Action Alert

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.
Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

URGENT: Act Now to Give the Public a Voice in Licensing of Wireless Facilities on Poles

The County recently released a draft Pole Attachment License Agreement (PLA) that would provide authorization for companies to attach wireless facilities on or in existing or replacement County-owned streetlight poles. Because a licensee can request authorization to attach to any streetlight pole, the PLA poses significant impacts for residents and County at-large. The PLA was released on the Transmission Facilities Coordination Group (TFCG) web page with little or no public notice and only three weeks for public comments, which are due Monday, April 25! The public was allowed only 3,000 characters to comment and could not include any links. The lack of notice and the short time-frame for comments are inadequate and inconsistent with County Executive Elrich's guiding principles.

Please write to County Executive Elrich and TFCG chair Marjorie Williams and urge them to provide more time for public comments, as well as meaningful notice, public outreach, and an atmosphere that sincerely encourages substantive public comments! Please also submit your comments on the TFCG link.
Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

MCPS Students’ Personal Data Is Used for Race-based Profiling & Profits

Dear Parents/Guardians/Students,

5 years ago, local parents discovered something fishy about Naviance, the online college and career readiness platform MCPS kids use starting in 6th grade: Naviance profiles kids using their personal information (yours, too) and sells it. We brought this to the attention of MCPS. Repeatedly. Meeting after meeting, nothing happened.

Now the nation knows, thanks to a 1/22/22 investigative report in The Markup.

Schools in Europe, where privacy laws are much stricter, replaced Naviance (and its parent company, Powerschool — the engine behind MyMCPS). Our kids deserve that privacy, also.

Please sign this petition to show your concern.

Help end the 'data farming' and racial profiling of our children. Share with parents and students!

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Wireless Safety Standards Should Protect People and Wildlife – Take Action – Join EHT’s Campaign

U.S. safety limits for wireless radiation have not been reviewed for over 25 years. In August, a landmark federal court ruled that the FCC did not adequately review all the evidence when the FCC refused to update its 1996 wireless radiation exposure limits. The court ruling states the FCC did not respond to research indicating numerous harmful effects from long term exposures, especially for children. Furthermore the FCC was found to have “completely failed” to respond to science showing harm to the environment — our trees, birds and pollinators.

Leading U.S scientists have written to President Biden and U.S. Congress calling on them to take immediate action to ensure science-based protections for the public and the environment.

Join EHT’s letter writing campaign calling on our elected leaders to support the scientists and to take the following actions after this landmark court won:

  • A comprehensive research and policy review by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • An environmental impact review for 5G and 4G deployment which includes not only effects from increased radiation but also climate impacts from increased energy use of the new networks and devices.
  • A halt to 5G and wireless densification until the development of science-based wireless radiation safety limits for human, wildlife, and environmental exposures by U.S. health and environmental agencies that protect against biological effects.
  • A congressional hearing to investigate how this issue has been handled for the last two decades by federal agencies and to ensure policymakers are aware of the latest science and policy recommendations.
  • A federal action plan which includes monitoring and public posting of environmental exposures; ensuring post-market surveillance for health effects; enacting policies to reduce public exposures; and educating consumers about how they can personally reduce their exposure.

America needs to invest in a safe technology infrastructure instead of racing into 5G. Our government health agencies can and should develop safety limits for wireless based on the latest research. Educating our elected officials about this ruling and demanding federal accountability depends on us.

Act Now! Our letter writing campaign makes it easy.

Simply enter your information to send a letter to your representatives to encourage them to take action to protect the public and the environment.

RESOURCES

2021 Letter to President Biden and Congress

Ruling in EHT et al v FCC by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

New Hampshire State Commission Final Report of the 5G Health and Environmental Effects

Factsheet on August Court Ruling to share with elected officials

Read more science at ehtrust.org

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

An Unsupported Rationale: The So-Called Legal Case for Montgomery County’s ZTA 19-07 Falls Apart

July 12, 2021

Peter L. Kahn, J.D., Ph.D.
Montgomery County Resident

Summary

The County Council appears poised to adopt ZTA 19-07 in part because some members believe that doing so is legally required. That is simply not the case.

Give the Community a Voice: Support A Stakeholder Advisory Group.

E-MAIL THE COUNTY COUNCIL TODAY IN LESS THAN A MINUTE!

One basis for believing this is the FCC's Small Cell Orders of 2018, which proposes a "material inhibition" standard for the courts to use in evaluating claims under Section 332 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 -- in other words, does a denial of a permit for a cell antenna "materially inhibit" the placement or construction of wireless cell facilities. Most denials of permits will materially inhibit their placement, and thus this standard strongly favors the interests of telecom companies. However, literally no federal court has adopted this standard for cases under Section 332, and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has made it clear that the FCC has no authority to change the federal courts' interpretations of federal law. The standard that has always been used, and continues to be used, by the Courts of Appeals across the country is the "effective prohibition" standard. It asks, does this denial of permit effectively prohibit the provision of cell service? This is a much tougher standard for telecoms to meet, especially when cell service is already abundantly available from multiple carriers. But the "effective prohibition" standard continues to be applied by all the Courts of Appeals for such cases, and no court anywhere has abandoned that standard in favor of the FCC’s preferred “material inhibition” standard for cases under Section 332.

The other basis offered for believing that ZTA 19-07 is legally necessary is the recent case City of Portland v. FCC. In that case, the Ninth Circuit looked at proposed regulations arising under a completely different section of the Telecommunications Act, that is, Section 253. The court in that case applied a "material inhibition" standard, just as it always has in cases arising under Section 253. One might be forgiven for confusing the Section 253 "material inhibition" standard, with the FCC's proposed "material inhibition" standard for Section 332, but in fact they have different origins. City of Portland did not deal with Section 332, and clearly did not adopt a "material inhibition" standard for Section 332 cases. The "effective prohibition" standard for cases under Section 332 remains in effect in every federal circuit, including the Ninth Circuit.

Section 332 of the Act specifically deals with the "placement, construction, or modification," of personal wireless facilities -- in other words, the very subject matter that the proposed ZTA 19-07 deals with. Any legal claims that might be prevented by the adoption of 19-07 would (in the absence of 19-07) be evaluated by the courts under the legal standard that has always been applied to Section 332 -- in other words, the "effective prohibition" standard -- because those claims would arise under Section 332, dealing with "placement, construction, or modification" of cell facilities. The FCC's Small Cell Orders did not change that. The City of Portland case did not change that. Under every federal Court of Appeals in the country, cases dealing with "placement, construction, or modification" of cell facilities will be examined under Section 332 under an unchanged "effective prohibition" standard.

In Montgomery County, a telecom asking for review under Section 332's "effective prohibition" standard is likely to lose. Our County already has excellent cell service. Just look at the coverage maps published on their websites by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. It will be challenging for any permit applicant to claim seriously that our County has "effectively prohibited" cell service. In truth, we are in full compliance with federal law, and any legal claims against Montgomery County's local governments will be very difficult for the telecom applicant to win.

Indeed, adopting ZTA 19-07 would itself be a massive change in the standards for cell placement -- it would take away virtually all local control, and grant to any telecom the right to use any piece of public property it wishes. This would constitute a massive give-away of epic proportions to the telecom industry, and would be a policy and legal mistake of the first order.

Read the full PDF in the viewer below or download here.

 

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

Breaking News & Action Alert: County Executive Calls For Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Working Group For Cell Towers Siting in Residential Areas

ScreenShot Marc Elrich memo_re Cell Tower Bill ZTA 1907

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"My staff and I have talked with many residents and industry representatives, and we have found them to be knowledgeable and willing to help improve the process. I would like to propose that we convene a working group comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, including industry, residents, municipalities and homeowner/tenant associations and/or non-profit organizations. Staff support would be provided by Executive and Council staff. The group would have a limited time – perhaps 75 -90 days - to present written recommendations. I believe such a group would allow opportunity for a more complete discussion of these issues." 

"Regarding concerns about ZTA 19-07, I have the following concerns and comments:

  1. The ZTA does not set any proposed minimum setback from a building; it is a limited use  process up to 30 feet from the building and then it is a “modified conditional use” process  for less than 30 feet setback."

Hats off to Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive, for for actually wanting to engage ALL stakeholders on these complex and important issues!

Call and E-mail  ALL Councilmembers Now and Tell Them You Support Marc Elrich's Multi-stakeholder Advisory Working Group For Cell Towers Siting in Residential Areas. You may also send an e-mail letter using our Action Network link. It only takes a minute!

phone * e-mail * tweet

Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz (ZTA 19-07 co-sponsor) 240-777-7959
Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov
@albornoz_gabe

Councilmember Andrew Friedson 240-777-7828
Councilmember.Friedson@ montgomerycountymd.gov
@Andrew_Friedson

Councilmember Evan Glass 240-777-7966
Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov
@EvanMGlass

Tom Hucker (Council President) 240-777-7960
Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov
@CmHucker

Councilmember Will Jawando 240-777-7811
Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov
@willjawando

Councilmember Sidney Katz 240-777-7906
Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov
@MC_Council_Katz

Councilmember Nancy Navarro 240-777-7968
Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
@nancy_navarro

Councilmember Craig Rice (ZTA 19-07 co-sponsor) 240-777-7955
Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov
@RicePolitics

Councilmember Hans Riemer (ZTA 19-07 Lead Sponsor) 240-777-7964
Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov
@hansriemer


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich 240-777-2500
marc.elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov
@MontCoExec

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Research Indicates that Trees are Harmed by Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation: Tell MoCo Leaders to Protect Trees in Our Neighborhoods!

RF Radiation Likely Harms Trees — Take Action to Protect Trees Now!

The dense network of small-cell towers on poles in front of our homes that proposed County ZTA 19-07 promotes will require pruning and removal of untold number of trees. (Professional arborists' rule of thumb is that if more than 25% of a tree canopy is to be pruned at any one time, the whole tree should be cut down. Even worse, research indicates that the trees left behind that are close to antennas would also be harmed from constant exposure to radio-frequency radiation.

Consider the independent research below related to the impacts on trees:

 

Take Action to Protect Trees Now!

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

Urgent Action: Cell Towers Coming to #MoCo Homes if ZTA 19-07 passes. Please share widely

Tech Wise MoCo MD news banner

Dear Mo Co Friends and Neighbors,

This is it! The Mo Co Council is set to hold a work session on ZTA 19-07 that, if passed:

  • Allows short “small” cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes.
  • Our street lights can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • Our utility poles can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • No required notice or public hearing so long as they are 30 feet from homes!

Opposed to the removal of our right to participate in the decision making process?

We need you to take action. Join us! Sign our petition to County leaders opposing the ZTA.

History of the bill

In January of this year Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer re-introduced Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07 that will allow small cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes. The PHED (Planning, Housing and Economic Development) Committee made additional changes that allowed existing street lights and utility poles to be replaced by stronger, wider poles to hold the cell antennas and heavy equipment. This bill has been rejected 5 times over the last 5 years but Councilmember Riemer keeps bringing it back.

Read MC4T’s SUMMARY OF What’s in ZTA 19-07: Montgomery County Council Poised to Vote on Radical ZTA 19-07 – IMPOSES CELL TOWERS NEAR HOMES – WITH NO MINIMUM SETBACKS!

We strongly oppose this bill and hope you will also.

Below are top issues raised around the World, the U.S. and by your Montgomery County neighbors about wireless installations—especially 5G—placed so close to homes:

  • Loss of local control over our historic rights of way in our own communities.
  • Eliminates resident voice in plans for cell towers; no resident notification and no public hearing required about cell towers in residential areas if placed 30 feet or more from homes.
  • Where 5G coverage is desired, it may be supplied from 5G signal transmitted from 3,000 feet up to 3 miles or more from antennas to homes.
  • 5G coverage already exists in many parts of the County. Check the coverage map for T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.
  • 5G is NOT faster.
  • 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • Concerns about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA).
  • “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  • 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.”
  • MoCo has demonstrated a total lack of transparency and accountability with these local cell towers so far; this will just get worse as the number of small cell antennas vastly expands.
  • Bias towards industry—and its 5G propaganda—is short-circuiting elected officials’ duty to prioritize public interests.
  • The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  • 255 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 45 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 January 14, 2021.
  • As of June 2021, 301,023 signatories from 214 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.

Montgomery County residents have continuously and strongly opposed the previous as well as the current proposed ZTA. Here are video-recordings from the two most recent public hearings:

Watch these informative presentations on the issues surrounding the ZTA:

Join our Petition to STOP the Cell Tower ZTA 19-07. It just takes a minute!

You may also contact the Mo Co Councilmembers directly by phone or individual emails.

However you contact the Council, please make sure you do it TODAY!

Contact us to be added to our e-News & Action Alerts. We will post many updates, including on upcoming public hearings, in these alerts.

 

For those who have asked how to help, please contact us if you are interested in receiving flyers and yard signs for your neighborhood. We also have PDF flyers and handouts available to download.

Share this email with with your Mo Co friends and neighbors.

Thank you,

Team Tech Wise Mo Co MD

Tech Wise Montgomery County Maryland logo

TechWiseMoCoMD.org

Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert, Legislation

Urgent Action: Cell Towers Coming to #MoCo Homes if ZTA 19-07 passes. Please share widely

Tech Wise MoCo MD news banner

Dear Mo Co Friends and Neighbors,

This is it! The Mo Co Council is set to hold a work session on ZTA 19-07 that

  • Allows short “small” cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes.
  • Our street lights can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • Our utility poles can be replaced with these cell towers.
  • No required notice or public hearing so long as they are 30 feet from homes!

Opposed to the removal of our right to participate in the decision making process?

We need you to take action. Join us! Sign our petition to County leaders opposing the ZTA.

History of the bill

In January of this year Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer re-introduced Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07 that will allow small cell towers—also called wireless transmission facilities—to be placed as close as 30 feet—or less—from our homes. The PHED (Planning, Housing and Economic Development) Committee made additional changes that allowed existing street lights and utility poles to be replaced by stronger, wider poles to hold the cell antennas and heavy equipment. This bill has been rejected 5 times over the last 5 years but Councilmember Riemer keeps bringing it back.

We strongly oppose this bill and hope you will also.

Montgomery County residents have continuously and strongly opposed the previous as well as the current proposed ZTA. Here are video-recordings from the two most recent public hearings:

Watch these informative presentations on the issues surrounding the ZTA:

Join our Petition to STOP the Cell Tower ZTA 19-07. It just takes a minute!

You may also contact the Mo Co Council members directly by phone or individual emails.

Use your address to find your district here.

However you contact the Council, please make sure you do it TODAY!

Contact us to be added to our e-News & Action Alerts. We will post many updates, including on upcoming public hearings, in these alerts.

For those who have asked how to help, please contact us if you are interested in receiving flyers and yard signs for your neighborhood. We also have PDF flyers and handouts available to download.

Share this email with with your Mo Co friends and neighbors.

Thank you,

Team Tech Wise Mo Co MD

Tech Wise Montgomery County Maryland logo

TechWiseMoCoMD.org

Montgomery County Coalition to Protect Neighborhoods

 

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert

Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinar Information Session: Cell Towers Coming to Residential Neighborhoods in Montgomery County  Rick Meyer Presents on Montgomery County’s Broken Process for the Review and Oversight of Cell Towers and What You Need to Know About the 5G Cell Tower ZTA 19-07

Watch Now! Montgomery County's Broken Process for Review and Oversight of Cell Towers and What You Need to Know About ZTA 19-07 with Rick Meyer of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers (MC4T.org). Webinar was held and recorded Thursday, May 6, 2021.

 

The Montgomery County Council has proposed a new zoning ordinance named ZTA 19-07 which allows 4G and 5G so-called “small” cell towers to be deployed just 30 feet from your home.  The street lights and utility poles in front of your home will be able to be replaced with 5G/4G cell towers without any notice sent to you, nor public hearing required so long as the pole is at least 30 feet from your home.

Rick Meyer, President, Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers

Montgomery County has a history of lax reviews. Rick Meyer of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers (MC4T) has worked for years with a team of residents evaluating the County’s oversight process for cell tower permitting. They found dozens of applications with errors and numerous examples of towers built too tall, too close to homes, with too many antennas in violation of their permit.  Some “small” cells were even built at the wrong address! Watch Rick Meyer present to the council in this video.

More Info
Want to stop cell towers from coming to your front door? Go to the letter writing campaign/petition to stop the ZTA.
Last month, Theodora Scarato presented an overview of the new ZTA along with clips from the Council meetings. Watch Scarato’s webinar video replay HERE.

We hope you will join us on Thursday May 6 at 7:30 PM. Be sure to REGISTER.

Posted by techwisemocoadmin in Action Alert, webinar