On Friday, February 22, despite the swirling snow and wintry winds, approximately fifty plus parents, their children, and neighbors took up picket signs outside the Burger King, next to their children’s Gonzales Community School, protesting a cell tower planned by AT&T.
As their petition stated, not only could a cell tower explode or fall into the three gas pumps located at the Burger King, but a narrow arroyo filled with dry trees and brush is all that separates the land owned by Tom McCullum from the Gonzales School campus.
Channel 7 [ABC] arrived with cameras rolling (to get snow footage for the weather spot) and interviewed four protestors, including Los Alamos Physicist and Engineer, parent George Kaschner, Realtor neighbor Sali Randel, who spoke to the plummeting of property values near towers, Neighbor Consuelo Luz who spoke to the dangers of accidents, and Santa Fe DOCTORS W.A.R.N. (Wireless And Radiation Network) representative, Felicia N. Trujillo, ND, who stated that her group of 95 health care professionals had been supporting the parents since the announcement last May 2012.
DID ANY FOOTAGE MAKE IT ONTO CHANNEL 7 NEWS? Noooooo, and not surprising as most media coverage seems strangely silent. The New Mexican mustered a 2 1/2 inch photograph and two sentences about the picket, featured on page 10A. (See below.)
But who should arrive accidentally and seeing the determined parents, actually covered the picket? A true journalist, Eric Shultz, with the online paper, La Jicarita.
Gonzales School Parents, Children Protest Cell Tower
Gonzales School 5th grader Anjoli Griego protesting the plan for a cell tower next to her school. Her sign reads: “Parent’s Right to Protect Our Children: No Tower Here!”
Photo essay by ERIC SHULTZ
Last Friday at the busy Alameda and St. Francis intersection, drivers waved and emphatically honked their horns to support the dozens of Gonzales School community members holding picket signs in front of the Burger King. Their issue was a health concern but—perhaps surprisingly—not about the food. The owners of the fast food outlet’s site have made a deal with ATT to place a 4-G antenna tower there. And from there, a kid with a baseball and a good arm could break a classroom window. That’s how close the proposed tower site is from the place where thousands of northwest Santa Fe kids will spend a large part of their early lives.
There is broad scientific consensus that electromagnetic radiation (EMR) of the kind these antennas emit causes serious health problems. There are even U.S. government health regulations regarding exposure. But as we have seen regarding the health effects of tobacco, for example, or the human causes of climate disruption, powerful economic interests actively muddy the waters of science to the benefit of corporate shareholders and to the detriment of public health. In the case of EMR, scientists agree that such radiation causes problems. The only disagreement is about whether low levels are safe. As has been the case with all other forms of environmental contamination, more focused research is finding negative effects from levels several orders of magnitude below those currently regulated as safe. And in a classic example of an agency held captive by the industry it regulates, the FCC claims legal power to overrule any local government’s opposition to EMR sources if the decision is based on health concerns. Look for an upcoming article on the scientific, economic, legal and political issues involved in this looming environmental crisis of the information age. The Gonzales School protest is as local as politics gets, but its implications are truly global. Long live the Gonzales School families!
Gonzales mom Cindy Hall surrounded by 2nd graders: Nolan Hall, Shelby Hall and Clare Rogers.
Melvin Chavez is the grandfather of four current Gonzales students, but he says “I care about all the kids. “
A new antenna tower goes up (February 23, 2013) near the corner of Richards and Cerrillos.
Protester Lynette Kennard directs her modest message to passers by while corporate logos blare from on high.
Third grader Ivan Aguirre and 5th grader Jesus Martinez join Mariah Chavez, one of Melvin Chavez’s grandchildren.