Protest against the installation of a Verizon small-cell tower on the corner of 5th and Longfellow.
Map from safetechtucson/cell-tower-info
The tower site borders the Peter Howell Elementary School playground
On Tuesday May 25, 2021, this notice was received by a few houses very near the planned tower site.
Neighboring residents decided to organize a protest and informed Peter Howell by distributing flyers. On Monday morning, June 1, 2021 residents gathered at the site, parking vehicles along the road.
Arrival of the barricade truck
Workers and the City Inspector come to talk with residents
Here is a description of the first day from a local resident
"We started the day at 7am at the proposed site with over 35 residents and a handful of vehicles parked along the street to prevent the ease of any worker completing their task today. We were interviewed by Chorus Nylander with News Channel 4, KVOA (news report has not yet been broadcasted) who has reported on 5G towers in the city earlier in the year and was also going to interview another angry resident at another proposed site near the AutoMall.
We were able to get a foothold in blocking the barricade worker from installing his signs, which would have made our physical location illegal once those signs were up, closing the street and sidewalk to designate an active construction zone. We met and spoke with the City Inspector assigned to the job and to the Superintendent (designated Verizon representative.)
Steve Kozachik, ward 6 councilman, his personal assistant Diana, and Chief of Staff Ann Charles came to our gathering to speak with us about our concerns. Eventually the Superintendent from Verizon came to us to announce that a "higher up" from Verizon instructed the workers to "Stand Down Indefinitely" and one by one they all left the scene by 11:15am.
We are not quite sure if this simply meant for the day, week, month, etc. but we would like to keep manning the station in case they do come back tomorrow.
Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik arrives to discuss the situation.
Residents join together for conversation and to sign the petition that will be sent to the City.
Wednesday June 2 to Friday June 4
Verizon reps came each morning to take drive-by pictures of the people gathering at the site. Sometimes the Enertech workers did the same.
People from around Peter Howell and other neighborhoods came to tell their tower stories, hold down the fort, and get to know their neighbors. Many more people signed the petition.
On Thursday afternoon, Russell Witte, PhD (Professor of Medical Imaging and Biomedical Engineering) visited residents and discussed problems with 5G, small cells, microwave radiation, and their potential impact on public safety, privacy, and property values in the neighborhood.
Then Rogelio Mares, a KGUN 9 news reporter, came to conduct some interviews.
Reflections from a resident after Day 3.
"I'm standing on a corner in Tucson Arizona...
And what a fine sight to see, I'm a girl my Lord with an RV Ford, parked trying to block 5G.
Come on baby, I'm not crazy,
I wanna know if you got time to come stand by me.
The start of Day 3. We are still standing and a 5G pole isn't. Come stop by the tent to help us keep it that way.
Thank you to all the lovely neighbors that came yesterday. You are amazing! I would love to get to know all of my neighbors more. Looking forward to us keeping the conversation going, our efforts strong and hopes up.
Professor Russell Witte educates residents on public safety, privacy and property value issues.
On Thursday afternoon, a gust of wind sent the whole shade cover over the fence into the school yard.
Then Rogelio Mares, a KGUN 9 news reporter, came to conduct some interviews. He interviewed three of us, wanting to get different takes on the current issue. One interview spoke to the health risks, one the "No Parking" signs going up in the middle of the night, and one about the lack of notice and conversation with Verizon.
The story aired in the evening on June 3rd and also June 4th in the morning.
Here it is:
Neighbors oppose 'no parking' signs placed near projected 5G tower in midtown
The story focused on the No parking signs (which isn’t the main point!), but also included our statements on the lack of neighborhood consent. Overall it was good for raising awareness that these 5G towers are not all positive, but did not including anything from the interview on the negative health effects of the radiation coming from the towers, especially for kids.
He also included the usual Verizon statement that the towers are within FCC safety guidelines ... just so people don’t start worrying. Note: There are no FCC safety guidelines. They are only “exposure limits” that are among the most lenient in the world and don’t protect us from the biological effects of the radiation.
As it were, on Friday in the late afternoon the barricade company arrived and took down all the “no parking” signs while we watched on. Apparently, the news coverage accomplished that much.
Reflections from a resident after the first week.
"More and more people have been coming to show their support, sit for a while, and sign the petition to stop the progression of a 5G small cell tower to be installed at the corner of 5th Street and Longfellow Ave. In addition, our efforts are getting the attention of other neighborhoods, where neighbors are distressed by cell poles being built. They are coming to share their stories, concerns, and show their solidarity as Tucsonans.
Week 2: Monday June 7 to Friday June 11
"We had another full week protesting the small cell tower on the corner of Longfellow and 5th. We continued to have a steady stream of Peter Howell residents stop by to sign the petition and get more information about the small cell towers going up in our neighborhood. In addition, we are still attracting people from other neighborhoods with similar issues. These people stop by to see what can be done in their neighborhoods.
All week the Verizon site manager stopped by daily to take pictures of us at the site
… We also had Rubin Moreno visit us from neighboring El Montevideo. As luck would have it AT&T delivered a work permit to Ruben and some of his neighbors this past Tuesday. Members of Safetech Peter Howell were able to advise the El Montevideo residents how to best protest the installation in their neighborhood. They mobilized and staged a similar effort to ours beginning the next day. This seemed to draw even more publicity and a reporter from KOLD named Hannah Tiede came to interview both us and the group in El Montevideo. Hannah was the reporter most interested in why residents are protesting the cell towers.
Channel 13 KOLD, June 10, 2021
by Hannah Tiede
Midtown residents host block parties, rallies and bake sales to stop towers from going up
"On Friday morning, after the news report aired, four cars worth of TUSD security officers arrived to cut down the signs we have had hanging on the chain link fence since Memorial Day weekend. They told residents at the site that they had been directed to take them down, but would not tell us by whom.
We received a steady stream of supportive honks all day.
Week 3: Monday June 14 to Friday June 18
This week was the toughest one weather-wise. Temperatures rose to as high as 115 degrees on Tuesday. It was pretty brutal sitting in the tent, but we were committed to maintaining a physical presence at the tower site to make sure no steps towards construction were taken and to continue to raise awareness. Some educational materials about the health effects of microwave radiation were added to our information table, and we continued to educate ourselves and others.
On Monday some of the children sold baked goods to the community, and Steve Kozachik's office sent over some Eegees, for which we were thankful.
Steve Kozachik sets up meeting for Verizon to describe their plans for our neighborhood and address health concerns
On Tuesday we got the news from Steve Kozachik that Verizon had confirmed to him that they will not start the tower installation prior to a meeting with the Peter Howell Neighborhood Association to be held on June 29th at 6:00 p.m. At this time we did not know how this meeting would proceed and whether we would be able to participate in it or not. We decided to maintain a presence on the corner despite the agreement to pause... and the HEAT!
By Friday, we were able to get more information about the meeting. Responding to our questions, Steve Kozachik wrote this to us:
Throughout the week various friendly City of Tucson contractors came to inspect the site or touch up the markings for the electric lines. On Friday, one man pulled up in his truck, and as we went over to greet him, he got out and said "Am I under arrest?"
"The meeting will be by zoom. Your board will send out the link. Their role is simply to facilitate, not to take a position. The meeting is open to all Peter Howell residents. Its purpose is for Verizon to describe their plans for PHN, and to address health concerns. There will be Q&A. Steve K."
July - August 2021
We continued to occupy the tent and meet with passerbys stopping to show support and learn more about the small-cell tower rollout in Tucson.
On July 12, we wrote a letter to Steve Kozachik following up on the PHNA-Verizon meeting. We gave him information about the science on the negative health effects of wireless radiation from cell towers and said "We simply cannot allow our children, not to mention ourselves and the plants and animals in our neighborhood, to be subjected to this toxic substance. We know you would not want the same for your family and neighborhood and can understand our position."
We also made two requests:
(1) Can you follow up with Dr. Swanson to ensure he provides the 25,000 studies he said prove that cell tower radiation has no effects on human beings, as requested by PHNA president Dr. Margaret Drugay?
(2) When will you tell us what we can expect to happen with regard to the installation of the small-cell tower at 5th and Longfellow? Will you follow up with Verizon to ensure we receive detailed information on the numbers of small-cell towers planned to be installed in Peter Howell and their locations?
As of the end of August, Councilman Kozachik had not replied to our letter.
The state of the tent after one big monsoon storm.
September 1st marked three months of the tower protest—and three months of a cell tower radiation-free environment for the children living in the vicinity of the 5th and Longfellow proposed tower site.