Why Your Mobile Service Sucks, and Will Continue to Suck: Blame NIMBY Neighbors and Your San Francisco Supervisors

Listening Post

Next time you feel the urge to curse your wireless carrier for dropped calls and crappy reception, take a deep breath. Then, direct some of your wrath at a handful of NIMBY neighbors and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

By now you may have heard about the Great Bernal Hill Antenna Battle of 2010. The conflict involved a plan by Clearwire, a wireless service provider, to install several small microwave antennas — each is about the size of a basketball — on the big-ass microwave tower that has stood atop Bernal Hill since the 1960s.

Long-story-short: A few Bernal residents got wind of Clearwire’s antenna plan and became very very very agitated, on the scientifically dubious grounds that such antennas pose potential health risks. They took their concerns to Bernal’s Supervisor, David Campos, who embraced the effort to halt the installation of the antennas atop the tower which sits atop our beloved Bernal Hill. Supervisor Campos escalated the issue, and in November the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to block Clearwire’s antenna plan.

Source: San Francisco Planning Department, via Mission Loc@al

The genuine journalists at Mission Loc@l summarize the politics of the move, and its consequences:

The vote was a clear victory for the anti-antenna movement, and a setback for Clearwire and others trying to install new antennas throughout the city.

The proposed dish antennas would have provided better coverage to the laptops and phones of Clearwire customers in five neighborhoods including the Mission,  Mission Dolores, the Excelsior and Silver Terrace.

Two of the antennas would have connected with two dishes on buildings on Alabama and Valencia streets.  Without them, the sites will continue to be disconnected.  The connections would have improved Clearwire’s service.

That’s the polite version. Last week, CurbedSF took off the gloves to tell it straight:

Source: Curbed SF

Everything was going smoothly and then BOOM, Bernal Heights NIMBYs started circulating emails around about how in the event of an earthquake, the potential antenna could “accidentally zap residents with concentrated radio waves.” They wanted an environmental impact report. Shoot forward to present day and the proposed antenna isn’t going to happen. The Board of Supes voted unanimously this week to repeal the conditional use permit given in July to Clearwire. The reason? They voted against the conditional use permit because the American Tower Corporation failed to meet the standards of a permit granted last year. “Neighbors alleged- and the supes agreed — that American Tower had failed to meet the maintenance requirements laid out in the 2009 T-mobile conditional use permit.” Things like landscaping, keeping it graffiti-free, etc. Congrats, anti antenna movement. Now our cellphones will continue to not work.

CurbedSF got it right. Under federal law, SF’s Board of Supervisors cannot deny a permit for wireless antennas on the basis of scientifically unproven health risks. The antennas themselves are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, so if a Supervisor wants to kill the antennas, he needs to come up with a different reason.  Ergo, barring the antennas because the tower’s control station is covered with graffiti. (Although, here it must be noted that the the facility was recently repainted, even though some graffiti has already returned.)

When I contacted the owner of the antennas, the American Tower Company, to get their side of the story, they said, “We have no comment while we evaluate the decision by the Board of Supervisors.”

As I watched this Great Bernal Hill Antenna Battle unfold over the course of this year,  the attitudes of some of our anti-antenna neighbors became particularly disheartening. I was present on some of the mailing lists where “action alerts” about the anti-antenna campaign were distributed, and it was some extremely silly stuff. Here’s an excerpt from an email sent on August 1, 2010:

These high intensity microwave antennas would operate point-to-point and have line-of-sight transmission with other dishes around the City rather than using the fiber optics that are typical of other companies. If any of these dishes go out of alignment (due to an earthquake or disturbance of the structures onto which they would be attached), these highly directional beams may cross the path of people and expose them to radiation levels above FCC limits.

Upon reading this, a very patient and knowledgeable gentleman who said he previously worked with microwave transmission systems at Lawrence Berkeley Labs replied to reassure the antenna worry-warts. He wrote:

Microwaves are in no way related to nuclear radiation and have no radioactive source, they’re very much the same as radio waves your AM or FM radio receives, just at a different frequency.

The power used by microwave communication dishes is far less than a typical microwave oven, most microwave ovens leak more energy than a microwave communication system. The frequencies used for microwave communications are the same as those used by your oven and WiFi access points, the only difference is that the access point you have in your house is designed to transmit in every direction, so you’re always exposed, and a dish is designed to transmit as a beam. Think of a light bulb that illuminates an entire room and a flashlight that puts a spot on the wall, exactly the same principle is used; the dish on Bernal Hill would be performing the same function as the parabolic mirror in a flashlight.

NAME REDACTED is concerned about the microwave beam hitting a person in the event of an earthquake. I understand the concern but it is unfounded. First, the equipment is designed to turn off within a fraction of a second of the dishes becoming misaligned. Even if that failed (which is very unlikely) if you did walk in front of the dish while it was on not much would happen. I know, I’ve done it many times.

His effort was pointless, because the anti-antenna NIMBY had zero interest in listening:

To our knowledge, no scientific study on the potential health risks or environmental risks of this project has been done. While we appreciate everyone’s perspectives, we believe that until this happens, everyone’s opinions about the relative health risks involved are just that, opinions.

Get that? This particular project requires an Environmental Impact Report, even though tens of thousands of identical such systems are in use worldwide. (HINT: Whenever you hear the battle cry of “We need an EIR!” you know you are in the presence of an intractable Enemy of Progress.)

The NIMBY’s last comment reminded me of a shrewd  insight by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

The facts about the safety of microwave antennas have been well-established for decades. And never mind that Bernal Hill was once home to a much, much larger microwave antenna array for 40 years, with no ill health effects reported.  None of that is at all relevant, because San Francisco’s antennaphobes don’t want to hear such “opinion.” They operate on the basis of their own impenetrable anxieties, and no amount of fact is likely dissuade them from their pre-determined conclusions. It’s regrettable but it must be said: These “progressive” antennaphobes revealed themselves to be knuckle-dragging reactionaries, and no different than those who would dismiss Darwinian evolution as being a mere “theory,” climate change as some sort of scientific snow-job, and fluoridated water as a Communist conspiracy. *sigh*

Alas, true progress — the meaningful kind, which matters a great deal to thousands of Bernal residents who want to conduct business and create new economic opportunities in our neighborhood  — requires a more sophisticated telecommunications infrastructure than we have now. So will we get it?

Supervisor David Campos. Photo by San Francisco LGBT Community Center

I put a call in to Supervisor David Campos to ask that very question. It’s to be expected that a few neighborhood activists zealots will into a tizzy from time to time; why did the Board of Supervisors yield to their frenzied whims?

During our conversation, Supervisor Campos stood by the publicly stated reason for the Board’s refusal to permit the new antennas. “A conditional use was given, but the conditions [regarding the landscaping and appearance of the tower facility] were not met,” he said. “There’s no excuse. When we tell a vendor to do something, they should do what we say.”

Then what of the potential health impacts of mobile base station antennas?

“We had no basis to deny the request on health grounds,” Campos said, adding, “We’ve asked the FCC to conduct further study on the health implications of these devices.”

Why? What are those health implications?

“I don’t have any evidence of a health risk,” Campos said. “But many people have raised those issues, so they are a concern. Science changes all the time, so we should be cautious, even if there is no scientific evidence that this technology is a health hazard.”

Okay, so we should be wary, even though we have no credible reason to be wary. Of course. I then asked Supervisor Campos to summarize what he has done to expand the wireless infrastructure in Bernal Heights and improve mobile coverage in our neighborhood.

“It’s a problem,” he conceded. “A better approach is to take a comprehensive look at this, as a way to improve service. I hope that happens down the road.”

So there we have it: All it takes to kill an effort to provide Bernal Heights and our surrounding neighborhoods with some 21st century wireless technology is a group of addled NIMBYs and a thin veneer of recently applied graffiti. But improving service requires a master plan. Which may get written. After some research. Someday. Perhaps.

Bottom line: Don’t count on your mobile reception getting any better, anytime soon. And so while our elected officials take their time pondering solutions to our telecommunications woes, Bernalwood would like to offer you a new product that may be of interest to partisans on *both* sides of the Great Antenna Divide: It’s a combination tinfoil beanie and wireless signal booster that promises to both shield users from RF radiation *and* reduce the frequency of dropped calls. You can see it in the photo above, and look for it soon at finer Cortland merchants, Sharper Image stores, or a SkyMall catalog near you!

58 thoughts on “Why Your Mobile Service Sucks, and Will Continue to Suck: Blame NIMBY Neighbors and Your San Francisco Supervisors

  1. Argh! And I was hoping for 4G data to replace my unbearably crappy AT&T DSL service at home. I have to use DSL because for some reason Comcast doesn’t provide service on Elsie Street. And apparently Bernal is one of the few neighborhoods in the city where AT&T doesn’t offer it’s high speed U-verse service.

    Why are we in such a black hole? When I moved to San Francisco, ground zero for technology, I never thought I’d have a hard time getting online!

  2. Just to be absolutely clear (ahem) though, while health concerns about it are deeply wacky, the Clearwire antennas weren’t about improving wireless phone quality on and around Bernal. Clearwire is a wireless broadband ISP, not a phone provider, and is attempting to provide competition with AT&T and Comcast in the area by setting up high-speed Internet links to subscribers over the air.

    Given the lack of competition in the broadband market, the headline would be better phrased as “Why Your Internet Connection Sucks, and Will Continue To Suck”.

    • I don’t know the details of this particular antenna, but T-mobile contracts there wireless and “4G” antenna work to Clearwire and it may infact be a cellphone/smartphone/data antenna.

      • I think that 4G is data not voice – for now, so it’s not dropped calls we’d be reducing, it’s lag time on Angry Birds or smooth streaming of Mall Cop to your mobile.

        Barely anyone even has a 4G device, but it is a bad precedent- since it is the future they are trying to stop.

    • Clearwire is Sprint’s 4G provider, so cell data for Sprint (Metro PCS, Credo, Amazon Kindle, etc, at least when those folks upgrade).

  3. Typical David Campos. I would love to see someone/anyone replace him. Someone who actually represents the interests of the Bernal Heights residents, instead of just pushing an extreme-liberal agenda. (The most amazing part of Campos is how he makes me feel conservative! This is coming from a life-long liberal!)

    • Whatever. Campos is, in general, a great Supe for his constituents and for the City in general.

    • Unfortunately, there weren’t any good candidates to vote for during the election which put Campos in office. I felt the lot was unqualified and each had their own personal/worldy agenda to push.

  4. Your mobile phone has to run at higher power and cook your brain more to reach the sparsely-distributed cell sites, so all told this is worse for everyone. Signal strength is inversely proportional to the square of the distance, so you’re better off with a cell site that’s running at lower power 30 feet from you than a phone running hot millimeters from you.
    Inverse-square law

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  6. @Andy, my understanding is T-Mobile USA does not contract out to ClearWire.

    ClearWire is 53% owned by T-Mobile’s competition, Sprint. Other ClearWire investors include Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and a bit by the Google. This is all trivially looked up.

    ClearWire exists to roll out a nationwide “4G” service. They use a technology called “WiMax”, essentially the same as the WiFi used in homes in businesses, evolved by Intel & others to work at longer distances. ClearWire’s WiMax is Sprint’s “4G” network, and is resold as a data-only service by a number of businesses, including BestBuy.

    However ClearWire is currently in an “extreme cash conservation mode” having just laid off 15% of their workforce and halted all network expansion. ClearWire announced several week ago they are looking for investors and, more recently, are considering selling bonds or unused potions of their licensed radio spectrum for further funding.

    T-Mobile USA uses completely different technologies, none of which overlap with ClearWire’s (beyond the most basic “it’s data-over-the-airwaves.”)

    The WSJ has recently reported ClearWire is looking for an investment from T-Mobile, possibly involving ClearWire shifting their focus away from the current WiMax technologies and towards a different high-speed standard called LTE. However T-Mobile USA appears satisfied with their current “4G” service, HSPA+, which is backwards-compatible with T-Mobile USA’s existing 3G network as well as both different & faster then the initial rollouts of both WiMax & LTE. This along with the complexities of T-Mobile USA working with competitor Sprint make this sort of deal unlikely.

    In the meantime it looks like ClearWire is not aggressively pursuing any new, complex, or costly projects. The NIMBY aspect may have provided enough delay & extra cost to the project it hasn’t happened already, but ClearWire’s own larger difficulties may be the final issue.

    • Tmobile has made deals with PG&E to put their 3/4G cell sites on existing utility poles, and because of this doesn’t have to get any special permits for them. There are a bunch of these on Harrison in the Mission/Bernal area, and one at the top of Rutledge as I recall. The sites are all labelled Tmobile. The antennas themselves are in brown radomes at the top of the poles, looking like the very top of the wood pole.

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  8. Hey, thanks to one and all for the really smart (and refreshingly well-informed) comments.

    Just to be clear: I am familiar with many of the geographic and technical details about this particular antenna installation, in terms of both the carriers and coverage area it would have served. Put simply, I’m an AT&T/iPhone user, so this would not have done anything for me personally, in terms of improving the (crappy!) coverage I get on Bernal’s north slope.

    But for me, that’s not the issue, really. I’ve seen no evidence that the NIMBYs care about the specifics of carriers or coverage areas. They oppose antennas. Period. And when you couple their immediate opposition with the baked-in bureaucracy of trying to install ANY new antennas in San Francisco, the conclusion to me becomes clear:

    If we want better coverage, we’re going to have to fight for it.

  9. I’d like to see that whole goddamn under-utilized antenna tower scraped off of Bernal Hill, actually.

    Not because I am afraid it is frying people, but because it is a scar on the landscape. I’d rather see it replaced with a much less obtrusive cell-tower, or whatever.

  10. Personally, I’m a fan of the tower itself. Basic logic: There are zillions of au naturel hills in California, but our tower is part of what makes Bernal Hill special. It’s like a Space Age party hat! But I readily admit this is probably a minority opinion.

  11. >>in the event of an earthquake, the potential antenna could “accidentally zap residents with concentrated radio waves.” <<
    This line is just too funny. You provided more laughter is good medicine for me today, thank you. As for internet and cell phone use in SF, it stinks. I figured it was just AT&T because that's what I have for both, but now I am hearing other stories. I also have a residence in Fresno, yes, Fresno of all places, and my service there is much better than here in SF. Something is very wrong with that picture, I mean transmission!

    • Even funnier (sort of) is the fact that the exact opposite is true. In the event of an earthquake, microwave links are much easier to repair and restore, which is very important during an emergency.

      Here’s another comment from the gentleman from LBL that I quoted in the post above:

      “During the 1989 earthquake I happened to be working a Lawrence Berkeley Labs and, like many other institutions, a number of our communication circuits were severed. One of those was a microwave link (similar to the ones be proposed for Bernal Hill) between the lab and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Within a couple of hours of the earthquake we were able to realign the dishes and bring the circuit back up restoring communications to the lab; it took weeks for the lab’s copper and fiber-optic connections to be fully restored. In the event of a major earthquake that severs communications in the Bay Area microwave links will be among the first to be restored.”

  12. I don’t have a problem with my phone service.

    Anyhow, I think you guys have missed the real issue. If they put the antennas on then there will be more security on the tower, which will get in the way of climbing it, or even hanging out late at night in its vicinity.

    And thats no fun.

      • Anecdotally, the tower used to just be there. At a later point in time, perhaps because they put something new on it, or maybe because someone stole something off of it, an alarm goes off if you get near it. Of-course no cop is going to get out of their car and walk up the hill, but i am just saying… If they put expensive antennas on there, they are going to want to protect them.

  13. As a scientist, I can laugh about the unfounded fears people have; as the father of a kid with cancer, I can also sympathize with those who say scientific knowledge is always changing, and we don’t really know the safety of any new device or technology. We know cell phones can be carcinogenic. We know that radiation–in any number of frequencies and powers–can be harmful. We also know that most of the studies showing the safety of a technology are funded by the companies most invested in those technologies (at least in the U.S.). A healthy skeptic–as many of you appear to be–knows this and questions the source of the data as much as she/he questions the naysayers. Ultimately, I’d have to ask (and I don’t ask it rhetorically): is improving your cell coverage really so vital to your life that you’re willing to risk the health and well-being of kids (or pregnant women, or other adults…) that live on/near your hill?

    • I ask — and not rhetorically — do you every leave your house? Seriously, the idea that any thing useful must be opposed if there is even the slightest possibility that it might cause harm (which is the criteria that you propose) would cause civilization to collapse. No one lives their life that way. And it is completely irrational to focus in on this minute and unsubstantiated risk given the much, much greater (though still very, very small) risks you take every day.

      Paranoid and ill-informed hand-wringing about the source of safety data (which is largely not from corporations but is from independent sources) just serves to confuse the issue not to explain it. Basically you are just wishing away inconvenient facts.

      The bottom line is that there is absolutely no rational reason to believe that these transmission stations pose any health risks. So to argue that they should be opposed because you refuse to accept the data and instead postulate (without any basis) that there may be some risk, is just non-nonsensical.

  14. The flip side to this argument is that every hill around every populated area is starting to look like a pincushion. What if we were to stick a bunch of antennae and masts on top of your backyard?

    Ignoring aesthetics, who’s to say that wireless companies won’t continue to increase frequency levels?

    • Technology says that wireless companies won’t increase the transmission power (at least that is what I think you are implying by “frequency levels”). Signals interfering with one another is a big problem in wireless communication systems. If anything the power of cell phone towers will go down.

    • I have a very tall tree in my backyard; I would happily rent it out to a cell phone company.

      But really, the idea that a couple more dishes on top of Bernal is going to have any aesthetic impact is pretty ludicrous.

  15. Notice how Campos didn’t propose a reasonable alternative, instead he offered some doubletalk about “studies” “down the road” etc?

    The man is useless. 25% of his constituents don’t even know who he is. He isn’t qualified to be on the Board, and his nutty notion he’s going to be Mayor is just, nuts.

  16. I have lived in Bernal for over 30 years. While the term Nimby is used in the pejorative, I’d like to ask, “Why shouldn’t a resident who is active in a vital community not be concerned with what goes on in his backyard?” This is the beginning of becoming active in preserving your community. Bernal Hill is not just one of many hills rising around the Bay Area. It is a treasure because on it live many endemic species of flowering plants, meaning that they are found nowhere else. We should value it as a unique place and protect it from whatever threatens its wild nature. Living on the south slope, I have no problems with my cell phone reception. There are plenty of reasons to get rid of a poor–performance service like ATT, not the least of which is that it supports politically conservative candidates for office and conservative causes.

    • @joe moma. Thanks for this. You raise a bunch of issues that I’ve been thinking about lately, and tensions I’ve been pondering, triggered in part by this debacle.

      For one, I’m all for engagement and being active in my community. But it seems there is a point when that engagement crosses into obstructionism and reactionary opposition. (Classic case study: Berkeley. Ewwwwww!)

      Which brings me to a second thought. You write “This is the beginning of becoming active in preserving your community.” Your choice of verb here is significant for me. I don’t think my community needs “preserving.” Not at all. I think my community is thriving, and has been fine for decades. That’s not because anyone “preserves” it, but because *we simply create* it, day in and day out. That act of creation is a fluid and dynamic process. It is the opposite of nostalgia. It is not sentimental. It is not romantic, it is not neurotic, and it does not have an end-point or a political agenda. It’s simply how we live our lives in the heart of a big city.

      Which brings me to another topic I’ve been pondering, and which I alluded to above. As for Bernal Hill itself, I think it too is just fine. In fact, by almost any historical measure relative to the last 100 years, it’s in the best shape it’s been in for decades. For 80 years, the hill was mined, quarried, used as a neighborhood dump, a motocross track, and a haven for thugs and drug dealers. Today it too is a thriving island of naturalism in the middle of the city, and home to all sorts of nifty creatures.

      BUT, I say “naturalism” and not “nature.” I don’t want it to be more natural. It is also part of a city, and personally, I like the way the chaos of urbanism interacts with the flora and fauna. It’s a give-and-take, and that’s what makes it beautiful. To me, at least. That’s why I love the microwave tower itself as a magnificent piece of landscape architecture, for example. I like the scars left behind from the quarrying. The hill itself truly is like nowhere else — again, not because of efforts to “preserve” it, but precisely because of the juxtaposition that exists between the creative destruction of the city and the timelessness of nature. The critters and plants make Bernal Hill wild, yes, but the city does too. I have equal respect for all parties in that dynamic.

      And that’s the operative word, I think. Respect. Yes, let’s respect the hill, and the our community, and the city we live in. But I suspect one becomes a NIMBY when you approach all of that as being a matter of maintaining some sort of status quo. There will be change, and there will be compromise, and sometimes things won’t turn out great. But Bernal Hill, and our community, are impressively resilient and always in motion. I think that process should be encouraged, and not resisted.

      And also, my wireless reception totally sucks.

    • “We should value it as a unique place and protect it from whatever threatens its wild nature.” Perhaps by tearing down everyone’s homes and returning the whole hill to its wild, circa-1850 status.

      NIMBY’s are usually the loud minority with time on their hands claiming to represent their neighbors’ opinions, while in fact they haven’t surveyed their neighbors’ opinions at all.

  17. It is a scientific FACT that cell phone towers emit high amounts of RF thats radiation. If you don’t believe it look up RF on wiki. Radiation is bad for you. If you do not believe it stick your head in a microwave oven that lets you keep the door open. The only reason this blogger stands up for cell phones is because he has a financial interest in this. I have never seen such professional bullshit and for such an evil cause. wow. fuck you you cell phone using douche bag motherfucker. I hope you die of a brain tumor.

    • @Noyfb – Your angry ignorance of the natural world around you is astonishing, and sad.

      Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. (This predates any biased cellphone company spin.) Simply put it explains that there is not enough energy at the power levels & frequencies used in cellphones to ionize anything. No ionization means no effect on DNA means no mutations means no resulting cancers or other ill effects.

      There is no the-entire-universe-works-this-way-consistently-across-space-and-time-but-for-cellphones clause.

      There is no cumulative effect, there is no but-but-but; this is basic well-understood physics. Claims to the contrary, lacking any reputable data or profound new understanding of fundamental physics, are to be classed along with them-telegraph-lines-will-make-the-cows-milk-go-bad balderdash.

    • OMG! Did you know that light is radiation? It’s true, it’s on Wikipedia! The sun is bad for you. If you do not believe it, stick your head in a solar oven that lets you keep the door open.

      • I love Noyfb’s comment. It made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

        Here’s another funny bit. I *did* look up RF radiation on Wikipedia, and according to Wikipedia, Noyfb doesn’t have his facts straight. Here’s what it says:

        Non-ionizing radiation can produce non-mutagenic effects such as inciting thermal energy in biological tissue that can lead to burns.

        In terms of potential biological effects, the non-ionizing portion of the spectrum can be subdivided into:

        1. The optical radiation portion, where electron excitation can occur (visible light, infrared light)
        2. The portion where the wavelength is smaller than the body, and heating via induced currents can occur (MW and higher-frequency RF)
        3. The portion where the wavelength is much larger than the body, and heating via induced currents seldom occurs (lower-frequency RF, power frequencies, static fields).

        Also, it pains me to have to point this out, but there are (at least) two other errors in the comment:

        1) I have no financial interest in the Bernal antenna installation whatsoever, and I challenge Noyfb to provide even a shred of evidence that I do.
        2) Even more glaringly, Noyfb spelled “douche bag” wrong. It’s spelled douchebag (closed, no space), and I’m an authority on this because I grew up in New Jersey.

    • I didn’t realize that too much RF can cause Turret’s-like spasms of hatred, ignorance and plain meanness in people. Thanks for pointing that out @Noyfb!

    • Microwave ovens run at 600-800 watts of RF power levels, on a continuous basis. A cell handset puts out less than 1 watt in its highest power mode, and it’s an intermittent, pulsed signal.

      It’s likely that the leakage from your microwave is higher than the RF signal from your phone.

      By the way, put your head in a 400 degree conventional over for several minutes and you’ll be in bad shape too.

  18. T-Mobile is building a cellphone tower on top of an orange building at Mission and Kingston. There was a community meeting about the proposal earlier this week, and hardly any NIMBYs showed up.

  19. Your body, right now, is being bombarded by radiation from thousands of wireless signals from every direction at all different frequencies. Shutting down one transmitter will not save you.

  20. Way to play up the article! Only, you weren’t at the Boards of Supervisor’s hearings with all the public comment, so you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    The tower company made promises, but had yet to keep them, and in the meantime had let things fall to the wayside. Landscaping means in part, trees. Trees died, trees were not replanted. The graffiti was covered up, the day of the hearing, but allowed to be there by not fixing big holes in the fencing for the last two years. Promises they waved around in writing about how they were going to respect the neighborhood, going forward, turned out to be not what they purported; that is, they lied to the BOS, and a resident caught them out. Because they were caught out, now they will have to replace the entire fencing with a better kind of fencing. Also, they haven’t paid their property taxes in years, they are way behind. So, when you have a company which treats the residents so shabbily, then they’re held to account. All they have to do to go forward is do what they already promised they would do just to maintain the site and viola, the planning commission will sign off that it’s done and the new equipment will go up on time, as planned.

    Also, when these dishes are misaligned, through error or earthquake, they automatically shut off, so there are no beams of death rays, which is a misnomer since all the evidence to date says exposure isn’t a health hazard, but even so, the fear that people had about the devices was not adequately addressed to the residents until the board hearing.

  21. The Bernal Heights tower is the absolutely best place to go in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Clear field of fire. Limited approach. Big fence. Lots of things to climb on and shoot zombies from. This hs nothing to do with cell towers, but it is still true and when the zombie apocalypse comes, that is where I will be.

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