July 2nd, 2011: Two More Arrested at Santa Cruz Smart Meter Protest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Contact:  Joshua Hart, Director, Stop Smart Meters!

July 2nd, 2011


PG&E Covering Logo on Trucks to Sneak into Backyards as Illegal Installations Begin

Santa Cruz County, Calif.- Two people were arrested Friday afternoon by Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Dept. for peacefully blocking smart meter installation trucks as they attempted to drive out of a yard in the Pleasure Point neighborhood of Santa Cruz County.  PG&E has stated that they do not intend to respect laws in Santa Cruz County, Capitola, and Watsonville that prohibit wireless meter installation- laws that were passed to protect the public from identified health and safety risks from the new meters.  The two protesters who are affiliated with StopSmartMeters! were charged with misdemeanor obstruction, and released with court date in August.

Contractors Wellington Energy- who PG&E have hired to install “smart” meters throughout the state- have been installing without a valid California contractors license, and faulty installations by the company have been linked with a number of electrical fires from meters that were not fitted properly.  Protesters discovered yesterday that the company has apparently bought large white magnets to fit over the logo on their vehicles so they can sneak around neighborhoods and into backyards without being recognized.

According to Joshua Hart, Director of StopSmartMeters.Org, and one of those arrested yesterday: “When a company like PG&E, who has repeatedly lied about the strength of the radiation pulses from their meters, and the San Bruno explosion that killed 8 people, then hires contractors who aren’t qualified to go out into communities under cover of anonymity to violate local government laws, forcing what even the World Health Organization now classifies as a Class 2B carcinogen on the population, our communities must organize and fight back.”

A month ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified wireless, non-ionizing radiation as ‘possibly cancer causing’ based on a broad investigation into the peer-reviewed science, throwing a wrench into unrestrained proliferation of wireless infrastructure, particularly utility installations of ‘smart’ meters throughout the United States.   The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) placed radiation from cell phones into Category 2B- the same category as DDT and engine exhaust.

Evidence of growing health harm has forced the CA Public Utilities Commission to require that PG&E offer an opt out program for those unwilling to have a meter on their home, but critics say this plan falls far short of what is needed, and charges people large fees- simply to protect their health.  Opponents of the wireless mesh network continue to insist that entire communities have the right to “opt out” given that the signals from the meters can travel about a mile.  “If I opt out and both my neighbors allow smart meters to be installed, I am still being subjected to high levels of forced radiation in my home.” says Heidi Rose, a woman who was arrested yesterday.  “That is a violation of my civil rights.”

Protesters initially called police to come and enforce county ordinance 5084, adopted unanimously by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in January that prohibits smart meter installations.   “We were calling the sheriff to have them come and enforce the law and protect the public.  Instead they arrested us, enabling PG&E’s illegal installations to proceed.”

In spite of the Sheriff’s apparent unwillingness to enforce the County’s law, the Santa Cruz County Counsel has written a letter to PG&E contractors informing them that the County does intend to enforce the law:

….the installation of SmartMeters in the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz  County will be in violation of the County’s ordinance, and any person found violating the ordinance will be subject to citation by law enforcement personnel.”

To date, a total of 43 local jurisdictions have demanded that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) halt further installation because of widespread reports of health impacts and other concerns.  This list is available online at: https://stopsmartmeters.org/how-you-can-stop-smart-meters/ca-local-governments-on-board/

Video of the arrest is available at Stopsmartmeters.org and is available for media use as long as the website is acknowledged as the source.  The World Health Organization’s press release can be downloaded from http://www.iarc.fr/

A copy of County Counsel’s letter is also available upon request.

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