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AT&T payment of $3,000

A scandal in Elk Grove regarding the community workshop on 5G cell antenna policy.

Long story short: AT&T agreed to reimburse the City for its cost of hiring a consultant to give a presentation at the Council’s community workshop on cell antenna policy on November 28, 2018. This was not disclosed by either the consultant or the City at the community workshop. The City hired William Hammett, P.E., a very biased engineer with a conflict of interest in that he had worked in 2018 for AT&T in Sacramento and San Francisco. And he does that generally.

From this page you can download the City’s invoice to AT&T, which included the $3,000 payment for hiring Bill Hammett, and the check from AT&T (their agent, Vinculums Services) to the City.

At the community workshop Hammet misrepresented the scientific research on health effects of long term exposure to electromagnetic fields by excluding everything that has been published except the IEEE Standard C95.1-2005, and he misrepresented that too by failing to state that the entire standard is about preventing “established adverse health effects” and stating how IEEE defines that term. 

Despite clear direction from the City Council to the staff at the September 26, 2018 Council meeting that the Council wanted the staff to hire for the community workshop on 5G cell antenna policy somebody who is “neutral”, “unbiased”, and “an expert in the field”, the staff (City Manager Jason Behrmann and City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs) hired the very biased, conflict of interest-laden engineer Bill Hammett from Hammett & Edison, Inc., in Sonoma, California. As I predicted Hammett gave a very biased, industry slanted presentation at the community workshop.

At the time the City staff (this means the City Manager and City Attorney) were arranging the community workshop, which the Council had authorized on September 26, 2018, (scroll down to read the transcript of that discussion and to see the link to watch the video) the staff called AT&T and asked, “Would you be willing to pay for the services of an expert to come in?”  (for the community workshop, to give a presentation).  AT&T said yes.  I don’t know if the staff mentioned the name William Hammett at the time.  But the City could have processed the AT&T application without the community workshop, as the City Manager has told me. It was the Council’s decision to hold a community workshop, not AT&T’s.

On January 31 in a meeting with Mr. Behrmann and Mr. Hobbs at City Hall Mr. Hobbs told me and my friends that AT&T had paid the City $3,000 which the City then used to hire Bill Hammett. That was the deal the City had worked out with AT&T. That was the intention.

Now we have the invoice from the City to AT&T for the $3,000 among other things. The invoice covers the City’s direct costs in processing AT&T and Cingular’s application for a zoning code amendment, which was dated January 25, 2018. The invoice also covers the $3,000 payment by the City to Bill Hammett for the community workshop. That is the one exception; it is not one of the City’s direct costs in processing the application. By prior verbal agreement the City billed AT&T to reimburse it for this expense. The Hammett item is on page 3 and it is highlighted. HAMMETT & EDISON INVOICE 183834.

Here is the check from AT&T agent Vinculums Services to the City which covers the $3,000 payment for William Hammett’s presentation at the community workshop.

Watch public comments on this issue at the February 13, 2019 City Council meeting. It is at 42:05 on the video. Until I post the video clip you can use this, which will test your patience but it works.

On Sunday I recorded a podcast with Elk Grove News about this issue. Thanks to Dan from Elk Grove News. Feel free to comment on the article.

As I recommended at the February 13 Council meeting the Council must make up for this by causing the staff to hire just what the Council directed the staff to hire back on September 26; namely, somebody who is “neutral”, “unbiased”, and “an expert in the field”. Bill Hammett is none of those.

Elk Grove residents can write to the City to tell it what you want and do not want in a new 5G cell antenna policy. A sample letter and contact information is available at

Here is a transcript of the Council’s discussion at the September 26, 2018 Council meeting at which it decided to hold a community workshop on 5G cell antenna policy and directed the staff to hire somebody for that workshop who is “neutral”, “unbiased”, and “an expert in the field”. The staff failed to do that and disregarded the Council’s clear direction. Thanks to Nina for the transcript.

Elk Grove City Council, Sept. 26, 2018


Council Comments:

Patrick Hume: And then the last thing: I know that they’ve left, but you know, Mr. Graham has been diligent about speaking his case with respect to small cells. I’ve also heard the other side of the spectrum in that when it comes to autonomous vehicles, small cell and 5G technology and fiber is going to be critical determining which cities are able to capture that technology.

I’m wondering if we would like to have either a report from staff or some sort of workshop or something to sort of, before a specific request comes to us – a general information presentation that maybe gives a little higher level of the pros and cons and what we’re even been talking about.

Because I know generally there are people that are clamoring for 5G. I’ve seen the pictures of what Mr. Graham has shown and the sensitivities that he’s expressed, and so I know I personally, I’d like to come up to speed a little better on it. But I haven’t made my mind up whether it’s a good or bad thing.

Steve Detrick: I agree. I think that would be a great idea. Knowledge is king.

Darren Suen: Yeah. I think the woman that was here earlier, I forgot her name, but she asked for a town hall or something, so I think,

Steve Detrick: Teresa

Darren Suen: Yeah. Teresa

Steve Detrick: Teresa Hansen

Stephanie Nguyen: That’s a.. Thank you, Councilmember Hume, for bringing that up, because I actually had a conversation with AT&T and asked if they would be willing to come to our city and host a community meeting and speak to some of the things that Mr. Graham and Ms. Theresa Hansen had mentioned earlier. And so, I’d be more than happy to forward the information to a staff to get that scheduled.

Steve Detrick: Jason, have you or staff, you guys, been involved with an independent company that is — obviously, there’s AT&T has their consultants and what they’re trying to sell, and then there’s the other side, from a protection standpoint — but somebody who’s kind of a neutral party who’s an expert in the field. Have we consulted with anybody in that arena yet?

Interim City Manager Jason Behrman: No.

Steve Detrick: Okay. I think if we do do some type of a seminar or host something, we should have somebody who’s an expert in the field that would be able to give us the pros and cons with an unbiased position on it.

Several Council Members: Great. Thank you. Excellent.

The video here shows the Council’s discussion at the end of the community workshop, which was held on November 28, 2018. The Council provided direction to the staff on how to proceed with the proposed agreements from AT&T and Verizon and AT&T’s application for a zoning code amendment. You can download those from
We have no way of knowing what the staff is ACTUALLY doing in these negotiations with the wireless carriers. I have asked. The ongoing negotiations and latest proposals and drafts are exempt from disclosure per the California Public Records Act. However there is still time for Elk Grove residents to become informed on this issue and contact the City with what you want and do not want out of the Council on 5G.