Reader's Editorials

READER’S EDITORIAL: MUCH NEEDED PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALK FOR KID’S SAFETY CREATED AT JOHNSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN EL CAJON

By Robert Gehr

September 22, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Finally, a new crosswalk has been added to Madison Ave. at the west entrance to Johnson Elementary School (Cajon Valley School district), thus creating a safer environment for children and adults to cross a very busy street. In this writer’s opinion, it’s long overdue.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: ACTION NEEDED TO CUT CARBON USE, ADDRESS WILDFIRES FUELED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

By Susan Tamura, San Diego
 
September 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- With California wildfires in the forefront, it is readily apparent that climate scientists' predictions of drier conditions in the West are coming to pass.  Wildfires and their smoke are not new to us; it's their ever-increasing magnitude that will test our resilience.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: ROAD MAP FOR LA MESA

An open letter to La Mesa’s Mayor and City Council

By Dave Myers

August 24, 2020 (La Mesa) --  I am a 27-year resident of La Mesa and also a retired San Diego County Sheriff’s Commander with 35 years in local law enforcement. In May of this year, all of us saw and experienced the horrific scenario that started out as a peaceful BLM demonstration taken over by criminals without police intervention and rapidly devolved into a nightmare of looting, violence, and the burning of downtown La Mesa.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: FROM PROTECTING VOTING RIGHTS TO HONORING VETERANS, THE POST OFFICE IS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE

By Brian Trautman

August 21, 2020 (San Diego) -- The capacity of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide mail services that generations of Americans have relied on has been severely weakened by the Trump administration. The assault on the Postal Service has only grown stronger and more brazen in recent weeks. We know by Trump’s own admission that his targeting of the agency is by design and is intended to interfere with the federal election that is less than three months away. Due to the ongoing health risks associated with COVID-19, a record number of Americans are expected to vote absentee this November rather than in-person. Knowing this, Trump has weaponized the pandemic to obstruct mail services and suppress the people’s vote, particularly in battleground states. By making it more difficult for Americans to exercise their right to vote, he is disenfranchising tens of millions of voters. The other part of Trump’s calculation is that by stripping the Post Office of much-needed resources to receive and process absentee ballots, he can exploit any hint of trouble with vote tallying this November to try and cast doubt on, and perhaps even dismiss, the election results should he lose. It has all the makings of an authoritarian power grab.


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ARAB AMERICANS ARE AN INVISIBLE ETHNIC GROUP WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES

By Raed Al-Naser, MD

Dr. Al-Naser is President, San Diego Chapter, National Arab American Medical Association. He is also a pulmonary and critical care physician practicing in San Diego’s East County.

July 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Race and ethnicity are becoming forefront conversations in our media, academic debates, and daily life discussions here in the United States. Each of us has an identity that defines how we see ourselves and others. Arab Americans are a historically understudied minority group in the U.S. and their health needs and risks have been poorly documented. As a physician and healthcare provider who belongs to this group, I see that Arab American identity is largely absent from national and academic conversations about race and ethnicity especially when it comes to health care disparities. The emergence of COVID-19 as a pandemic and public health crisis has exposed this reality and made it more visible and undeniable. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: DEPUTY SHERIFFS ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO “DEFUND THE POLICE” CALLS

By David Leonhardi

 

President, Deputy Sheriffs Association of San Diego County (DSASD.org)

 

July 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- The past six weeks have brought a major change in public safety discussions across the country. The rise of the “defund the police” movement has dominated national attention, sparking a debate over the nature of law enforcement and the scope of their duties. Criminal justice activists throughout the nation have pressured their local cities and counties to cut funding from their respective law enforcement departments due to perceived systemic problems, most notably, that of alleged racial bias in policing.1 Supporters of this movement seek to reallocate this funding to social services surrounding issues related to substance abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness, to name a few.2 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: BORDER WALL IN JACUMBA WILDERNESS THREATENS GROUNDWATER FOR COMMUNITIES AND AN ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE CRUCIFIXION THORN

By Craig Deutsche

July 5, 2020 (Jacumba) - There have been a number of articles in large newspapers about the border wall and legal challenges. Most probably the story in California is only a detail in the big picture, although there might be several unique concerns here. One concern is that the Congressional designation of the Jacumba Wilderness in 1994 is very explicit and very restrictive in what is permitted within the boundaries.

More recently in 2019, the Department of Homeland Security waived seventeen federal environmental laws where border security was involved in Imperial County. These included the Wilderness Act of 1964, the National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Waters Act, and the Antiquities Act of 1906. It is under this umbrella that the work proceeds. What is less clear, is whether it is possible to set aside state and county regulations that may otherwise apply.

The pipe shown in the photo runs five or six miles from several wells outside the Jacumba Wilderness Area to the construction area at the border. The pipe is 12 inches in diameter and is intended to provide water for concrete. [Aggregate for the concrete is visible in the second photo beside the equipment.] This water is drawn from a rather limited aquifer underlying several small communities in western Imperial County.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON RECENT EVENTS AND CHALLENGES TO PRESERVE CULTURAL HISTORY IN LA MESA

By Jim Newland, President, La Mesa Historical Society

June 23, 2020 (La Mesa) - The past few weeks’ events and experiences, including those in our local community, can only remind us of our nation’s challenging history of discrimination, violence and racism.  This is a very personal history for many that sadly continues into the present. 


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A BITTERSWEET REOPENING OF THE ICONIC JACUMBA SPA, NOW FOR SALE

By Daniel Smiechowski

June 19, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The East County Jacumba Resort and Spa has fallen victim to uncertain times. Owned for many years by Dave Landman, an affable character who coincidentally owns most of Jacumba and about 800 acres east to Yuma, Arizona, the Spa is currently listed for sale by Coldwell Banker. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: VIEW “PLANET OF THE HUMANS” MOVIE THIS EARTH DAY

By Renée Owens

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! How can you honor Mother Earth while sheltering at home? Perhaps the most powerful thing you can do right now is sit back and watch a movie. Specifically, the groundbreaking documentary Planet of the Humans, just aired and free to watch on Youtube. A decade in the making, produced by Berkeley University Professor Ozzie Zehner and Michael Moore, it reveals astonishing and profound revelations about the green energy movement that I guarantee you will have never heard before.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: UNDERSTANDING AB5 IN CRISIS

The State that started out saying “we need to protect these workers” is now refusing to send the same workers money that Congress specifically appropriated for independent contractors.

By Barbara Bry, San Diego mayoral candidate

April 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- We all want to protect workers. But, so-called “Gig” workers (independent contractors) are often underpaid and left out of important safety net programs like unemployment insurance. This has always been the case, but historically it was a relatively small portion of the workforce.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: TO COMBAT COVID-19, WE SHOULD MOBILIZE OUR MILITARY TO BUILD HOSPITALS AND ASK FACTORIES TO PRODUCE VITAL SUPPLIES

By Ammar Campa-Najjar, candidate in the 50th Congressional District
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - Make no mistake: I’ve lived in a war zone.  We are at war with the Coronavirus. People are scared, unsure and know the worst is yet to come. Working parents are sheltering in place with their children, small businesses struggling to meet overhead costs. 

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READER'S EDITORIAL: WE MUST NOT EQUATE SEXUAL HEALTH TO DEVIANT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

By Daniel Smiechowski, Bay Ho  

December 20, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The recent hearing in a San Diego courtroom to release another sexual predator in Jacumba Hot Springs is another bridge too far. Eleven of fourteen county sexual predators are already in rural East County. It’s clear that demographics play a role in further stigmatizing this dusty ramshackle outpost in San Diego’s high desert.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: COMMUTERS FED UP WITH GRIDLOCK IN SANTEE

By Eid Fakhouri, CPA, CGMA, Commuter and Family Advocate

December 13, 2019 (Santee) -- Look at these photos!  (Inverness Rd. and Carlton Oaks Dr. in Santee taken Dec. 12 at 7:40 a.m.).  Happens ALL the time. 

As you can see from the photos, traffic is backed up all the way down Carlton Oaks Drive almost to Wethersfield.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: LA MESA CITY COUNCIL SET TO APPROVE HAZARDOUS 5G SMALL CELLS TUESDAY

Update: La Mesa's City Council voted 4-1 ton October 22 to approve the 5G measure, with Councilman BIll Baber voted against it.

 

By Susan Brinchman

Photo:  Small Cells on pole in Topanga, CA (Dafna Tachover)

October 20, 2019 (La Mesa) -- URGENT ALERT! The La Mesa City Council will vote on a policy to allow thousands of  very hazardous 4G and 5G small cells (cell towers on poles) to blanket La Mesa's streets, at their public meeting on Tues. 10/22/19, at La Mesa City Council Chambers, 8130 Allison Ave. La Mesa, CA 91942. It starts at 6 PM and  agenda item #7 (see below) will occur sometime later. Note that  scheduling it late in the meeting is a typical ploy used to reduce community input on controversial or harmful agenda items, and oversight. This certainly falls under all of those categories.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA MUST ACT TO PROTECT MOUNTAIN LIONS

By J.P. Ross and Tiffany Yap | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Mountain lion P-61 was struck and killed on the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass after being chased by another male cougar on Sept. 7, 2019. National Park Service photo

October 12, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - These are deadly times for California mountain lions.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: AREN’T WE WORTH THE INVESTMENT?

By Jerry Jones, Lemon Grove Councilman

“Let’s first save the city, and then deal with the leadership and trust issues.” – Councilman Jerry Jones

October 4, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- While I am supporting a city sales tax for Lemon Grove I did oppose the one proposed for last year for a number of reasons. I was very clear in my 11-page PowerPoint that the 1/2 cent was not enough and what I felt next steps should be. At no time did I advocate for disincorporation, though I did call for a discussion on what that would look like. For some people transparency is just a word, not me. I was very clear about the steps needed to address our problem with the end result being a 1 cent tax measure placed on the 2020 ballot. Yes, one cent is a heavy lift but by my calculations and forecast that is what it will take to make us sustainable. I am not a tax kind of guy in principle. For some the word tax is an immutable principle and to be avoided at all cost. The good people of Lemon Grove expect me to protect their asset, that is the city, not force my principles on them. If the facts support a tax that will sustain, benefit the community and improve my home then I will fight as hard as I can to make that happen under the right circumstances. The Citizens initiative, circulating a petition currently, is only 3/4 versus the one cent I proposed but my calculations say that it will work. It just leaves us less to invest than I would have wanted and will require a larger reserve. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: IT’S TIME TO STOP THE MARKETING AND SALES OF VAPING DEVICES AND FLAVORED PRODUCTS USED IN THEM

We applaud the 26 California jurisdictions that have taken these steps and encourage El Cajon to join them.” – Dana Stevens

By Dana Stevens, Community Action Service & Advocacy (CASA)

Photo: Chance Ammirata shared these photos on Twitter of his collapsed lung and lung spots, which doctors attributed to vaping. The 18-year-old Florida student underwent emergency surgery and was told he can no longer do cross country running or scuba diving.

September 20, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Hundreds of people have been hospitalized across the country, including 12 here in San Diego, by a respiratory illness linked to vaping that has claimed eight lives – sadly this number seems to increase daily. If emergency rooms were facing this rush of illness from any other source, it would have been pulled from the shelves within days. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the government agency that regulates tobacco products, describes an outbreak as when two or more people get the same illness from the same food or drink contaminant. Food producers recall their product from the marketplace when the products are mislabeled or causes illness. Vaping devices, the flavored liquid used in those devices, and the liquid form of THC are not regulated by the FDA.  


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READER'S EDITORIAL: RECENT VAPING DEATH MAKES FDA THREE-YEAR PLAN FOR YOUTH RESTRICTIONS FEEL LIKE A MILLENIUM

How much more damage will be done before the fix is in?

 

By Joshua Mansour, M.D.

 

Photo via Creative Commons

August 27, 2019 (San Diego) - Despite the recent vaping death, the FDA is still allowing e-cigarette makers until 2022 to submit their plans for preventing underage access to their products.  But is that too late?  While e-cigarettes and vaping were initially intended to help adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes, they have managed to entice younger individuals to pick up this dangerous habit.  The colorful packaging, different flavors, and seemingly harmless. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SUPERVISORS’ APPROVAL OF 4G / 5G ORDINANCE WITH NO SETBACK FROM HOMES FAVORS INDUSTRY OVER RESIDENTS

By Susan Brinchman, Director, Center for Electrosmog Prevention

Photo: Creative Commons

August 13, 2019 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Supervisors voted unanimously on Wed., Aug. 7th, in "done deal fashion", for a  4G / 5G "Small Cell Wireless Ordinance" for the unincorporated areas of San Diego County that favors industry over residents. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: “SOME ARE DOWN MEMORY LANE, SOME ARE ON FIRE.”

By Preston Brown

 

Photo: Preston Brown, copyright (c) 2019

 

July 23, 2019, (San Diego’s East County) -- Recently at the Board of Supervisors hearing on the Otay Ranch V14 Project, “Adara," all the issues of land use in the wildland urban interface (WUI), environmental protection, conservation, urban planning, housing sprawl, fire safety and the County process for granting approval came together in this one project proposal for Proctor Valley in the Jamul Dulzura Sub Area Plan jurisdiction. 

 

Some people have a knack for hitting the bull’s eye. That would be our Supervisor Dianne Jacob of the 2nd District. Dianne spoke first and her first question was this. ‘Do you folks have any fire insurance?’ ‘Have you been able to get fire insurance?’ This was a memorable moment. The room just froze. A proposal for 1,119 new high-density housing sprawl in a very high fire prone area in California and no one had thought about fire insurance.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: MISSING PERSONS REPORTS AND ENTRY INTO NAMUS DNA DATABASE SHOULD BE STANDARD PROTOCOL

By June A. Sortore

 

Photo: Shawn Lone Wolf Cristman

 

June 3, 2019 (Santa Ysabel) -- The sheer volume of missing and unidentified person cases poses one of the greatest challenges to agencies tasked with resolving these type of cases. Over 600,000 individuals go missing in the United States every year.

 

Many missing children and adults are quickly found alive and well. However, tens of thousands of individuals remain missing for more than one year. These are what most "agencies" consider "cold cases."

 


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READER'S EDITORIAL: SANDAG MISUSE OF OUR TAXES

By James Rue, El Cajon

June 2, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Hello, SANDAG.  I'm in fear of misuse of our tax dollars by SANDAG, and I would like my opinion heard.

For more than 30 years I commuted to/from downtown San Diego. I drove, I carpooled, and commuted using public transportation (bus & trolley).

And your system still stinks. Originally, I'm from one of those very large cities where public transportation was accessible on every corner, and the fare was reasonable.  San Diego, and metro area is NOT accessible.  I remember leaving home two and half hours to three hours early to get to work, using public transportation and always getting home several hours late. When I carpooled I left about an hour earlier and if I drove myself and left 30 minutes earlier I could be at work in less than 25 minutes.  I have some suggestions for you to consider.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: FORMER JULIAN FIRE & MEDICAL SERVICES CHIEF SPEAKS OUT

 

 

By Mike Van Bibber

April 14, 2019 (Julian) -- A message to our family, friends, and neighbors in the Julian-Cuyamaca community, throughout California, and across the United States:

The men and women of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District are facing an illegal government takeover of our volunteer fire department — San Diego County’s last volunteer department — and that’s putting the public at risk. 

Throughout our history, JCFPD has been responding to emergency calls in our community: heart attacks, car crashes, wildfires, you name it. More than 60 members strong, we proudly serve everyone in the community — whether local or visitor, young or old, rich or poor, regardless of culture or creed. We are woven into the community’s fabric and remain in the station ready to serve in the event of an emergency. 

Legal documents and bureaucrats call this place a “special district.” We call it “home.”

Normally we’d be waiting here in the station until someone calls in need of help. Our history has always been responding to calls for help. But today is different. 

Today we are asking you for help. Today we are the ones who desperately need your help.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS--AN UNACCEPTABLE REDUCTION IN FIREFIGHTERS UNDER THE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

 
 
By Ben Franklin

April 16, 2019 (Julian) - Since the beginning of the dissolving of local volunteer fire departments the number of firefighters and emergency first responders available in an emergency has gone through a drastic and unacceptable reduction. At the beginning of the process there were over 600 volunteers available in the rural areas of San Diego County. While I'm certain that it's possible to improve any system, no attempt was made to improve, instead, decimation has been the goal in rural San Diego County.

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MISINFORMATION ABOUT SINGLE-PAYER/MEDICARE-FOR-ALL: A REBUTTAL TO DAVID BROOKS “UNDO THE REVOLUTION”

 

 

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

 

March 30, 2019 (San Diego) - Unfortunately, our media is dominated by misinformation designed to protect our private for-profit health insurance industry. One of the latest, by syndicated columnist David Brooks, was published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on March 6th.  Since that newspaper reaches over 1 million San Diegans, I hope those reading this article will agree and share it with others. At the bottom I list several articles/papers that give a more comprehensive detailed discussion of why a single-payer system designed to benefit people trumps a for-profit health insurance industry designed first and foremost to enrich corporations.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY I AM AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

 

 

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

 

March 20, 2019 (San Diego) -- On Wednesday, March 13th, Governor Gavin Newsom imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. The reactions, both supporting the governor and condemning his action, have come swift and furious. When I read stories of families whose members, especially children have been murdered, even more so by serial killers, families who have attended death penalty appeal after appeal, cases where the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, I find little sympathy for the defendant and if I were a lawyer would find it near impossible to represent them. However, as I will try to explain below, my personal reactions aside, I am against the death penalty, partly because of the risk of executing an innocent person; but even the execution of someone overwhelmingly guilty of some truly horrendous act. This is not about them; but about us as a society. For a good summary of the history of the death penalty and current status around the world, see Wikipedia. Capital Punishment.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: LAKESIDE SAND MINE FACES PROSPECT OF LITIGATION AND LOSSES

 

 

“If Supervisors approve it, there will be a lawsuit by citizens and environmental groups to stop it … Perhaps Bill Adams will engage in good faith negotiations with anyone interested in buying this 400+ acre property. It might be better to get out now while there is some profit to be made.” – Catherine Tancredi Clothey

 

By Catherine Trancredi Clothey

Photo by Billy Ortiz

 

March 19, 2019 (Lakeside) -- What is the status of the sand mine project proposed by Bill Adams and his El Monte Nature Preserve partners and money lenders?

 

I write this as a Lakeside resident (as Catherine Clothey) and as an attorney (as Catherine Tancredi). In the mid 1990s, I represented a local group who sued to stop the Fashion Valley trolley extension due to CEQA violations. We lost and the appeal was denied. I also set up the 501(c)3 Iron Mountain Conservancy in Ramona. 

 

Public comments on the EIR were due October 29, 2018. It is now March, 2019. The City, County, environmental organizations and citizens wrote very detailed comments regarding the effects the sand mine would have on the community and its people. Hundreds of people showed up for the County’s public hearing and the Lakeside Planning Commission meeting last year to voice concerns. 


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SAN DIEGO SPJ ASKS SEN. BEN HUESO, CITY ATTORNEY MARA ELLIOTT TO RETHINK PROPOSED CHANGES TO STATE RECORDS ACT

 

 

Source:  Society of Professional Journalists

March 7, 2019 (San Diego) - The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is deeply troubled by proposed state legislation that would make it more difficult for journalists and the public to understand how government works and hold officials accountable.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: EAST COUNTY CALL TO ACTION—STOP 5G MINI-CELL TOWERS FROM BEING PLACED IN FRONT OF YOUR HOMES

 

 

Supervisors have 180 days to amend ordinance and could consider legal action—if you speak out

By Susan Brinchman

March 1, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) unanimously voted to allow hazardous high-radiation-emitting 5G "small cells", the same as are on cell towers, to be placed on street poles very close to homes in the unincorporated area of the County. This approval occurred despite receiving at least a thousand pages of information about the dangers to health, wildlife, insects, trees, plant life, andproperty values for the past month, and meeting with a number of concerned constituents. Property values may plummet as much as 30% near these "small cells", according to a local realtor, because people don't want to live near cell tower radiation. She was one of 24 speakers. Two Verizon employees spoke in favor of the ordinance, which is very industry-friendly. In September, the FCC issued orders which became effective on Jan. 14th, 2019, forcing local governments to have less control over this process. Meanwhile, 5G industry leaders admitted in a Senate hearing that no safety testing had been conducted.


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