MoCo Residents have had enough of the false claims by the Telecom industry and their lobbyists AND by Councilmember Hans Riemer

Council’s narratives about residential wireless zoning requirements cannot be squared with what the FCC guidance actually states.

THERE IS NO FCC REQUIREMENT!

The following is an excerpt of a report by Montgomery County Clear Vistas. Read the entire document here.

Background Information: Zoning Text Amendments relating to “small” wireless facilities

  • On July 27, 2021, the Council approved Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07, which enables deployment of telecommunications towers in County rights-of-way in residential and agricultural zones. These zones include most single-family homes and many (if not most) multifamily dwellings in the County.
  • On May 15, 2018, the Council approved ZTA 18-02, which allowed similar deployments in commercial and mixed commercial/residential zones, with the placement of towers just 10 feet from existing buildings (including homes and schools).
  • Montgomery County was not required to adopt these ZTAs in order to comply with federal law:
    • Montgomery County is not and was not vulnerable to liability for “a lot of money” if it failed to adopt these ZTAs, as some have claimed. The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that localities cannot be fined or liable for money damages for failing to deploy a cell tower. (4)
    • The below comparison table summarizes key areas in which 19-07 is more permissive, with towers much closer to homes, than FCC guidelines.
  • Both of these ZTAs were passed without input from the Office of the People’s Counsel (OPC), a required step to amend the zoning code. (5) OPC was created to “protect the public interest” in zoning matters. (6) The Council had previously defunded OPC and voted again on May 11, 2022 to withhold funding. (7)

“If you don’t like this then you can go ahead and accept it because the FCC requires it”. DC News Now Video

“…to quote a decision maker in my community who said, and I quote, they were commanded by the FCC to allow cell towers in homes in a residential area and that’s really not true–it’s really not factual” Theodora Scarato, Montgomery County Resident and Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust to the  House Science, Technology and Energy Committee  (09/26)

Recent federal court decisions regarding FCC

  • On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of Environmental Health Trust et al. (8), as follows:
    • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) violated federal law (the Administrative Procedures Act, or APA) by failing to provide a “reasoned explanation” for deciding that its wireless radiation exposure limits do not need updating, even though these limits have not been reviewed since 1996.
    • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not provided an “articulation of the factual… bases” for its conclusions, which “represent[s] a failure by the FDA”, and therefore the FCC cannot rely upon FDA webpage FAQs on cell phone safety.
    • All other expert agencies in the federal government have been silent on the question of safety, and “silence does not even indicate whether the expert agencies… considered any of the evidence”.
    • The Court ordered FCC to “provide a reasoned explanation for its decision” and to address the impacts of RF radiation on children and the environment. FCC has not yet complied with this order.
  • Additional background regarding the EH Trust decision:
    • Petitioners submitted over 11,000 pages of scientific evidence indicating health effects of wireless radiation exposure at levels below FCC’s current limits.
    • FCC is required to set exposure limits to protect public health, but it is not a health agency and relies on other expert agencies’ analyses (which have not been done).
    • FDA acknowledges that it has not made any determination about the safety of cell towers. (9,10)
  • Title 47 Section 332 of the US Code (11) says local governments may not “regulate the placement” of cell towers based on environmental effects of radiofrequency emissions, which is based on the premise that the FCC complies with environmental protection law before it seeks to preempt local zoning authority.

    • However, in 2019 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the Keetoowah case found that FCC violated federal law (the APA) by failing to justify its assertion that “small cell” wireless facilities “pose little to no environmental risk”. (12) The court held that the FCC acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner and that FCC’s “public interest analysis did not meet the standard of reasoned decisionmaking.” Although almost three years have passed since that decision, we are not aware of FCC having provided any analysis of the environmental effects of small cell networks or of their cumulative effects.
    • Wireless carriers have asserted that “environmental effects” includes “health effects”, however this has not been tested in court. Courts have issued decisions based on “potential” health effects or “concerns” about health effects, but not on imminent or actual effects. (13) There is an open legal question about this assertion. (14)

Wireless facilities’ regulatory compliance in the County

  • The County has been approving wireless transmission facilities on rooftops of multifamily residential buildings since at least 1996, as far back as its public database is available. Many of these multifamily homes provide relatively affordable housing in our high-priced County.
  • Residents have brought to the attention of the County’s Transmission Facilities Coordination Group (also known as the Tower Committee) errors in many applications for wireless facilities. For example, in 2020, residents pointed out to the Committee an apparent pattern of errors relating to the underreporting of expected levels of exposure to wireless radiation. This pattern affected at least 25 sites, including nine residential buildings and two County high schools. (15) All had been favorably recommended by the Committee before the errors were discovered, requiring the Committee to seek corrections and re-consideration.

  • Applicants’ own estimates often predict that their antennae on top of residential buildings will generate levels of exposure to wireless radiation in certain areas atop the building and/or over the sides that will exceed federal exposure limits for the general public, sometimes by dozens of times. (16) In one example, the maximum anticipated level of exposure in one area on the rooftop was predicted to be as high as 114 times FCC limits. (17)

  • The Tower Committee does not include any resident representatives, nor are residents permitted to speak at its meetings.

  • The County currently has no policy or procedure to ensure that, after installation, wireless facilities – whether in rights-of-way, on school property, on private property, or on buildings – comply with County requirements and do not exceed FCC exposure limits, even when applications anticipate exceeding those limits.

Comparison between FCC guidelines and recent zoning changes adopted by the Council For Residential and Agricultural Zones summarizing key areas in which 19-07 is more permissive, with towers much closer to homes, than FCC guidelines.

Topic Description FCC guideline ZTA 19-07

< 30 feet from homes (18)

ZTA 19-07

≥ 30 feet from homes(19)

Setbacks Minimum distance from a dwelling (previously 300 feet)
  • No requirement or specific guidance
  • Allowed

  • Allowed

Shot clock

Number of days to process an application to install a small cell tower

  • 90 days, or longer if needed (20)

  • 90 days

  • 90 days

Notice

Whether notice of an application is sent to nearby residents

  • Allowed

  • Sent to property owners within 300 feet

  • Eliminated

Hearing process

Administrative hearing to consider applications and hearing examiner autonomy

  • Permitted at any distance

  • Eliminated hearing examiner ability to reject an application

  • Eliminated

Appeals

Ability for residents to appeal a hearing decision

  • Allowed

  • Eliminated

  • Eliminated

Measurement

Ensuring compliance with FCC radiofrequency exposure limits

  • Allowed

  • None

  • None

Fees

Amount County may charge the applicant for use of the County right-of-way (21)

  • Can recover all costs

  • $2600

  • $690

Aesthetics

Ability of Counties to specify the visual look of cell towers

  • Allowed

  • Hearing examiner minimal latitude

  • Same color as pole

Antenna size  Maximum size of a “small cell” antenna, less than 50 feet from the ground
  • 3 cubic feet
  • 6 cubic feet
  • 6 cubic feet
Liability Antenna owner responsible for liability arising from its deployment
  • Allowed
  • No requirement
  • No requirement

Note: Table above summarizes the changes enacted by ZTA 19-07, which amended the zoning code section 59-3.5.2; this summary does not capture all aspects of a complex zoning code, nor does it reflect the applicability of section 59-3.5.14, which is the subject of a proposed ZTA 22-01 (see endnote 3).

References

1 https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/Resources/Files/zta/2018/20180515_18-44.pdf

2 https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/Resources/Files/zta/2019/20210727_19-17.pdf

3 https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/Resources/Files/agenda/col/2022/20220215/20220215_3C.pdf

4 https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-1601.pdf

5 See Zoning Ordinance, Appendix B, section 2(a) https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/montgomerycounty/latest/montgomeryco_md_zone2014/0-0-0-64694

6 https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/montgomerycounty/latest/montgomeryco_md/0-0-0-1897

7 PHED Committee recommended withholding OPC funding: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/Resources/Files/agenda/col/2022/20220511/20220511_36.pdf Full Council adopted this recommendation without discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrdi8QFDKK4

Recommendation shown on the summary for that Council meeting: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/Resources/Files/agenda/col/2022/20220511/summary- 20220511.pdf

8 https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/FB976465BF00F8BD85258730004EFDF7/$file/20-1025- 1910111.pdf

9 See letter dated January 11, 2022, from FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health https://ehtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/FCC_FDA-Communications-FCC-Lawyer-and-Mother-on-Cell-Tower- Radiation-.pdf

10 See public comments by local resident groups regarding Montgomery County’s reliance on FDA statements: https://www.regulations.gov/comment/FDA-2021-P-1347-0732

11 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/332

12 https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-359025A1.pdf This paragraph has been updated from an earlier version.

13 Maryland is located in the Fourth Circuit of the federal appeals courts. This court has ruled against using “potential” health effects, or “concerns” about health effects as a basis for rejecting a permit; however that does not preclude placement decisions based upon actual health effects, known harms, or imminent harms. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/626095/t-mobile-northeast-llc-v-city-of-newport-news/

14 https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/21/21- 629/196710/20211025140205639_Santa%20Fe%20Alliance%20Petition.pdf

15 https://techwisemocomd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Why-Did-25-Wireless-Applications-with-Errors-Pass- MoCo-Tower-Committee-Review-Red3.pdf

16 See County tower database for examples: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/cable/Towers/database_towers.html

17 See page 124 https://montgomerycountytfcg.s3.amazonaws.com/Applications/MC2020031117+Application.pdf

18 “Conditional use” refers to permits that require public notice and a zoning hearing. ZTA 19-07 changed this setback from 300 feet to less than 30 feet.

19 “Limited use” refers to permits that may be issued without notice and without a zoning hearing. ZTA 19-07 reduced this setback from 300 feet to 30 feet or greater from any building intended for human occupation.

20 See page 54 https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2020/08/12/18-72689.pdf

21 Localities may charge fees to recover their costs. FCC established a “safe harbor”, meaning any fees at or below this amount are automatically presumed lawful without having to estimate costs. Prior to 19-07, the fee was $16,390 per application (see pdf page 7) https://apps.montgomerycountymd.gov/ccllims/DownloadFilePage?FileName=8356_1_5209_Resolution_18- 601_Adopted_20160913.pdf

There is no FCC requirement, no plausible legal justification.
It appears the purpose is yet another gratuitous handout to the wireless industry.

Mark your calendar! Oct 11 (New date) Rally to Stop Cell Towers 30 Feet From Homes Meet at 11:30 am, Tuesday, Oct. 11th

Mark your calendar! Oct. 11th (new date) Rally to Stop Cell Towers 30 Feet From Homes

***RALLY RESCHEDULED DUE TO WEATHER***

Check back on this webpage (https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-22-01) for updates to our Rally plans to stop the proposed ZTA 22-01!

Meet at 11:30 am, Tuesday, Oct. 11th

Steps of the Montgomery County Council building

100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850 (see directions)

Please share this event information with your email lists. Suggested subject line: Subject: Urgent Action and Invite! Please attend the Oct 11th Rally to Stop Cell Towers 30 Feet From Homes

Don’t want a cell tower 30 feet from your bedroom window?
(Email Council Now with our Action Network Tool – Takes only a minute!)

The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote in October on ZTA 22-01, which will allow utility poles to be transformed into cell towers just 30 feet from homes!

30 FEET!

You will get NO public notice, no public hearing, and no right to appeal, as long as the pole is at least 30 feet away in any residential neighborhood, which includes houses and apartments.

The MoCo Council PHED Committee meets on Monday October 10 – tell them NOT to recommend 22-01 to the full Council! “Click on “Start Writing” on the right-hand side of this page.

Thank you to the over 1,000 residents who wrote letters to the County Council and County Executive opposing 22-01. After receiving your letters, the Council increased the number of slots for residents at the September 13 public hearing from only 6 up to 15 slots.

42 residents signed up to testify against 22-01 (thank you again!), however the Council left 27 of them stranded on the waitlist, barred from speaking. The Council declined to move the hearing to a full nighttime hearing to allow all residents on the waitlist to speak. Watch the video testimony here. Every single resident who signed up to testify or submitted testimony opposed this ZTA. It was unanimous. The only people who testified in favor were 2 lobbyists and the chairman of the County Planning Board, an employee selected by the County Council.

ACTION you can take right now: Click START WRITING on the right-hand side of this page do use our 1-minute tool to tell the Council to:

1) Remove 22-01 from the PHED Committee agenda on October 10 and cancel all action on ZTA 22-01 this term.

2) Meet with members of our coalition who have requested meetings with multiple Council members regarding ZTA 22-01.

A number of Councilmembers have declined to speak with constituents and members of our coalition regarding 22-01. We hope Councilmembers will recall that they are elected to represent their constituents, not to rubber-stamp bills for lobbyists.We are cc:ing these emails to all candidates for County Council and County Executive in the upcoming November election. We encourage all candidates to urge the outgoing, lame-duck Council not to take any further action on this issue and allow the incoming Council to consider changes to the zoning code and wireless regulations.

It’s time to show the Council that we cannot be ignored: Let’s rally together against the bad idea of cell towers just 30 feet from bedroom windows. Bring signs and stand with us, on the steps of the County Council, 11:30 AM on Tuesday, October 11th!

Background on ZTA 22-01

Last year, the County Council adopted ZTA 19-07, a zoning law pushed through for the wireless industry after six years of residents’ intense objections. Despite finally passing this ZTA, the lead sponsor of 19-07 and 22-01 is claiming that the language of last year’s bill was “not exactly as intended” and needs further correction. He wants to pass yet another ZTA to make it even easier for the wireless industry to install thousands of antennas just 30 feet from homes, on existing utility or light poles.

30 feet is not the magic number!

There is no FCC requirement, no plausible legal justification, for the 30-foot cell antenna setback of ZTA 22-01 and council’s narratives about residential wireless zoning requirements cannot be squared with what the FCC stated to the Supreme Court in response to City of Portland et al. v. the FCC in June 2021. It is yet another gratuitous handout to the wireless industry.

ZTA 22-01 and 19-07 do not provide for any prior notice to residents, or any right of hearing or appeal, for cell towers 30 or more feet from homes. Utility poles contemplated under 22-01 have NO HEIGHT LIMIT.

The Council’s own staff, in its Racial Equity and Social Justice impact statement on ZTA 22-01, did not find that 22-01 would have a positive net impact on racial equity or social justice in the County. And that was after relying on a “report” that was “generously” supported by T-Mobile. At the same time, Council staff noted that “if the reduced set back requirements for small cell towers authorized under ZTA 22-01 results in negative health outcomes, this in turn could widen health disparities by race and ethnicity.” The statement did not even consider the social justice impacts of close proximity towers on vulnerable populations. Read residents’ RESJ analysis and the staff’s reply.

Want To Do More?

Promote the rally! Share this event information with your email lists and share online! Facebook/Twitter @MoCoCoalition

Submit written testimony! Send personal emails to the council, call their offices, leave voicemails, tweet at them publicly, and request one-on-one meetings.

SHARE this link! Tell your friends, post on social media! https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-22-01

When: Tuesday October 11th 11:30 to 1:30pm
Where: Steps of the County Council Building
100 Maryland Ave, Rockville, MD
Hope to see you there!
Facebook/Twitter @MoCoCoalition

MD5G Partnership Deleted Tweet After Resident Pointed Out the False Claims

The Tweet shown in this screen capture was deleted after a Montgomery County resident pointed out the false claim.

 

Their next tweet wasn’t any better.

Your bogus @amcancersociety “quote” was hastily taken down. And, this new messaging angle FAILS to mention that DC Circuit ruled current RF standards are “arbitrary and capricious.” @MoCoCouncilMD So, maybe try again @MD5GPartnership?? @Steve_Bohnel

 

https://youtu.be/BFekznCUwwY?t=4072

“…[I obviously, I did not support 19-07 you know, along with Councilmember Katz and I didn’t support it because of the pending litigation] … [asked the FCC to update those regulations regarding health] …[and if we get that information we’ll need to – if it changes anything we need to take action]…”

false claims
See Also:
False claims by Cell Tower ZTA Sponsor
Councilmember Hans Riemer.
In a news report Hans Riemer said, "Go ahead and accept it because the FCC requires it".

Residents Testify in Unanimous Opposition to Cell Tower ZTA 22-01 at a Truncated Daytime Public Hearing

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 22-01, Antenna on Existing Structure – Use Standards
Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 1:30 – 2:30pm

ZTA 22-01 lets carriers turn utility and light poles into cell towers just 30 feet from homes, with no prior notice to nearby residents and no chance for hearing or appeal.

The Council conducted a truncated afternoon public hearing despite letters from hundreds of residents urging Council President Gabe Albornoz (At-Large) to either cancel all action on the ZTA and let the incoming Council review cell-tower zoning issues, or at least schedule a full, evening hearing to allow time for many more residents eager to testify against it. More than two dozen residents on the wait list were never given an opportunity to testify at the hearing. Casey Anderson (Head of the Planning Board appointed by Hans Riemer and the Council) was given a priority and took up a speakers slot and then deviated from that topic to talk about zoning on pools and their enclosures. Not a single resident testified in favor—only Casey, Crown Castle and MD 5G Partnership.

Watch the entire hearing testimony starting here: https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=105

Name Representing Time
Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, Somerset Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=317
Laura Simon Ethiogreen https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=452
Deborah Norris, Ph.D. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=582
Rick Meyer MC4T.ORG https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=719
Robert J. Montgomery Clear Vistas https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1017
Sue P. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1164
Susan L. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1288
Susannah G. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1427
Theodora Scarato, MSW Environmental Health Trust https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1532
Colleen C. Community Vision for Takoma https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1671
Anna O. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1807
Michelle B. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=1929
Katherine K. Individual https://youtu.be/xGW7OEVXOb0?t=2066

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 22-01: Effects are harmful and unfair to residents and neighborhoods

  1. The FCC’s recent big loss in court proves what residents warned all along: The Council can’t trust the FCC’s safety standards for wireless radiation to protect our families. A federal appeals court ruled that the FCC failed to show that its 25-year-old safety limits for wireless radiation are based on science! Residents have asked the Council to wait for the FCC to justify or provide a reasoned explanation based on science for its RF limits.
  2. ZTA 22-01 takes aim at the rights-of-ways in residential zones that abut homes that are on smaller lots and have shorter setbacks. Persons of color and persons of low and modest incomes live in these homes with greater frequency than the County population at large. See New Report by Project WTF: SAY NO to Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 22-01 — Effects are harmful and unfair to residents and neighborhoods.
  3. 5G would be a huge new energy hog — intensifying our climate crisis. Energy experts estimate that wireless internet communication technologies could be responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, undermining our efforts to combat climate change. Many trees also would likely have to be cut down for 5G towers –– a further climate cost.
  4. 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  5. 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy–– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  6. The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high- speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices…the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  7. ZTA 22-01’s sponsors falsely suggest the pandemic has shown we need 5G, including to help wipe out the digital divide. What the pandemic has revealed is how many residents and businesses still need affordable access to safe, reliable, secure, high-speed Internet service. Improving wired connections –– that were paid for, but never delivered –– will meet that goal better than expanding wireless technology. We don’t need 5G in our neighborhoods. For equity, we need to make sure that wiring all the way to their premises for high-speed Internet is available for all residences –– including individual apartments –– and that the service is affordable for all, including businesses.
  8. Montgomery County passed Bill 44-20 saying that racial equity and social justice issues must be considered in all county ordinances. The RESJ statement for ZTA 22-01 is based on industry funded report.  ZTA 22-01, if passed will evade proper scrutiny. Such scrutiny is essential, because the County’s process for cell-tower oversight is broken –– including its failure to monitor radiation levels inside affordable, multi-family housing and other buildings it lets be used like cell towers, even when the rooftop antennas exceed FCC limits.
  9. “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  10. The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  11. The Mayor of Takoma Park and most of Takoma Park’s City Council were part of an amicus brief supporting the landmark court case against the FCC. Residents have asked the Council to wait for the FCC to justify or provide a reasoned explanation based on science for its RF limits.
  12. In 2018, Councilmember Riemer, in supporting a previous court challenge led by Montgomery County, noted that he and others had asked the FCC “to make every effort to consider all available research and update their RF emissions guidelines accordingly. They have declined to [do] that…so we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe.” ZTA 22-01 undermines the prospect of waiting for updated RF limits   –– to finally achieve the County’s very own goal.
  13. Evidence from hundreds of studies, including the definitive NIH National Toxicology Program Study, show that wireless radiation, from 2G, 3G and 4G –– all below 5G, causes biological and environmental effects. There is “clear evidence” of cancer from cell phone level radiation exposure. 4G/5G densification will add significantly to current levels of radiation exposure. Read more.
  14. Symptoms are being experienced by wireless deployments in other areas: firefighters suffered neurological damage, and injuries in Switzerland.
  15. 256 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 44 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of August 2022.
  16. The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  17. As of September 2022, 302,301 signatories from 203 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

Reflections on the FCC and the Telecommunications Act

Council needs to stop reciting pro-wireless bias narratives that rubber-stamp and cheerlead the interests of telecom and their so-called demonstrations. What is preempted is an actual moratorium that’s specific to wireless –– for which Montgomery County is NOT GUILTY!

What the County’s attorneys continue to advise Councilmembers cannot be squared with what the FCC told the Supreme Court in response to City of Portland et al. v. the FCC in June 2021 –– case highlights and details as they apply to Council v FCC here. The FCC never concluded that every limitation on any covered service is effectively prohibitory –– and told that to the Supreme Court! In addition, the FCC stated that “[n]othing in the Small Cell Order suggests that wireless carriers may “construct any and all towers,” or small cells, that they “deem[ ] necessary” in their “business judgment.” In addition, the Commission did not conclude that every limitation on any covered service is effectively prohibitory. See the DETAILS of what a resident researched and presented as to why it is wrong to construe that the small cell order implies that localities may never constrain a carrier’s preferences.

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The County is recklessly and fecklessly devoted to giving maximum locations to wireless facilities AS IF doing so is law –– all the while falsely alleging legal consequences when, in fact, “there is not a shred of evidence in the legislative history suggesting that . . . Congress intended plaintiffs to be able to recover damages and attorney’s fees.” See the DETAILS a resident has researched and presented about the case history of City of Rancho Palos Verdes v. Abrams all the way up to the Supreme Court. Review this comprehensive look at why a telecom company can NOT sue a local jurisdiction for damages. Enforcing violations of §332(c)(7) would undermine the policies that the Telecommunications Act (TCA) reflects!

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Additionally reflective of the TCA is that streaming videos, viewing online movies, sending/receiving emails, browsing the Internet, and engaging in tele-medicine are NOT part of “personal wireless service” or even a telecommunications service and the preemptive provisions in 47 U.S.C. 253 and 332(c)(7). The Telecommunications Act’s (TCA) 47 U.S.C. 253 and 332(c)(7) do not apply to these aforementioned services in isolation.

coverage gap analysis is all about voice service –– NOT any perceived need to expand the aforementioned data services. Coverage required is for outdoor, wireless phone calls (which require up to “5 bars” of telecommunication service). As per the FCC itself, coverage is “outdoors and stationary. It is not meant to reflect where service is available when a user is indoors or in a moving vehicle.” –– https://www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData/MobileMaps/mobile-map

WHY is it that the following has not dawned on Council –– that it’s exceedingly unlikely that the US Congress in 1996 intended for the US population to be sickened, injured, and die of profoundly deleterious RF/EMF effects –– all in order to allow the wireless industry to maximize its profits!

Thrive Montgomery 2050 accelerates deployment of 5G –– Tell the Council to Hit Pause –– and Add Equity

We are sharing this August 16th article and Action Alert by Montgomery Countryside Alliance (mocoalliance.org)

Thrive 2050: What it Says, What it Will Do, and Why We Have to Hit Pause

OF NOTE related to the proliferation of close-proximity small cells from that article, please find this linked PDF: Thrive’s Sweeping Changes (PDF)

“Thrive’s Proposed Policies Would Bring Sweeping Changes to Montgomery County

Thrive’s proposed policies and those in its companion documents including Attainable Housing Strategies, would bring sweeping changes to Montgomery County to the detriment of a healthy environment and affordable housing for all.

Here’s a partial list of Thrive’s sweeping changes. Thrive would:

“…Accelerate deployment of high-frequency networks in every neighborhoodexposing residents to harmful levels of 5G radiofrequency radiation.
Source: PHED draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050, October 2021, pages 50 – 51.  (Thrive 2050 Draft PDF: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/Resources/Files/2021/ PHED-CommitteeDraftThrive2050.pdf)”

Also from the PHED draft (PHED-CommitteeDraftThrive2050.pdf):

    • p48 — . . . the importance of virtual connections, including the deployment of high-speed wireless networks and fiber optic cable, continues to grow.
    • p50 — Support teleworking by accelerating deployment of information and communications technology and making working from home easier by facilitating Complete Communities. (Ec, Env)
    • p51 — Another essential building block of economic competitiveness is information and communications technology and telecommunications networks. Montgomery County should continue to prioritize advancing new technologies and making deployment of high-speed wireless networks and fiber optic cable – or other new communication systems – an important part of infrastructure planning.

Besides accelerating the deployment of high-frequency networks in every neighborhood, Thrive, if enacted, would undermine our existing Smart-Growth General Plan—Thwarting our ability to repair racial and social Injustice and equity.

Thrive Fails:

→ to stop sprawl
→ to advance Racial Equity and Social Justice in land use and transportation
→ to provide a path to success in meeting the need for affordable housing
→ to protect renters from rent increases and displacement
→ to protect our urban trees and forests
→ to protect our watersheds and clean drinking water supplies from pollution
→ to protect historic sites and structures
→ to protect our Agricultural Reserve so we can grow its capacity for food production

Read the entire MC Alliance article: Thrive 2050: What it Says, What it Will Do, and Why We Have to Hit Pause

Election Alert: Electronic touchscreen ballots divide candidate choices up via second screens not available unless clicked

A problem has already been reported with voting on the touchscreen for (some) races with multiple candidates in that the voter has to view two screens to see all of the names of candidates running for that position. When there’s a split screen, make sure to click again to see the second screen. Many of the candidates themselves are unaware of these screen issues.

David Lublin of Seventh State has also alerted that the electronic ballot divides the candidates on two pages –– and suggested one way to address these biases is to randomize candidate order. In general, ballot order can shape outcomes. Candidates with names ending in A-L do better, on average, than candidates with names ending in M-Z for this reason. In polling, respondents are most likely to give the first or last choice as their answer.

There was a virtual/Zoom meeting of the Montgomery County Election Board which took place starting at 2:30 p.m. yesterday, Monday, July 11th. Much of the meeting focused on the issue of the touchscreens -– as well as the taking of public (and a candidate’s) testimony regarding the experienced screen viewing confusion. An immediate fix to the software was suggested, but software resolution seems unlikely in time for the rest of early voting or even by election day next Tuesday, July 19th. The Board did acknowledge that this is a serious problem, and meanwhile, promised to use social media and otherwise to get the word out to the public. Election judges will also be immediately educated to better inform voters of the problem when they come in to vote.

Some early voters have strongly advised that it’s best to just request a paper ballot to prevent any confusion about ALL of your voting choices.

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