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Attend Burbank City Council tonight!

11 Feb

“Tuesday, Feb 11: City Council Meeting. Tell City Council to write a protective WTF Ordinance. You don’t have to speak, just clap, show up and show your support!”

Elect to Protect LogoSave Burbank Neighborhoods is asking Burbank residents to attend tonight’s City Council Meeting, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m., as it updates the Telecommunications Facility Ordinance (our city’s regulations and requirements as to what type of wireless facilities and cell towers can be located in our community and neighborhoods, and where):

“….On Tuesday, February 11th Burbank City Staff will instruct City Council to approve their recommendations for a new Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance.  Attend the meeting to ensure that your concerns are also heard.  Demand that the City expand noticing, require on-going RF emissions testing, and set permit limits on all WTF installations.  Tell your Council Members that all telecommunications corporations should be required to prove they have a gap in coverage before a cell phone tower can be installed in your neighborhood.

WHERE:  City Council Chambers, Burbank City Hall, 275 East Olive Ave., 91503

If you cannot attend, please e-mail the City Council to tell them you will be watching them, and ask them to support the resident recommendations and concerns tonight!

To email ALL Council Members at once: 
citycouncil@ci.burbank.ca.us
Council Voicemail (818) 238-5750

Wear your white T-shirts!

Write to LAUSD Board today to deny the WiFi proposal and instead support healthier, faster, and more secure wired technologies

8 Feb

Screen-shot-2012-01-09-at-10.46.05-AMIf WiFi (for example, from a wireless router to a wireless laptop) is unhealthy to have in our homes, especially if your exposure to such wireless EMF/RF emissions is 24/7, then you can bet that leading health and environmental experts are advocating against such chronic exposure at our schools, too.

As we’ve heard and read, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared such wireless radiation as a Class 2B possible carcinogen (which means that it may potentially cause cancer in humans), on par with DDT and lead.  Would you approve of exposing your children every day and every minute to such environmental toxins at their school?

Well, Los Angeles Unified School District Board members will consider at their meeting next Tuesday a proposal for school wide Wi-Fi systems and wireless laptops.  So it’s urgent that LAUSD be informed about why they should instead support wired networks and computers for our children and school employees.  It’s healthier, faster, and more secure and reliable.  Also, wireless networks and computers are not required to meet the new Common Core state standards.

The LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee originally nixed the wireless technology proposal.  But two weeks ago the Committee approved supporting the plan by LAUSD Supt. John Deasy so it can now be considered by the LAUSD Board Members.

LAUSD is the largest school district in California — and the second largest school district in the nation.

Yes, LAUSD Board Members took a very strong stand against cell towers at or next to their schools in June 2000, and May 2009, and then again in December 2009. So what will they do this time?

Please send, today or this weekend, your Letter of Request and Concern to LAUSD Board Members to again do the right thing — ask them to deny Item 12 on the Agenda before their upcoming meeting.   Deadline (read more about that below) is Monday Feb. 11 noon (PST) in order for Ms. Shane Gregory, administrator of the Smart Meter Health Alert website, to make enough photocopies of your letter to present at the Board Meeting and ensure that your letter gets submitted as part of the public record of that meeting.

Thanks to Ms. Gregory for providing the following details on how you can join the letter writing campaign to create  healthier lives and school environments for our children and their teachers and staff working there:

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education will be taking action on Item 12 of their Agenda — Phase I of a three-phase program that will, if all three Phases are complete, install WiFi and tablets or laptops in most L.A. Unified District school rooms. The distribution will very probably be at a 1:1 ratio — meaning every single student will have a device and virtually EVERY CLASSROOM WILL BE SATURATED WITH WIFI.

This means that 700,000 teachers and over 45,000 teachers and will be subjected to constant WiFi in school rooms for 6 hours a day.

If we can bring a stop to this, this will set a very important precedent such as those in school systems in Europe and parts of Canada.  If this gets voted down, we can proudly say that the second largest school system in the United States has made the health of children a priority, while meeting educational goals by using WIRED technology.

Two weeks ago, the LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee approved the expenditure of $50 million for Phase I in a 9-6 vote.

So now, on Tuesday, it goes before the LAUSD Board for consideration — so the Board has not taken action yet. IT’S NOT TOO LATE! By the time Phase III is completed, the program could cost as much as $900 million.

It is CRITICAL that we stop this BEFORE it happens or, if we can’t stop it, it is CRITICAL that we go on record with what we know.

IMPORTANT: It is important that we make the case that we are NOT against technology in education and that we support all the educational goals of bringing L.A. students quality education and access — but with WIRED methods. WE MUST ADVISE THE BOARD THAT FIBER OPTICS OR OTHER WIRED METHODS CAN DELIVER THE EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS WHILE MITIGATING AGAINST HEALTH EFFECTS.

The chairman of the Bond Oversight Committee created an artificial divide between those of us who know that wireless technology has not been proven to be safe, and those who want to further our kids’ education. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want to further our child’s education, including with wired technology that is healthy, state-of-the-art, superfast and efficient. We cannot let this become a polarized issue.

PLEASE take time from your very busy schedules to participate in a very meaningful way.

Here’s what you can do right now — today or this weekend — just these three things!

1. Write emails on Agenda Item 12 to the seven LAUSD School Board Members Marguerite LaMotte, Monica Garcia, Tamar Galatzan, Steve Zimmer, Bennett Kayser, Nury Martinez, and Richard Vladovic, and their Staff BEFORE noon on Monday 2/11/2013, so they will have enough time to review it before their meeting. Their contact info:

2. IMPORTANT: PLEASE E-MAIL ME A COPY OF YOUR LETTER SENT TO LAUSD — so that your names can be read that day and be part of the record for that meeting. They need to be sent to me, because I must also make 20 photocopies of each of your letters to be distributed to the appropriate people the day of the meeting, and to be entered into the public record at the meeting.  My e-mail address is:  info@smartmeterhealthalert.org

3. Contact your colleagues, fellow activists, physicians, engineers, parents of school children, politicians, list members, etc. to do the same (Steps 1 & 2 above).

OUR GOAL IS 100 LETTERS AND EMAILS that speak to the health effects of WiFi, the lack of evidence that it is safe, the irrelevance of FCC guidelines that deal only with thermal effects, and the relatively simple alternative: Wired Technology.

Inform them that the deadline to write and e-mail LAUSD and me their Letter is Monday before noon (PST), Feb. 11, so I will have enough time to make enough photocopies to enter all of your letters into the record at Tuesday’s meeting.

The meeting will be televised so your contributions will be memorialized. There are 51 Agenda Items on the day this will be heard. Again, this issue is Agenda Item 12.  We are organizing people to go to the meeting to cede their time for a few key speakers. It may be necessary to reserve our place in line by camping on the street overnight. One of us will read the names of people and/or organizations at the podium TO GO ON RECORD.

With gratitude,

Ms. Shane Gregory

Administrator, SmartMeterHealthalert.org

E-mail: info@smartmeterhealthalert.org

In case you would like to read a stellar Letter to the LAUSD Board written by international EMF expert Cindy Sage, co-author of the seminal BioInitiative Report, regarding this Agenda Item, go here: Cindy Sage Letter to LAUSD

Ms. Sage has also informed LAUSD staff and representative leaders of organizations associated with LAUSD that:

“No positive assertion of safety can be made by LAUSD on potential health effects of chronic exposure of school children and pregnant women to wireless exposures that will occur with the proposed program your District is considering. This type of exposure has been classified as a Possible Human Carcinogen (Group 2B) as are DDT, lead and diesel exhaust. Wired internet connections are feasible and do not pose such health risks to children.

“I urge you to delay any approvals, funding or implementation of this risky and unwise technology, particularly when safe alternatives are available to provide high-quality technologies for learning and education. “

Regarding Item 12 on the upcoming LAUSD Board Meeting Agenda —  it reads:

12.   Board of Education Report No. 157 – 12/13 Facilities Services Division (Project Definition and Funding Strategy for the Common Core Technology Project Plan and Request for Funding Approval) Recommends approval of an amendment to the Information Technology Strategic Execution Plan to define and approve Phase 1 Planning and Readiness Common Core Technology Project Plan to provide technology infrastructure and software to equip 47 school sites in a pilot program. This project will be funded from school construction bond measures R and Y at an estimated cost of $50 million.

Please familiarize yourself with the accompanying Materials (Report) by LAUSD Supt. John Deasy — worth reading before you write your Letter to the LAUSD Board and send your copy to Ms. Gregory (this is a large document so give it a few minutes to open this link): LAUSD Board Meeting Item 12 Report  

Go to the LAUSD Board website for instructions on how you must arrive early to sign-in if you want to give Public Comment at Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

You can also learn more about WiFi health effects by visiting the websites of:

Update (Feb. 8, 2012): Martha Herbert, PhD, MD, Harvard Faculty and Pediatric Neurologist at Boston General Hospital, has also written a letter to the LAUSD about “Wireless vs. Wired Classrooms” — please read it here: HerbertLetter2013-0208

Burbank City Council approves moving forward on updating wireless ordinance

27 Sep

Buy your Elect to Protect community T-Shirt today by contacting Save Burbank Neighborhoods at AvonTower@aol.com. Once you get it, make sure to “X” or check  the box representing your Burbank neighborhood.  Elect to Protect T-shirt artwork courtesy of Save Burbank Neighborhoods, and GoGoSnap Art Direction + Design (www.etsy.com/shop/GoGoSnap)

It’s great when Burbank residents speak up and assert their rights to protect their neighborhoods and quality of life, and through that process, achieve the results for which they had worked so hard.

Earlier this year, 300 plus Rancho area residents made it quite clear to Staff and City Council that they did not want the New Urban West condo project planned for their area.  New Urban West backed down, and the residents were elated.

Hundreds of Burbank residents also organized against the controversial Walmart project.  They took their complaints to Walmart and City Council.  Refusing to retreat after hitting walls there, they took their case to court.  Last month, the L.A. County Superior Court supported their arguments by issuing an injunction against Walmart and the City.

Then, a few months ago, Avon residents mobilized their neighbors, media, and the support of the School District and residents from several Burbank neighborhoods, to descend upon City Hall when they appealed and opposed a proposed T-Mobile cell tower atop a church in their neighborhood.  The People were heard loud and clear, and the project was denied.

To protect residents from having to mount similar fights, they asked the City to fix the loophole in the wireless facility ordinance that allows wireless facilities on private institutional properties in residential areas.  They repeated their request and rationale supporting it last Tuesday (Sept. 18, 2012) before City Council, and our elected officials responded affirmatively.  They directed the Staff to look into their and the residents’ concerns, arguments, and recommendations that were voiced and submitted.

This is, as our Council Members and residents pointed out, democracy in action.  We’ll keep you posted on how the wireless ordinance update develops.  For insurance purposes — let’s keep wearing those “Elect to Protect” T-shirts.

(Purchase your community “Elect to Protect” T-shirts from the “Save Burbank Neighborhoods” resident group; artwork for T-shirt is seen above right.  Contact them at AvonTower@aol.com to buy yours today.  Make sure to wear your T-shirt at upcoming City Council Meetings.)

Tell City Council Tuesday to update the wireless ordinance to better protect residential neighborhoods!

17 Sep

“Save Burbank Neighborhoods,” the group of pro-active residents that successfully brought together their community and beyond to oppose and appeal an unsightly and humongous proposed T-Mobile cell tower (wireless facility) at their neighborhood’s church — and won (!) — is now alerting residents on how they can protect their neighborhoods against these divisive wireless projects, too.

Attend this Tuesday’s (Sept. 18) City Council meeting and during Public Comment, tell our City Council members that you want them to update the city’s wireless ordinance to fix that loophole that allows cell towers (wireless facilities) in residential neighborhoods. Tell them to protect our homes, families, children and neighborhoods!

The meeting begins at 6pm, and it’s Item O-6 on the Agenda, and so there will be TWO opportunities to speak up at this meeting:

1) Because this item is NOT a public hearing, you will NOT be able to speak on this item when it is discussed between Staff and City Council.  So, to make your Public Comment before the item is discussed and decided upon — make sure to fill out a Yellow Speaker Card when you arrive and submit it to the City Clerk up at the front near the podium.  Then when Public Comment is solicited by the Mayor (item L on the Agenda listed as “Public Comment”), he will read your card/name and you can go up to the Podium and speak for 5 minutes. 

2) After the City Council discusses the item with Staff (again, Item O-6 on the Agenda), and makes a decision on how to move forward, there will be a 2nd opportunity for Public Comment (Item P on the Agenda).  If you want to make a final comment on the decision or action that was taken, make sure you fill out a Green Card with your name (you must submit it to the City Clerk up front  before Item P is called or when others are still providing Public Comment during this Item (P).  You will be allowed 3 minutes to speak.

You do NOT want to have to go through (fight a cell tower) like this neighborhood had to — no Burbank  neighborhood should be put through that again.   Read more information on the “Fight the Tower”/Save Burbank Neighborhoods website on how you can ask our City Council members to take action, including writing letters/e-mails, and why this is so important. by clicking here.

To read the Staff Report prepared by our city’s staff for City Council to review and consider, click here: Item 6 Staff Report for Burbank City Council 09-18-2012

To read the areas where cell towers/wireless facilities can be built under the current ordinance near or next to your home, or child’s school, click here: Item 6 Exhibit F for Burbank City Council 09-18-2012.

FYI, location of City Council Meeting is the same as usual: City Council Chambers, Burbank City Hall, 275 East Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91502.

City Council approves Resolution blocking T-Mobile wireless facility in Burbank neighborhood

7 Jun

Council Member Gordon asks City Attorney for assurances that the Resolution will hold up in court.  City Council also sets early August to address the problematic loophole in the city’s wireless ordinance.

Tuesday night, June 5, 2012, City Council unanimously approved a Resolution upholding the denial of a T-Mobile wireless facility at the Little White Chapel on Avon Street in an R-1 (single family household) neighborhood of Burbank.

The Resolution was a follow-up to the May 22, 2012 public hearing in which City Council voted 5-0 to approve the appeal by residents opposing the project, and asked its Staff to come back with a resolution that would support the approval.

The Council approvals on May 22 and June 5th are a welcome victory for residents affected by the proposed wireless facility project who have fought long and hard to protect and preserve their homes, families, schools, the character of and aesthetics of their neighborhood, and quality of life.

To make sure that victory sticks, Council Member David Gordon queried City Attorney Amy Albano repeatedly whether the Resolution as presented will hold up in a court of law if contested.

Dr. Gordon had good reason to question the legal strength of the Resolution.  It did not include a representative summary of the testimony and several arguments and concerns that were raised during the May 22, 2012 public hearing by the appellants, residents and Council Members.

To contrast and compare, the Nov. 22, 2011, “Findings for Denial” that Los Angeles County Counsel prepared in order to support the Board of Supervisors’ denial of a wireless facility project (that had been approved by the Planning Board and then appealed by residents) included points and concerns raised by Staff and residents during the various public hearings related to the project.  Other examples of LA County Board of Supervisors approved “Findings for Denial” were submitted in a Resident Report to City Council and Staff during Public Comment at the May 22, 2012 public hearing.

In response to Dr. Gordon’s questions, Attorney Albano explained that the city’s legal department worked together with the Community Development Department (which oversees the Planning Division) in preparing the resolution.  If the denial were contested in court, she said, the whole of the public hearing, including transcripts of the May 22 public hearing, and documents submitted by residents, would be entered into evidence.   However, she also said what would be challenged specifically would be the Resolution.

So Dr. Gordon asked Attorney Albano again whether the Resolution as is would hold up to a legal challenge in a court of law.  She replied “I believe so.”

Let’s hope that belief is strong enough to prevent any legal challenge by T-Mobile.

Burbank residents of Save Burbank Neighborhoods, the resident group that supported the appeal against the T-Mobile project on Avon Street, thanked City Council for their vote approving the resident appeal.

They also stated how they would like to work with the City in fixing the problematic loophole in the city’s wireless ordinance that has caused so much grief and continues to threaten Burbank neighborhoods.

City Council and Staff informed residents that City Council will take up this issue in early August.

What action can you take?

Join and/or support Save Burbank Neighborhoods today, and keep informed on what you can do to protect our treasured neighborhoods and quality of life.  Go to: http://saveburbankneighborhoods.com

Kudos and congrats again to the brave appellants who challenged the City with their appeal, and raised community awareness about the city’s wireless ordinance flaws.  A big round of applause to the hundreds of Burbank residents who have supported and assisted their efforts, too.

Community Action Alert: Attend the June 5th City Council Meeting

5 Jun

Save Burbank Neighborhoods is alerting supporters to attend the City Council meeting this Tuesday, June 5th.

City Council members will vote on a resolution upholding the citizen appeal against construction of a wireless telecommunications facility at 1711 North Avon Street. 

City Council Chambers are located at Burbank City Hall, 275 Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91502.

Save Burbank Neighborhoods is inviting supporters to attend the City Council Meeting to witness the approval of the proposed resolution. On their website, they write:

This is also an excellent opportunity to formally express your gratitude and appreciation for the City Council’s courageous support of our community appeal.

Please wear white or your Fight the Tower t-shirt if you plan to attend the meeting.  The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m., and the agenda is a lengthy one.  Our resolution is item number 10 on the agenda.  It is unlikely that City Council will have a chance to approve the appeal before 7:30 p.m..

At the June 5th meeting, Save Burbank Neighborhoods will be presenting a statement during the second public comment portion of the meeting formally requesting that the city revisit the recently revised Wireless Telecommunications Facilities ordinance that allows for the placement of cell phone towers on institutional use properties in single-family R-1 residential neighborhoods…

The fight is not over!  As explained in Emily Gabel-Luddy’s recent letter to the Leader, the current Wireless Telecommunications Facilities ordinance requires that each neighborhood must fight the construction of every single cell phone tower on a case-by-case basis through the Conditional Use Permit process.  There are no zoning laws within the Burbank Municipal Code to protect residential communities or the public right of way!

Read more details and related documents on their website here.

Burbank residents filled City Council Chambers on May 22, 2012 to oppose and speak up against the proposed T-Mobile cell tower at the Little White Chapel. Photo by Kiku Iwata.

Attending the meeting Tuesday night is a follow-up action to the May 22, 2012 City Council public hearing when Council Members voted 5-0 to support appellants (residents) protesting the approval of the proposed T-mobile wireless facility atop the Little White Chapel Church.

The Church is located in an R-1 (single-family residential) neighborhood, near Bret Harte Elementary and Luther Middle School.

The appellants pointed out how the flawed project should have never been approved, and how the proposed facility didn’t fit the character of the residential neighborhood or the height of the surrounding homes.

They also revealed how they had no problem making calls with a T-Mobile phone near the proposed project site and neighborhood.

TV news crews streamed into the room to record and report on the hearing.

Residents, including children, who filled the City Council Chambers and overflowed into the City Hall lobby, provided Public Comment after Public Comment about how the proposed project was negatively affecting their quality of life, their health concerns about 24/7 wireless RF exposure, the negative effect the project would have on property values and their neighborhood, and how and why a commercial facility like a wireless facility didn’t belong in an R-1 zone and  near their schools.

City Council members asked Staff to come back with a resolution to approve the appeal (that they are scheduled to approve at this Tuesday’s meeting).

Many of the Council Members also told the public at that meeting that they wanted to revisit the city’s wireless ordinance section that allows wireless facilities in R-1 zones, and fix the problems it has created so this won’t happen again.

Rewind to December 2009, when the City began the process of updating its wireless ordinance, and stated that they wanted to protect the city’s “sensitive” areas after T-Mobile proposed a major cell tower project at Brace Canyon Park (in and R-1 zone near Horace Mann preschool and daycare, and St. Francis Xavier school and Church).

T-Mobile and Little White Chapel church members commented at the time how they wanted a wireless facility at the Little White Chapel and in R-1 zones.  City Staff responded by proposing changing our city’s ordinance to allow wireless facilities on institutional properties (private schools and churches) in R-1 zones.

Burbank residents, as you can imagine, advocated against adopting this change, and warned our local officials and staff that changing the ordinance to allow this would be divisive, pitting residents against church goers, city staff and city officials, as evidenced in other communities where wireless facilities were proposed at churches in R-1 zones.

However, the majority of our Planning Board and City Council supported and approved this ordinance change in September of 2011.

A few months later, as expected, T-Mobile’s proposed wireless facility project at the Little White Chapel produced a painful battle for both sides fighting it.  While unifying a neighborhood and bringing people together in some very positive ways, both sides of the battle spent lots of energy, time, resources, frustration, stress, sleepless days and nights, tears, sweat and emotions to organize and gather their arguments and support.

Some 200+ residents showed up to support appellants against the proposed T-Mobile wireless facility, and had to occupy City Hall’s lobby because there wasn’t enough room to accommodate them in the main City Council Chambers. Photo courtesy of Save Burbank Neighborhoods.

We saw the results at the May 22 public hearing in the well researched testimony presented by the brave resident appellants, as well as the heartfelt Public Comments of some 40+ residents, the 200+ residents who filled the chambers and City Hall lobby in support against the project, the 800+ who signed the petitions opposing the project, and the many media supporters reporting on this story and raising public awareness.

On the other side, you can also read the profound effects this battle had on the churchgoers who supported the project, as evidenced in the Tumblr account written by a member of the Little White Chapel with her entry, “Sickening, Absolutely Sickening.

Council Member Dr. David Gordon summed up the sentiments and the lessons we should all take away from this proposed cell tower project: no neighborhood in Burbank should have to be put through this again.

In Dec. 2009, our City Council told residents it was going to craft an updated wireless ordinance that would protect the “sensitive areas.”  As we saw with this project, that didn’t happen.  So let’s hope that our City Council Members make good on their May 22 affirmations to revisit the city’s wireless ordinance that has caused us so much pain and suffering, and remedy that.

You can also take action by writing City Council and asking and encouraging them to do so:

Kudos and thanks to all of those residents, and supporters in the media, who made the May 22, 2012, victory possible.  You can read below in the Burbank Leader May 23, 2012 story how residents and the Little White Chapel director are reaching out to each other to heal the rift.

Doug Loranger of CLOUTnow, which has been instrumental in helping resident groups across the state and nation with important information regarding cell tower siting, applauded what occurred in Burbank, and wrote:

“For those who are interested in seeing some real democracy in action, the entire appeal hearing is available for viewing at the following link (it begins approximately 1 hr. 48 min. into the hearing and runs for almost 5 hours):

http://burbank.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=4631

Congratulations to everyone in Burbank who made this outcome a reality.”

CLOUT is also working very hard to repeal the section of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 that prohibits a local government from denying a wireless facility due to health or environmental concerns.  Please support CLOUT and concerned residents across the country by signing CLOUT’s Petition today.

If you would like to read reports in the media about the proposed wireless facility and city’s wireless facility ordinance problem, here are some helpful links:

OPINION PIECES:

Learn how to build a healthier world at WorldFest this Sunday in Los Angeles

19 May

WorldFest, Los Angeles County’s largest earth day festival, is happening this Sunday, May 20, 2012, at Woodley Park at Lake Balboa.  This all-vegan, solor-powered event  seeks to help people learn what they can do for the Earth and its inhabitants.  It’s a “celebration of music, the environment, animals and humanity.”

Make sure you visit the EMF Safety Network booth to learn more about smart meters and how they can make people and our animal friends sick.  Residents from Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties (who are customers in BWP, GWP, LADWP and SCE territories) will be managing the booth to answer your questions and help you understand the wireless smart meter issue better.  Visit with them and find out what you can do to oppose smart meters and thus build a healthier planet.

Event hours are 10:30am until 7pm.  Tickets are $9 and kids are free!  Visit the Worldfest website for more details about tickets, parking tips and possible parking costs, directions, etc.:  http://www.worldfestevents.com Because it’s an all-vegan event, please do not bring or eat any animal food products or you may be fined (or thrown out).

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