January 22, 2010

Another wireless antenna proposed for a Walnut Creek neighborhood

Wow! Is there something in the water? Or in the electromagnetic field around Walnut Creek?

Just as some some parents and residents in the Walnut Heights elementary school neighborhood are protesting the erection of a wireless antenna near the school's playing fields and nature area, AT&T is asking the City of Walnut Creek to allow it to build a 28-foot "monopole" wireless antenna, "disguised as a broadleaf tree" at the intersection of San Luis Road and Keaveny Court.

The specific site for the tower is the grounds of St. Stephen's Catholic Church.

Hmm, is there something about organizations, like public schools and churches, looking for ways to earn some extra revenue? In these tough economic times? I know the school district, like many other public school districts, is really struggling with ongoing state budget cuts. I have also read various articles about how Catholic church membership is declining in the United States and Western Europe. I would assume a decline in membership might hurt the Church's bottom line in America--though maybe St. Stephen's is a thriving parish.

Anyway, Walnut Creek's Community Development Department recommends that the Planning Commission--whose members will hear about the proposal next Thursday evening--give it a thumbs up.

Development Department staff members say the proposal meets the city's various legal requirements for the constructon of wireless antennas in the city, including those encoded in the General Plan.

For example, planners say the proposed antenna:

--won't be located within 100 feet of a major ridgeline.
--will have a non-reflective finish ... it will, planners say, be built to look like a tree (?).
--won't have artificial lighting, or be accessible to the general public, including mischievious Walnut Creek kids who would tag it with graffiti.
--will, most importantly, not pose any health risk to the public. According to planners, the application submitted indicated that "the radio frequency output does not exceed FCC standards for Maximum Permissible Exposures."

Read more about the St. Stephen's Catholic Church wireless proposal to the city here.

You can also catch up with the ongoing debate about the Walnut Heights antenna proposal by reading this story in the Contra Costa Times.  In fact, according to the Times' Elisabeth Nardi, some 100 people showed up at a meeting that the Walnut Creek School District hosted Wednesday evening. Apparently, those people wanted to voice their concerns about the proposed 37-foot antenna tower at Walnut Heights:

At a sometimes raucous meeting this week, Walnut Creek parents likened the antenna, which would emit radio waves 24 hours a day, to a "science experiment."

"I don't want my kids used as an experiment," said John Johnson. "Wi-Fi is not that important."
It will be interesting to see what feelings and opinions this other wireless antenna proposal provokes...


Anonymous said...

The energy that a person is exposed to while holding a cell phone to the head is 100 times greater than the exposure you get from being near a cell tower.

People need to be aware that a cell phone near to the head is much more dangerous. Why don't people give up their cells phones?

Unless you are climbing on a cell tower, the readings are much lower than a cell phone. Usually, it is impossible to climb on a cell tower because it is blocked by a fence.

If people want to reduce their danger, they should turn their cell phones off and keep it away from their heads as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

Edit: cell* phones. I really should proofread better.

Anonymous said...

One fact the community needs to take into consideration is the questionable nature of the "FCC" Guidelines. The ones that are currently in place were passed in 1996 and have been questioned by experts about their continued legitimacy. They are a minimum standard with a huge shield. All the wireless companies have to prove in an environmental report is that it meets those sets of guidelines. Oh, and guess what? Meet the guidelines and the wireless company can get into the business of pushing its own profit-driven economic interests. Currently, if the company proves they meet the guidelines, then the health risks CAN NOT BE CHALLENGED per Federal Law.

"But Martin Blank, a professor of biophysics at Columbia University in New York City with an expertise on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, regards the federal regulations as inadequate.

"I think the parents are right to be concerned," Blank said. "The fact of the matter is that electromagnetic fields over a whole range of frequencies have very potent biological effects."

"Blank cited numerous potential health effects of electromagnetic radiation, including Alzheimer's disease and leukemia, and studies backing them. He and other scientists wrote the BioInitiative Report detailing their concerns, which is available at"

There have been multiple products that have been allowed by the federal government which later to have been very dangerous to the public's health. One parent at the Walnut Heights school reminded the community about asbestos. Another, the x-ray machines that used to be in Buster Brown shoe stores.

For those that are interested, there is a meeting at 5pm at San Francisco City Hall to support Mayor Newsom's cell phone warning legislation.

Finally, there is unofficial word spreading that Walnut Creek Superintendent will be announcing this coming Tuesday that the Walnut Creek School board WILL NOT proceed with the idea proposed by Clearwire.

The school district does need more fiscal support. But it needs to have its choices to meet its budgetary needs reflect the desires and standards OF ITS COMMUNITY, and not the desires of a profit seeking predator in the form of a self-interested wireless company. Go Suck Your Profits From Somewhere Else!

Thank you SM for covering this topic.

Anonymous said...

We could eliminate radio and TV, cell phones, etc. to remove anthropogenic electromagnetic radiation but there would still be naturally-occuring radiofrequency radiation. Appropriate shielding could protect us and our children. Some have suggested foil caps but I doubt that those alone would be completely effective.

Infrared radiation is higher energy than radio waves. Should we eliminate artificial heat? A chilling thought tonight.

Visible light is much higher energy than radio waves. Should people demand that we eliminate it? If we have already eliminated TV, maybe not a big sacrifice. We wouldn't even need white canes if everyone is in the dark.

Ultraviolet radiation is higher energy than heat or light. It can break chemical bonds and cause melanoma. If we walk outside in the sunshine, we are exposed. Should we all stay indoors, cowering?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:56 quite impressive how you paid attention to your physics lessons in high school. You seem to clearly remember that shorter wavelength or higher frequency correlates with energy.

Thus applying your profound physical knowledge, since my little kitty is doing just fine outdoors in the visible light there will be no harm to dry her in a microwave oven because we all know that microwaves are lower frequency than visible light.

Or maybe there is more to physics than what you remember from high school?

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 8:26,
Yesy I did pay attention to my scientific training. Microwave ovens use radio waves at the resonant frequency for rotation of water molecules - 2.5 gigahertz. Since humans are 70% water and kitty cats probably about the same, warming ourselves in microwave ovens is not advisable.
Cell phones, am and fm radio and tv are not broadcast at 2.5 GHz.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:56 now you might want to google WiMax 2.5 GHz.

Anonymous said...

The real question is why did the WC school district agree to place the antenna on their site for $1200 per month with nothing down when the MT. Diablo School District routinely gets $5000 down and $3000 per month. I hope the City of WC doesn't agree to place an antenna at a low price when more money is available. I'd suggest that the City and the School District contact Mt. Diablo and see how they did it. I'm sure that they would share.

Sunroom Desk said...

San Pedro (city of Los Angeles) parents commissioned this radiofrequency study - - of emissions from a T-Mobile tower across the street from Taper Elementary School. They are fighting for removal of the already-installed tower.

Many communities in California are opposing such installations. Check out this resource page:

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:13am

The WCSD reaching out to MDUSD? I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:13 AM

City of WC has no financial interest whether Clearwire locates on the school's property. WC schools are their own special district...

An Insider