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    Hollywood Celebrities Submit Letters of Concern About 5G Towers in Their Neighborhoods – Activist Post

    ByActivist Post

    Jun 28, 2023

    By B.N. Frank

    While warnings about 5G aviation interference risks are getting the most media attention, a growing number of Americans, including celebrities, are also opposed to towers being installed near their homes.

    From Children’s Health Defense, The Defender:

    ‘Star Power’ Helps Malibu Residents in Battle Over 5G Small Cell Transmitters

    Malibu, California, City Council on Monday voted to add the issue of small cell 5G wireless facilities to their agenda for future discussion after residents, including Hollywood celebrities Ed Harris and Mel Gibson, expressed concerns about the proliferation of the facilities in their neighborhoods.

    By Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D.

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    Malibu, California, City Council on Monday voted to add the issue of small cell 5G wireless facilities to their agenda for future discussion after residents, including Hollywood celebrities Ed Harris and Mel Gibson, expressed concerns about the proliferation of the facilities in their neighborhoods.

    Small cells are individual wireless transmitters distributed roughly every 100-450 meters that can be mounted on utility poles or other structures, such as a fence. Before 5G, most wireless networks were built using a system of macro transmitters in the form of cellular towers. The 5G network uses both cellular towers and small cells.

    During Monday’s public hearing, Malibu’s mayor and city councilmembers heard live testimony from multiple Malibu residents, including Vanessa Garcia and Lynn Dornhelm who live on Carbon Mesa Road.

    Harris and Gibson, who also live on Carbon Mesa Road, submitted letters outlining their concerns about the small cells technology.

    Scott McCollough, Children Health Defense’s (CHD) chief litigator for the organization’s electromagnetic radiation cases who is representing the Malibu residents in opposing the wireless facilities, called the Malibu City Council’s vote a “big win.”

    According to McCollough, this was the first time Harris and Gibson spoke out publicly about the 5G wireless rollout. He said he believed their willingness to do so helped get the city councilmembers’ attention.

    “Ed Harris and Mel Gibson — on behalf of the residents of Malibu — convinced city officials that they need to update their ordinance and they need to address how this onslaught of current applications is going to be dealt with,” McCollough told The Defender.

    ‘If these towers were safe…why do workers have to come in unmarked trucks in the middle of the night?’

    In his letter, Harris told city authorities “right now you have some unhappy residents on your hands.”

    He wrote:

    “My neighbor was awakened during the middle of the night by some loud clanging, so she went out to investigate. Several men in an unmarked truck were working on the utility pole 40 feet from her front door, right across the street from my house. They said they were putting up a ‘small cell’ and from what I’ve learned that’s a 5G cell tower.

    “If these towers were safe on any level, why do workers have to come in unmarked trucks in the middle of the night? I thought the city of Malibu had passed an ordinance that was supposed to keep the cell towers out of residential areas, put them along the main arteries through town, and take extra precautions in our city that has been gutted by fire a couple times in recent memory.

    “As I talk to my neighbors and we learn more about the health and fire risks associated with these cell towers, I am amazed the city has left us so defenseless.”

    Harris concluded that this situation reflects “unacceptable planning on the part of the city of Malibu” that “must be remedied.”

    Garcia — who handed the councilmembers the letters written by Harris and Gibson — told Malibu Mayor Bruce Silverstein and city councilmembers that she and her family, including two children in special education, are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and opposed having a small cell installed on their fence.

    Gibson — whose property is near two planned wireless facilities — said he opposed 5G wireless installments and urged the council to “do what you can to slow, limit, and where possible, stop their deployment.”

    According to Gibson, the wireless facilities near his home stand to “mar the beautiful view, impact my family’s quality of life, lower our property value, and increase insurance costs.”

    He said in his letter:

    “I cannot appear before you tonight because of other commitments but please listen to those who speak. I agree with their request that you step in and act by agendizing an item on wireless issues.

    “This would allow you to hear from city residents and experts on these devices, along with our own legal counsel. From there we wish to have an on-the-record exchange with your staff and deliberate next steps.”

    Gibson added, “We need you to send a clear message to city staff that this is an important issue and you expect to fully enforce all wireless ordinances, implementation plans and resolutions.”

    Gibson said this issue is a “personal matter to me” and “I am not the only one in Malibu with the same concerns.”

    There are close to 30 pending applications in residential and/or school zones with “plenty more to follow,” he said. “If the Council does not act and fully exercise its legally permitted oversight, all of Malibu will soon be infested with these unattractive and unsafe facilities.”

    Dornhelm — a real estate agent who also lives on Carbon Mesa road near Garcia, Harris and Gibson — told the council that property values go down by 20% if a cell tower or wireless facility is nearby.

    She also pointed out that it is becoming increasingly difficult for California residents to obtain fire insurance and the proliferation of telecommunication infrastructures exacerbates fire risks.

    ‘The city is literally playing with fire to allow these in our residential areas’

    The council also heard comments from other Malibu residents — including Jenny Rusinko and Stephanie Sunwoo — and the executive director of Malibu For Safe Tech, Lonnie Gordon.

    Gordon told The Defender she and the others who spoke asked the city council “to finish the job that should have been done two years ago,” referring to the fact that in 2021 the council intended to include more protection for residential areas — but failed to put the language for that in the ordinance.

    “We are asking them to deal with this omission by further revising the ordinance. In the meanwhile, the city and residents have to deal with all the current and soon-to-come applications,” she said.

    Gordon said she and other concerned residents — guided by the legal expertise of McCollough and fire risk expert Susan Foster — succeeded in getting the council, in 2020, to pass an “urgency” ordinance.

    Foster — co-founder of the nonprofit California Fires & Firefighters — is a fire and utility consultant and an honorary firefighter with the San Diego Fire Department who authored a 2022 white paper, “Protecting LA County’s Future: How Fire Risks from Telecommunications Equipment, Climate Challenges & A Dangerous Shift Away from Environmental Review Threaten Los Angeles County’s Future.”

    Malibu’s 2020 “urgency” ordinance dealt with wireless facilities installed in the public “rights-of-way” — meaning along roads and on utility poles — rather than wireless facilities installed on residents’ property and was much less thorough than the 2021 ordinance.

    In crafting the 2021 ordinance, the council “took more time in doing it right,” McCollough said, by requiring that all applications submitted by telecommunications companies seeking approval to build wireless facilities had to include eight detailed engineering and design documents that illustrated the engineering specifications of the proposed wireless structure.

    The 2021 ordinance stipulated that these eight documents were to be reviewed, sealed and signed by a professional engineer as a way to ensure that the design of the wireless facility did not pose a significant fire risk.

    The City of Malibu now requires all wireless companies to provide these eight documents as part of the “electrical and structural safety information” on the wireless permit application.

    McCollough and Foster called this requirement the “fire protocol.” McCollough said, “We are proud that Malibu was the first city in the U.S. to institute the ‘fire protocol.’ The protocol reduces fire risk — you can never entirely eliminate risk, but you can reduce it.”

    Before the city authorities codified the 2021 ordinance into law, wireless carriers came in, starting in December 2022, with “tons of wireless applications,” McCollough said, adding:

    “There are 26 applications right now in residential areas — and Malibu isn’t that big. We’re told 50 or more are coming.

    “They’re going to blanket residential areas in Malibu [and] it’s all because we didn’t finish the 2021 residential ordinance.”

    Commenting on Malibu’s potential rapid increase in wireless facilities, Gordon said:

    “This is unsafe. Malibu is in a Very High Fire Hazard area. The last two fires here were telecom-related and the city is literally playing with fire to allow these in our residential areas.”

    ‘We want to be sure there aren’t Roman candles on the utility poles in front of everybody’s houses’

    McCollough pointed out that many Malibu residents displaced due to prior fires in the city have yet to be able to return home.

    “We’re trying to make sure that when people get home, that they are safe in their homes. We want to be sure there aren’t Roman candles on the utility poles in front of everybody’s houses,” he said.

    When residents requested to see the “fire protocol” documents for the wireless facilities being installed on their property, they have been denied access, McCollough said.

    “For some reason, my clients have been denied access to that part of the application for the proposed facility right next to them,” McCollough said, which he finds frustrating because it means his engineering expert “cannot review the application to verify that the design is safe and consistent with industry standards and local building, electrical and fire codes.”

    “We have good reason to believe there are design defects but we are being blocked from seeing the information we need to know for sure,” he said.

    McCollough said the council voted on June 26 to “take both ordinances back up” by bringing the 2020 ordinance into conformance with the more extensive 2021 ordinance and by considering inserting more protection for residential areas into both ordinances.

    Additionally, McCollough said Silverstein asked McCollough to provide a written briefing on the fire protocol document access issue. “Presumably, the council will resolve that, too,” McCollough said.

    Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D., is a reporter and researcher for The Defender based in Fairfield, Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2021), and a master’s degree in communication and leadership from Gonzaga University (2015). Her scholarship has been published in Health Communication. She has taught at various academic institutions in the United States and is fluent in Spanish.

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    Originally Posted at www.activistpost.com

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