Santa Fe School Board Unanimous: No Cell Tower by Gonzales School

Dates: 05/21/2012 Dates: 05/21/2012 Location: WAREHOUSE 21, Santa Fe, NM

On the curb is painted “KISS AND DROP” that expresses how supportive this school is of students and parents.

 

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Report and Photos by ERIC SHULTZ

At its March 19 meeting, the Santa Fe School Board unanimously approved a resolution opposing plans to site a cellphone tower next to Gonzales Community School. At least one board member, Steven Carrillo, said he was unconvinced until he heard community members speak at the meeting.

Federal telecommunications laws favor the industry, leaving local communities with few avenues for challenging tower placement and proliferation. Tuesday’s resolution was directed to the Santa Fe Historic Review Board. Because the proposed tower site is within the city’s historic district, the review board can nix the plan on “esthetic” grounds.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act disqualifies local opposition to cell tower siting based on health concerns, but this didn’t stop community members from stating the obvious: they are worried for their children’s health. Gonzales parent Dee Beingessner’s statement captured the sense of the meeting: “I have applied for a transfer already for all four of my children to leave Gonzales Elementary if a cell tower is erected. If the transfers don’t go through, my children–all four of them–will go to private schools, unfortunately. I’m a big believer in public schools, but I will not risk the health and safety of my children.”

Because a private school alternative is not available for the school’s many lower-income families, this case has a clear environmental justice dimension: the risks fall disproportionately on poor and working families for whom transfers are a burden and there is no private option.

One of two new Board members, Susan Duncan (whose district includes Gonzales) drafted the resolution as her first official act.2012-13-23 Opposing the Construction of a Cell Tower Adjacent to Gonzales Community School 2013-03-19_201303201229555958

Following Duncan’s reading of the resolution, school board vice president Carrillo proposed that it not be addressed only to the historic review board, but to the Santa Fe City Council and AT&T as well. Duncan explained that the wording reflected advice from the City, that only the historic review board had power to block the proposed siting. But since appeal of the review board’s decision would put the matter before the City Council, she agreed to the amendment [when the final language is published, we will post it here -ed.].

On several occasions during the meeting, participants reminded Superintendent Joel Boyd of his earlier commitment to “look into” removing the antenna array already installed at Santa Fe High School. Details of the contract in the High School case are not immediately known.

The Santa Fe Public Schools website provides a video of the entire meeting. For ease of viewing, here is a list of the community members who spoke. Each name is followed by the approximate time of their appearance in the recording (hour:minute:second): physicist David Stupin (01:54:50), physicist and Gonzales parent George Kaschner (02:01:30), parent Debby Kaschner (02:05:30), parent Dee Beingessner (02:13:00), parent Heather Wolf Espinosa (02:15:55) and Gonzales student Melinda Espinosa (02:17:00). Board member Duncan’s reading of the resolution, and the Board’s discussion and vote begin at 02:59:30.

One of the Santa Fe Board of Education's newest members, Susan Duncan wrote the resolution in response to families from her district's Gonzales Community School.

One of the Santa Fe Board of Education’s newest members, Susan Duncan wrote the resolution in response to families from her district’s Gonzales Community School.

Dee Beingessner, whose fourth child would enter Gonzales next year, addresses the board.

Dee Beingessner, whose fourth child would enter Gonzales next year, addresses the board.

Gonzales School parent Debby Kaschner.

School Board President Linda Trujillo.

School Board President Linda Trujillo.

Heather Wolf Espinosa and her daughter, Gonzales student Melinda Espinosa, both spoke in opposition to the proposed cellphone tower

Heather Wolf Espinosa and her daughter, Gonzales student Melinda Espinosa, both spoke in opposition to the proposed cellphone tower

Joel Boyd, Superintendent of Santa Fe Schools, agreed to "look into" removing the cellphone antennas already in place at Santa Fe High School.

Joel Boyd, Superintendent of Santa Fe Schools, agreed to “look into” removing the cellphone antennas already in place at Santa Fe High School.

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BACKGROUND ON OTHER COMMUNITIES CONCERNED RE: CELL TOWERS

THE INTERNATIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS UNION RULED AGAINST THE HAZARDS OF TOWERS
In 2004, the Union for all Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), published their policy to NOT allows cell towers or antennas on any of their facilities due to proven negative health effects on fire fighters. They also provide worldwide research to substantiate this policy. See at: http://www.iaff.org/hs/Facts/CellTowerFinal.asp

LOS ANGELES BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS VOTE TO
PROHIBIT CELL PHONE TOWERS NEAR SCHOOLS
May 29, 2009 #08/09-340

Los Angeles –The “Wireless Telecommunication Installations” resolution, which opposes the location of cell phone towers in close proximity to schools, was introduced by Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Julie Korenstein and adopted earlier this week by the Los Angeles Board of Education. http://www.emrpolicy.org/news/headlines/29may09_lausd_press_release.pdf

RADIATION SPECIALIST TURNED STATE REPRESENTATIVE SAYS “Cell Towers Could Pose Threat to Children”/strong>

…Drenner, however, has a background in radiation physics and said she believes the school system didn’t act with necessary caution approving the deal. She has a bachelor’s of science in radiation physics from West Virginia State University and a master’s and a doctorate in environmental science. She also said she has worked as a radiation safety officer in California and calculated radiation exposure at a uranium enrichment facility in Ohio.

“I’m not disputing cell phone towers. I’m disputing where they’re being placed right now,” she said. “The cell phone tower companies are going to say the distance… minimizes the exposure to the children. That’s a valid argument, but they don’t talk about the magnetic fields being created when the tower is being used.The chances of creating chromosomal aberrations [in children] increases.” http://northdruidhills.patch.com/articles/state-rep-cell-towers-could-harm-children-s-health

TEN YEAR STUDY BY ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT OF MAJOR BRAZILIAN UNIVERSITY TIES TOWERS TO 80% OF CANCER DEATHS

The most recent research by Engineer Adilza Dode, PhD, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, showed that over a ten year period, 7,191 people died of cancers — all living within 1500 feet of cell towers — thus making up 80% of those that died of cancers in that area. Those at the Gonzales Community School will be exposed to this microwave radiation for six to eight hours a day.
http://www.emrsa.co.za/documents/brazilresearch.pdf

TELECOM INDUSTRY MISINFORMATION

You may have heard there is no danger From cell phones and cell towers, but 83% of the reports showing ‘no danger’ are paid for by the Telecom industry. On the other hand, 83% of those studies indicating dangerous health effects were independently funded. Independent researchers, for example, from the prestigious Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, leading universities in Sweden, Brazil, India, as well as doctors in Germany, Boston, and Israel, show negative side effects, hypothyroidism, and cancer deaths rising four to ten times from towers placed within 1500 feet of cell towers.

In addition,  newer studies are showing that this involuntary exposure to microwave radiation from cell phones, cell towers, WiFi, Smart Meters cause an array of neurological disorders: difficulty concentrating, insomnia, depressive episodes, tinnitus, headaches, and those exposed in utero show symptoms of ADHD and behavioral problems as children.

Partly as a result of studies linking cellphones to brain tumors (gliomas), the World Health Organization has categorized EMF as a Class 2B: possible human carcinogen, a category shared with DDT, Lead and HIV virus. Skeptics note that coffee is also in this classification, but it refers to pesticide-laden coffees from China which caused cancers at a high rate.

 

EUROPE ACTS USING “THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE”
If you feel that the data is not all in yet, that more research is needed–Please consider that in Europe they are dismantling their WiFi in schools, Paris removed their rooftop antennas, and suits are stopping cell towers because they don’t want to take the risk of finding that this is dangerous too late to save their children from cancers and neurological diseases.

Parents across the US are stopping cell towers near their children. In Bayville, NY, after a tower was placed on a grade school playground, five children developed leukemia. Before their parents could have the tower removed, three had died. One neighboring attorney, Andrew Campanelli, has become a leading FCC Specialist in creating tougher ordinances. Campanelli advised our own Santa Fe City Council. For the story of how The Moms of Merrick” passed the strongest ordinance in the US, see:
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/09/21/hempstead-approves-tough-cell-tower-measures/

 

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