Defeat of Cell Tower Bill SB 649 Celebrated and Next Steps

On Sunday, Oct. 29 Sebastopol Mayor Una Glass joined EMF Safety Network for a photo at the Sebastopol Farmers Market to celebrate the defeat of Senate Bill 649, which would have created a state mandated system of cell towers in California. Governor Brown vetoed SB 649 two weeks ago.
Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County were among the 300 cities, 47 counties and over 100 organizations opposed to SB 649. Senator McGuire and Assemblyman Levine also opposed the bill.
The defeat of SB 649 was won by a consortium of organizations, especially the League of California Cities, RCRC representing Rural Counties, Best Best and Krieger, Environmental Working Group and the many organizations who opposed the bill.
As for our contributions, early on EMF Safety Network (EMFSN) partnered with Ecological Options Network (EON) and formally opposed SB 649 when it was first introduced in March, and re-introduced our opposition to the subsequent committees.
We were fortunate to have Environmental Working Group to guide us on how to oppose the bill. We created a letter template and brought in many groups to oppose SB 649.  We kept our list members informed via email, website, Facebook and Twitter. We gave people the science, tools, flyers and information on how to take action to oppose SB 649.

Read more including next steps

Governor Brown Vetoes SB 649!

On Sunday Oct. 15, 2017 Senate Bill 649 has been vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 649 would have created a state mandated system of cell towers every couple hundred feet apart in California. 300 cities, 47 counties and over 100 community, planning, health, environment and justice organizations opposed SB 649.

EMF Safety Network and Ecological Options Network opposed SB 649 since the bill was introduced in March because cell towers emit harmful radiation. The bill would have allowed unlimited refrigerator-size cell equipment on utility poles, streetlights, sidewalks, in parks, on schools and public buildings with no safety oversight.

Sandi Maurer, Director of EMF Safety Network said, “We mailed Governor Brown a couple thousand postcards depicting SB 649 as a slobbering warty monster wielding a zapping cell tower and asked him to veto SB 649. We are thrilled and relieved Governor Brown vetoed this bill.”

Mary Beth Brangan co-director of EON said, “Now we need to prepare ourselves for the next state and federal telecom push, where they will try again with bills to overtake local authority and disregard public health.”

Governor Brown’s veto statement:

See this post for more information about SB 649: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/stop-sb-649-in-california/

Thank you to everyone who helped achieve this victory and to all the cities, counties and organizations opposed. This is a win not only for California but for the rest of the United States!

Please thank Governor Brown for vetoing SB 649!  You can contact him on his website, call or send a card in the mail: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
phone: (916) 445-2841
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Berkeley cell phone ordinance wins again!

The city of Berkeley won against the powerful CTIA, the wireless industry association who appealed Berkeley’s ordinance which requires cellphone retailers to provide customers with this notice:

“To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radiofrequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

The appeal was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges determined that “there was no irreparable harm based on the First Amendment or preemption, that the balance of equities tipped in Berkeley’s favor, that the ordinance was in the public interest, and that an injunction would harm that interest.”

More information about the ordinance and the lawsuit here: http://www.saferemr.com/2014/11/berkeley-cell-phone-right-to-know.html

Fairfax Town Council letter to PG&E “Comply with our Ordinances”

Thank you to the Town of Fairfax CA who sent a letter to PG&E asking then to “cease the impending roll-out of SmartMeter installations in Fairfax.”

Fairfax writes, “By PG&E’s actions to proceed with the SmartMeter program in Fairfax, in essence, PG&E is effectively attempting to render the CPUC rehearing review process moot. Furthermore, by continuing forward on installations, PG&E will be in violation of the Town of Fairfax’s Ordinance and would therefore be potentially subject to Code Enforcement Violations.”

2-14-17 Fairfax letter to PGE – SmartMeter Installation

PG&E has threatened both Sebastopol and Fairfax with smart meter installations even though there are appeals pending at the California Public Utilities Commission, and both cities have laws banning smart meter installation.  EMF Safety Network has been quoted in three newspapers recently.

Marin Independent Journal:

Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

Sonoma West Times and News:

We have asked the City of Sebastopol to enforce the ban on smart meters and they have not responded. However, Sebastopol Mayor Una Glass opened public comments at the last city council meeting with a statement referencing the Marin Independant Journal article,“that basically said that this council doesn’t care about smart meters anymore.” She affirmed Sebastopol still has an ordinance that is not repealed and she stated, “We are concerned with the health of our citizens.”

Berkeley WINS Right to Know cell phone labeling law

Photo credit: Environmental Health Trust

The city of Berkeley California was recently sued by the wireless industry CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) over their Cell Phone Right to Know ordinance.  The ordinance requires retailers to warn customers about cell phone risks.  Berkeley’s advisory at point of sale states: “To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

CTIA argued the ordinance would be misleading, give off an impression of harm, and would violate retailers’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to distribute information they might disagree with.

In September U.S. District Court Judge Chen ruled that Berkeley’s law is not a violation of the industry’s first amendment rights, but did tell Berkeley to remove one controversial line about the risk to children, which they did.

Last week’s hearing was to remove the ban, now that the line has been removed, and allow implementation.  Ted Olson, attorney for the CTIA, sent Judge Chen 25 pages of further argument after his original decision. The Judge agreed to allow further argument last week.  Larry Lessig, Harvard Constitutional Law Professor and Robert Post, Dean of Yale Law School are defending Berkeley pro bono.

Yesterday, less than one week after the court hearing,  Judge Chen removed the ban on the Berkeley law despite CTIA’s numerous arguments. Chen also denied the wireless group’s motion to stay his order dissolving the injunction pending appeal.

Berkeley passes cell phone ordinance!

Not on your body, not in your pants!

Photo credit: Environmental Health TrustThe City of Berkeley passed a “right to know” ordinance on Tuesday.  Cell phones sold in Berkeley will come with a safety warning:

To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.

Photo credit to Environmental Health Trust.  For more info and updates go to: http://bit.ly/berkeleycellordinance

SMUD smart meter burn out causes electrical failure & fire hazard

Margie Rothwell was having serious problems with the electricity in her home.  The power turned on and off for no apparent reason. The house fire alarm kept going off and the noises were scaring her dog.

She called her brother, who was a master electrician, to help her.  He found electrical lines not working and the smart meter digital readout was unreadable.  He recommended she call the utility SMUD right away, which she did.  (SMUD stands for Sacramento Municipal Utility District.)

Note: upper right meter base clip is visibly burned
Note: upper right meter base clip is visibly burned

A couple hours later, the SMUD technician came and when he got closer to the smart meter he said he smelled “burn”.

Margie recalled, “He had a very horrified look on his face when he looked at the burnt smart meter and meter socket.” The technician removed the smart meter and quickly put it in his truck, concealing the evidence.

The technician installed a temporary adapter which left her home with only 110 volts and limited power in parts of her house.

She was left with no dryer, no air conditioner, no electricity in the master bedroom, or anything that required 220 volts.

She asked the SMUD technician for a business card. He said he didn’t have one. She asked him for his name and he would not give her his full name.

The SMUD technician told Margie that she was responsible for replacing the damaged meter base, which included hiring a professional electrical contractor and getting a city permit.  Margie asked him if SMUD would fix it. He said no.

She called several electrical professionals to get estimates which ranged from $1,500-$3500.

She then searched the internet for “smart meter problems” and she found out that this is a common problem with smart meters.  In California, fire captain Ross had similar electric problems, as did another fire captain Matt Beckett.  A fire erupted shortly after a PG&E smart meter was installed in Vacaville, California which killed a man.

She contacted the EMF Safety Network director, Sandi Maurer, who connected her to Eric Windheim, EMF Safety consultant, and director of Sacramento Smart Meter Awareness.  Together they helped her write a declaration about the burnt meter and panel, the limited electricity, and her experience with the technician.

Margie sent the declaration and a demand letter to SMUD via certified mail with returned receipt. The following week Eric supported Margie at two SMUD board meetings, where she demanded they pay for the repairs as soon as possible. She reads her declaration in this audio file, at the 6:25 mark. Listen to more of her comments in this video below.
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Margie asked the board, “If SMUD’s smart meter is so smart why didn’t it send SMUD a warning message that there was a very dangerous electrical failure going on at my house? Was SMUD going to wait for the fire department to send you a report in the mail?”

Following the board meetings, Margie:

  •  Kept all communication with SMUD in writing
  •  Refused to risk having another smart meter on her home
  •  Demanded the analog meter as the only replacement
  •  Never agreed or consented to the opt-out extortion fee

The smart meter could have burned down her house, with Margie in it.  Since it caused similar hazards for other customers, she was not going to take that chance ever again.

Analog restoredNine days after she went to the first board meeting SMUD repaired the burnt panel and restored an analog meter.  SMUD paid for all the repairs, and they returned analog meter without Margie’s agreement to pay their opt-out fees of $127 plus $14 a month.

SMUD denied the smart meter was to blame for the electrical problems. The SMUD representative wrote to Margie, “What I can assure you of, is that the damage to your panel was not caused by the Smart Meter.  The origin of the damage was in the meter socket assembly.”

Eric Windheim says, “A Maxim of Law is: “Where damages are given, the losing party should pay the costs of the victor” which is exactly what happened here. Since SMUD is paying for all of this they have admitted causation.  If Margie’s wiring was really at fault SMUD would have charged her for all repair costs.”

Click here for more information on smart meter fires and explosions.  If you are a SMUD customer and have questions about smart meters contact Eric Windheim at 916-395-7336 or contact him here.

Smart meter documentary film wins humanitarian award

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA – The smart meter documentary film, “Take Back Your Power” has been named this year’s winner of the Indie Fest Annual Humanitarian Award.

Take Back Your Power - Winner, Indie Fest Annual Humanitarian AwardTake Back Your Power follows filmmaker Josh del Sol as he investigates “smart” meter technology, being deployed by utilities and governments to harvest data from within private homes and introduce new pricing schemes. With compelling insight from whistleblowers, government agents, lawyers, environmentalists and doctors, the documentary “exposes corporate corruption and the erosion of human rights in the name of ‘going green’.”

Indie Fest Coordinator Thomas Baker, PhD stated, “Take Back Your Power takes on the daunting yet important task of educating people worldwide about the surveillance, hacking, health, home safety, and consumer cost concerns linked to so-called ‘smart’ utility meters. It was selected out of hundreds of films for our Annual Humanitarian award because it delves into the heart of what is possibly the main problem in our world today: corporations taking over without conscience, and causing extreme levels of harm in the process.”

The Indie Fest interviews Josh del Sol: www.theindiefest.com/Humanitarian.html

Watch the film and film trailers here: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/stay-informed/watch-take-back-your-power-film/