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Take Action: Stop SB 556 and AB 537

April 19, 2021 

*|FNAME|*,On Wednesday April 14 I testified in the Assembly Committee on Local Government against AB 537. Your fearless leader.  My comments start at about 2:00.  Now I am asking you to add some muscle to my request by getting your city and county and state legislators to oppose 4 bills by the telecommunications industry.  Everybody in California should do this!

Californians and our local governments are under assault again by the telecommunications giants (the telecoms AT&T, Verizon, etc.).  Their friends in the California Legislature have introduced 4 bills intended to eliminate the power of local government to regulate cell antennas. SB 556 (Dodd) and AB 537 (Quirk) are the worst. We need to stop these bills. I am asking you to write to all of your representatives to oppose these bills. Instructions are in this newsletter.
  • your City Council (all of them if in Elk Grove or your representative on the Council if you’re in another city);
  • your Assembly Member;
  • you State Senator;
  • your County Supervisor; and
  • the Committees in the Legislature that will hear (and vote on) each bill
In this newsletter is a sample letter you can send. Please add your own personal touch, like how long you have lived in your city and what it means to you to NOT have a cell antenna on a street light pole, etc. close to your home. Mention your children and their health. Whatever means the most to you. Ask for a response in writing.

You can use the sample letter under item 1 for all of these representatives.  Omit the first paragraph when writing to anyone other than the Elk Grove City Council.  Make changes as needed and personalize it to make it stand out.  Send a bcc to me, on all your emails.  Send me any responses that you get.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I welcome your questions and your taking action!

Action steps:

1.  For Elk Grove residents write to the entire City Council, our City Manager Jason Behrmann and City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs. 


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<my email address>

Subject:  Oppose bills that would erode local zoning power over cell antennas

Dear Elk Grove City Council Members and staff,

Thank you for your letter of opposition to SB 556 (Dodd), a bill that would specifically authorize telecom companies to place cell antennas on city street light poles, utility poles, and traffic signals and would override all conflicting local laws.  The Council passed Ordinance 19-2019 on August 28, 2019, which prohibits a cell antenna "immediately adjacent to or across the street from the front yard of any residential dwelling."  That is Elk Grove's "front yard rule" and we fought hard to get it and so did the City.  SB 556 would wipe away our hard fought and negotiated "front yard rule".  As of today the City has not opposed AB 537, SB 378 and SB 28 but it should.

Californians and our local governments are under assault again by the telecommunications giants (AT&T, Verizon, etc.).  Their friends in the California Legislature have introduced 4 bills intended to eliminate the power of local government to regulate cell antennas.  We rely on our cities and counties to regulate cell antennas to prevent having them placed near our homes and exposing us to 24/7 hazardous microwave radiation.

Do you want a new 4G and 5G cell antenna on the street light pole right out in front of your house?  Right now your city and county can prevent that, and many do.  Under SB556 and AB 537 local governments would have no ability to prevent that.  The state would preempt any such regulation.  SB 556 says it supersedes all conflicting local laws and AB accomplishes the same thing in another way.

Currently cities and counties are free to decide where to allow cell antennas, within some limits set by the federal government (Telecommunications Act of 1996 and orders of the Federal Communications Commission).  They are free to NOT allow cell antennas on street light poles and utility poles.


The two bills that would be the most harmful to local government and residents are SB556 and AB537.    AB 537 goes much farther than FCC orders in rushing and forcing the approval of cell antenna permit applications.  It would also make cell antennas (having them) "a matter of statewide concern" and say that it is not a "municipal affair" as that term is used in Article XI of the California Constitution.  Translation:  the  State and the telecoms are taking over.

Cities and counties must retain the ability to implement ordinances and agreements, such as those implemented in the City of Elk Grove, in order to protect public facilities and address the specific and unique needs of a local community.

Please oppose SB 556, AB 537, SB 378 and SB 28, all of which would erode local zoning authority over cell antennas.  Will you respond to this email?

[Your name and address or at least your city or county]


2. For Sacramento residents

The City of Sacramento has a list of City Council members and a map to help you find out who your Council Member is.  Each Council Member has a web page with "contact us" info.

In any other city look up your City Council and your representative's name and email address.  You can also email the entire City Council.

3.  Write to your Assembly Member and State Senator
In Elk Grove our Assembly Member is Jim Cooper and our State Senator is Dr. Richard Pan.

Here is Assemblymember Jim Cooper’s contact me page.

Here is Senator Richard Pan’s contact me page.


Here's how to find your representatives in the California Legislature.

4.  Write to your County Supervisor

In Elk Grove our Supervisor is Don Nottoli.  Don is on our side on this issue.  He and former Mayor Steve Ly were the facilitators for the Symposium on EMF, 5G and Your Health held in Council Chambers in June, 2019.

His web page has a link to a map of District 5, his district. 

Here’s how to find your Sacdramento County Supervisor.

The Board of Supervisors' web page has hyperlinks to each supervisor's page, which all have maps. 

Other counties have similar look up pages.

5.  the Committees in the Legislature that will hear (and vote on) each bill

The Legislature has a portal where you can file letters on proposed bills.  The portal automatically forwards your letter to each Member of the relevant Committees.  You only have to register once and of course it is free. 

Step by step instructions in case you need them.  You probably won't.

That is all.  If you did all 5 of these steps or even 4 of them I'll buy you a drink next time I see you.  Thank you for taking a big step to protect us and our local governments from the assault of the cell antennas.

Feel free to send comments, recommendations, money, and volunteer to work on this campaign!  We could use your help.  Do you have what it takes?  (Commitment to the issue, determination, and a willingness to give up some of your spare time.  I promise to help you use your time efficiently if you volunteer.)

Who do you know, in Elk Grove or anywhere in California, that might want to read this newsletter?   Please forward this to them and tell them we need their action now!  Encourage them to subscribe by emailing me.


Mark Graham
Executive Director
Keep Cell Antennas Away

P.S.  Information on each of these telecom bills.

SB 556 (Dodd) "Street light poles, traffic signal poles, utility poles, and support structures: attachments." would specifically authorize the telecoms to place cell antennas on "street light poles, traffic signal poles, utility poles,  and support structures" and would "supersede[] all conflicting local laws . . . ."

AB 537 (Quirk) Communications: wireless telecommunications and broadband facilities.” says, “The Legislature finds and declares that a wireless telecommunications facility has a significant economic impact in California and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution, but is a matter of statewide concern.” (Section 1d)

SB-378 (Gonzalez) “Local government: broadband infrastructure development project permit processing: microtrenching permit processing ordinance.” would allow the provider to determine the method of installation of fiber, including microtrenching, and the local agency would have no say in the matter. Every county has its own way of managing the public right of way and the providers should have to fit in. The telecoms are just trying to install fiber optics in the cheapest way.

SB-28 (Caballero) Rural Broadband and Digital Infrastructure Video Competition Reform Act of 2021. would require the State to lease or license state-owned resources to telecoms providing video service at the household address using any technology, other than direct-to-home satellite service, providing two-way broadband Internet internet capability and video programming. (emphasis added)

The League has not yet taken a position on the other 3 bills, AB 537 or SB 378 or SB 28.  However it should and probably will.