November 10, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Keep Cell Antennas Away From Our Elk Grove Homes
Mark at keepcellantennasaway dot org
New cell antennas near schools at heart of lawsuit:
City, AT&T and Verizon are targeting 7 Elk Grove schools
Sacramento, California, November 10, 2020
A lawsuit filed yesterday in Sacramento Superior Court seeks a court order directing the Elk Grove Board of Education to place the issue of what to do about new 4G and 5G cell antennas near schools on the agenda of a regular Board meeting.
The proposed agenda item includes a resolution by the Board opposing new cell antennas near schools, an electromagnetic injury awareness day designed by District staff, and school District cooperation with the City in persuading AT&T and Verizon to not go ahead with new cell antennas near schools.
“The City, AT&T and Verizon are preying on students. New cell antennas near schools will cause students to use their phones more at school, taking their minds and attention away from their classes and teachers” said Elk Grove resident Mark Graham, who filed the lawsuit. “And the radiation is hazardous to your health.”
Mr. Graham, who led the grassroots campaign called Keep Cell Antennas Away From Our Elk Grove Homes, tried repeatedly to get the school district and Board to cooperate. They refused, claiming that new cell antennas near schools was none of their business. But in June the District asked the City to intervene with AT&T on behalf of 3 of its schools and AT&T agreed to not install a new cell antenna at Laguna Creek High School. It will apply for a permit for a cell antenna on a new pole across the street away from the school.
As of last December the City of Elk Grove has approved certain City owned light poles as new cell antenna sites near the following schools:
Laguna Creek High School
Monterey Trail High School
Edward Harris Middle School
Cosumnes Oaks High School
Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School
Franklin High School
Toby Johnson Middle School
More are on the way. According to the City’s Master License Agreements with both AT&T and Verizon the City Manager can add more new cell antenna sites to the City’s list. (Section 4.2a, Exhibit A) There is no public input into that process. The City has failed to notify nearby residents of any of these new cell antenna approvals.
During the entire time the City was negotiating its agreement with AT&T the City did not contact the school district to notify it or ask for the District’s opinion. This is according to an email from Jeff Werner in the City’s Department of Public Works to Kim Williams in Facilities at the District dated June 4, 2020. Mr. Werner wrote, “I was not able to find any specific outreach to EGUSD.”
“The City has continued its policy of secrecy regarding cell antenna permitting,” said Graham. “Apparently unless you read the City Council meeting agendas the City doesn’t want you to know.”
Even the City Council meeting agendas have been cryptic and uninformative. The agendas and even the final agreements with AT&T and Verizon identify the City light poles where cell antennas are approved only by pole number, latitude and longitude. (Exhibit A)
Teachers fight a daily battle for the minds and attention of students. It is a battle against cell phones. Many students (and adults) are already addicted to their cell phones.
The new cell antennas would expose students and teachers to harmful electromagnetic fields (EMF), which cause serious health effects from headaches to cancer, according to studies.
In separate deals with AT&T subsidiary New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC and Verizon Wireless in 2019 the City of Elk Grove approved a total of 37 new cell antennas on City owned light poles. To date the City has not issued any cell antenna permits, as far as this author knows.
The Sacramento Superior Court has not yet assigned a case number.
Keep Cell Antennas Away From Our Elk Grove Homes is a grassroots campaign of Elk Grove residents. Since February, 2018 this campaign has raised awareness among Elk Grove residents and provided information to the City Council and staff about policy options and hazardous health effects of long term exposure to cell antenna electromagnetic fields (EMF).