SF Supervisors Consider New NIMBY Legislation to Make Sure Your Mobile Reception Stays Terrible

City Hall

History will record that the Great Bernal Hill Antenna War of 2010 was actually just one salvo of a larger conflict over our telecommunications infrastructure that is beginning to rage all over the City and County of San Francisco.

The next battle will take place in the lame-duck chambers of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where progressive Supervisor John Avalos will hold public hearings today on a piece of legislation he introduced (with backing from Bernal Heights Supervisor David Campos) to “regulate the placement of [mobile antennas] in order to prevent telecommunications providers from installing wireless antennas and associated equipment in the City’s rights-of-way either in manners or in locations that will diminish the City’s beauty.”

Now, to be clear: I’m pro-beauty. And I’m all for common-sense regulation designed to minimize the visual impact of wireless installations. But San Francisco already regulates antennas on aesthetic grounds, and Avalos’s proposal reads like it was written by a committee of NIMBY nitpickers. You can curl up with the full text (pdf download) of his plan, but the executive summary is that the new legislation would add lots of new red tape to new wireless antenna installations, effectively adding another layer of City bureaucracy to an antenna-permitting process that is already thick with City bureaucracy.

Supervisor Avalos will hold a hearing on his proposal today at 1 pm in front of the City’s Land Use Committee. If you can’t attend the meeting (because you have, you know, a job and a life) public comment can be submitted via Alisa Somera in the Clerk’s office at 415.554.4447 or Alisa.Somera@sfgov.org. (NOTE: Be kind to Alisa, please. The legislation isn’t her idea, nor her fault.)

Meanwhile, I tried to call Supervisor David Campos on Sunday night, to learn more about his apparent support for the Avalos proposal. I placed the call from my home on Bernalwood’s north slope.

Alas, I didn’t get very far…

Calling My Supervisor
Images by Telstar Logistics

3 thoughts on “SF Supervisors Consider New NIMBY Legislation to Make Sure Your Mobile Reception Stays Terrible

  1. Pingback: Inverse Square Law Lost Upon Board of Sups « Mission Mission

  2. Cell phone signal availability has helped save countless lives, where people could call for help when they were injured or needed rescue.
    Banning the towers will lead to more dropped calls and “dead zones”, making it harder to call for help when you need it.
    The cell phone towers will not kill you, they might even help you someday.

  3. @Fred: This is the thing that really kills me (not me hopefully, but someone for sure.) There are acute heart attacks where survivability reduces 7-10% per minute of delayed response time, I’m sure there are other conditions with the same severity. Someone having a heart attack with a cell phone in their pocket really cares how many bars there are, this issue is not (solely) techno-juvenile whingeing. It is actually standard advice: “If you are in a high-risk group, consider getting a cell phone to carry with you everywhere, and talk to your doctor about whether you should also keep an aspirin with you at all times.”

    BTW, we should we be require an EIR about the unknown health risks of the website http://www.antennafreeunion.org/ , since it is well known that telling people they are going to get sick can itself make people sick.

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