the word and speak out about why we need analog landlines to be maintained for our jobs, health, safety, and access.

Find Your State Assemblymember

Full List of State Assemblymembers

Full details about the bill

Contact Assembly member Evan Low, sponsor of the bill

AT&T Wants to Decommission Landlines in California, published April 7th in Techwire.

Stop Smart Meters! interviewed for statewide radio segment on April 13th

Talking points:

• Landlines provide an important resilient communication network when electricity and cell service goes out (which is more likely with the “smart grid”).  Especially important in a disaster situation.

• Emergency responders depend on specific location information only available through landline phone lines. Disabling the landline network will impede police and fire, esp. in a disaster situation

• Many millions of people rely solely on landlines for their communication needs, and cutting people off is a violation of human rights.

• Call quality is far superior on a copper landline- is it progress or “moving into the 21st century” to make Californians suffer through dropped calls and static?

• Destroying our valuable landline network would result in the loss of thousands of skilled, union jobs with no employment guarantee by AT&T.

• Corded landlines are far safer than mobile phones, which emit radiation associated with brain tumors, and other health problems.

• Wireless infrastructure emits more greenhouse gases than many entire countries. If we want to reduce climate and health risks, maintaining a robust wired landline network is key.

• As a resident of California, I am committed to taking personal action to defend our landline network, and not allow AT&T to prioritize profits over service, access and safety.

We will post updates on this urgent issue as they develop.  Take action today or in 3 1/2 years the cord may be cut, as unbelievable as that might seem…..

Posted in California, Cell phones, Citizen rebellion, Democracy, Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity, health effects, landlines, neighborhood organizing, radio-frequency radiation | 13 Comments

Guide to North American Smart Meter Policies

Analog Meter

Analog meter choice bills are being considered by a number of US state legislatures this year, in response to a drumbeat of public complaints.  These states include: Missouri, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

For a draft inventory of existing smart meter policies throughout North America (courtesy of BC’s Coalition to Stop Smart Meters), click here to download a pdf. Please notify Sharon Noble of any updates.

Posted in Changing a Meter, Citizen rebellion, Democracy, legal issues, neighborhood organizing, Smart Grid | 2 Comments

Smithville, TX Awareness Sparks Smart Meter Backlash

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SMITHVILLE, TX— Smithville is a small town of about 3800 residents in central Texas, about 40 miles southeast of Austin and about 100 miles northeast of San Antonio. It’s not just the town’s name – even residents say Smithville is a fairly ordinary small town and typical of “middle America” with a Main St. where everyone knows each another.  A community meeting there last November that presented information about smart meters ignited debate and participation, galvanized the town to action, and generally shook politics up in a good way, according to residents.

Some background: About a year ago, the Smithville city council signed a “revenue neutral” contract with energy company Ameresco to replace all the analog water and electric meters in town with “smart” wireless meters and install LED streetlights (which have their own set of problems). Residents were informed of an “infrastructure upgrade” but few were aware of the implications and potential problems.

Jim Keller, a photographer and property owner in Smithville, and Kelly Holt, an investigative journalist running for the Smithville City Council, were aware of these problems and knew they had to act in order to bring critical information about the risks to the town’s attention.  Acting on an ad hoc, independent basis, the two organized a community meeting to discuss the smart meter issue, and brought in experts. Jim Keller tells us that prior to the meeting, “I don’t think city staff or the meter manufacturers ever expected a backlash here in Smithville.”

Keller and Holt sent a mailer out to 2174 households in town on October 31st (using USPS Every Door Direct Mail) with facts about security and fire risks, inviting everyone to a community meeting to discuss smart meters on November 5th. They hoped a few people would turn out to have a discussion, but were not prepared for the response.

Neither were the city council nor Ameresco, who had simply considered the metering/ streetlight projects a mundane and routine “infrastructure upgrade.”

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Laura Pressley of Austin Smart Meters addresses the crowd in Smithville

On the evening of November 5th 2015, more than 110 residents packed into an old school auditorium in the center of Smithville. The crowd included 4 of 5 city council members and 2 officials from Ameresco. Many were taken aback by the size of the crowd, including one of Ameresco’s staff who was reportedly appeared to be in shock at the number of people gathered to hear about the problems with the company’s products.

Speakers at the event included Sheila Hemphill of Texans Against Smart Meters and Laura Pressley of Austin Smart Meters.

No mention was made of the health effects of microwaves in the mailer, but the audience was passionately interested and the presenters delivered detailed information on current medical research and EMF exposure guidelines as they relate to the safety of exposure to smart meters. When moderator Jim Keller notified Sheila Hemphill that her time was up, a person in the audience yelled, “let her speak! People were riveted to the presentations and hungry for more information on the topic. Several people shared specific concerns about health impacts from wireless technologies, including the interference problems with pacemakers.

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Kelly Holt reported on what happened at the meeting in an article she wrote for the New American on the smart meter debate in Smithville:

“…many attendees didn’t wait for the presentations to begin before shouting questions to anyone listening — the highly charged assembly became an unintended forum for residents voicing their anger that such an important, and expensive, decision had been made without any resident input or proper vetting of problems inherent with the devices. The gathering degenerated to a showdown when one council member who was present heatedly defended the council’s decision, but too little, too late — folks were angry.  One resident described the meeting as “almost an insurrection…

The meeting on November 5th ignited a debate in town that has continued to this day. Six weeks after the game changing Smithville smart meter summit, the city council acted to approve an “opt out” policy for analog electricity meters that (like PG&E’s “opt out” program) charges residents $75 initially and $10/ month.  Though many residents continue to demand that the program itself be halted and that the fee be abolished, smart meter installation is proceeding in Smithville with the “opt out” program in place (though water meters are not included at this point).

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Smithville City Councilman William “Bill” Gordon admonishes the group to ‘remember that we are in someone’s home this evening’ and calls for the group to retain civility during the discussion

Kelly Holt told SSM! that although some choice is better than no choice, the opt out fee remains a barrier to many, though the city does offer an adjusted fee for those on low income. Despite that, she tells us that “after the meeting there is a new awareness in town about the hazards of smart meters.”

One thing is clear.  Such increasing awareness, and pressure for officials to act, is spreading precisely through grassroots efforts such as the DIY community meeting organized by Smithville residents themselves.  Link up with others and get involved in your community today!

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Editor’s Note: Analog meter choice bills are being considered by a number of state legislatures this year, in response to a drumbeat of public complaints.  These states include: Missouri, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. For a guide to smart meter policies throughout North America, courtesy of BC’s Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, click here.

Because smart meter radiation fails to respect property boundaries, an “opt out” policy is no real choice when living in a neighborhood filled with pulsing meters and associated infrastructure. The smart grid problem is systemic and an “opt out” policy is a band aid on a gaping wound. We continue to demand an across the board safety recall and an independent investigation.

Utilities had hoped to contain knowledge about smart meter hazards (and ensuing public resistance) to California, Maine, and other states who rebelled early against the smart grid. The fact that there has been such an overwhelming response in places like Smithville, and in Texas as a whole, should serve as a wake up call to the authorities that forcing smart meters on people will not be tolerated anywhere.

Smithville’s smart grid political awakening contains lessons for US energy policy, and for community activists and groups standing up against the “smart grid” everywhere. We go into more detail below.

Lessons from Smithville for Community Organizers:

•  Outreach does not have to be complicated- or expensive. Kelly and Jim made a short list of issues relating to smart meters with links to the most unimpeachable and non-partisan internet sources, such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which they felt would be of most interest to the community, and sent this out in a simple mailer to the town that included an invitation to a community meeting. This cost about $300 for postage, $400 for printing, and the meeting space was donated. Twenty people paying $35 each can cover that kind of expense.   Yes it’s a small town with only about 2000 households, and a larger city would cost more, but starting somewhere and focusing on a neighborhood that may be more open to your message as a potential “smart meter free zone” is a good strategy. EDDM, or “Every Door Direct Mail” service from the post office can save money on postage to entire zip codes and facilitates widespread delivery, but requires time and advance planning from your group.

•  If your local city council or regulatory body doesn’t hold a hearing, hold one yourself!  Hold a community meeting yourself at a local school, library, vets hall, or the like. Often these are cheap or free places to hold group meetings. Invite experts in the field, and invite utility representatives to debate them. Don’t give up your right to have debate, discussion, and form independent political objectives. If the people lead, the leaders will follow. Attend city council meetings and speak out frequently, referencing the facts. In the run up to an election, incumbents are particularly sensitive to public opinion.

•  Sometimes a simple action or set of actions by an individual or set of individuals can spark a larger movement. Jim told us: “The fact is that it was not as much a ‘calculated effort’ on our part – we called the meeting just to see what people thought about it prior to the upcoming city council meeting, and were frankly surprised by how big an issue it was without us making it one.  After that point, it took on a life of it’s own – it didn’t need ‘selling’ or ‘tailoring the issue to the local politics’.  What the takeaway is here is – there is no cookbook approach to getting the results we did. Each area has it’s own social and political character.”

•  Check out our international guide to smart meter groups.  Often these groups will have speakers who are willing to travel to your area.  Contact us for recommendations and ideas on getting the most out of your event.  Sufficient advance publicity, and a good moderator and speaker- are all key.

StopSmartMeters.org is available for consultations with your group on how to handle media, campaign strategy, understanding EMF’s and the science, organizing events, reaching out to politicians, and other topics. Contact us for more information. Please donate or shop our online store to support Stop Smart Meters!IMG_3797

Posted in Citizen rebellion, Democracy, health effects, neighborhood organizing, Privacy, radio-frequency radiation, Smart Grid, Texas, Water meters | Leave a comment