IN THE NEWS

Arizona Daily Star

April 11, 2021
New cell network pole could disturb graves in historic

Tucson neighborhood, residents say

 

Dispute in Dunbar Spring highlights emerging issue of small cell towers across Tucson

By Henry Brean 

The City makes a distinction between small cell poles and cell towers, with good reason, cell towers are not typically permitted in the public ROW
View their page on it here
See our correction of it here

Read full story here.

  1. residents are pushing back with concerns about everything from property values to public safety

  2. “small cell deployments” are designed to “alleviate network congestion in high-traffic areas.”

    Sites are chosen based on “several factors, including the capacity needs of our customers and the availability of suitable structures to place the antennas,” Ingram said.








     

  3. Unfortunately, said Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Kozachik, Dunbar Spring isn’t the only Tucson neighborhood impacted by the small-cell proliferation, and there’s not much the city can do about it.

  4. Last month, the council adopted an ordinance requiring telecommunication providers to demonstrate that they’ve exhausted all other possible locations before moving forward with installing a new cell pole.





     

  5. Ultimately, though, Kozachik and other city officials insist they can’t really stop the poles from going up.
    A state law passed by the Legislature in 2017 effectively requires municipal governments to approve such installations in public rights of way and prohibits any meaningful local regulation.
    Kozachik expects thousands of the poles to be built throughout the community in the coming years.

  1. These are raised as no matters of mere concern, but of substance, fact and law.

  2. Redundant small cell deployments are not required to make phone calls. Existing WTFs experience "congestion" because they provide broadband data service for mobile data subscribers. Data service is unnecessary, especially in neighborhoods where users are already at home and can use their WiFi or ethernet service to accomplish the same goal, many ISP routers are already equipped with 5G. (A hardwired ethernet connection is still significantly faster and more secure. Using WiFi instead of cellular data reduces radiation.)
    All carriers should be using existing structures, there are structures wherever there are people. They may be required to use equipment small enough to fit the existing structure.

  3. State law gives plenty of flexibility to deny an application, for many reasons, even based on public safety.
     

  4. It was always expected that carriers exhaust all options for existing infrastructure. This ordinance doesn't change anything. All a carrier has to do is what they have always done: say they don't want that existing structure because it doesn't fit their oversized and overpowered equipment. City Staff are bullied into allowing it because they are afraid of retaliation from carriers. It is not too much to require co-location, using equipment small enough to fit existing infrastructure. 

  5. The state law being painted as a preemptive nightmare is short, easy reading, of a handful of pages. Local authority is not preempted from making significant requirements for use of our rights of way, such as those in the Tucsonans' WTF Ordinance.

    In fact, we do find that there are significant portions of state law that the City does not appear to make any attempt to follow, such as concealment requirements, mounting all facilities on or within to the pole, and ensuring that facilities are complete within 180 days.


    City Council should expect to fix the situation, not sit by while Verizon and AT&T clutter and pollute our neighborhoods. Council and staff have a bad habit of crying preemption, but never seem to be able to give a specific citation. If they believe their hands are tied, we expect them to use their heads.




     

Arizona Daily Star

April 18, 2021​

Steve Kozachik's Opinion: 'Small cell poles' don't belong in Tucsonans' front yards

By Steve Kozachik Special to the Arizona Daily Star

  1. Under the cover of their own internal bureaucracies, and legislation bought with big corporate dollars, the telecom and electric industries are
     

  2. ruining the aesthetics of our residential neighborhoods while at the same time decreasing homeowner property values.


     

  3. The systematic rollout of 5G “small cell poles” was facilitated by both federal and state regulations.

     

  4. But as consumers, we are not without an ability to effect change.


     

  5. Industry has sold the Federal Communications Commission and state legislatures throughout the nation a present day analog to the 1960s “space race.”


     

  6. The notion that we’ve got to be first in the international roll out of 5G has resulted in legislation being adopted that ignores the impacts thousands of 35-foot-tall steel cell poles scattered throughout residential neighborhoods will have.
     

  7. In Arizona, not surprisingly,
     

  8. our state legislature passed HB 2365, a bill that severely limits the kinds of local actions we can take that might either slow down the site selection process or compel the selection of sites that respect the character of our residential neighborhoods.





     

  9. My recent exchange with telecom and TEP representatives is illustrative of how industry fails to take seriously the impacts they’re causing.
     

  10. Under current Arizona state law, the city can impose reasonable restrictions on how close cell poles can be to other “vertical elements.” For example, we can require cell poles be no closer than 150 feet from street lights or other cell poles.
     

  11. What we cannot do is compel a specific location for a cell pole. Outside of the very general spacing guidelines we can implement, the companies are permitted by law to point to a spot in the public right of way and claim that ground for their pole.











     

  12. Under HB 2365, if the city delays issuing the permit for 75 days, the permit is assumed to have been approved.

  13. That same state law, however, specifically lists existing utility poles as allowable sites for the collocation of new cellular antennas. If the telecom company says they want to use a utility pole in the easement behind your home, according to state law, TEP cannot say no.





     

  14. But here’s the game that’s being played:






     

  15. TEP requires a Master License Agreement with each telecom provider before allowing collocation on their poles. That’s not a part of state law — it’s a TEP imposed requirement. We’re under a 75-day approval time limit. TEP says negotiating the MLA would take nine to 12 months. In addition, TEP has placed “design specifications” on their poles,

  16. leaving the utility with the ability to reject collocation on a given pole. That is contrary to the spirit, if not the letter of state law.






     

  17. During my recent exchange with the industry representatives, I was told TEP had not received any requests for collocation. When asked why, the telecom representatives said there wasn’t any point because they didn’t have the MLA, and the specifications for using poles were so restrictive that few, if any would even be approved by TEP.

  18. Residents are the collateral damage of this industry game of internally imposing requirements that effectively take all options off the table — except for placing poles in front of your house.
     

  19. They’re playing a game of following the path to approval that requires the least effort on their part. Homeowners are paying the price.


     

  20. I reminded industry representatives that my constituents are their customers. Please reach out to your telecom provider, and to TEP and demand they expedite a licensing agreement, and that they do whatever is necessary to open up for consideration all existing utility poles for collocation.
     

  21. Cellular antennas belong in the easements behind your house, not outside your front yard.

  1. Is this an allegation that our state legislators have accepted bribes? Our team reached out to TEP who stated they did not sign in support of this bill. 
     

  2. Preserving aesthetics and property values are the sole responsibility of the City of Tucson employees and elected officials. It will not do to attempt to shift responsibility onto parties who build with the permittance of our City and who cannot and will not be held accountable by anyone but the authority of the City.

  3. There is a systemic rollout of 4G and 5G poles, and stirs us right into 6G and 7G and beyond. This rollout in Tucson was facilitated by no one other than the City of Tucson officials and staff.

  4. What is the expectation here? "Stop densifying your network into my city or else I'll be really, really mad at you?"​ Cancel 10,000 Tucsonans' mobile service plans? That doesn't tie in too well with the advertised need for denser networks for emergency services. 

  5. Space race, as in cold war? If we are at war then City Council needs to armor up instead of signing surrender terms. In war, the laws are silent. The industry has also sold the mayor and City Council on SMART cities.

     

  6. The densification of wireless facilities demands a new law. If it were repealed with would need to be replaced immediately. Reason is the soul of the law; when the reason of the law changes the law also is changed. City Council is ignoring what the law actually reads, thus causing those impacts.​

  7. What is with the attacks on our Arizona Lawmakers? The act of the law does no harm. 

  8. So, we have to be quick about it. Alright. Quickly deny permits that do not follow the stipulations in the TWTFO. (get the highlights) The state bill reserves local authority to deny applications for any reason they choose to write into their local code as long as it does not conflict with a few minor stipulations such as all wireless facilities and carriers in the rights of way are to be treated the same, does not institute a moratorium, and must not impede telecommunications accessibility. Everything that the law does not forbid is permitted such as the creative solutions found in the Tucsonans' ordinance. 

  9. The City of Tucson is complicit and will need to take responsibility. City Staff issues unlawful permits for incomplete applications and waives its right to regulate the small cell rollout. 

  10. It can also, for example, enact an ordinance which requires co-location of facilities onto existing infrastructure and does not allow for new poles except in the very rare occasion that there is no infrastructure nearby. The carriers can be required to use equipment that is small enough to be supported by that infrastructure.

  11. We do not want City Staff putting their fingers on a map and telling telecoms they must put a pole there, it is expressly forbidden by state law, as it should be. Let the telecoms come and make a request, and feel free to deny it if it is not according to specifications of the TWTFO. We are permitted to declare certain areas off limits and to require only a specific kind of location where a facility may or may not be located. A.R.S. Title 9 Chapter 5 allows for many options to local authority to deny new pole applications, even co-location applications. If it is not for co-location, if it does not use minimum power required to make phone calls and texts, (-85dBm) deny it. If it does not meet concealment requirements, if it would incommode the quiet enjoyment of streets pollute the views and landscape, public safety, or property values: deny it.

  12. The City can also deny one in the same timeframe
     

  13. What? TEP is required to accept applications for the use of their poles but can make it so difficult that Verizon doesn't want to take advantage? Take a clue Council Members! Exhausting all possible locations is a requirement of local code. The city must require that the carrier has asked TEP for their location if it is in the search area. The state law does not force private companies to allow towers on their property. Steve googled HB2365 and has been reading a version of a bill, for counties (title 11 Ch. 13) that never passed into law where it gave a bad definition of "utility pole".

  14. Good game, it's called strategy. TEP has to protect it's property and wants to have good community relations in the community by not being any more of an eyesore, The City of Tucson should concern themselves with doing the same by taking responsibility for their own, not attempting to hand their own responsibilities off to private companies.
     

  15. It would be unlawful for legislature to require private companies to rent out their properties. It would be like the state requiring hotels to allow homeless people to live in their rooms at an absurd discount. The city should take a lesson from TEP, instead of harass and libel them. 

     

  16. We also have the same design considerations, which are open to interpretation, and leave the City with the ability to reject permits because they won't look nice, among many other things. Laws don't have spirits, they have purposes and intents. The purpose of law is to dictate what must be done, and what may not be done, laws do not list what our freedoms are. What TEP is doing is expressly permitted, just as it is for the City. If they believe TEP is doing things that are illegal, why has there been no enforcement of "the law"?

  17. WOW! way to go TEP! They must have better legal council than the City does.




     

  18. Cell towers and poles don't belong in Tucson neighborhoods. The City of Tucson plays their own games and residents are collateral damage for Council's inaction. It is unwise to threaten your constituents Steve.
     

  19. The City Staff is playing a game of following the path to approval that requires the least effort on their part. He who does not prevent what he is able to prevent is considered as committing the thing, he who is able and does not forbit, commits.
     

  20. The job of City Council and Staff is to protect public safety, privacy, and property values and the quiet enjoyment of our streets. It is not Verizon's job to protect these. Industry is taking advantage of this council's gross negligence to the law as it reads in plain English. Contact your council representative to demand protection of public safety, privacy, property values and the quiet enjoyment of streets. It's their job and theirs alone. 

  21. The front yard should be off limits, the backyard is fair game? Question: How does this do anything to retain property values, privacy, public safety, The quiet enjoyment of streets, concealment requirements and the preservation of landscapes? The neighborhood is no less cluttered and polluted. Is there any proof that if it's behind a home there is no property value loss?

    The FCC and legislature aren't the only ones sold on the landfill race. Our elected council is well steeped in the same controversy. 

Kgun9

February 23, 2021

5G cell poles causing concerns among Tucson residents

 Greg Bradbury

Read full story here.

  1. According to the FDA, there is no consistent or credible evidence of health problems caused by the exposure to radio frequency energy emitted by cell phones or towers.










     

  2. ‘‘all equipment used for 5G must comply with federal safety standards. Those standards have wide safety margins and are designed to protect everyone, including children.”

As no matter of mere concern, but of substance fact and law, knowing that many small cells that arrive in our neighborhoods are 4G or 4G and 5G on the same pole.

  1. This statement is from a 2020 FDA report that has been highly criticized by a group of scientists and physicians for its “numerous scientific errors”, omission of important studies, and inclusion of studies with flawed methods.  This group includes Tucson neurologist Dr. Hillel Baldwin at the Carondelet Neurological Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital, who is a Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.  According to Dr. Baldwin, given the current evidence on the safety of cell phone and cell tower radiation, the public should take precautionary measures.  Read more here.
     

  2. Just as the tobacco Industry created a “playbook” of tactics to defend cigarette safety, the telecom industry has standard phrases that serve to falsely promote the myth that wireless radiation from cell phones and towers is safe.  The Verizon statement in this story is straight out of the playbook (learn more here). 

    There are no federal "safety standards”, only “exposure guidelines”.  Internationally, the U.S. exposure limits are among the highest (least protective) in the world.  Debilitating symptoms and disease can take place at far lower radiation levels, as the millions of people in the U.S.--many living here in Tucson--who are electro-sensitive and have been injured by wireless radiation can attest.  Further, there are NO exposure limits specifically for children, who are more vulnerable to wireless radiation than adults.​

KVOA

February 23, 2021

DIGGING DEEPER: 5G towers popping up across Tucson, City sends letter to State lawmakers
Chorus Nylander

  1. The 5G rollout nationwide has been met with conspiracy theories, like the towers produce radiation that can cause cancer. There are even baseless claims linking the towers to the creation of the coronavirus pandemic or weakening your immune system against the virus.








     

  2. He said at first, he thought it was just going to be a street light. But hearing that it will lead to faster internet speeds, that’s where his issues end. “It gets a little slow sometimes especially during the day when people are working and kids that do homeschooling that use the internet a whole lot,” Washington said. 










     

  3. FEMA even responded to such claims giving them a big red X as false.  
     

  4. We reached out to Verizon about its installation of towers in Tucson, a spokesperson said, “All of Verizon’s 5G wireless facilities have been deployed with the approval of local officials, and in compliance with local, state and federal law.” 
     

  5. The Mayor and City Council wrote a letter that it sent to the State legislature Tuesday. In the letter, they urge the lawmakers to repeal a 2017 law that greatly limited local governments' ability to stop or influence the installation of cell towers. 




     

  6. ….some have been installed in stormwater basins. 




     

  7. As far as health concerns about the cell towers Verizon said, “Everyday exposure to the radio frequency energy from 5G small cells are well within those safety limits, and is comparable to exposure from products such as baby monitors, Wi-Fi routers and Bluetooth devices.” 









     

  8. “I’ve researched it and seen the theories and don’t see anything that is science-based that alarms me at all"

  1. To the contrary Chorus and KVOA, cell towers really do produce radiation and it is proven in multiple peer-reviewed and independent studies that this non-ionizing radiation can cause cancer.  Federal NTP study with cell phones demonstrated that it caused cancer in mice, this has been repeated by the Ramazzini institute in 2018 with cell towers. The most recent data complied was published March 15 2021, and the report concluded "high probability RFR causes brain tumors". Read the review here. Substantial research exists to suggest decreased immune function as well. Not to correlate any sort of relationship between RFR and the pandemic. Just to note that neither cancer nor immune function are off the table. 

  2. Your home internet is not going to be faster. Small cell densification will only serve to affect your mobile data service for devices such as cell phones, tablets, or hotspot function. This is a terrible way to do school or office work. Your home WiFi may still lag but hardwiring to ethernet will make a huge improvement and likely eliminate that issue. It remains to be seen how well this service will work in a building or car, as it is easily impeded by solid objects. If that is all not bad enough, we are at the point we must check the premises of the claim that we're getting faster speeds at all, reports show that 5G phones have actually been slower than 4G and the increase in speeds, when it does occur is very slight. only a couple Mbps. Is 2 Mbps really worth the nuisance, the clutter and the risk? It's certainly far slower than ethernet and hardline fiber optic speeds. That is why these do not belong in residential neighborhoods. 

  3. FEMA responds only to the theory which correlates 5G and COVID-19, not the fact that RFR causes cancer. However, FEMA is not a medical research organization.

  4. Local officials claim they can't say "no" to carriers if they want to install a facility. It's not so much as they approve as that they have been misled to believe they can't do anything but allow it. The facilities, however, are not in compliance with local, state, or Federal law, on many counts. (details soon)

  5. We greatly appreciate the gesture, but a letter will not do anything at all. The Mayor, City Council and Staff retains its authority over siting decisions right now but has been misled to believe and parrot otherwise by unlawful council. That said, the act of the law does no one wrong, and the execution of law does no injury. If the city is to interpret that it does both, they ought be absolutely certain of its terms, and able to cite the plain language of the law instead of saying "we can't do anything/hands are tied" ad nauseam.

  6. That would be no fault of the carrier but the responsibility lands solely on M&CC +City Staff. They should never be allowing a pole where it presents a public safety or zoning issue such as this. Title 9 of ARS does not take away their authority to say NO in situations such as these. It expressly allows it. 

  7. One can make a comparison between any two things. it does not make them similar. But sure, let us compare with a WiFi router the further you get the more the power density drops by orders of 10 very shortly, by design. The signal from the router at the other end of the house will be significantly lower with every distance and obstacle. But cellular antennae are designed to carry over a distance with that power. It is likely that much of your home will measure relatively the same throughout from a nearby tower. From other objects such as cell phones, baby monitors and Bluetooth devices, people often get some distance away from them throughout the day. But with a tower, that distance is impossible, it is ubiquitous and constant, you will not get to choose when you wish to have a reprieve.

  8. We don't see people's underpants either, does that mean they aren't wearing any? For some people, it seems losing $50,000-$80,000 on their home's value is no cause for alarm. 

KOLD

February 25, 2021

5G cell poles causing concerns among Tucson residents

Joanna Guzman

News
13

  1. Same as above

  2. Same as above

  3. Meanwhile Ward 6 City Council Steve Kozachik said, just like residents, the city has no say as to where these towers are installed.




     

  4. “State law gives Verizon the right to simply walk in point to a place in the ground and say, ‘I want my pole there.’ So if the city says, ‘Yeah, we’ll issue a permit,’ it’s because we can’t say no according to state law.”








     

  5. An Arizona law, requires the City of Tucson to approve small cell pole installations anywhere.



     

  6. Kozachik said the city is trying to work with residents, TEP and telecom providers to develop a better plan to install the towers.





     

  7. In a letter to state representatives, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is requesting the restoration of authority to local governments in the decision making and process approval for these towers.
     

As no matter of mere concern, but of substance fact and law, and with the knowledge that small cell poles arriving in our neighborhoods may be 4G, or 4G and 5G on the same pole:

  1. See comments above

  2. See comments above

  3. Unlike residents, the City is well apprised beforehand and has full knowledge of when and where a new pole or co-location will go in and must give their consent. 
    The City should not expect to have any right to say where a tower should be. The state law expressly forbids it. The City does, however, according to state law, have authority over where a tower shall not go and how it shall operate. 

  4. To our knowledge, City Council has never cited which portion of the law reads in such a way, A.R.S. Title 9 Chapter 5 reads many times that local authorities may deny permits. The state law gives Verizon the right to point to a place [on] the ground and say "I want my pole there". And why shouldn't it? Anyone can apply for any job they want. It doesn't mean he/she will get it. The state law also reserves the right of local authority to deny applications that do not comply with design standards, stealth or concealment requirements, public safety, zoning code, etc. It is impossible to see what Steve is constantly referring to, given the plain reading of the law saying nothing of the sort (here) The City is free to make its requirements and design specifications

  5. An absurd thing to say. It should be most obvious that this would be an impossible thing of legislature to require. If it did it would not even allow a permitting process. It just isn't anywhere in this law, rather, there are many allowances for denial and an application. The question remains, and any citation is lacking, exactly what portion of this state law ties their hands? 

  6. We don't know who it is that he claims to "work with" on this plan, but it isn't anyone we know, he has refused us and the entirety of our ordinance. Sufficed to say, we are not pleased to know that he is choosing to work with Verizon at all. They have no business collaborating on an ordinance for Tucson. It would be better to hand them the requirements when they seek their next application. 

  7. We are truly so appreciative of the gesture. Unfortunately, it is only a gesture and makes no stand whatsoever. A letter will not affect the status of this law. If it is believed that state law has preempted the city employees from doing their jobs delivering public safety and preserving property values, (it doesn't, and it seems our elected officials have no understanding of the scope of their authority) they should simply practice cooperative federalism. Furthermore, what would the law be replaced with? When?