Stop Smart Meters! Letter to the California Assembly Local Govt. Committee

June 22nd, 2017

Assembly Member Cecilia M. Aguiar-Curry,
Chair of the Local Government Committee
1020 N Street, Room 157
Sacramento, California 95814


Dear Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry and colleagues,

I am writing to express—in the strongest possible terms—our opposition to SB 649. This bill threatens to disrupt the traditional, longstanding and constitutional role that our state’s local governments play in the planning process in determining where and if wireless facilities are appropriate in a given location. Unleashing the wireless industry to do as they please—virtually unregulated—will cost Californians and the state government dearly in terms of health care costs, environmental damage, and new and additional carbon emissions from the large and growing demand from wireless infrastructure for new electricity supplies.

On April 26th, Senator Robert Hertzberg spoke in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee- in response to scientific reports of cancer being caused by wireless, and the potentially vast health and mortality consequences of ubiquitous 5G development:

“We have automobiles. There was a 38,000 deaths in society last year – people dead, dead because of cars. Not just injured. But we say there’s a value to having an automobile. And we make these public policy decisions, you know, in terms of those balances.”

Ask yourselves this question: Is streaming fast netflix while you walk down the street (or even worse, while driving a car- a mortality multiplier) worth 38,000 deaths? 100,000 deaths? One million deaths? Please inform us of the details of this grim calculation if you intend to trade our lives for faster streaming wireless. It seems a fairly bad tradeoff to us- call us crazy tinfoil hats if you like.

How can a legislator make public policy “balances” that mean the difference between life and death when the issue has not even been properly debated or discussed in hearings that include expert testimony? These “balances” appear to involve the heavy thumb of the wireless industry on the scale in the form of “funding” for state legislators. Don’t take the bait- stand up for your constituents and our right to safe communities and strong local democratic oversight.

The California State Assembly must reject SB 649 and send a strong signal to the telecommunications giants that the backbone of our modern communication systems must be hard wired fiber, the fastest and most secure option available. The industry left to its own devices is going in the opposite direction, with AT&T threatening the landline telephone service that millions of Californians depend on for reliable access to emergency services and accurate 911 location transmission. Fiber to every home may cost more thank blanketing the state with high frequency radiation, but it is worth the investment, given that the long term health and mortality costs of blanketed 5G are unknown, and potentially very grim. A stain you don’t want on your legacy as lawmakers.

We need to extend fiber-optic lines to every home and business, provide wired (not wireless) internet in classrooms, and re-invest in our copper telephone landline network, which serves as a reliable and safe necessary alternative to power-grid dependent (and power grid hungry) communications like VOIP and cell service.

There is no longer any question whether wireless radiofrequency (RF) radiation- used in cellular communications- is harmful to humans. The U.S. National Toxicology Program- federally sponsored research- found last year that cell phone radiation is positively associated with cancerous brain and heart tumors in rats. The World Health Organization has classified RF as a Class 2B carcinogen. We are being flooded with reports of the real world consequences of these agencies’ alarming statements: insomnia, headaches, cancer, autism, and other serious and life changing ailments.

If this bill passes, wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T will claim the legal right to install cell sites practically anywhere- on power poles, outside bedrooms, in public parks, on bus stops, etc. without due notice to residents or adequate compensation for local governments. Whether or not- or how often- one uses wireless devices, people will be exposed to high frequency microwave radiation in close proximity, and involuntarily. This will drive some people out of their homes, tear apart communities, and push endangered species over the brink.

In her recent article, A 5G Wireless Future: Will it give us a Smart Nation or Contribute to an Unhealthy One?” Dr. Cindy Russell, Vice President of Community Health at the Santa Clara County Medical Association, cites scientific studies that show serious health damage from exposure to the same frequency range that 5G cell sites plan to use. Impacts on human health include genetic, heart, skin, and immune disorders. Dr. Russell’s full article is available for download:

Vote no on SB649. This is a fast-track bill bought and paid for by the wireless industry, lacking public support, and potentially ruinous to the health and environment of our beautiful state. Do the research yourself and make a wise decision for our future. Don’t take our word for it. We’re just an organization that has been bearing witness to the health damage caused by the similarly ill-conceived project by the state’s utilities to forcibly deploy smart meters. The damage is occurring— believe us—and it is not pretty.

I must also ask this committee to inquire why the California Dept. of Public Health- an agency paid for by our taxpayer dollars- continues to refuse to publish a cell phone radiation warning flyer that was developed and then buried by the agency. The warning was only made public because of a lawsuit by Joel Moskowitz, Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health. In 2012, our organization sent nearly 1000 written health complaints reporting personal damage suffered from smart meter radiation, from residents all over this state. The CDPH received so many complaints directly that they had to establish a unique email address for the purpose: (the now defunct) It’s time to publish wireless warnings that our state agency workers have developed for a reason, and let people have the information they need to keep their families safe. An independent inquiry must be launched into the politicization of health policy by this Governor’s office working behind closed doors with the wireless mega-industry to suppress any whiff of warning that would affect cell phone sales, while people die of brain tumors. This is criminally negligent not to mention disgusting on a human level.

No matter the outcome of SB649, this issue will undoubtedly be fought in the courts, at the ballot box, and in the streets. When people wake up with pulsing high frequency 5G antennas outside their bedroom windows, and their homes become inundated with toxic RF radiation that devalues their homes and makes them sick, they will not be happy. And they will ask who voted for the legislation that forced this unwanted, hazardous equipment into their neighborhoods.

Thank you for your time and attention to this pressing and urgent matter.

Josh Hart
Director, Stop Smart Meters!
Sent from my safer, wired computer

Send your own email opposing SB 649 To:

More info and background:

Posted in California, Citizen rebellion, Democracy, Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity, health effects, Health studies, landlines, legal issues, neighborhood organizing, Physicians, radio-frequency radiation, Sacramento, Smart Grid | Leave a comment

Opinion: Bill would Turn California Utility Poles into Cell Towers

By Nina Beety, Guest Commentary

Most utility poles will become cell towers under (California) Senate Bill 649. The bill strips municipal governments of decision-making power.

Spaced approximately every 10-20 homes, cell antennas will hang in one or more clusters on utility or light poles. Equipment cabinets the size of refrigerators, with cooling fans and back-up generators, will sit on sidewalks. Towers will be located in the public right of way a few feet from bedroom windows, offices, schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

Called “small cells”, there is little difference in size for many of these antennas; the chief difference is the location on utility poles versus large towers. Measurements of these cell towers recently taken in Palo Alto found high levels of radiation on the sidewalk below them — levels higher than those associated in research with breaches in the blood-brain barrier, free radical formation, DNA damage, cancer and tumors, and heart rhythm disturbances.

What the levels are inside buildings a few feet away and in line with the antennas is anyone’s guess.

This 24/7 exposure of the most vulnerable, including children, is ignored by the California Legislature. This isn’t surprising since Capitol Weekly named AT&T lobbyist Bill Devine the 16th most powerful person in Sacramento last year. CTIA — the wireless industry — is the listed source of SB 649. And the telecom industry hosts the Pro Tem Cup in San Diego and Speakers Cup in Pebble Beach — lavish, hush-hush lobbying and fundraising events for the California Senate and Assembly members. How many members of the public can afford to buy a politician?

SB 649 is effectively eminent domain, taking the public’s right of way for another use. The public has not agreed to cell towers in their front yard, but the bill states this is not a municipal affair. Remember the Malibu fires, where officials evacuated the city? This was caused by utility poles overloaded with telecommunications equipment — AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and NextG. Look around you and see the leaning, bowing poles next to homes and buildings, hanging over streets and sidewalks. Malibu Mayor Andy Stern called these time bombs. Add more gear, multiply the number of poles impacted, and what will be the result?

The FCC’s website says there are no federal standards for microwave radiation exposure. FCC exposure guidelines were derived from industry, and there is no policing or compliance testing of cell towers. Many exceed federal limits according to two surveys. Once installed, you’re stuck, and due to federal laws, every company has to be allowed access to a location, even if that means the same pole and higher radiation levels.

Do you have a utility pole in your back yard or along your fence line? That utility easement on or through your property means they can put anything on that pole. Undergrounded utilities in your neighborhood? New poles will be erected, or antennas will be mounted on homes. AT&T’s new service agreement says you must agree to anything they want to install on or in your home (complain to the CPUC if you disagree).

Impacts to agriculture will be costly, with documented effects from microwave radiation to bees and other pollinators alarming international scientists. Industrial ag is already impacted by dying bees from other causes. Damage to trees and plants is also documented, but the Legislature ignores all of this and the costs to the public.

SB 649 is being rushed through the legislature before the public finds out. It has already passed the Senate. If you don’t want cell towers next to your home and office, take action before it’s too late.

Nina Beety is a writer and educator and runs the website She lives in Monterey. This opinion piece originally appeared in the East Bay Times.

Posted in California, neighborhood organizing, radio-frequency radiation, Sacramento | 1 Comment

Nina Beety: AT&T is Stealing our Landlines

By Nina Beety, Guest Commentary

The public paid for America’s sturdy, reliable and essential copperline landline infrastructure through rates and tax-subsidized incentive programs. But AT&T wants to eliminate copperline service. Most Californians don’t know this. “Dependable” is not in vogue, and AT&T no longer wants to service this system. It claims it must make way for new technology, and that this service is no longer essential or economical for them to continue, despite AT&T’s huge profit last year.

Tell that to Californians who live in rural areas, are older, have medical devices, are disabled, or are low income. They rely on this service. “Traditional landline phone service remains the backbone and only reliable two-way communication mode,” says the Rural County Representatives of California.

Many states have allowed AT&T and other companies to disconnect, despite opposition by the public and organizations like AARP. Illinois just approved landline elimination. Michigan did so in 2014. Last year, California Assemblymember Low sponsored AB 2395 to disconnect copperline landlines by 2020, but vocal opposition, including from rural counties, stopped it.

The California Alliance of Retired Persons says: “AB2395 would leave California consumers without essential public safety protections. Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services do not provide line power during an electrical outage. … The FCC’s rules have serious gaps: batteries must only provide a minimum of eight hours (24 hours after 2019); it is up to customers, not the provider, to purchase the battery at their own expense; and notification need only be at the point of sale.”

AT&T is trying several work-arounds. The first is FCC WC Docket No. 17-84. The FCC will likely preempt “wayward” states that want to retain copperline for their residents and adopt measures to speed up destruction of the copperline system. AT&T’s second move was to send notices to AT&T customers this month, notifying them that they agree to any and all changes to their telephone service and the installation of any and all equipment on their premises that AT&T wants to do, including installing equipment that uses electrical power. “If you do not allow AT&T to install the new network equipment at your premises, your telephone service may be disconnected …” Any customer who doesn’t accept the terms must call AT&T to cancel their service.” This becomes effective July 1.

Yet, the CPUC and TURN told me last week that AT&T has not been approved to abandon copperline.

AT&T plans to use broadband over powerline — a dangerous system that puts the microwave signal directly on powerlines, where it travels along all wiring and onto household wiring. It broadcasts microwave radiation everywhere and cannot be blocked. It was vehemently opposed by physicians in Austria and Switzerland when it was mandated there for Smart Meter communication, saying it would cause widespread health problems.

AT&T is also pushing Senate Bill 649, which effectively turns most utility poles in a community into cell towers. Cities and counties have to approve them, even in residential neighborhoods. SB 649 has been approved by the Senate and now faces the Assembly.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors said last year, “Don’t take away the most reliable way to reach 911 in an emergency. 911 dispatch centers automatically know our location when we call from home. Our home phone lines will keep working for weeks if there is a power outage. Wireless signals can be unreliable when we need our phones the most. Don’t let vulnerable people be left without reliable phone service.”

In power outages and in disasters, copperline landlines are a lifeline. Contact your state and federal officials and the CPUC. Stop AT&T from destroying this vital infrastructure.

Nina Beety lives in Monterey and runs the Smart Meter Harm website. This column first appeared in the Monterey Herald.

Posted in California, CPUC, Democracy, health effects, landlines, legal issues, neighborhood organizing | Leave a comment

AT&T Wants to Replace Your Landline with a Cell Tower- Seriously

Many AT&T customers have recently received the above notice in their monthly bills. The notice threatens to disconnect your service unless you allow “network equipment ” (likely wireless transmitters) to be installed on your home though AT&T have been vague and (falsely) reassuring to most people who have called them in complaint.  These passages from the notice are particularly alarming:

“If you do not allow AT&T to install the new network equipment at your premises, your telephone service may be disconnected…”

“If you do not agree with the terms of the amendments call us at 800 288 2020 to cancel your service.   If you don’t cancel your service it means you accept the terms of these amendments.”

Take Action now to defend our reliable, safer landline services. Send your complaint to the California Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs Branch (or the utility regulator in your state) either by phone or by mail. Or both. Tell them there was no public notice or consultation and you demand hearings.

Californians contact:

CPUC Consumer Affairs
Formal Complaints
505 So. Van Ness
San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: 415-703-2074 (Many prompts to click through…please choose 1, 2, 1, 4, 0 and then you’ll get a person to make your complaint to. Insist a written complaint be taken (open until 4:30pm). Here’s the link to the Formal Complaint form.

Talking Points:

• The flyer enclosed in the May bill is 1) misleading, 2) threatening and 3) coercing
• You feel you have no choice and have not been given enough time or information.

You can also contact the Commissioners, whose job it is to protect us against utility coercion and disinformation.

Clifford Rechtschaffen: 415-703-1840
Martha Guzman Aceves: 415-703-2971
Carla Peterman: 415-703-1407
President Michael Picker: 415-703-2444
Liane Randolph: 415-703-2156

Now is the time for those who depend on their landlines and refuse to be exposed to RF- simply for a voice connection-  to show up at CPUC meetings and speak out. Anyone can speak on any topic in open comments before the scheduled agenda.

Upcoming CPUC Meetings:

  • June 15 – Sacramento
  • June 29 – San Francisco
  • July 13 – San Francisco
  • Aug. 10 – San Francisco
  • Aug. 24 – San Francisco
  • Sept. 14 – San Francisco

Purchase a safer analog landline phone from the SSM! Store (they work even when the power goes out unlike the alternatives AT&T wants to force on us)

Posted in California, landlines, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wireless Public Health Warning Cards en Español

Stop Smart Meters! is excited to announce the publication of our popular Public Health Awareness cards en Español, in order to more effectively reach out internationally and to the more than 40 million Spanish speakers in the United States.

The cards are available in our online store for $9.95 for a 50-pack including shipping within the US (please ask about bulk discounts). You can also purchase the English version of the card, brochures, sale price EMF meters and more. ¡Gracias por ayudarnos a sacar el mensaje! (Thank you for getting the word out to the people!)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment