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…
Images by Telstar Logistics